Published October 9, 2017

How Two People Found Love in a HIIT Workout Class


Many of us would be lying if we said we didn’t have a workout crush, whether on a fellow FHIXer or a FHITpro, but the truth is only a handful of fitness friends end up marrying their endorphin-induced heartthrobs. Frequent FHIXers John Bradarich and Courtney Bonnell are two of the lucky few! Keep reading to learn more about their love at first FHIX romance.

Describe each of your first FHIXes. What brought you to class and how did you feel before, during, and after your first class?
CB: I heard about Fhitting Room from my business partner and best friend Jane, who basically had to drag me to my first class, because I was so nervous.  I have asthma and always worry about having some embarrassing, dramatic asthma attack.  I had also heard it was a really tough class and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into!

The Fhitting Room, while super challenging, is so accommodating to first timers. I also met John at my very first class.  By the end of my first class, I felt like I could hang and I never turned back!  The energy level at Fhitting Room is unrivaled and it caught me right away.

JB:  Kristen Siebert first recommended Fhitting Room to me after she had been going fairly regularly. Back then, I had been doing mostly strength training in the weight room, and Kristen convinced me that FR would be a great compliment. And boy did she turn out to be right.

I had never taken a group workout class before so I was pretty nervous heading into my first FR experience simply due to not knowing what to expect. I had a million thoughts running through my head. How would I know how to do everything? Would I be able to keep up?

Once class got going though, I started to feel much more comfortable. The constant attention Amanda and Dennys paid to everyone helped me build confidence when executing some of the movements I was less familiar with. I also began to realize that the workout was so intense, you really only had the time to focus on yourself – no one in there is sitting around judging anyone else!

After class was over, I was totally drained. I hadn’t experienced a full body workout that left me that exhausted since football two-a-day practices in high school! It was an amazing feeling and I have been hooked ever since.

When did you first take class with one another? What was your first impression of each other?
CB:  I met John during my very first Fhitting Room class with Dennys and Julia!  It was a Friday night in March of 2016!  I saw him while he was getting ready for class and was ogling his muscles from a distance.  The stars were aligned and we ended up standing next to each other in class.  As cliché as it may sound, we locked eyes and something just happened.  From there he proceeded to impress me with extra explosive bosu ball pushups and all!  After a sweaty convo attempt with John post-class, he got caught up in a conversation with a fellow FHIXer.

I lingered around waiting for him to come back - as long as a self-respecting girl would – and finally I ended up leaving, wondering why this dude didn’t just get it together!  Again, the stars were aligned – or John secretly ran down the street after me - and he ended up right behind me on 19th.  He walked me to the train and we had a great convo, somehow void of any normal first-time awkwardness.  He smoothly asked me out to dinner and for my number before I got on the train, and that was that!

JB: The Fhitting Room will always be such a special place to me because it is literally where my life changed. I was headed to the Flatiron studio on March 4, 2016 for a Friday night workout in my typical FR mindset: amped up on pre-workout, blasting rap music, and ready to just crush everything. As I walked into the studio prepared to dominate, I looked towards my spot and happened to lock eyes with a fit and beautiful blonde girl whose gorgeous blue eyes sent an absolute charge through my entire body. It was like nothing I had ever felt before and I was completely thrown out of my element. In my mind I was thinking “Wait, WTF just happened!?!”

I attempted to regroup and gather myself as the workout started. Lo and behold, we were then put into the same group during the Interval Circuit. I immediately felt the pressure and need to impress this Blue Eyed Goddess with my physical feats of strength.

What I had not planned for, unfortunately, was my exit strategy. My Herculean effort during the entire workout left me showering sweat everywhere and gasping for air when class ended. My oxygen-deprived brain was racing for a semi-coherent statement to make to this majestic queen of fitness and beauty as I approached her outside of the studio. I walked up (maybe limped/crawled) prepared to woo her away with my gentlemanly charm and said, “Hey there…have we met before…?” DISASTER.

