Fitness spaces in NYC are intimidating for many people. Plus, the message of "overall well-being" gets lost in the mix of vanity goals and high-end workout attire. But just like any city, there are small pockets filled with unique experiences. Chris Kubick, a personal trainer in NYC, uses the outdoor spaces in order to remove people from the awkward gym experience. His style allows you to challenge yourself physically, while also making you feel like you're training for the circus. (as you scroll through the article you'll see what I mean)
Q: What made you want to start a career in personal training? What's your training style like?
A: I think growing up and having some amazing coaches, super enthusiastic gym teachers and my active dad is what first inspired to pursues fitness as a career. I remember thinking it was amazing that it was someone’s job to teach others how to move and how to be happy. I always felt so thankful and amazed by the energy gym coaches could pass onto you. I remember hoping someday I wish I could make others feel the way my gym coach who pushed me to run my best mile made me feel. Like I did it on my own, but at the same time couldn’t do it without him.
My style of training is collaborative, interactive and well - personal. I want to know what makes a person feel strong, and where or how they feel weak - and bridge the gap between those divides. To bring strength and confidence into as much of their physical ability, and overall demeanor as possible.
I’ve also worked in physical therapy before so I’m very sensitive to modifying exercises for people - and I would never ask of / or let anyone do anything unsafe with their bodies. I know personally, my gym teachers and coaches always got the best out of me when they made what we were doing fun, and a challenge we were facing together. My favorite running coach, used to run around town with us. My gym teachers who joined teams and play dodgeball with us. When somebody who loves movement and has experience is working, and playing with you I personally believe it brings out the best in your ability. =I know that’s what always worked to bring out my best.
Q: What's your favorite workout to do?
A: My favorite work-out, currently, is anything calisthenics related, also handstands / arm balancing and any partner body weight, or acro based workouts. I spent the past decade immersing myself into climbing, parkour, acro, hip hop and contemporary dance, and circus arts (aerial silks and Chinese pole) workouts, I’ve also been a runner and cyclist most of my life.
Picking a favorite work-out is impossible - they all inform each other, improve different aspects of my mental/physical awareness, and challenge me towards the next level in my fitness journey. If I could clone myself, my other half would also be taking a ton of martial arts classes because they cover so many important areas of mobility and perception.
I love teaching handstands, inversions, climbing or even basic pull ups, because anything that requires full body strength, balance and inward focus like that really gives people a jolt of energy. You see that look, when someone realizes that they can control their body, lift themselves up, or stop themselves from toppling over and it’s amazing to take someone there.
Q: What's your opinion on institutionalized fitness? Do you think it can be damaging to people?
A: My opinion on any type of fitness is that anything that gets people off their phones, off Netflix, and into their bodies is great. Different types of people respond to different types of structure / activity. Certain types of people respond to institutionalized fitness, and other types respond to personal fitness, and/or local brands. I think the most damaging thing a person can do is not push themselves - or develop goals. Even if that goal is joining a group and moving 45 mins a day, to a top 40’s playlist - whatever keeps people motivated is better than the alternative.
I think pre-covid, with people pre-occupied balancing family, full time jobs, commuting etc., that institutionalized fitness was the most straight-forward way for people to “cram” a slice of fitness into their hectic lives. I think working from home, creating our own hours and forming new lifestyles / habits during pandemic has made a lot of people realize (myself included) that most of us do have specific goals, needs, and we each need to carve / create our own path to truly be happy. That’s where I think personal training comes in, I do think there is an advantage to having an independent trainer that works directly with you / for you - trying to improve your life as their primary objective. I think it's important to work with someone, you can trust - who can put your interests first without a list of corporate restraints, or a larger parties agenda informing the service they are providing you with.
Q: How does your personal training break the mold of traditional fitness spaces?
A: I think bringing fitness into peoples personal environments (ie. their apartments or local parks) breaks traditional modes, because I’m someone who wants others to be active whenever /wherever they can be. It’s great to have spaces we can go to move, draw, think, write, interact, etc. But what we learned during the pandemic is that we still need to be able to do those things even when those spaces are not available to us.
I think often adults often think they need permission to be active and/or someone yelling at them, and kicking their butts. But if someone is training them to view movement and exercise as part of their lifestyle and not just a block in their schedule - there can be more consistency and application.
Q: How can people work with you!? Where can people find you on social media?
A: People can work with me by reaching out on Instagram or Facebook! I have a background working in physical therapy, so when I say all levels are welcomed I really mean all levels. If you want to jump, climb, do handstands that’s great. If you are lacking confidence because of injuries, or health set backs, or haven’t found your movement voice / potential yet. I’m happy to work with you, and be honest about what you can achieve. The great thing is, everybody has more potential than they think they do, EVERYBODY.
My focus the past couple years has been core strength, balance challenges (handstands, planks etc) and shoulder engagement and mobility. In the past one of my biggest victories in life was reteaching myself to walk again with an even gait, after years of pain and limping from injuries. So I'm happy just to help anyone have the confidence and coordination just to get back on their own two feet, literally.
HMU on Instagram and I hope to see you on your street or in your local park soon!