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Figuring out how to live a healthy lifestyle wasn't much of a mystery for Samantha Skolkin—it's pretty much in her DNA. The Brooklyn-born 25-year-old who teaches at Kore, the Meatpacking District's newest fitness spot, watched her body builder dad lifting in their basement-turned-home gym in the New Jersey suburbs. "I fell in love with physical activity, and in school I played all kinds of sports," she told Racked. She ditched her original pursuit of a fashion career to focus on body building and bikini competitions.
"I set a goal and reached it way earlier than I thought I would," Skolkin added, since she's placed in every competition she's entered. But it hasn't been without its sacrifices: "It's very challenging to prep for shows when everybody is out enjoying their summer with friends at bars and restaurants. When my friends are enjoying pizza, I'm eating fish and asparagus."
Personal training and group fitness instruction came along because Skolkin wanted to "pass along all of the information and knowledge I've gained to my clients. I now mentor a lot of women who share the same passions as I do." But what they may not know is how they help her. "I really find it inspiring how my clients push themselves so hard in my classes, and suddenly they motivate me." Read on to learn more about her training style, what she craves during competition, and how she reacts to getting asked out on social media.
Describe your training style: Are you a drill sergeant? More laid-back?
I feel like laid-back trainers don't give off a motivating vibe and people won't work as hard as they should, whereas "drill sergeants" are just scary and intimidate clients. My style is to have a blast while working out and motivate the hell out of my clients. You can find me jumping around the class and giving people high-fives while telling them they are doing amazing and to never give up. I also believe in hard work, so I don't allow for easy workouts—I want everybody to leave dripping with sweat and feeling proud of what they've accomplished!
Gym style (or athleisure) has totally exploded over the past couple of years. What's your favorite way to rock it?
I own so many pairs of leggings and kicks that it's a problem! I usually rock custom Air Max shoes with cute leggings and a sports bra. My go-to shopping site is Carbon38. Since I basically live in workout clothes, why not make it look cute?
If I weren't a fitness instructor, I'd be a...
Mermaid. Just kidding! I do not know what I would be doing if I wasn't in the fitness industry—I am obsessed. Taking control of your life and completely changing your body and motivating others to want to do the same is the best feeling in the world. Why would I want to be anything else?
Can you share a moment with a student that was truly inspiring?
One of my students came up to me after class and gave me a huge hug and a bracelet that said "you are worth it" and told me how I am changing his life. He told me I am the best trainer he has ever had because I genuinely care about my clients and motivate them in such a way that they have never been motivated before. It was so touching, and makes me want to go even harder!
What's your favorite cheat meal?
Honestly, it has to be pizza at Luzzo's on the Lower East Side. I was on a doughnut kick not too long ago, and a Nutella-and-banana-crepe kick before that. I crave the weirdest things sometimes because when I am prepping for a show, my diet is so boring. I am not even able to have one single cheat meal until after the competition.
Have any of your clients ever come on to you or asked you out? What did you do?
This is totally hilarious—yes! I've had guys find me on social media after they take my class and try to ask me out. I just have to keep it very professional because I take my job seriously and wouldn't consider dating clients. Don't get me wrong, it's very flattering. But I simply reject kindly and invite them back for another killer workout. Usually they come back the next day! No harm, no foul.
What advice would you offer to someone who is just starting in your class?
The first thing I will tell them is never give up—I can't say this enough. Consistency is key! There are going to be days when all motivation goes out the window and you feel like a complete zero, but the main thing you need to do when you feel that way is remind yourself why you started. If I can do it, you can do it! Oh, and remove all the negative energy from your life and don't let anybody bring you down! Ever!