Luckily, Courtney did not let my complete cheeseball of a pick-up line deter her from allowing me to walk her to the train as she headed home. This was crucial, as it extended my recovery time, and I was actually able to hold a conversation. We hit it off immediately and I proceeded to ask her to dinner. The rest is history!

What do you do when you're not getting your FHIX? (professionally and/or recreationally)
CB:  I work in the fashion industry and co-own a brand development and sales management agency.  John and I obviously love to work out together – mostly at The Fhitting Room and Y7 – and we like to travel as much as we can, go out to dinner, drink wine, watch good movies and hang out with our friends and fellow FHIXers, like the Sieberts!

JB: I work in the Private Bank at JPMorgan where I work with individual clients to create customized investment solutions to help them achieve their wealth planning goals. In addition to what Courtney mentioned, I am also a big University of Michigan sports fan. College football Saturdays are routinely spent cheering and cursing at the TV.

How long did it take for you to hang out outside of Fhitting Room? Describe your first date.
CB:  We went out the following week after we met.  We went to dinner in the East Village and had drinks after; it was a perfect first date. We went out again on a second date soon after that and it was a wrap from thereon out!

JB: Honestly, on our first date I was trying my best to play it cool. I was in love with Courtney from the moment I first saw her in the Flatiron studio, but just kept thinking “That’s crazy man. You’re crazy. You can’t just fall in love like that!” So I tried that entire first date to not give away the fact that I was completely head-over-heels for her. I probably failed miserably. I felt such an intense connection during our conversations that night; it firmly confirmed that I was crazy. Crazy in love with Courtney.

How often do you take class together? Do you like to work together during partner segments or do your own thing?
CB:  We normally take class together about 3 times per month.  We definitely like to partner together, but sometimes it makes more sense to partner up with someone closer to your size.

JB: We will usually partner together. I always feel that drive and desire to prove to Courtney that I am the strongest man in the world, so she is great motivation during the workouts. Sometimes I’ll switch it up and partner with Kyle Siebert to give him a friendly swolemate reminder of what his aspirational fitness goals look like.

Describe your proposal. How did you know you were ready? Where did it take place? What was the significance of the destination you chose?
CB: I was totally surprised!  We were out to dinner at Lupa - one of our faves - and I noticed an intensity come over John and I thought he was about to tell me some bad news, in all honesty!  I was on the edge of my seat and then finally realized what was going on…! Obviously from there I was ecstatic.  He also killed it on the ring selection, I must say!

JB: I knew I was ready from day one! I’ve been completely obsessed with Courtney since we met, so I have been so excited about the idea of marrying her. We just moved in together this summer, so the timing felt right to take that next step.

Somehow I did a pretty great job of keeping the entire proposal a surprise, despite that ring burning a hole in my pocket. I felt like it was our first date all over again where I had to keep telling myself to play it cool. I had a plan of everything I wanted to say leading up to the proposal, but once I got in the moment, I was just overwhelmed with such strong emotions I went off-script about midway through. But I just spoke from the heart and luckily didn’t screw it up too bad since she said yes!

Will your workout routine change at all now that your big day is around the corner? Have you started planning your wedding yet?
CB:  We have not really started planning yet.  We’re throwing around a few different ideas and still feeling out what’ll be the best for us!  The Fhitting Room will definitely be a big part of the pre-wedding program!

JB: My workout routine will probably remain the same. I really like the results I see from using The Fhitting Room as a complement to the strength training I do.

Do you have any advice for first-time FHIXers? 
CB: Ladies, don’t fear heavier weights!  I think some of my best progress overall has been through finally grabbing heavier weights at FR classes.

JB: Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s how you achieve the greatest gains! There were plenty of moves and exercises I was not familiar with when I first started coming to Fhitting Room. Sometimes they feel weird, uncomfortable or especially challenging because you are not used to them. But keep an open mind and trust you are in great hands with FHITpros there, who will make sure you are doing everything safely and correctly.