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Filtering by Category: Fitness

Barry On!

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Fairweather publisher ERIC GOODMAN sits down with exercise guru BARRY JAY— founder of Barry’s Bootcamp— to discuss the future of fitness.

In 1988, Barry Jay may have seemed like an unlikely candidate to pioneer the future of body sculpting. As an aspiring Los Angeles songwriter weighing in at 120 pounds, he found himself nearly broke and unclear about his career goals when he signed up for a $19-per-month membership at Sports Connection, a precursor to today’s 24 Hour Fitness. 

Jay had never worked out before. “I went around stalking people on the fitness machines to see what they were doing,” he recalls. “And I always steered clear of the free weights room.”

But that $19 gym membership changed not only Jay’s life, but ultimately the lives of many of his future clients. Over the next six years, Jay developed a tremendous penchant for exercising—including the free weights—while maintaining a job in public relations. “But public relations is really a lifestyle and skill set unto itself,” he explains. Long story short? “I was not a good worker and got fired.” That turned out to be a lucky break. His next job was as a receptionist at City Hall, where he befriended Mayor John Heilman, who ultimately guided him to an $8-per-hour job answering phones at a nearby gym. “I took a ton of free classes and just loved the energy of the room,” Jay enthuses.

Barry’s 60 minutes of fame finally arrived one fateful day when the class instructor missed attendance. “I leapt over the desk before the manager could even finish asking me to fill in.” Radiating energy and excitement, he assumed the helm and realized at that point that “this is what I was meant to be to doing.” He proudly marked his next two years as a class instructor with perfect attendance. 

That local gym shut down just two short years later in the fall of 1998 due to mismanagement. “I was told the morning of, that this would be my last class as an instructor,” Barry recalls. Fast on his feet—no pun intended—and determined to keep pressing on, “I took a legal pad and started writing down the names of everyone who attended my last class.” One of the class attendees, John Mumford, cultivated a strong relationship with Jay and would later become a business partner in the famed Barry’s Bootcamp.

Twelve years later, Barry’s Bootcamp has expanded briskly beyond its original West Hollywood location. After spreading throughout California and the East Coast, Barry’s Bootcamp broadened its international presence with locations in London and Norway. In a period where time management and utility maximization are of primary importance in our daily lives, Barry’s Bootcamp has solidified its place as one of the most efficient and effective hour-long workout classes of its time.



In developing Barry’s Bootcamp, Jay is helping to change some antiquated notions about body sculpting. His major innovations include:

A broad range of free weights, including not only conventional 5- and 10-pound weights but also those up to 50 pounds or more.

Dedicated classes for targeted body parts, including arms, legs, chest, etc.

Red lights! “There’s something about red lights in the class that just raises the energy and intensity of the workout,” he says.

Customer service. As commonplace as it may sound, this is a major change for a fitness program. “It’s the human factor,” explains Jay. “If you signed up for a class and didn’t attend, we call and ask, ‘How come you weren’t at class?’ That kind of interest and dedication resonates with customers.”

With additional locations on the way, come check out Barry’s Bootcamp

A Fairweather Moment with Nina Montée Karp

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by Alexandra Fairweather

I caught up with the gorgeous environmental activist, producer, and director Nina Montée Karp for lunch at Barneys’ beautiful rooftop bar, overlooking the Los Angeles hills, one Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect setting. “I fell in love with California and everything it had to offer: its beauty, people, pace and nature,” explained the Belgrade native, who first came to the U.S. to visit her sister and uncle, a successful entrepreneur and former Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Milan Panić. She returned to Newport Beach in 1981 and decided to stay and call California home. 

Multitasking for Moms—and Dads

This modern-day wonder woman owns Nina Montée, a skincare line, that was until recently only available at dermatologists’ offices and premiere spas, runs the Happiest Baby on the Block with her husband (renowned pediatrician and author Dr. Harvey Karp), produces and directs documentaries, and champions a host of social causes that are dear to her heart.

“Few things are as fulflling as working on projects that have a positive impact. My husband and I get great joy in immersing ourselves in these efforts. I could not imagine being on this incredibly powerful and passionate journey without him,” explains Montée Karp.

