Q & A with Core Fusion Co-Creator Elisabeth Halfpapp

Part Pilates, part yoga, part Lotte Berk method, and part dance rolled up into one, Core Fusion is one of the most popular workouts today. Celebs like Heidi Klum and Cameron Diaz are fans as well, and we get the scoop on Core Fusion from the co-creator herself, Elisabeth Halfpapp of Exhale Spa.

Elisabeth is a member of Exhale’s founding team and co-founder of the Core Fusion® program of classes. She is a regularly featured fitness celebrity and has appeared in and written for numerous national and international publications including New York Magazine, Vogue, New York Times, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune. Along with her husband and Core Fusion® co-creator, Fred DeVito, they have choreographed and developed seven award-winning DVDs.

Prior to joining the founding team of Exhale, Elisabeth’s professional career consisted of 25 years of class teaching and class development, teacher training, and studio management as a senior executive at the Lotte Berk Method exercise studios. With her degree in Dance Education from the Hartford Ballet, she has professionally performed and choreographed ballet and modern dance with the Princeton Ballet, Dances Patrelle, Mercer Ballet, and Hartford Ballet. She also has a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification through Nixa DeBellis’ i/o Yoga School.

MindBodyGreen: Has fitness always been important to you?

Elisabeth Halfpapp: Yes, since the moment at the age of 5 when I took my first ballet class. I knew then that fitness and movement needed to be a part of my life. At the age of 5 it made me calm down as it still does today!

MBG: How did you initially come up with the concept for Core Fusion? 

EH: Fred DeVito, my husband and co creator of Core Fusion, and I used to work for  a boutique exercise studio called the Lotte Berk Method in NYC and the Hamptons for 22 years. We helped develop this barre/core technique, teacher trained all the teachers, managed, and taught our selves.  As we started to practice more yoga and see the needs of our guests needing more mind body balance, we decided to add some of the yoga elements to the Lotte Berk Method to evolve to a more current guest need. Thus we moved on from Lotte Berk and Core Fusion was birthed for Exhale as a proprietary class.

MBG: How would you explain Core Fusion to someone who is unfamiliar with it? 

EH: It is a combination of Pilates, yoga, dance, Lotte Berk Method, and orthopedic exercises that develop long lean functional muscles for any sport or activity. Our focus is position, alignment, and then how much you can do in the position, instead of a lot of mindless repetitions.

MBG: What are the advantages of Core Fusion? 

EH: It is a quick and effective way to get a lean, sleek body from the inside out.

MBG: Pilates vs yoga vs Core Fusion -- how does someone know if Core Fusion is a fit for them?

EH: If you want physical results for long lean thighs, high round glutes, chiseled arms, and defined abs in safe way. If you want these results with mindful breathing in limited time, then Core Fusion is for you!

MBG: Developing abs and a strong core -- do you have any tips or advice for beginners? 

EH: Do abdominal exercises incorporating  bracing or stabilizing the back and the abdominal muscles. I recommend our Core Fusion curl, which is holding the up part of a crunch or a sit up with the back of your waist/lower back on the floor and shoulders blades off the floor. The body is in a C curve from the top of the head to the top of the knees with holding on to your outer thighs and elbows lifted and bent, shoulders down. Chin parallel to the floor, pull in your abdominals and hold for 30 seconds, if you need more challenge take your hands off your legs.

MBG: What's your workout routine? 

EH: I take a combo of classes with Core Fusion, Core Fusion Sport, Core Fusion Yoga, Core Fusion Cardio, and Music Yoga Flow at least 4 times per week. Plus I like to take a ballet class once a week.

MBG: How do you wind down and relax after a long day? 

EH: Turn the blackberry off, read, or watch a classic old movie or ballet..spending time with Fred, my husband.

MBG: What's the simplest/easiest piece of fitness advice that's often overlooked? 

EH: Your own body…no equipment needed, use it!

MBG: You have many celebrity clients -- can you share any anecdotes about how Core Fusion has transformed their body? 

EH: I emphasize posture and alignment, so when you walk the red carpet you look fit, even if you have not been to class. A lot of my celebrity use the Core Fusion DVDs in their trailers when they are filming to get their body toned while they are filming. They do a 10 min segment from the dvd..

MBG: What does mind/body wellness mean to you? 

EH: Inner and outer beauty…taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and soulfully and then sharing this gift with others.

MBG: Favorite healthy foods

EH: A lot of greens!  Kale, swiss chard, lettuce!  Green and black tea…

MBG: Guilty food  indulgence? 

EH: Cookies and waffles

MBG: What are you working on? What's next for you? 

EH: Working on opening 3 more Exhale locations and filming 2 more DVDs to add to the 7 that Fred and I have filmed.

For more on Elisabeth and Core Fusion:

Core Fusion at Exhale

Core Fusion DVDs

image credits: Adam Eschbach

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