Before checking out a Figure Method class in New York City, I read up on it to find out exactly what it is and saw the words “yoga,” “Pilates,” “Lotte Berk” and “ballet.” Just my style of graceful, meditative, but effective exercise, I thought. Little did I know that I was in for a surprise.
Once the class began, the upbeat music was pumping and Cindy Sites, former dancer, Lotte Berk-trained instructor and founder of Go Figure Studios and The Figure Method, was getting the group ramped up for an hour of non-stop movement with her headset on and boundless energy excreting from her pores. That’s right – one hour. Non-stop.
We began on yoga mats with 2.5-lb dumbbells and a yoga block at our side. We went right into the routine with movements ranging from crunches to push-ups to hip thrusts. We stood up and worked our arms out, which turned those baby-looking 2.5-lb weights into what felt like 20-lb bricks. We moved to the ballet bars to stretch, plié and perform repetitive kicks and other moves that had my thighs burning and my brow sweating. But through it all, I felt revitalized and conscious of my body and aware of my posture; I was loving it.
Having intensively studied classical ballet for over 15 years, Sites created a new hybrid workout program in 2001 designed to tone and lengthen muscles, aptly named, The Figure Method.
“As a classically trained ballerina, I was in the best shape of my life,” Sites begins in describing why she created The Figure Method. “But once I decided to forgo a career as a professional ballerina to pursue a college education, then marriage and raising my two children, my body changed.”
Knowing that there were many other women out there yearning for their pre-baby bodies as well, and equipped with a lifetime of dance and fitness classes, Sites felt ready to create a workout that would address the “problem” areas most women begin to struggle with in their thirties.
“I realized that the rigorous moves at the ballet barre were the most effective in toning, lengthening, and defining muscles and decided to develop a class based on the principles of barre work and added in what I consider to be the best moves from Lotte Berk technique, yoga, isometric exercises and Pilates,” she tells SpaFinder. She also works closely with orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and chiropractors to ensure the safety of her students.
After my workout, when Sites told the class that changes in your body can be seen after six classes, I whole-heartedly believed her.
Over the past ten years, Go Figure has expanded to include seven studios. In addition to the original Greenwich location, studios are also located in New Canaan, CT; Westport, CT; Darien, CT; Armonk, NY; Rye, NY; and Potomac, MD. An eighth is on its way to Scottsdale, AZ, in February.
As a native New Yorker, it’s always been Sites’ dream to open an NYC studio, so look out for news on an opening date (to be determined, as of now)!
Site’s tips on working out and healthy habits:
- When working out, focus on “the end game.” Whether your motivation for exercise is about developing strength, those fantastic endorphins a good workout brings, or just looking great in a new pair of jeans, it’s that goal to keep in mind when you’re coming down to those last 10 pliés or beginning a challenging set of push-ups. What we practice in the studio is beautiful and graceful, but it’s what you walk away with that is the true beauty of the Figure Method, strength, great posture, increased bone density—and yes, a rocking body!
- Never skip breakfast (as your mother told you, it’s the most important meal of the day!). My go-to morning meal? Eggs. The protein in eggs will sustain your energy throughout the day and improve your metabolism – not to mention your attitude!
- A morning cup of coffee is a great way to start the day, but make sure to balance your caffeine intake with water and stay well-hydrated throughout the day. Your body will thank you, and your skin will glow as a result!
- Take time for yourself and incorporate exercise into your life. The benefits of exercise are endless, from better posture, overall increased cardiovascular health, more energy, quality sleep and self-esteem.
- Set goals in fitness, whether it’s taking class 3-4 times a week or doing 10-20 straight legged push-ups. Goals allow you to measure your hard work and dedication and keep you focused.
- Reward yourself! For example, it’s okay to have dessert. You’ve worked hard for it and deserve it. Depriving yourself only serves to make you want it more! Moderation is key.