“Look at the skyline, and don’t tell me that you can’t do it!” yells a barechested man in a superhero cape and tights. “That skyline was built by people like you! Now finish your side planks in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….” Five sweaty and tired individuals, including myself, fall on their mats and and breath heavily. It’s Saturday morning at Green Fitness Studio in Bushwick, and we all signed up for seven weeks of Liberation, a program that promises to totally transform your body.
This 7-week course taught in Bushwick has been conceived by John O’Mahoney and Lucy Chen. John, who refers to himself as a ‘Fitness Wizard’, is a funny, highly energetic, tall, muscular man of Irish descent who will make you as strong as your favorite superhero, and as beautiful as your favorite movie star. He never fails to come up with a new ridiculous costume (superhero, elf, viking) or at the bare minimum, with a magical top hat. Ultimately you will love his style, fitness and yourself.
Lucy is a tall, skinny, Chinese-born woman who designed the nutritional portion of Liberation. For as much as the thrice weekly workouts play a factor in your progress, how you eat, drink and sleep are just as critical. Lucy is a sensitive listener who seriously knows her shit, and who built a sustainable nutrition program that may be tweaked per your own preferences. It doesn’t feel like a diet; it simply feels like a good, new lifestyle. The focus is on eating three big, healthy meals per day, while cutting out snacking, processed food and alcohol. Add in 100 ounces of water a day, and a good 7-9 hours of sleep, and you have an incredible formula for burning fat!
Yep, John and Lucy are crazy but you will love it!
Your daily kettlebell
So how does Liberation feel and why would you ever do it to yourself? Well, it feels like a good, old-fashioned workout. Pushups and squats will be your daily bread. Kettlebells will be your tools. The overall style of the workout may remind you of Crossfit, but with one important exception. John pays the utmost attention to everyone’s proper technique so that no one gets hurt regardless of their fitness level. “I don’t care how many pushups you do, all I care about is how pretty they are,” you will hear him say every time.
Yoga people to get stronger, Bushwick boozers to get sober
You may want to sign up for Liberation when you feel like you need a change in your life. Maybe you want that beach body, maybe you want to improve your Standing Bow in yoga; maybe you want new friends who share your interest in fitness or maybe you simply want to get laid more often. Those are all legitimate reasons. For the past couple of years I have been combing bikram yoga with running or swimming, avoiding classic gyms. But after I tried a Liberation class randomly, I was hooked! Man, doing planks and pushups felt so refreshing!
Don’t be fooled by iron pumping; Liberation is a very mindful practice. John worked elements of meditation and visualization, intention setting, as well as a circle of friendship into every class. Furthermore, each Liberation class feels almost a little mysterious. With several attendees, we concluded that Liberation feels like a workout of a spiritual animal, who has pushed through an invisible wall, and reached new heights of expanded mind and creativity.
Structure and consistency – it actually works!
Classes held three times a week will give you necessary structure and consistency, which is sometimes hard to achieve when working out on your own. In a small group setting, you will have all the benefits of working out with a personal trainer, except that it’s much more fun, and learning is easier in a group.
Bye bye booze (at least for 7 weeks)!
I have to warn you, Liberation does bring a lifestyle change. Among other things, you will be recommended to avoid alcohol for the coming seven weeks. This can be a lot to ask from a Bushwick resident, I know! But maybe you’re feeling the fatigue of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, and a cleanse would do you good. While doing Liberation, it is interesting to observe how you use alcohol and food to fill out some undefined void; to connect with people or to fight boredom or social anxiety.
So you wanna try it too?
After the seven weeks were over, I was seriously sad. I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment, and have created a good habit of going to the gym, made friends with the Liberation folks and other people who work out at Green Fitness (like the pro boxing team).
Luckily for you and for me, the next round of Liberation is coming up on April 14! Just in time for your beach body! John also offers advanced Liberation classes once the course is over (phew). So sign up, come try a class with John and Lucy, and watch your body transform!
Liberation is held at Green Fitness Gym, 232 Varet St, Brooklyn, three classes per week with an option to do it in the morning or in the evening (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7AM & Saturday at 9:30AM; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7PM & Saturday at 11:00AM). You will get an before and after picture, and John and Lucy will help to track your progress. Sign up here & if you have more questions hit up John at [email protected].
…and here some of the Liberation dorky folks including me.