Curve Magazine: Beat The Winter Flab With Beth And Kristin

Now that you know how to get nice and toasty (or "warm up," as we call it in fitness) and activate your core, Beth and Kristin take it one step further this week: prepare to ditch that spare tire in time for bikini/boy short/board short season!  

Beth and Kristin take you through the steps in their new video below

Curve Magazine: Work Out with LA's Hottest Couple

This month we're showing you how to get hot. And sweaty. Specifically to work out! Well, work out in whatever sense you want. For us, it means lifting weights, running, hiking, etc. Either way, watch as we take you through dynamic stretches to open the hips, engage key leg muscles, unlock the shoulders, and turn and tighten that core of yours (and yes, "core" includes "booties" in our world). A productive dynamic warmup consists of movements to increase range of motion without over-stretching or relaxing the muscles, as well as raising your heart rate to increase circulation. As a plus, no one's ever said, "No thanks, I don't want sexy abs," so we're instructing some super effective core movements as well. Enjoy, and let us know what you're warming up for! Visit

Curve Magazine: Lesbian Fitness Couple Want to Work Out With You!

Beth & Kristin are fitness professionals living in Los Angeles who happen to be engaged to each other and work together at the Phoenix Effect, a functional group exercise studio on Melrose. We believe fitness should be used to empower our community.  Feel free to ask us a question and we’ll try to answer it:



Q: Dear Beth & Kristin, I’m having trouble feeling motivated, but I want to change my bad habit of no exercise in 2016. I need a pep talk on why a queer gal needs fitness in her life!


Kristin:At the risk of sounding paradoxical, we lesbians need fitness in our lives because of how we’re chronically stereotyped. Turn on any sitcom or stand-up special, and—even in 2015—“liberals” are taking jabs at us. We’re labeled as “frumpy” and/or “angry”—the total opposite of the gay male archetype of “fabulous” and “flawless.”  It’s bullshit. But the worst part is that we internalize these negative images, and our self-images are affected, even on an unconscious level, and before we realize it, we’re fulfilling and even reinforcing those stereotypes. Not only are we not negotiating for better salaries, we’re also letting the likes of Justin Bieber totally jack our only lauded aesthetic expressions (he didn’t invent t-shirts and blazers). We’re giving up on ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it.

I want us to love us and love ourselves, all at the same time. If I ever have to hear “you’re too pretty to be a lesbian” ever again, it’ll be too soon; being told we look straight isn’t a compliment (it’s neutral and uninformed). A major reason I get up every day is to help make everyone, regardless of age, gender, orientation, race, etc., stronger, fitter, and hotter. I see a major opportunity for the lesbian community to become more empowered using fitness as a vehicle, however, and a powerful one at that.


Beth: Why should you work out? Because your life matters and you deserve to be on this Earth as long as possible and live the highest quality of life as possible regardless of your sexual orientation.  Fitness is a powerful tool that can alleviate your aches and pains, give you energy, give you confidence, extend your life, prevent disease, and do many other positive things!  Fitness doesn’t have to be about taking up the least amount of space as possible, as popular culture would have women do.  Gay women inevitably will face more obstacles in life than our straight counterparts.  Why not use fitness to empower ourselves to be the sharpest we can be so that any challenge can be overcome?

Curve Magazine: Bodies by Beth & Kristin

We are fitness professionals living in Los Angeles who happen to be engaged to each other and work together at the Phoenix Effect, a functional group exercise studio on Melrose.  We believe fitness should be used to empower our community.  Feel free to ask us a question and we’ll try to answer it!



Q: Dear Beth & Kristin, what were your early experiences with fitness and how did being gay affect them? 


Beth: As a kid, I enjoyed being active and playing outside with all my male friends.  You couldn’t pay me enough to stay inside and play with Barbies.  From day 1, fitness was something that made me different.   I naturally gravitated to doing active things and hanging out with the boys.  My mom, on multiple occasions, asked me if I wanted a sex change because I didn’t enjoy doing things gender norms said I “SHOULD” enjoy.  I would often feel guilty and ashamed for wanting to go outside and play basketball with the neighborhood boys.  Fitness made me feel like a subversive outsider.  At one point, I prided myself on not going outside and just eating cereal and watching cartoons, because that was easier to explain to my parents than wanting to do “boy stuff.”   Had I not joined a swim team at the age of 11, I would have likely given up my life’s passion early on because I was tired of feeling bad about myself for being different.


Competitive swimming changed my life. It taught me that it was good to be strong and powerful.  What mattered in the water was how hard you worked, how you focused, how you learned and applied technique drills, and how much heart and soul you put into getting better every day. Gender only determined who you would swim against in meets.  My coaches didn’t care about sexuality (Once upon a time there was a gay boy on our team.  Someone said a homophobic comment, and the offender was asked by my coach to be a decent human being or get off the team); they cared about turning their athletes into respectful and hard working people. Swimming saved me from self-hatred and gave me a platform to make myself better every day.


What I hope we can accomplish with this column, is to help our community embrace and take care of our bodies so that we can help lift each other up, and not put each other down.  Fitness can help us grow stronger every day as individuals and a community.


