Trainer Spotlight: Hannah Bornstein

Hey all!!! I hope your Thursday is going as well as mine is! This morning, I started my day with a “Branch out Breakfast” (Recipe coming tomorrow), followed by a fantastic Yoga class at Yoga Vida NYC (Thanks ClassPass!)

I will admit, I am not an avid Yogi. I usually like for my workouts to be intense, sweaty, and exhausting (which is why I also had a Boxing session today :) ) . Although Yoga is the total opposite, I try to take a class once in a while to open up my body, reconnect with what is going on inside, and STRETCH every muscle.

For todays Trainer Spotlight, I wanted to highlight someone who I feel is really in tune with herself. This trainer is not only nutritionally savvy (she is a holistic health coach!), she works her students to the edge, while still enabling them to feel connected to every inch of their bodies.



I first met Hannah while I was waiting to go into a FlyWheel class. As I was standing there, this gorgeous little lady walks up to me and says “Hey! I’m Hannah!” Now, maybe this doesn’t sound so out of the ordinary, but in a city as fast paced and as informal as New York, it is rare that someone just comes up and introduces themselves. That’s the sort of person Hannah is. The first word that comes to mind when I describe her is KIND. She is kind to strangers, kind to friends, kind to her students, and kind to herself.  Hannah is the perfect example of someone who is kind to her body. She lives one of the most genuinely healthy lifestyles of anyone I know!

Before I share her interview, I have to let you all know something. HER CLASS IS HARD. Like REALLY HARD. This pint-sized instructor will kick your butt big time! Her “FlyBarre” class at Flywheel Sports is one of the most difficult (and popular) classes at the studio. She will push you to your limit, and truly make you believe that you can “Pulse just a little lower”.

I happened to drop into her class on her birthday this year. At the end of class, when I thought I could no longer move any part of my body she says, “I have vegan cookies for anyone who would like to celebrate my birthday with me!” Yup… the girl gave us a gift on her birthday. Delicious vegan baked goods. Yeah, she’s the best.

Name: Hannah Bornstein, instructor at FlyBarre & Flex Studios

Dietary style: Vegan!

Favorite meal: This is two-fold. I love to cook at home; so when I am being my own personal chef, I love to cook something nutritious and comforting. During these cold winter months, I love a big bowl of sautéed veggies: kale or swiss chard, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onions - whatever I have in my fridge! I’ll throw these over quinoa, add raw or lightly toasted pumpkin and hemp seeds, avocado and drizzle with liquid amino acids (a healthy, nutrient-rich alternative to soy sauce) and tahini (my favorite condiment).

hannah photos

If I’m getting fancy and eating out, I love Cafe Blossom‘s decadent vegan lasagna. Definitely food porn-worthy, and not something I’m going to attempt at home anytime soon!

Snacks & workout fuel: 

I am a huge breakfast believer. My favorite is overnight chia oats; a filling and energizing meal that fuels me through my mornings teaching. Plus, it takes less than 5 minutes to put together as part of my bedtime routine:

1. Add these ingredients to a mason jar:

1/3 cup oats

2 tbsp chia seeds

dash cinnamon

splash vanilla extract

raisins or frozen berries (optional)

2. Cover ingredients with almond, coconut or rice milk.

3. Shake em all up. Put in fridge overnight.

4. In the morning, top with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds or my favorite - almond butter.

What is a typical teaching like day for you ?
If I’m teaching in the morning, I try to get up 3 hours before my first class because I love to have some quality me-time before I start my day! I know that I can show up better for my students when I have taken the time to care for myself and get centered. I drink a ton of water, oil pull, meditate, eat a big, nourishing breakfast (see my answers to how I stay fueled), pack my meals and snacks for the day, listen to my playlist and go over my plans for class. I arrive at the studio a half hour early and greet my students before class, always checking to see if it is their first time taking class or if they have any injuries. I love making a personal connection with each person that walks through the door so they feel supported and comfortable enough to really push themselves and do their personal best, while still respecting their individual body and fitness level and taking modifications when needed.
After class (or classes, when I teach 2 or 3 in a row), I like to get in my own workout; I love getting my cardio in with the brilliant Flywheel instructors who are part of my “FlyFam”, taking a fellow FlexPilates instructor’s class on our awesome FlexFormers (like a pilates reformer, only sexier and more badass), getting some heavy lifting done at Barry’s Bootcamp, or getting grounded with the beautiful vinyasa flow at Laughing Lotus. Being a student in group fitness classes and taking from a variety of instructors helps me learn and gives me inspiration on new ways to connect and communicate with my own students. And if I can grab a friend or fellow instructor to take class with me - even better! Sweating with a buddy always multiplies the fun!
The rest of my day is dedicated to creating playlists and programming classes for the next day, writing posts for my blog on my website Hannah B Wellness, and doing research and preparing for upcoming sessions with my health coaching clients. I will usually do this at a local cafe where I can either grab a nutritious, delicious lunch (love Jivamuktea Cafe in Union Square or Hu Kitchen) or eat the food I packed with me. Girl’s gotta have her brain food!
To wind down at the end of the day, I like to cook or bake (usually trying out some new drool-worthy recipe from Oh She Glows, my favorite vegan blog) and then either read or watch a guilty pleasure show, like Project Runway All-Stars or Parks and Recreation. Before bed, I make sure I am all set for the day ahead and write three things I am grateful for in my gratitude journal. I love doing this because no matter what I am worried or stressed about, taking time to be grateful and reflect on the positive things in my life immediately shifts my mindset, and I am able to be more present, rest more easily, and wake up happier the next day! Life is too short to be anxious all the time and all it takes is a mindset shift to set you up on a more positive path!
2) What do you want your students to feel after class!
Most of all, I want students to leave class feeling empowered. Just by showing up, they have taken a step towards getting stronger and healthier. Once they’re there, it is my job to set them up for success by motivating them, cueing proper form, giving them modifications to scale to their own level of fitness, and encouraging them to do their own personal best. I strive to make all my classes challenging, but still accessible and fun for everyone single student. My goal is to see each client leave the room sweaty and smiling, feeling proud of the hard work they did and excited to come back next time!

Tips for readers: Listen to what your body is craving, and learn to translate those cravings into a healthier language. If all you want after a challenging workout is a huge donut, or a cheeseburger, your body could actually be asking you for good quality carbohydrates and fats. Try reaching instead for some whole grains like oats with some rich nut butter and sweet fruit, or a grilled veggie sandwich with creamy avocado and hummus on sprouted whole grain bread. Find foods you love that are also nourishing and enjoy them thoroughly and often!

If you’re interested in working with Hannah, and finding out about living a vegan lifestyle, visit her website!!!


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