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Welcome back to our Hottest Trainer competition: our search for NYC's most talented fitness instructor! Over the next two weeks we'll be profiling 16 of the city's top workout pros before you get to vote for your favorites.
Realizing that working out didn't have to be a dreaded task was an eye-opener for Sadie Kurzban. "I grew up in looks-conscious Miami, so when I first started working out in high school, I was simply using exercise as a means to purge. I would spend an hour on the treadmill, slaving away, bored to tears," the 25-year-old behind ((305)) Fitness told Racked, who grew up in the back of her mom's step and jazzercise classes. "It was when I started taking dance—and remembering the joy I felt for it as a kid—that I discovered how dance could be such a fantastic, full-body workout." Kurzban developed such a passion for it that, without any formal dance training, she began teaching classes as a freshman at Brown University—and things blew up quickly from there.
"I developed a tremendous following, with kids lining around the block to take my classes. My senior year, I entered a business plan competition and won! I took the $75K prize and moved to NYC," and has since launched her own studio both here and in Washington, D.C. And though Kurzban has an army of instructors to lead her high-energy dance classes (alongside a live DJ), you'll often find this self-described "punch of sass" at the front of the room.
"The class is incredibly demanding on the body, but the music and atmosphere is so fun," said Kurzban, adding that she takes her not-so-serious class very seriously. "I want you to feel supported and in good hands when you are in my class. I want you to know I am also a vulnerable human with a range of emotion, that I am here for you, I am your teacher, and if you put some faith in me and this class, you will 100% leave with a huge smile on your face."
Read on to learn more about the curly-haired Nolita resident, from how she literally elevates her gym style for the streets and her real thoughts on "cheat meals."
Describe your training style: Are you a drill sergeant? More laid-back?
I'm upbeat, yet grounded. Through teaching, I try to integrate what I spent so many years battling and learning for myself: positive self-image, loving kindness, and fearlessness.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
That "all" I do is teach 10 classes a week and spend the rest of my week napping and being fabulous. I spend about 90 hours per week working on the business, training new instructors, interacting with clients, and building the brand and operations of this kick-ass company.
Gym style (or athleisure) has totally exploded over the past couple of years. What's your favorite way to rock it?
I live in (and for!) my workout clothes. One pro-tip: it's all about the sneaker wedge. Whether you're rocking leggings or shorts, once you slip on a sneaker wedge after class, your whole look gets elevated. I love Nike's Dunk Skys.
What's your go-to song right now for getting pumped up before or during a workout?
"Don't Be So Hard on Yourself" by Jess Glynne. It's such a positive message with an addictive beat—how could I not love it?
If I weren't a fitness instructor, I'd be...
Some other kind of entrepreneur! I love to create, I love to build, and I love a good challenge.
Where can we find you when you're not working out?
I love to work out of cozy spots in the city...just me, my laptop, my headphones, and a cup of tea. I live in a really vibrant neighborhood and I love the restaurants and bars around me.
What's your relationship status?
Dangerous question! After being single for a while (I did not have a moment to look up from work), I met someone really special. It's been a few months, so we shall see. He has yet to take my class, so that might be a deal-breaker!
What's your favorite cheat meal?
I really do eat whatever I want. Like, seriously, as I answer this question, I'm eating a Reese's. Is that bad? I don't know. It's delicious, for sure.
What advice would you offer to someone who is just starting in your class?
Seriously, don't sweat it. (Get it? "Sweat" it?) It's going to be loud, chaotic, wild, confusing, and fun-as-hell. Roll with it. It's unlike any other workout class you've ever done. You're going to sweat your face off and love every minute. You just have to come do it already!