Nina Marchione is the program director of Sculpt by SOLACE at SOLACE New York, a professional-level athletic studio in the heart of Manhattan. She trains people to help them sculpt their physiques, and is sharing some of her best exercises in this three-part series to help you sculpt your own.

We are all trying to reach for the next stage in our personal evolutions. Motivating people in a positive direction on that journey is what inspires me to teach! – Nina Marchione’s philosophy

Before jumping into the workouts, I had a chance to get to know Nina’s background, how she trains and eats herself, and what inspires her.

Nina began as a gymnast and dancer in her early years, then went on to earn her BFA in dance/musical theater along with certifications to teach yoga and barre. In the midst of that, she discovered B-girling and loved it because it was a combination of her gymnastic and dance skills— she was part of the B-girl/hip hop dance crew for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005-06. After that season, she moved to NYC to pursue a career in dance. After moving she had a change in direction and got into teaching fitness.

Nina is now one of the two program directors at SOLACE New York where she teaches 12-15 classes a week, and is the creator of the Sculpt and Barre Break classes (a cardio hip hop dance class mixed with Barre, inspired by her B-girl conditioning). Her main goal is “to help people feel good: to build people up and help them to become stronger physically and mentally. Once you feel more comfortable with yourself, you gain confidence, your personality comes out more, and you’re able to be more authentic to yourself.”

FitnessRx: What does your current training schedule look like?

Nina: I try to stay balanced and this would be my ideal week for training:
• Two yoga classes a week and also practicing 10-20 minutes on my own daily.
• Two strength-based classes a week: like Pilates on the Megaformer, Sculpt and Body classes at Solace
• Cardio Dance (Barre Break at Solace)
• One day off of work/teaching and working out

FitnessRx: What type of diet do you follow to stay lean but energetic for all the teaching you do?

Nina: I eat a lot of vegetables, proteins, water and whole grains. Nothing is restricted but I try to avoid sugar and processed foods. I do enjoy having a glass of red wine with dinner. And, if I ever feel out of balance, I try to use Ayurveda to eat seasonally and for my body type.

FitnessRx: As a teacher and program director, what inspires you to keep doing what you do?

Nina: I feel lucky to be able to say that I honestly love my job and doing what I do. I’ve always been a people person, so it brings a lot to my life to meet so many different people and make an impact on them in my class. Music is another inspiration in my life and job; I couldn’t do what I do without it! I’m really grateful for the people who take my classes— even if I only break through to one person in a class, it’s always worth it. SOLACE is a welcoming environment for all, and designed to help people feel great and stay balanced to live a happy and fulfilled life.

FitnessRx: You have such a great energy! What mottos do you live by?

Nina: “No one is born a warrior in the same way that no one is born average. We make ourselves one or the other.” And, “Be able to laugh at things and yourself and not take yourself too seriously.”

FitnessRx: Love those. Thanks for taking the time to share a little about yourself, Nina! Now, to part one of the workout series where we learn how to tighten and round the glutes in three moves.

Nina: Yes, the goal of the workout is to tone the legs and glutes. These exercises will work the quads, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs, and glutes. It is for anyone from beginner to advanced levels of fitness.

Plié Workout for Glutes

Starting in wide second position (can be weighted with a 15- to 20-pound dumbbell)
• Step your feet apart wider than your hips and shoulders and turn your toes out
• Bend your knees and lower your hips until thighs are parallel to the floor
• Keep a neutral spine by dropping tailbone down and drawing lower abs up and in
• Return to standing position, stretching legs straight and squeezing glutes
• Repeat this 20 times
• Hold plié position and pulse down, keeping knees pressed back and staying low
• