If you follow me on social media, you see me checking in to two places with regularity: exhale and SoulCycle. Between these two classes, I’ve lost 83 lbs., and I’m probably stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. Like most people, I flock to certain instructors, and one of my favorites is a triple threat: a tough instructor of both Core Fusion at exhale and SoulCycle with a private instruction business in between. Gals, meet one of my beloved motivators: Anna Gagie Trullinger.
I like Anna because she’s upbeat, filled with heart and incredibly real. For those of us who take her classes at both locations, she’s energetic, smart and super tough. You leave it all on the floor with Anna. She accepts nothing less than your best, and, like most, I’m inclined to give it to her.
From the barre to the bike and beyond, get to know one of my favorite Fitspirations:
On how she got into instruction…
“I’m originally from Kalamazoo, MI, and I graduated college as a dance and media major with a business minor. I started nannying, and the woman I worked for in the Hamptons had told me about Core Fusion. I was going stir crazy, so she brought me with her to a class, and I was instantly hooked. I knew I wanted to teach it. I never really pursued the dance thing, I just went straight from college to nannying for a quick bit and then right into teaching. So, I started taking Debbie Frank’s class on the Upper East Side, I auditioned to teach, and became an instructor. That was about four years ago.
I basically like change and love trying new things. When I realized that I didn’t want to come back to my place of work to take a class. I ventured into SoulCycle and started taking Danny Kopel’s class and the exact same thing happened: I got hooked and knew I wanted to teach. I come from a family of teachers, so I guess it’s just in my blood. You learn so much doing something different in the same industry. But I love them both.”
On the most rewarding part of teaching….
“I love having new people in class because I know that feeling. I take classes all over the city all the time, and I know that feeling of being the new kid in class and trying to figure out what’s going on. I still get nervous myself, so I love helping the new person, and I’m always thrilled when they approach me after class and are so excited and hooked on the experience. I also love watching the positive change in the students’ bodies, and I like the fact that I have students who come to both places. I know there are some people who are diehard devotees of either place, but the people who come to exhale and then follow me to SoulCycle are something special.”
On what she wishes women would stop doing…
“I think there’s a lot of self-sabotage with women. I see people who will come to class four or five times a week but it hasn’t quite translated to their life yet. They complain that they come to class all the time but they can’t see any movement in their bodies or weight, when in reality they’re out eating, drinking and partying all the time. You have to take a hold of what you want and put what you learn in the class into action in your life. It has to be a complete lifestyle. What we do supports your journey through life. Exercise isn’t separate from the rest of your life; it all has to work together.”
And please stop putting other workouts down…
“I also wish people would stop bashing other workouts. My philosophy is that I would love for you to come to the places where I work because I think you can find something in both, but you have to find what works for you. It’s really irritating to bash the fitness and lifestyle choices of others. Just because a class doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it’s wrong for someone else. Do what works for you and your body and what will keep you coming back to class. I really wish we would celebrate the fact that people are coming to class.”
Her favorite go-to fitness move that works for everyone…
“I love planks in any variation because they’re so effective. You can do them anywhere – your apartment, a hotel, etc. You don’t need a lot of space or any equipment. We can teach you the proper form in exhale, and then you can take it with you anywhere you need to go. People feel like they’re DOING something in plank and the results are measurable.”
On what makes her happy….
“So many things make me happy. Obviously, family and friends. Being in New York makes me happy; just walking down the street with all the opportunities and the diversity is so rewarding. I’m also really blessed that I love coming to my job every single day. There aren’t many people who can say that. I’m happier in the rest of my life because of that. Also, shopping makes me happy.”
Any favorite “cheat” foods?
“Oh, food and wine make me happy. My favorite is pizza.”
On what she does to relax….
“I take yoga to relax. I love a Chill Yoga class. I also nap all the time. I teach multiple classes at exhale and SoulCycle some days with a private client in between and I’ll make time to take a two-hour nap. Naps are amazing. I love them.”
If you’re just getting started on your workout journey and/or need some motivation to keep going….
“You can’t look at it as a task; what you do in class supports the rest of your life, like a jump start to your day. I always tell people that the moment they set foot in class sets the tone for the rest of their day. You have to want it.”
Photographed at exhale Central Park South on December 15, 2014. All photos: Kristin Booker. All rights reserved.