Featured Expert: Kari Saitowitz, The Fhitting Room; New York, NY


Kari Saitowitz


Title: Founder, The Fhitting Room

Location: New York, NY

Kari's Background: Prior to founding The Fhitting Room, Kari was a Marketing Executive at Pepsi-Cola Company, where she focused on building brand equity for powerhouse brands as well as launching new brands and product innovations.  She left the world of boardrooms and bubbles and entered the world of diapers and sleepless nights five years ago and was introduced to High Intensity Training as a means to work off her pregnancy weight. Never one to love exercising in the past, Kari was blown away not only by the results of HIT physically and emotionally but also by how much fun she was having during her workouts. As friends darted off to boutique fitness studios to enjoy spin, yoga, pilates and barre method classes, Kari became consumed with developing a boutique fitness studio specializing in super effective and truly fun High Intensity Training workouts. Kari has a MBA from Harvard Business School, where she graduated with honors, and graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.



What is The Fhitting Room and what makes it unique from other studios? The Fhitting Room is a High Intensity Training (HIT) boutique fitness studio delivering a comprehensive, body-changing workout in a small class environment. Topping the list of fitness trends to look for in 2013 are:

  • Functional Training;

  • Women Lifting Heavier Weights;

  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT); and

  • CrossFit mania.

Our workouts are at the epicenter of each of these trends.  Our head instructor a.k.a. El Capitán, Eric Salvador, is a CrossFit coach who infuses CrossFit philosophy (and some moves) into our method, but our execution is unique and designed with our clientele in mind. Many of our exercises utilize nothing more than bodyweight for resistance. Our workouts utilize rowers, free weights, kettlebells, suspension trainers, plyo boxes, medicine balls, pull up bars and more. With all the hype about HIIT and an explosion of fitness boutiques in NYC, The Fhitting Room, will be the first one dedicated to High Intensity Training.

Our program, while demanding, is inclusive and adaptive. Each workout is designed to be universal and equally effective regardless of gender, fitness level or experience. Our instructors expertly modify exercises, scale weight loads and demonstrate alternative moves that vary in intensity, providing everyone a tough yet attainable workout. Our programming features well-informed and deliberately crafted sequences of highly effective exercises that require maximum effort in exchange for noticeable results. So, while our doors are open to everyone, we invite only those willing to leave it all on the mat!

Every aspect of The Fhitting Room has been thoughtfully crafted to provide clients with the ideal environment to attain their goals. Our studio is intimate, not intimidating; our maximum class size is 14, and we often have two instructors leading classes to provide significant personal attention for all participants. Our music is motivating, our instructors are experts and encouraging and classes are spirited, challenging and fun.

Fhitting Room

What is HIT and why is it such an effective workout method? Extensive science and research validate that total body workouts, with intervals of High Intensity Training (HIT) that include both resistance and cardio, are the most effective. HIT involves performing an all-out, exhaustive physical effort for a short time followed by a short, sometimes active, recovery. HIT works because burning fat requires oxygen, and the more oxygen gets inside your body, the more fat your body burns. A high-intensity workout increases your body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This afterburn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts and translates into a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a completed HIT routine. Sounds amazing, right? But there is a catch: you must push yourself out of your comfort zone and allow us to help you challenge yourself. If you are willing to do this, you can spend less time exercising and get much leaner in the process.

When high intensity and interval training are combined, the result is maximum increased metabolic rate, optimal muscle building and muscle retention coupled with fat loss and increased calorie burn during and after the workout. HIT with intervals taxes both aerobic and anaerobic fitness; however, cardio only addresses aerobic. Aerobic fitness increases your need for oxygen and anaerobic builds muscle. Our workouts will increase your endurance and make you stronger at the same time. Studies indicate as little as 27 minutes of HIT three times per week produces the same anaerobic and aerobic improvement as 60 minutes of steady state cardio five times per week, so you can have more time for everything else in your life!

What is the "Signature FHIX" and what are the 5 essential building blocks of every class? A unique “FHIX” (functional high intensity mix) of exercise moves will be featured each day integrating five essential building blocks in every class to deliver optimal results. The “Signature FHIX” is our original fifty minute class; look for an expanding FHIX offering as we grow.

  1. Functional Movements: Functional training utilizes movements performed in life’s daily activities, such as squatting, pressing, jumping, lunging and pulling, training your body for everyday life, not events.

  2. Strength Training: Strength training builds muscle, and muscle tension and density give a body a toned look. It elicits hormonal responses that build up skeletal tissue, helping stave off osteoporosis and making carbohydrate processing more efficient. Strength training burns more calories than cardio alone by causing the body to go into repair mode after exercise, and muscle tissue burns more calories than non-muscle tissue. So, building muscle increases your metabolism speed, burning more calories even at rest.

  3. High Intensity Intervals: “All-out” effort intervals challenge your body more than moderately intense cardiovascular exercise, so your body’s recovery requires more energy, or calories, thus, increasing your metabolism. The net effect of HIT will be better results in less time.

  4. Total Body Focus: Exercises targeting the whole body achieve extra muscle activity by engaging multiple muscle groups in each movement, which means your body burns more calories.