In order to assist parents around the world, Montée Karp directed and produced the award-winning educational DVDs The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block.

“As my husband was writing his first book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, he realized two things: (1) new parents often don’t have the time to read a whole book and (2) his techniques are best learned by watching them done, step-by-step. To capture the best shots, he had to make house calls whenever a parent called with a crying baby, night or day. Fortunately, I had experience directing and producing short flms, so I became his ‘24-hour, on-call’ crew.

“The DVD was so popular, we decided to do the same thing when he wrote The Happiest Toddler on the Block. And today, 12 years later, our short flms are arguably the most watched parenting DVDs in history. It is very rewarding,” refected Montée Karp. 

In addition to the Happiest Baby DVDs, Montée Karp also co-produced Not Under My Roof, an award-winning educational video that teaches parents about the effects of environmental hazards. “It was so exciting making that documentary because it was the very first video to teach parents about preventing child exposure to hazards such as pesticides, lead, solvents, air pollution. These exposures can have a potentially serious impact on children's health. Our DVD was the first educational tool on how to substitute common sense and natural alternatives for harsh chemicals to protect our children's well being.” 

When asked what advice she has for new or expecting parents, Montée Karp remarked, “Get help! You deserve it. Ask questions, shop around for the best pediatrician and don’t be shy about quizzing new parents you see at the park or in cafes. Finding voices you trust is so important because it’s easy to get information overload from the Internet and become totally confused. Sleep and rest as much as you can before the babies come... and line up some friends and family to help you cook and clean for a couple of months after the baby comes.” 

Healing Help

In addition to assisting parents, Montée Karp is a champion of breast cancer awareness and produced and directed Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness and Healing.

“I have nine girlfriends with breast cancer and a sister-in-law who succumbed to the disease at a very young age. The more my friends confided in me about the very serious decisions that had been thrust upon them, the more I recognized the dearth of information to help them.

“There is so much to learn when you get hit with the diagnosis of cancer and there are so many misconceptions (even among doctors). I wanted to help my friends and the one in eight of our mothers, sisters and daughters with this terrible disease. Because of that experience, I joined the board of directors of, the world's largest Internet support for women, and men, with the disease. And over two years, I created a comprehensive visual guide on healing from breast cancer: body, mind, and spirit.

“Rather than adding to the black-and-white sea of pamphlets and books on the topic, I decided to create an intimate DVD weaving together the voices of America’s greatest doctors and wellness experts with the inspiring stories of women surviving this great challenge. It is a broad and detailed platform of essential information on every stage of the breast cancer experience, assisting women and their families from the very first steps along their path of healing.

“This two-DVD set contains a two-hour disc that documents inspiring—and even funny!—first-hand accounts from breast cancer survivors including celebrities like Sheryl Crow, Christina Apple- gate, Melissa Etheridge, Olivia Newton-John, and Jaclyn Smith; and powerful lessons from preeminent doctors and wellness experts including Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Marisa Weiss, Dr. Susan Love, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Marianne Williamson.

“In addition, there is a three-hour bonus disc of 16 discussions on a wide range of issues, from reconstructive surgery, to the use of hormones, to diet and meditation. The overwhelmingly positive response we have received—from the medical, wellness, and breast cancer communities—has made every moment of this effort incredibly satisfying and worthwhile.”

Every Day Is a Winding Road

When asked what a typical day looks like for Nina Montée Karp, she reflected, “On a good day—it starts with a joint meditation with my husband, then a hike with girlfriends. The rest of the day is filled with meetings for our company, The Happiest Baby, and for various non-proft organizations. There are always events to go to and usually, after dinner, it’s back to work!” 

5 Questions    

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: Take the riskiest path, be your authentic self, forgive.

Q: What is your biggest virtue?

A: Loyalty.

Q: What is your biggest vice?

A: Dark chocolate!

Q: What is your favorite place in Los Angeles?

A: Our home—our sanctuary—with our favorite art and books, and the most beautiful view of the Pacifc Ocean.

Q: What do you hope your legacy will be?

A: Making a meaningful, positive impact on people’s lives. 

