Whether you’re a hard-core CrossFit disciple or a busy mom looking to gain some tranquility—and suppleness—through yoga, there are a number of classes, trainers, coaches, or instructors for you in Westchester. But how do you know which one to choose? We’ve done the legwork for you. Here, we present the most sought-after, coveted, and just plain popular trainers the county has to offer.
When it comes to one-on-one personal training, Angela LoBrutto is hard to beat. “I am a strong believer in living one’s life with balance,” says LoBrutto, who has appeared on The Rachael Ray Show and has been featured in publications such as Elite Daily and The Fit Journal. “It is my goal to make sure my clients are not only looking good but feeling good, as well.”
LoBrutto, who says that she has “a variety of clients with different goals, ranging from weight loss to muscle gain to athletic performance,” was recently certified as a fitness nutrition specialist. Among her services, she offers a boot camp class conducted from Prana Fitness in West Harrison, where clients can break a sweat by lifting logs, pushing sleds, or—LoBrutto’s personal favorite—flipping 400-pound tires.
Flipping tires is not for everyone, of course, so, if you want a more outdoorsy edge to your workouts, the Rock Club at Pine Brook Fitness in New Rochelle has you covered. This popular gym features a 40-foot climbing wall with nearly 80 stations, including areas for bouldering and rappelling. Meghan McDonald is the Rock Club’s manager and head coach, as well as the resident star of the rock wall. She instructs all levels of climbing, in both group and individual training sessions, for adults and kids.
“Some people may get bored by the basics, but I thrive on seeing the small tweaks people make having huge difference in their climbing,” says McDonald, who has been training for nearly two decades. “A lot of it is about training harder, but I specialize in getting people to train smarter and then harder.”
If scaling walls is not your cup of tea, perhaps a few rounds in the ring might be more appealing. You can release tension and aggression—and learn some fancy footwork in the process—at Westchester Boxing Club, where owner Nick DeLury is teaching newbies, as well as some of the biggest names in the county’s boxing scene, all from his White Plains gym.
“I have been a boxing trainer for more than 20 years, and my background is in training world-champion professional athletes,” says DeLury, who has coached both Golden Gloves boxers and national champions and has been featured in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and on HBO Sports. “My popularity as a professional boxing trainer increased when, several years ago, I decided to not only train professional and amateur competitors but to make myself available to train the general public.”
While hitting the bag can feel a bit specialized, the Family YMCA at Tarrytown boasts a veritable toolbox of fitness talents with Exercise Coordinator Diane McCarthy. “I am certified to teach spinning, TRX Suspension Training, Fit Barre, kettlebells, Silver Sneakers, Stretch, Pilates Mat I & II, Pilates Props and Pilates Reformer. Plus, I also teach all levels of aerobics and I am a Certified Personal Trainer,” says McCarthy, who admits Pilates Reformer is her favorite class to teach.
“I love my job, and I’m passionate about making a difference in my clients’ lives,” says McCarthy. “There’s nothing better than celebrating with someone who has gained confidence and really improved their fitness level with my help.”
For those seeking the most intense workouts currently available, CrossFit is a great place to start. Essentially a high-impact group workout that blends elements of powerlifting, calisthenics, gymnastics, and other disciplines, CrossFit is both deeply strenuous and features a distinct community spirit. Chris Guerrero, owner and head coach at CrossFit Westchester in White Plains and head of programming at CrossFit Westchester Pelham, is one of the biggest names in the county’s CrossFit scene. He’s a five-time CrossFit Regionals competitor, holds numerous certifications and was recently nominated for the “40 under 40” by The Business Council of Westchester.
“I truly believe I am the best at what I do,” says Guerrero. “I love human movement and have a knack for picking up every minor detail that other coaches will miss. I lead by example. I don’t just expect my clients to do it; I jump into the fire and live and breathe what I preach.”
And while high-impact workouts have their own appeal, sometimes the peace and calm of Yoga is just what the doctor ordered. For Westchester’s resident yogi, look no further than Myrna Thomas of Bikram Yoga Scarsdale. “Bikram yoga is a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises conducted in a room heated to 105°F and 40 percent humidity,” says Thomas. “The heat allows you to achieve a deeper stretch without strain.”
Thomas believes she is an effective and popular instructor due to the way in which she approaches her clients. “I believe in my students and I let them know that,” she says. “I’m honest and sincere about it, and I try to inject some humor. I always make myself available to them before and after class.”
The Bar Method is yet another calming yet cutting-edge form of fitness, and Sarah Giller is our local expert. Owner and master instructor at Bar Method Scarsdale, which recently moved from Rye Brook, Giller explains that this increasingly popular form of fitness “creates a uniquely lean body by combining muscle-shaping isometrics, physical therapy, and interval training into 60 minutes of transformation.”
“I try my best to connect to my clients and make my classes an escape from the outside world,” she says. “I am devoted to their wellbeing, to not only keep them coming back but also to make them feel great in and out of the studio.”
Pilates also continues to be very popular, and what better place to experience this core-focused discipline than at one of Westchester’s hottest gyms: LifeTime Athletics in Harrison. Catherine Fair, the gym’s Pilates coordinator, is one of the facility’s most sought-after trainers. Luke Guanzon, who teaches TEAM Boot Camp, is another of LifeTime’s most coveted coaches. Guanzon has trained future NBA players, Super Bowl and Stanley Cup winners, and Olympic gold and silver medalists. “I bring an exercise-science background of injury prevention, progression, and regression of exercises, and programmed classes,” says Guanzon.
And, finally, when it comes to Westchester’s most in-demand trainers, Vince Liguori of RDX Fitness is one of the most notable. Serving Westchester, Putnam, and Southern Connecticut, Liguori has been quoted in the New York Times and the Journal News, is winner of the MetRX Warrior Workout Video Contest and created and established his own form of results-driven exercise, called RDX.
Liguori feels his popularity stems from his attention to detail, no-nonsense approach, and measurable results. “Over the last three decades, I’ve been a prominent group fitness instructor and personal trainer. My class differs from others mainly due to the efficiency of the exercises, strong emphasis on the core, and balance training that most exercise routines lack.”