Chris Stockel is a frequent FHIXer, Survival of the FHITTEST challenge winner and meditator. He channeled his love of high intensity workouts and meditation and married the two with Mind Body Project: a brand new boutique fitness studio in NYC. Read all about his business idea and journey, and the benefits of a MBP workout below:
Tell us about your first FHIX!
My first FHIX was in 2015, when a client and friend convinced me to try a class at Fhitting Room. At the time, I thought I was fit, given that I went to the gym 4x/week. However, my workouts at that time consisted of biceps curls and bench press and very little else, which in hindsight...yikes! I remember arriving at Fhitting Room, never having touched a kettlebell before and thinking "I got this". Boy was I wrong! I was exhausted during the warmup and once we transitioned into the real meat of the class, it was game over. I only lasted about 20 minutes in my first class at FR. I was so humbled by the experience that I made a point to come back again and again.
How do Fhitting Room workouts vary from other group fitness workouts?
The Fhitting Room workout is uniquely special for many reasons, but for me personally, it's two fold: 1. The massive emphasis placed on form and technique to keep me safe while progressively increasing load and intensity, and 2. The added benefit of having such credentialed instructors meet individual needs in a group setting. This access to an expert makes all the difference in the world for someone who is trying to learn and grow within the discipline.
Favorite and least favorite Fhitting Room movements?
My favorite movement is box jump-overs and least favorite is double kettlebell thrusters. However, if I can provide a least favorite machine, it's without a doubt the assault bike.
What inspired you to open Mind Body Project? What has that journey been like?
Well, my passion for Fhitting Room and the community they've built served as an aspirational template for me. But looking back further, I always struggled with anxiety as a kid and as an adult and was constantly seeking out coping mechanisms. Sports as a kid and fitness as an adult were a sanctuary for me as it allowed my mind to shut off because I was so exhaustively immersed in the task at hand. In my adult years, a friend introduced me to meditation, which I was initially skeptical of but ultimately fell in love with. It helps me calm my mind and remain present. I previously had a successful career in the digital media industry, however, I had the itch to combine mental wellness and physical fitness and eventually I quit my former industry cold turkey. Two years and one pandemic later, I'm finally able to share the benefits of meditation + high intensity fitness with the world.
Walk us through what a new client would get from their first MBP workout.
A new client would have a completely unique group fitness experience. Class begins with a grounding, 5-minute meditation to properly arrive both mentally and physically prior to physical movement. I find that it helps our visitors detach from the hectic hustle and bustle outside of our space. We then gradually transition into an active warmup to awaken the body and prepare ourselves for the challenging segments of class. We utilize bodyweight exercises and TRX suspension trainers to get the heart rate pumping and the sweat dripping. Expect a dark room, fun music, and lots of energy. After our finisher, we reconnect with the breath and settle into our final 5-minute meditation to leave you feeling exhausted, but with a sense of balance and inner stillness.
What are 3 things you want everyone to know about MBP?
1. The meditation is accessible to all experience levels. Our instructors will guide you through every step of the way.
2. The workout is fast-paced and challenging. You will be pushed physically and will most likely need to take breaks.
3. The cool down + the final meditation can be an emotional experience for some! It's ok to let it out :)
What sort of benefits can meditation have on physical and mental health?
From a mental health perspective, meditation has been medically correlated to stress reduction, focusing on the present, increased patience and tolerance, and increased self-awareness. From a physical standpoint, meditation helps to manage heart disease, risk of cancer, high blood pressure, sleeping issues, and chronic pain.
What advice would you give to someone who's just getting started with their fitness & wellness journey?
Be patient with yourself. Acknowledge the effort you're putting in and give yourself a mental pat on the back. With courage and work ethic, you can achieve feats you never thought possible for yourself.
What is 1 current FHITness goal and 1 current personal goal?
Learn how to hold a handstand and to stop biting my nails!
To learn more about Mind Body Project, click here.