Rochester, NY, native Jenny Holahan is intent on growing—always. Case in point: The head trainer at NYC’s Bari for years, Holahan recently decided to find a new adventure, moving on to SLT, as well as Flywheel, where she’s now in training. With an already packed schedule at the former, she’ll be adding spinning to her routine, helping clients experience both challenging workouts with her sunny, focused approach.
Originally a dancer, Holahan worked on cruise ships and in regional musical theater while based in the city. Eventually, the dance-inspired, music-driven workouts at Bari’s downtown studio caught her attention. While she auditioned years ago, it wasn’t until her second audition in 2013 that her talent, determination and confidence nabbed her a spot teaching dance cardio, trampoline and sculpt classes. She’s been non-stop since, gaining a huge following, respect and tons of Bari appearances as one of their most sought-after teachers. Now, she’s spreading her talent at more staple spots in the Big Apple. Read on to hear more about her journey, her new endeavors and how clients can take advantage of each workout.
SBS: During your time at Bari, you moved from new instructor to head trainer: What was that journey like? What did you love about Bari?
Jenny Holahan: I worked my way up, and as I got more experience, I wanted to take on more of a leadership role. So I talked to management and eventually became involved with training new teachers. I was able to help create a lot of content and lead continuing education sessions.
Musicality is so ingrained in me, and Bari really goes along with the love of dance. Being there was a natural transition for me from dancing professionally. I love the classes they offer; Bounce, which is a trampoline class, is my favorite. You’re jumping and can push your cardio, but it’s a lot easier on the joints. It helps drain your lymphatic system, build bone density and move in multiple planes. At Bari, we complete combinations of moves to create a sequence, so I always joke Bari is a workout for your brain, too. That mind-body connection ensures you don’t get distracted.
SBS: What encouraged you to look into other studios?
JH: I’m always looking to expand my knowledge and look for something new. A year ago, I had taken a few classes at SLT, and it was really hard and so different. I knew another dancer who worked there, and I joined their three-month training program.
It was a good challenge to shift gears and have to instruct in a really different way. Since I’m not working out with the clients, as I was used to, I had to be much clearer with verbal cues. I was also learning a new apparatus, and all of it was exciting and challenging, which I love. My new connection with Flywheel came from SLT: One of their recruiters took my class at SLT, and thought I might be an asset.
SBS: What do you like most about spinning and trampoline classes?
JH: Spinning is accessible to everyone. You can feel comfortable coming in and pushing yourself. The lights and playlists take you away for 60 minutes. And while trampoline can seem intimidating, anyone can do that too.
SBS: You’ve worked with three of the country’s most esteemed fitness companies. What makes a good studio and one you want to work at?
JH: It’s definitely all about putting the client first and creating a really amazing client experience. Bari, SLT and Flywheel are all focused on that. The class is not just a workout; it’s an experience from the second a client walks in the door. Everything should make you feel great, from the way the instructor remembers a name or notes or something you struggled with. The instructors are giving hands-on or personalized corrections, and at least one song on the playlist (if not a majority) is something you love. The entire staff has a strong sense of teamwork, from the front desk staff to all employees, and everyone has the ultimate goal of pleasing clients.
SBS: How should new clients approach SLT?
JH: You have to cut yourself a little break the first couple times while navigating the new machine and figuring out the right form. Really try to listen to the instructor as much as you can, and they will repeat themselves a lot. Pay attention to those subtle cues they give. A slight adjustment can change the moves or way you’re working. Also, don’t be afraid to take a modification. If you feel uncomfortable, take it, and the work will still be challenging.
SBS: What’s your own fitness routine?
JH: I’m 100 percent about cross training. Combining SLT, Flywheel and even Bari trampoline is great, and includes cardio, strength and toning. I also add in yoga and strength circuit training: I do it on my own or I’ll take classes at Bari or Refine Method. The classes I teach make me stronger and help me work more effectively when I go to use heavier weights.
SBS: What’s your own wellness and nutrition routine?
JH: I eat clean 80 percent of the time, but I don’t deprive myself. I like to eat foods that fuel me and help me feel good, but I’m going to have a cupcake sometimes, too. I treat myself to a massage once a month, and I’ve also started dabbling with some of the stretching studios. They work on imbalances, which is helpful.
SBS: What are some fitness trends you love? What are some you wish would go away?
JH: I love that boxing is becoming more popular and accessible. It’s a great workout, plus a great way to get out stress and aggression.
Something I don’t necessarily love is high intensity workouts in infrared saunas. As someone who tends to sweat a lot and sometimes get overheated, I worry some clients don’t know what their limits are in that situation. That could potentially lead to issues.
Jenny’s NYC Faves:
Healthy Restaurant: Sweetgreen
Splurge Restaurant: Lure Fish Bar
Dessert Spot: Schmackary’s Cookies
Nightlife Spot: Pier A
Fun Activity: A picnic in Sheep Meadow in Central Park
Calming Activity: Going for a run
Yoga Studio: Modo
Fitness Studios: SLT, Flywheel, Refine Method, Rumble and Bari
Athleticwear: Lululemon, Athleta and Under Armour
Online Resources: NASM, BodyBuilding.com and my fellow trainers
Books: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Jenny’s SBS Mantra: Be Brave. If you want to get the most out of life, you have to get out of your comfort zone. The results can be incredible.
The Best, Zaniest Part of Being Jenny: I try to live life to the fullest and go for every experience at 110 percent.