Kristin: I identified as a ballerina (AKA an athlete) before I ever identified as a lesbian—that is, since the age of 2.  In middle school, however, I let my identity as a ballerina get taken from me: I was bullied relentlessly for being a “dyke” and, unwilling and unable to convey this experience to my parents (I didn’t know what my sexuality was yet), I fled from the situation and consequently stopped doing the one thing that I loved.  In the meantime, throughout all the crushes I had on girls, I became increasingly aware of how NOT to be labeled as a “dyke” ever again, or even as a “tomboy,” for fear my secret would be revealed once again.   This meant wearing skirts, heels, flat-ironing my hair, and even covering the walls of my bedroom with clippings of famous “hunks” from various teen magazines.  I attended grades 6-12 at the school of which my mother was the Academic Dean, so everyone knew who I was, and there was no room to be anything less than “perfect” (AKA what others expected and hoped for me to be), e.g., a straight [A] student, first-chair flute player, senior editor-in-chief of the school paper, and winner of various academic awards.  I even went so far as to have boyfriends and avoid my secret crushes at all costs.  This hilariously (to me) meant not engaging in any varsity sports or spending any time in the weight room, because that’s where “they” could be found outside of class.   


I finally came out, however, when I went to college, where no one from my past could find me.  I started testing the waters by going to various LGBTQ events on campus and telling my hallmates that I liked girls.  Everyone’s reactions were so positive (and by positive, I mean overwhelmingly neutral) that I realized I could be who I was without being bullied again.  Unfortunately, however, since I had parted ways with any connection whatsoever with my body after the age of 12, I still didn’t feel empowered to go to the gym or try a sport, because I had already started to identify as “not-athletic-and-never-will-be.”  


You can ask Beth—when she met me I was 24 and proud of my unhealthy lifestyle (beer every night, all night).  I was intrigued by the fact she had gone to Tufts and had worked in microfinance on an international level (and was seriously really hot—still is!), only to become a trainer at a corporate gym less than a mile from my pizza-box-infested apartment.  Meeting Beth changed my view on fitness (turns out it isn’t just for dumb jocks) as well as living as an empowered gay woman (just because we’re not “fabulous” and “flawless” gay men doesn’t mean we can’t feel, be, and look amazing).  Shortly into our relationship (“shortly” even for stereotypically lesbian terms) Beth paid one of her co-workers, Steve, to train me, and he helped me discover that I’m actually capable of learning and growing and being strong, and that it doesn’t matter what other people think of me or my sexuality—what matters is what I alone think, and that putting time, care, and love into myself made and continues to make me feel, be, and look amazing.  I learned that I deserve to be the best possible version of myself, and no one can ever take that away from me again.  My daily devotion to fitness--that of others as well as my own—is my own way of paying it forward as well as loving and accepting and empowering myself.  

Why Spinning Won't Get You The Body You Want

Many of us work out for the same reasons: to feel good, increase our lean muscle mass, reduce body fat, and improve movement patterns and posture for our body. 

Now I want you to take a long, hard look in the mirror, followed by a long, hard look at your fitness regimen: Is your weekly routine achieving any of the above results? If you spend five days a week sitting at a desk and five nights a week on a spin bike, I’m willing to guess your answer: “No.”

Sorry if this feels like a slap in the face — I'm a personal trainer and I see many people with the same issue. Spinning, while a viable cardio supplement to strength training, can work against your fitness goals if it's your only source of exercise. Here’s why: 

1. You will NOT see an increase in lean muscle mass.

At least not on your own body. Any (competent) fitness professional will tell you that cardio of any kind does not build muscle, and it never will. This basic, undisputable fact, applies to more than just spin class (e.g., most group fitness studios without weights), of course. Furthermore, excessive cardio can decrease lean muscle mass, regardless of how on point your nutrition is. 

2. You won't experience a decrease in body fat.

Again, not happening, at least after the first couple of weeks, unless your class is supplementing with resistance-based training. Body-fat loss occurs when your body is challenged to the extent it needs to adapt and, since adaptation intrinsically needs to be continuous, settling into a consistent steady-state cardio routine will not only contribute to a plateau in weight loss, it can cause weight gain. 

3. Sitting on a bike for an hour isn't doing your body any favors. 

No one ever got a great butt by sitting on it. We spend nearly all of our waking hours on our iPhones, at a computer, behind the wheel, or generally reaching in front of our bodies for various reasons. These repetitive actions and positions reinforce damaging muscle imbalances in both our lower (e.g., tight quads and anterior hips) and upper (e.g., tight pecs, delts) bodies. When the front of your body is tight, you can bet the corresponding muscle groups in the back of your body (e.g., lats, glutes, hamstrings) are weak — both functionally and, as you may or may not have noticed in the mirror, aesthetically. 

And you can forget about core activation: When’s the last time you admired your own six-pack (current or potential) while sitting down? 

With all that said, I hope that you don’t throw your spin shoes away, but that you instead devise a balanced fitness routine for next week, like this: 

Day 1: Take a strength-training class. A minimum (and maximum) of one hour, and be sure to select a studio that warms you up as well as focuses on mobility or at least static stretching at the end (a “cool down”). 

Day 2: You will likely be tight and/or sore, so you have two options: a yoga or a flexibility-based class to work out the lactic acid or foam roll on your own before — and after — a cardio class. The worst thing you can do the day after lifting is to put yourself on a spin bike without remobilizing your lumbar spine and/or hip and shoulder complexes. The second worst is to do nothing. 

Day 3: If your soreness has subsided (and this will become the case more readily the more you lift), feel free to repeat Day 1. Otherwise, this may be a rest day for you. 

Day 4: Repeat either Day 1 or Day 2. 

Day 5: Did you lift again yesterday? Guess what! Repeat Day 2. Was it a rest day? Great! Repeat Day 1. 

Days 6 & 7: Starting to pick up on the pattern? My personal recommendation — particularly for those of us older than 30 — is to spend more time lifting weights than spinning or performing other cardio-centric activities (jogging/running, rowing, road/mountain biking, swimming, etc.), or approximately 3:2 (provided you take two rest days a week, which is recommended when beginning a new training regimen). 

Here are some great strength-training workouts you can find on MBG: