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Meet the Trainer: Brynn Jinnett

Written on January 29, 2013 at 9:18 am , by

Train smart, train hard. Brynn’s highly sought-after Refine Method is a total-body workout with custom equipment to help you sculpt muscles you didn’t know you had! (Photo courtesy of Lululemon Athletica)

There’s a reason why The Refine Method is known to be “New York’s Smartest Workout.” The intense circuit-style technique, Metabolic Resistance Training, was created by former New York City Ballet dancer Brynn Jinnett to exercise not only your body, but your mind to think differently about the overall approach to fitness and heath. Instead of a fad-based approach, Refine is founded on principles of facts and a constantly evolving education to help take clients to a whole new, metabolism-boosting level.

In our February Express Workout, Brynn tossed dumbbells for resistance bands in an arm workout fit for the red carpet. Firm and sculpted in six moves? Count us in! Read on to find out Brynn’s best strengthening moves, her favorite workout tunes and the one person Brynn believes could outdo her in a push-up competition.

Most of us are NYC transplants, so tell me how you made your way and landed in the Big Apple?
I am actually a native New Yorker! It’s a little embarrassing, but I still live about 10 blocks from where I was born and raised in! I love the city.

How did you fall in love with ballet and know that you wanted to pursue it professionally? Tell me about your ballet career?
I used to dance around in my diapers, so my Mom put me in ballet class at age 3! I enjoyed my dance classes, so I entered the School of American Ballet (the pre-professional division of New York City Ballet) at age 7. At 16, I was then fortunate to be offered a position with New York City Ballet, where I danced until heading off to Harvard for college. I continued to dance while at school and then returned to dancing professionally after college for another 3 years before retiring. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have performed on some of the world’s greatest stages in the most beautiful ballets and also for ballet giving me the discipline and drive that have helped me in all aspects of my life.

How did you transition from ballet to running your fitness method?
I taught fitness throughout my career part-time and only began to consider it as a full-time profession when I decided to retire. I foolishly thought that as a professional dancer I must know a lot about how the body works, but so many of my clients were working so hard and not seeing significant results which left me questioning things I held as “fact.” I realized that many of the smartest thinkers in fitness worked with professional athletes, so I spent over a year traveling the country learning from professors, athletic trainers and successful business owners. Refine is a product of that journey. I continue to spend a significant amount of my time learning, reading journal articles, attending conferences and speaking with other athletic professionals. We will always adapt our methods to fit the information we know today.

Fave workout songs?
Current favorites include “Hello” (Karmin), “Chasing the Sun” (The Wanted) and “Some Nights” (Fun). But “Don’t Stop Believing” will put me in a good mood any day!

Dream (fit) vacation?
I’m not a “sit on the beach” kind of vacationer. I’m always excited to explore new places, regardless of how exotic, provided that I can hit the road and start wandering. Getting lost in a new place is my idea of a great vacation and non-exercise activity, like long walks, are an incredibly important contributor to your daily calorie burn—often beating with the calories you burn in your workout class.

What’s your workout hell?
I do not enjoy traditional “cardio”—run, bike or swim over long distances. While I love the action of running, biking or swimming, when done repeatedly I find it both boring and very hard on my joints

What are the 3 best strengtheners that every woman should do every day?
Most people spend their day sitting hunched at a desk. I think it’s important that your workouts combat the common areas of tightness and weakness created by our sedentary lifestyle, rather than exacerbate them. This means activating your sleepy glutes, strengthening your core (without crunching your spine) and firing up your back muscles to counteract rounded shoulders. Three great exercises to do this are:
1) Glute Bridge
2) Planks
3) Row or Pull-up

When you’re not in the yoga studio, where can we find you?
Currently, planning my June 1st wedding seems to be my main hobby!

What’s on your fitness bucket list?
I have a list of top athletic trainers I would like to see at work with their athletes. Watching Mark Verstegen, Todd Durkin, Dan John or Eric Cressey coach would be wonderful. I was fortunate enough to watch Mike Boyle and his staff work with a group of athletes training for the NFL combine and it was fascinating, both as a former dancer (with very different training!) and a current trainer.

What’s the trick for getting in a workout on the days you don’t have the motivation?
Find a buddy! At Refine, we are conducting a Resolution Challenge and we teach our Challengers to get a support team to help them through their challenge. We paired our Challengers with a Buddy who was also committed to the Challenge and asked them to share their weekly workout calendars and check in with each other regularly to offer both encouragement and tough love as needed. It is amazing how the Buddy System has gotten people out the door on those low motivation days.

What’s the fitness trend you’d like to see go away?
I would like to see “anti-bulking” workouts meet their end (e.g., barre classes, most “female strength training”). These workouts promote the use of little to no weight and many, many repetitions and promise to change your body without muscle “bulk.” Unfortunately, these workouts are built on myths or manipulations of physiology that serious athletic trainers stopped believing 30 years ago, such as “spot toning” (you can choose where you lose fat from by performing targeted exercises, ex. crunches will trim fat from your stomach) and “muscle lengthening” (you can change the shape of your muscles through specific movements, usually dance-derived exercises, ex. Plies and leg lifts are good, but pull-ups are bad). I think many women are currently not seeing results because they are wasting their time with inefficient, ineffective and sometimes dangerous “anti-bulking” workouts that play to their insecurities and fears, instead of empowering them with up-to-date scientific information.

What’s the number one mistake you see most women making during a fitness class?
Many women are focused on “spot toning,” or performing exercises that work a specific body part in an effort to trim fat from that area (usually the hips and thighs, lower belly or back of the arm). These spot toning exercises usually involve performing dozens (or even hundreds) of repetitions of an exercise with little to no weight and the exercises are usually small movements that hit just one or two muscles (think leg lift versus squat).

What are the must-haves in your gym bag?
Water! Remembering to drink enough water is always tough, so I try to make sure I have a full water bottle with me at all times. Then, lots of layers like my Luluemon Define jacket and Refine wrap to keep me warm from the studio to the street. Finally, my new New Balance Minimuses; I love my new minimalist sneakers so much I have been trying to carry them in my bag so they don’t get dirty!

What’s your motivational mantra?
“Don’t just move differently, think differently.” I firmly believe that in order to change how you look and you feel, you need to change how you think. The limiting factor standing between most people and real results is not a new workout class or prop, it is a shift in what they know (and what they think they know) about how to change their bodies.

Celeb you’d most like to whip into shape:
Michelle Obama! I think her personal passion for health and fitness is very inspiring and her efforts to combat childhood obesity are very much in line with the education we offer our clients. I would love to become involved with her work, but I’m not sure I’d challenge her to a push-up contest!

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  • Kimberly Boniello

    If the “anti-bulking” forms of exercise actually do work for many women, then why are you saying that they are based on myth?  I know exercise is never “one-size-fits-all,” but I know these methods have worked for myself and others, so I’m having a hard time understanding why you would discredit them.  For me, having an method that allows me to achieve the the physical results that I want IS empowering.  

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