A little over a year ago, we were blessed to welcome Shea Sullivan into our FHITfam. An accomplished director, choreographer, and dance teacher, Shea was looking to better herself and stumbled upon Fhitting Room in her pursuit of fitness. The Fitness Rampage Queen herself shared her story on how she came to be a FHIXer and what keeps her motivated to #liveFHIT:
How long have you been getting your FHIX? My first FHIX was in August of 2019.
Tell us a little bit about your first Fhitting Room experience. When was it? Who were your FHITpros? My first class at Fhitting Room was Dennys and Daury’s Friday 10:30 AM at UWS. I figured I better go big or go home. I wore an oversized shirt (the only thing I felt comfortable in) that said “Babe You Got This” and they ate it up. I’m sure they were thinking who’s this crazy Queen?! I was totally nervous but instantly made to feel calm and welcome. I was met with acceptance, reality, and tough love. I couldn’t help but smile during the whole class and even though I was a hot mess, I was friggin thrilled and addicted – DAY 1!
There are so many options for fitness in the city, what is it about Fhitting Room that keeps you coming back for more? Community. Awesome humans. Reality based fitness. In my opinion, Fhitting Room is a total class act company that doesn’t need to “try too hard” or “put on a show”. It is a group of fantastic inclusive humans who are just doing their thing, nailing it, and changing lives. Not to mention female started and female led–now that’s hot! The FHITpros are so knowledgeable of their craft that they can instantaneously give you an adjustment based on whatever ailment you are experiencing. They also never make you feel bad when you need to do said adjustment. I will say from experience that’s not always the case at other places. Fhitting Room is also always keeping up with the times: always adjusting, learning, and listening.
Do you have a favorite FHITpro? Seriously everyone is so fabulous! I will never forget Dennys, and Farouk and Simon really stole my heart from the get go and I think they are the ones who saw me progress the most especially those first few months. I will also never forget BLD patiently teaching me a burpee and Ben W smiling at me from across the room when we were taking a class together. I was instantly smitten with them both, and I take their LIVE! classes every week. Andrew held my hand and coached me through a box jump, which I was terrified of, and he made me feel so safe and celebrated. I also love the strength and girl power of Tara and Melody. I would be remiss not to add that Tim, El, and Bre are also a big part of my love for Fhitting Room.
For those who don’t already follow you on Instagram, tell us a bit more about Fitness Rampage Queen and how you came to start your fitness journey. In August of 2019, I weighed the most I had in my life and had 38% body fat. The screen that told me this info said I was OBESE! I wouldn’t take photos on the red carpet for work events (and when I did I would just sob when they were released) and I would not even dare to go to my Brazilian wax lady because I was ashamed of how I had let my body get. I would not go to my doctor for my annual because I was afraid of what he would say. I was in disbelief of the person I had “become” and scared AF because my father passed a year earlier and diabetes, heart problems, and cancer were things he left me to face.
I saw on Instagram that my friend (and former dance student, Annie) was on “Revenge Body”. I had never seen the show but wanted to support her so I tuned in. Well that one episode turned into me binge watching the whole series over the next 3 days and by Thursday I knew it was time to level up, so right then I signed up for ClassPass. The next day I embarked in what I called a “Fitness Rampage”. A plea to myself to #getmyACTtogether. I was to complete 10 classes in two weeks, no matter what. No excuses. No shit. I owed myself at least that.
My first class of the 10 was the aforementioned Friday class at Fhitting Room. I had one class done but could I sustain it? I sustained and then some. I did my 10 classes: HIIT, Rowing, KickBoxing, Yoga, Pure Barre, Aqua Cycle… you name it.. I literally RAMPAGED all over town. During these two weeks I was doing some social media on my Rampage and suddenly I started to hear from friends and colleagues asking me if I could help them go on their own rampage. I was stunned. I thought….Wait, MY fitness journey is inspiring YOU?
So a bit of history: I’m a Director/Choreographer and 20 year Tap and Theater Dance faculty member at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in NYC. Inspiring others is my thing but I just never thought that would translate to fitness, especially now when I was so far out of shape. I was a dancer and showgirl for my young life until I decided I wanted to be a choreographer and a dance teacher. My 20’s and 30’s I spent in fabulous shape then enter 40’s and the wear and tear of NYC became a thing, getting older was a thing, my Dad being sick and financial burdens thrust on me was a thing. All of a sudden I was turning 44 and OMG I let myself go and then some. I was unrecognizable to myself and worried that my weight was going to cause me serious health problems.
Because of this big desire to change I got in the zone big time! I have NEVER been as serious about ANYTHING in my life. I started the online presence of Fitness Rampage Queen to not only keep me accountable but also to help other women (and men) who need a kick start or need to see someone like me making a change for the better. I also am calling some attention to the fact that it is very hard for a full figured gal to find a comfortable/suitable and non-choking sports bra because the big fitness clothing companies do NOT make them. There is the SheFit bra which is good but my dream is to create one that even goes beyond that and makes you feel strong and sexy.
A year later, I am still rampaging and truly feel the best I have in years. I had confidence to go back to my wax lady and my doctor was so pleased with my progress, he instantly said “you look great”! While I might not always meet my weight loss goals lately (enter Covid, wine, Trump, the election, my industry shut down), I am down 30 lbs and feel so strong! I am training for a 5K to run in my Dad’s memory later this month and find myself excited to jump outta bed and go to my weights!
How has your fitness routine been impacted by the Pandemic? Well, I MISS being in the studio with everyone, but I am so thankful for Fhitting Room LIVE!, On Demand and Showfields. I also miss being able to take class with a friend and then grab a coffee, matcha, wine, or whatever. I have really taken solace in getting out and walking, running, doing random dancy burpees about town. My new connection to fitness has played a major role in me getting through these last billion months. I got an Apple Watch so I could challenge myself-gotta close those rings! I’ve adjusted and kept going, but I long for when we can be together in person again. I also worked hard to find weights and dragged a hot pink 10kg kettlebell home from the Berkshires. I even rented a Zip car and drove into the depths of the Bronx for a 12 and 15 lb dumbbell from Target, literally the only two weights they had.
Since starting Fitness Rampage Queen, is there anything notable that you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know already? I think down deep I always believed I had the ability to tackle anything but by stepping up for myself the way I have this past year I have become even more confident. And I like that!
Do you have any specific fitness goals (mastering a certain move, adding more reps, etc.) that you are working on at the moment? If so, what are they? The breakdance move Ben W does. I’m a solid flopper on that one. Also working on getting my 5k time down. I’m currently at like 41 mins and hope to hit 40 or less by the time I do the Turkey Trot run for my Dad. I’m forever trying to improve my lunges for my knees but my IT bands are kinda like “Nope!”. My figure 8 swings could stand a little help considering I flung the hot pink bell across the room the other day (gotta connect those thumbs folks!). I would kill to be in the studio and work on my TRX stuff with Farouk. I mean let’s face it I want to keep improving at everything – just maybe not the assault bike.
You are an accomplished director/choreographer and the pandemic has adversely affected the performing arts industry (among many others), how has the pandemic affected your personal/professional life? My partner Katie, also in the biz, and I had our careers sucked through a vacuum last March. It was such a weird reality that the careers and craft we both worked our lives for was poof- stopped for an uncertain amount of time. All work for at least a year gone and health insurance lost. The pain and panic of that was crippling.
It took time but I figured out how to successfully choreograph/teach virtually and I have some projects that I am directing that have been able to continue to develop on Zoom. We bought a ring light and a green screen and so we are doing our best to keep it going!
In closing, for anyone reading who might feel intimidated or nervous to try Fhitting Room do you have any words of advice or encouragement? No matter where you are in your fitness journey Fhitting Room is for you. You will be taken care of. Never made to feel less than, only inspired.
When I started this journey I couldn’t do a proper sit up. Now I do them all the time and even add weight! If you would have asked me what a thruster was I would have probably said it was some kind of Mardi Gras drink. Now I do them for fun. And burpees well you have to check my insta to see my love for them.
So, I say do it. It changed my life. And will change yours. It’s a place you will feel immediately at home. Fitness Rampage Queen wouldn’t steer you wrong 🙂
Thank you Kari and Fhitting Room for this. I’m honored. Many elbows of affection.
It goes without saying how deeply grateful we are to Shea for sharing her story. She inspires all of us everyday with her perseverance, kindness, and infectious positive energy. Shea, you are a light at the studio and we are honored to be a part of your fitness journey.