Over the last four years, I’ve consistently taken Exhale’s Core Fusion Barre classes, which offer a combination of muscle-burning Pilates, yoga and ballet moves that strengthen, tone and lengthen the body. The barre-themed class got me in the best shape ever—my arms are toned, my core is stronger (a huge plus after having kids) and my thighs don’t look so bad in shorts. As with all workouts, after a while they can get boring (at least for me they do), but a class with Bergen Wheeler, Exhale’s Core Fusion innovator and teacher, is one of my favorite hours of the week. Wheeler, a former professional dancer, gymnast and soccer player, brings her endless energy and rock-star attitude to class, pushing me to work harder and make a positive change. It’s no wonder she is one of the most coveted fitness teachers in NYC. Here, I chat with her on her hardcore fitness routine, daily eating habits and the place she visits multiple times a year (but doesn’t want you to know about).
1. How did you get your start teaching at Exhale?
A friend of a friend told me about Exhale. I’d never taken a class before and blindly wrote to Fred and Elisabeth (the Core Fusion co-creators) and told them that they needed me to teach for them. I took classes with Fred and Elisabeth and got my butt kicked. I could barely move and felt sick from soreness. I knew it was the place for me. I was accepted into the teacher training program and the rest is history.
2. What make Exhale’s classes unique?
We are not cookie cutter teachers. We do not ‘dial it in’ its in the moment. Secondly (and just as important as the above) is the content of movement that Exhale has. We are constantly updating moves, figuring out what is safe, what is successful and that is why it works.
3. You co-designed Exhale’s Core Fusion Extreme classes just under a year ago. What can first-timers expect?
First-timers can expect to get their butt kicked! In this class I challenge you to step away from the barre and try something new. Things like heavier weights, TRX suspension training, moves with gliders and plyoboxes, all the while keeping your heart rate high and your muscles quivering. It’s an amazing complement to the other Core Fusion classes, and the perfect opportunity to really change things up in your routine.
4. Why do you feel the Core Fusion Barre method works so well?
Core Fusion Barre focuses on all the different muscle groups, in conjunction with the abdominal core being a focus the entire time in class, from your head to your toes the body is worked, centered, lengthened and strengthened.
5. What do you think are important factors in getting a leaner, stronger body?
Consistency and commitment to a fitness routine are huge factors. Smart and balanced diet choices that you can add into an everyday routine are also really important. It’s got to be a routine in your life that you can maintain. I live by a thought I heard from a friend: moderation even in moderation. Setting short-term goals won’t make things feel so far out of reach and it will set a person up for success.
6. Can you give us a glimpse into your diet and fitness routine?
Most of the time I eat healthy with high protein foods such as hard-boiled eggs and homemade protein shakes, as well as apples and yogurt. I drink a lot of water, and generally eat sensible dinners with kale and greens. I then eat (in moderation) what I want! I love food so it’s hard for me to hold back. That’s the joy of eating well most of the time and sticking to a workout routine. You get to enjoy the little indulgences. I try to work out at least five times a week. I listen to my body, if it’s not right, then I hold off a day. I take a lot of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and cardio classes. And I work hard when I work out. Nothing easy—I go all out. Working out for me is more about just fitness, it’s also a workout for my mind. A friend once told me taking classes or getting a membership to a gym is cheaper than therapy. I feel the same way.
7. Favorite places to travel and why?
Tulum. Period. I do not want to tell why it’s one of my favorite places because then everyone will know just how special it is.
8. Do you have any must-have beauty products for before or after teaching?
9. If you were not doing this, what would you be?
A professional dancer making lots of money.