Fred Devito: My Teacher
Fred Devito is one of the founders of Core Fusion as well as a founding partner of the exquisite Exhale Spa locations around the world. He is widely known and incredibly respected in the fitness industry. I've learned a great deal from him, which you're going to hear all about.
What I've learned from Fred can be broken down in 3 stages of knowing him. There's the "DVD" Fred stage (consisting of many living room workouts...and intermissions to catch my breath), the "O.M.G. I just took class from the real-life Fred Devito" stage (and I wish he would look away so I can stop holding this awful pretzel pose), and lastly the "One To Admire" Fred stage. I should mention that Fred turned 57 on the day that I interviewed him for this article. He told me he'd been in the fitness game now for 30 years. I asked him if he planned to take a break and he said:
"I'll never stop doing this." - Fred Devito
1. The "DVD" Fred stage
I got into barre-fitness workouts in 2007 and before long I was addicted. I tried every studio in Manhattan and many around the country. I read about Core Fusion thanks to another blogger, who praised a guy named Fred and his equally fit and charming wife Elizabeth for their transformational series of DVDs. I was (and still am) a diehard barre girl so I had to try these DVDs.
This was how I got to know Fred Devito--on my tv screen--as I mirrored his Core Fusion barre, power, sculpt and yoga moves. I liked his style of instruction and immediately respected that he was a guy teaching what was commonly known as a woman's workout. I liked that Fred looked so amazing at his age. I'm not getting any younger, that's for sure, but it doesn't mean my body has to get any worse. His DVDs taught me that fitness is a lifelong choice, and strength comes from slow movements just as much as fast 'n furious ones.
"Cardio without flexibility work is just "sweaty entertainment". If that's all you do, you're missing the point." - Fred Devito
Fred explained the quote above to me like this: "Strength training will reward you with a higher percentage of lean muscle mass or density which in turn allows for a higher RMR (resting metabolic rate) and a greater 24/7 caloric burn which equals weight loss. People who only do cardio may experience a great burn during the cardio activity but they don't have the after affect of the muscle density burn and higher RMR." And THAT is why I do barre 2x a week, folks! Well, that and I like the way it lifts my tush.
( Barre socks by Pointe Studio, $10 )
2. The "O.M.G. I just took class from the real-life Fred Devito" Fred stage
When I finally became a member of Exhale's Core Fusion Fitness program, I signed up for Fred's class. Star-struck, I introduced myself. He was so polite and genuinely interested in our quick chat. The workout? Well, clearly it was amazing. I found him to be even more engaging in-studio than on DVD. His energy is mind-boggling. He teaches classes 5 days a week, between 6 to 15 classes and goes to different properties each time to get a mix of the demographic of his students.
"A lot of people don't expect me to be in the trenches. I'm a blue collar worker. I'm a teacher. It's my passion." - Fred Devito
Fred's classes go by so quickly because he has your attention every second, and even when you can't stand to do another rep, his words distract you into sweet submission. He doesn't pump you up with screaming, he INFORMS you about the change you're in the process of making happen. He's a smart guy. I mean, just look at how big Exhale is...that didn't happen by accident.
It actually happened 10 years ago in Bridgehampton, NY on a Saturday night at the end of a 5.30pm Lotte Burk class where Fred used to teach barre. Annbeth Eschbach, now the CEO of Exhale, was a student of Fred's and proposed the idea to him of merging the worlds of spa and fitness. She knew what she wanted to call it: Exhale. Fred and his wife signed on to be the mind-body program creators and developers. 1 week later, 911 happened but Exhale still got its funding.
"The whole concept of wellness was born after 911." - Fred Devito
People needed wellness more than ever at this time. They wanted to feel good again about themselves and the world at large. Taking Fred's classes and being in the presence of his uplifting energy has taught me that fitness really is a religious movement. It makes you believe in things that are actually possible even when the world around us has shattered our faith. If I'm having a shitty day, I go to Fred's class and reconnect with my goals and dreams. That's "religion" for me.
3. The "One to admire" Fred stage
This stage has made Fred stand out to me the most. Why? Because I admire Fred for his determination, hard work, and for how gallantly he represents his brand. When I bring a friend to class, Fred always takes the time to welcome her and explain what she's in for. He's always kind and completely invested in every detail of the workout he delivers. He genuinely wants you to come back.
"You need to come to class at least 4 or 5 times until you start to understand. It's a total investment of your physical energy and your mental energy to show up and work hard. Because this stuff is HARD." - Fred Devito
As Exhale has grown and grown, Fred has created new ways to inspire his students. When he's not teaching Core Fusion classes, he's on the move leading Exhale Retreats in the Turks & Caicos (that include SUP and snorkeling), creating social events with his team like Barre to Bar and, of course, training new teachers his method. Fred and his wife even started a certification program that welcomes all people to come and learn Core Fusion and take the practice back to their own studios and countries.
Cardinal rule of being a good business person: when you've got something great on your hands, you share it with as many people as you can. It doesn't stop at his workouts. Fred shares good vibes through his demeanor, gratitude and relatability.
"I love pizza, beer and a skotch. Damn, I'm gonna eat a burger once a month if I want. You can have a taste of things and get away with it if you get your metabolism stoked. That's the secret." - Fred Devito
I won't lie. Fred is a fitness celebrity and I was dying to interview him for this article. But I also wanted to share with you why he's such a role model to me. I think Fred is, by far, the nicest and hardest working guy in fitness. He leaves a lasting positive impression on his community of fitness lovers--something we should all learn to do and never stop doing. We should aim to support each other. We can reach our goals and dreams while helping others to do the same.
Fred & Thai Massage (A bonus stage I lucked out with)
As if he doesn't do enough already, Fred also gives and teaches Thai Massage at Exhale Spa. I was lucky enough to experience my first Thai massage (ever) from Fred as a Congrats! You finished the New York City Marathon gift. Thai massage is so different than any other kind of massage I've had before. First of all, your clothes stay on and active-wear is recommended (this alone had me sold!). 2nd, it all goes down on a padded mat on the floor.
It's kind of like a relaxing and restorative workout, really. There's a lot of movement and stretching of multiple muscle groups, which makes the experience flow and keeps your mind connected to what's happening. Fred describes it as classic Thai-style massage merged with partner stretching, merged with contact yoga. But this review from Healthy Hollywood really describes it the best.
I can understand why Fred has taken to the art. He understands the mechanics of the body and delivering an active form of healing is totally his thing! Plus he's so good at pressurized massage. What can't this man do right?
I'm going to end with some fun facts on Fred. He wears custom-made workout pants from Anatomie, plays the string base on the side and he's a Libra (the sign of "balance"). I hope you enjoyed my 3 stages of Fred Devito enlightenment. Leave your questions and comments below. And get your ass to Fred's class (or teleport by DVD).