There's something about working out with Hayley Thorpe, the founder and director of Norma Jean Pilates [NJP] at 52 Main Street in Sag Harbor, that inspires you to tap into your inner Marilyn Monroe. Of course, naming your studio after a silver screen siren tends to breed clientele that are as concerned with celebrating life as they are with feeling the burn. We've been rolling through a Fitness Series of our favorite exercise classes in the Hamptons, and we definitely found something special at NJP. Thorpe talked to us about her iconic kissing wall, weight loss, and muscle recovery.
What inspired you to name your studio after Marilyn Monroe?
At the end of class, I always say the same mantra, I am smart, sweet, sexy, and strong. Ever since I was a young girl, Norma Jean [Marilyn Monroe] has embodied that for me. I practice what I preach, so that's where the studio name came from.
In your former studio, didn't everyone kiss the mirror with bright lipstick? That's so Marilyn!
Yes, that was in our old studio. Right now, we have an art installation, but we will replace it with our famed kissing wall.
Why a kissing wall?
That came about rather serendipitously. One time I was leaving the studio, and I just kissed it goodbye. This ritual stuck, and it just felt so natural.
Does your clientele kiss the wall to wish themselves good luck prior to working out?
No, the kisses are to wish yourself a beautiful day. So, people kiss the wall as they leave.
Right now, are your workouts more about weight loss or toning?
Weight loss! Last year, I needed people to strengthen their cores in order to progress at NJP, and now I want my clients to work on cardio. I've seen a real improvement in strength, so now people can really hit cardio as well.
What's your philosophy on working out?
I like people to hit it 6 days a week, but I also want people to rest on their day off. This is so important.
It sounds like you think some people don't do this-
I understand the desire to change your body, but we all need muscle recovery. Sometimes, I think people are a little overzealous, and they neglect the resting aspect of life. I respect their enthusiasm, but we all need to give our muscles a break. In order for change to take place, our body needs to understand what just happened. Show up and work hard during class, but never forget that the muscle recovery stage is crucial.