Cook or Be Cooked

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This spring, filmmaker, author, and activist LAURIE DAVID premiered her new film, Fed Up, and launched her latest cookbook, The Family Cooks. She shares with publisher Alexandra Fairweather her solutions to the current childhood obesity epidemic. 

“Katie Couric emailed and asked me to join her and director Stephanie Soechtig in executive producing what we all hoped would be the An Inconvenient Truth of food. Needless to say, it took me three seconds to reply “yes!’” exclaims Laurie David. “It was a natural fit because since the release of my book The Family Dinner in 2010, I had been working on food issues. In examining where we eat, why we eat, and what we eat, it’s undeniable that food has the power to make us healthy or make us sick. In Fed Up we demonstrate why what we are eating is making us so sick.”

Laurie and I first met at a Larry Gagosian’s Art Basel party at Mr. Chow’s in Miami about two and half years ago. My mother, Prudence Fairweather, fashion designer Vera Wang, and I were all talking about how gorgeous Vera’s outft was when Laurie David walked over and introduced herself. As a documentary filmmaker who had just finished a documentary on my late-stepfather, John Chamberlain, I was glowing with excitement to meet the renowned filmmaker and author, who I had admired for so many years. We talked about Laurie’s home in Martha’s Vineyard, Art Basel, her new documentary that she was already working on with Katie Couric, and how I had never been to Los Angeles (and I was dying to go).

About a year later, I was flying to LA to see Larry’s Richard Avedon show at Gagosian’s LA Gallery and attend a few business meetings. It  turned out Laurie was also planning on attending the Avedon show, so Laurie, her amazing friend, Nina Montée Karp, my mother, and I all met for a drink before the exhibition in the lounge of the L’Ermitage. We had a great conversation about the importance of organics, taking care of ourselves, and why LA living was spectacular. As we headed for the door, Laurie, like a wise sage, said to me: “It is important in life to not just be concerned with business, you must always consider the impact on society.” I’ve held those words dear ever since. Following the incredible Avedon exhibition, we headed to Mr. Chow’s for a fantastic dinner. The next day, I had to go back to NYC and I was so sad to go. Goodbye, LA!

Fortunately, a little bit of California—Laurie—came to New York in April for the premiere of Fed Up and the release of her new cookbook, The Family Cooks. Anna Carter & Anna Chapman hosted a lunch in Laurie’s honor at the Monkey Bar (Katie Couric, Eleanor Acquavella, and Nathalie Kaplan to name a few were in attendance). Laurie was so excited as she spoke to everyone in the room; she explained how difficult it is for families to eat healthy, how society has brainwashed us to think that we cannot cook, and how her cookbook is a solution. “If I can do it, anyone can,” she joked at the lunch, referring to her ability to cook the healthy recipes in The Family Cooks. “After the release of The Family Dinner, my co-author, Kirstin Uhrenholdt, really wanted to do a book to teach children how to cook because it is a skill that will empower them throughout their lives. But the more we spoke with our friends about it, the more many of the adults we know said they wanted the book for themselves! So The Family Cooks is a book for novice chefs of all ages with simple recipes that have five steps or fewer with real, whole foods,” reflected Laurie.

She was absolutely right. That night, I took home The Family Cooks, went to Whole Foods, and cooked four recipes from the cookbook (chicken adobo, tortilla chips, vegetarian tacos, and guacamole). I am not exaggerating when I say every recipe I tried that night (and multiple nights since then) was amazing! (The kale salad is incredible!) Laurie’s favorite recipe is popcorn caulifower: “You simply can’t make enough of it. It may not even make it to your table!” she enthuses. And I do not consider myself a gourmet chef. These are easy, angst-free recipes.

When I asked Laurie what she found most surprising when working on Fed Up, she explained, “I thought I knew a lot about food when I started working on this movie. We all did! I would eat low-fat yogurt or a high-fiber cereal for breakfast—but the more I learned about what is in those “natural” products, well let’s just say I had to work through a lot of guilt over what I fed my kids and my family all of those years.” She continued to explain, “But here’s what is really shocking: The conventional wisdom about diet and exercise isn’t true, not all calories are equal and 80 percent of items in the supermarket have added sugar.” The news Laurie David has to share isn’t always what you most want to hear—but it has inspired me to think differently about the choices I make every day.