WITH TARYN TOOMEY’S ‘THE CLASS’
The cult fitness phenomenon gives us her routine for a dream body (and mind).
Your endorphins are about to party so hard they won’t know what hit them, and your muscles will start screaming loudly as your heart reaches its pumping peak. There’s a lot of sweat and “sludge” being hurled around the room, but don’t be scared: the sludge in question won’t spoil your Lululemon yoga pants or Nike kicks—it’s what ‘the class’ (lower-case letters is the preferred spelling) founder and fitness phenomenon Taryn Toomey describes as “heaviness”, aka negative emotions or limiting beliefs.
WARNING: It’s a life-changing experience that’s unlike any other workout on the planet, and it may ruin you for all other workouts (as well as sessions with your therapist). This is about finding peace through personal power and cleansing body and mind of…well, basically everything that doesn’t contribute to strength and happiness. Like a juice cleanse, only with a lot less kale and a lot more sweating. Despite the shouting and high energy, Toomey somehow manages to be anything but scary, providing a safe space in which even the most très chic New Yorkers can feel secure enough to purge their emotions and flail their arms and legs in the air in a room filled with strangers. Sessions are taught by Toomey and a team of fearless females that includes Jaycee Gossett and Natalie Kuhn, and attended by a mix of A-list celebrities (think Naomi Watts and Christy Turlington Burns), models (including women who look like models due to frequent visits to the class) and anyone brave enough to do a 75-minute, hard-core workout early in the morning.
Contributor Rebecca Leffler got Taryn Toomey to sit still for long enough to share her tips for a heavenly body and a dream life.
First of all, what does a “dream body” look like to you?
Strong, lean, glowing and healthy.
Tell about what you call “the sludge”—what is this toxic energy, and how does it prevent us from attaining the dream body?
The “sludge” is the heaviness that weighs you down emotionally and physically, which builds up over the course of bad relationships, unhealthy eating, hanging around people who spread gossip and fill space with negativity and unprocessed feelings. It collects and causes stagnation in mind and body, preventing the clarity we feel when we’re eating well, moving and breathing.
How does eating affect the quest for a dream body? What does “the class-style eating” entail?
“the class” style of eating is essentially anything grown in the earth. Eat to nourish, eat to feel good, but don’t eat to fill an emotional void. Make choices that don’t cause you to yo-yo into the extremes—the less you sway from one extreme to the next, the easier it is to stay in the feel-good zone.
All of your classes are accompanied by a supercool playlist. What role does music have? Give us some of your favorite songs.
Music with soul is a key component. I love RIBS by Lorde, anything from U2, Mumford and Sons, and Florence and the Machine.
You’ve had two children: Any advice for moms who want to get their dream body back after giving birth?
It’s all about consistency.
What’s your personal favorite workout move or sequence?
The Heart Opening Series: Physically, it’s for the chest, shoulders and back, but it really taps into the space in the heart where you hold onto blocked emotions and unprocessed stories and feelings.
Anyone leaving your class will glow from the inside out, but can you share some of your beauty habits, your favorite products, and how you take care of your skin from the outside in?
I love the Joanna Vargas skincare line, especially the rejuvenating serum. It gives an incredible glow and smells delicious. I also use her exfoliating mask a few times a week. I really believe in exfoliating to create a beautiful palette.
Can you share a short “dream body” sequence or move that we can do at home?
• To get us out of bed and energized in the morning: Jump squats and a good song.
• To calm our minds and bodies before going to sleep: Put your legs up against the wall, move opposite elbows over your head and breathe deeply for 10 minutes.
• For a flat tummy: Work the transverse abdominals in a forearm plank pose, keeping your tailbone slightly tucked under. Tap your left knee and then the right. When you start to lose core strength, set both knees down, re-engage your core muscles, and begin again.
• To detox after holiday indulgence: Clean eating—water, ginger, anti-inflammatory foods. Keep indulgences in moderation.
• To boost immunity during this cold- and flu-ridden season: Shake and hop—it helps to engage and drain the lymphatic system.
Photography: Jaimie Baird