  5. Highly Varied Exercises: Because of the human body’s tremendous ability to adapt, the more fit we become, the better able our bodies are to handle the same level of exercise. Thus, our bodies burn fewer calories, our metabolism decreases and our progress stalls. By delivering a different FHIX each day, featuring highly varied exercises, we will prevent this fitness plateau.

The one signature move everyone should master? Burpees…love them or hate them, they work!

What advice do you have for first-timers at The Fhitting Room? Just show up; we’ll take it from there. Don’t be nervous as our instructors are experts at making everyone feel comfortable and ensuring everyone has fun. You will work hard, but the time will fly by. You’ll be signing up for your second class before you know it!

What's hot on The Fhitting Room's playlist right now?

  • Scream and Shout - will.i.am featuring Britney Spears
  • GO! – Santigold featuring Karen O
  • Suit & Tie – Justin Timberlake
  • Thrift Shop – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Bounce – Calvin Harris featuring Kelis (Fly Eye Club Mix)
  • Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars
  • Diamonds – Rihanna (Congorock Remix)
  • It’s Not Right But It’s Okay – Whitney Houston (Thunderpuss Mix/Remastered: 2000)
  • Show Me Love – Robin S

Tell us about The Fhitting Room's team of instructors.  The Fhitting Room team is amazing.

  • Eric Salvador, our Head Instructor, is a former Marine, CrossFit Coach, triathlete, certified personal trainer and fitness enthusiast. He loves his work, and his passion and energy are contagious.

  • Daury Dross, certified personal trainer and trainer to the Knicks City Dancers, brings his unique style and creativity to The Fhitting Room; he loves to invent new moves like the plyo push-up which found class participants somewhat suspended from our pull-up bar by a resistance band. Daury is a music lover and always has a killer playlist keeping the class moving.

  • Benjamin Wegman, professional ballet dancer, Broadway dancer and certified personal trainer always makes it a party in the studio; the only thing Ben loves as much as leading class is taking class. You may find him next to you in yoga or spin; he’ll be the guy bringing it 200% who motivates you to work harder.

  • Amanda Butler, professional dancer and fitness model rounds out our instructor team with her amazing form and dynamic moves.


Kari Saitowitz

What was your personal inspiration for starting The Fhitting Room and how has HIT transformed your body? My personal inspiration for starting The Fhitting Room stemmed from a number of factors:

  1. Utter conviction that our workouts are unbelievably effective and the desire to help others break through fitness plateaus and achieve personal bests. I workout far less hours and eat significantly less healthy than I did ten years ago, yet I am stronger, tighter, more toned and have more energy and stamina.  I have noticed a tremendous uptick in my metabolism and improvement in almost everything I do from snowboarding to running to catching a bus with my 50-lb. son on my back. I didn’t realize how ineffective my old workouts had become until I saw the results of High Intensity Training.

  2. Love of brand building. I spent my career in marketing and love that meaningful brands satisfy not only physical but also emotional needs for people. The Fhitting Room is not just a place to exercise but a community of individuals who share a mindset grounded in the willingness to work hard to achieve results and the desire to be fit as a means to get the most out of life.

  3. Belief in the fitness boutique business model. Fitness boutiques enable individuals to choose where, when and how they spend their exercise time. We deliver a superior product by bringing single-minded focus to what we do and clients get to select the places they are most happy and comfortable, thereby getting not only a great workout but also an emotional boost.

Favorite workout brand? lululemon.  I could (and do) live in it, but I love Carbon38.com for helping me discover amazing fitness fashions and designers from around the world.

Personal eating style? You don’t want to know…I eat what I want to eat but not unlimited quantities. I do eat carbs and sweets daily but also make sure I eat something healthy everyday too. I could live on decaf lattes (2% milk, not skim), dark chocolate covered graham crackers, pizza, pasta, steak, onion rings and red wine, but I balance these favorites with greek yogurt, fruit, vegetables and lean protein choices.

Favorite things to do in NYC? I love eating in the West Village and shopping in SoHo but don’t spend enough time doing either since having kids. My absolute favorite thing to do is attend a Yankees game with my family, but they are quickly convincing me that Knicks games are as much, if not more, fun.

Any advice for other busy moms trying to balance motherhood and a healthy lifestyle? Find something you love to do that involves moving and do it. I used to hate going to the gym; I was perennially bored and staring at the clock, probably because I was just plodding away on an elliptical machine five days a week. Once I discovered High Intensity Training and the breadth of exercises to which it could be applied coupled with the fun and motivation of group exercise, I became a devotee.  I only spend about 2 hours a week exercising, but I give it everything I have during those two hours. Find somewhere or someone (a great instructor or an exercise buddy) who energizes you, and start with a small commitment, like a promise to go 1x weekly. If all else fails, pick up your child or their backpack and start squatting.

If you could give GoRecess users one piece of fitness advice, what would it be? Come to a class at The Fhitting Room!

Ready to get your FHIX? Book a class at The Fhitting Room today! 

You Might Like

GoRecess Playground Pro: Mike Hartwick, SurfSET Fitness

GoRecess Studio Spotlight: Throwback Fitness; New York, NY


Join the Conversation

Go Recess reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business.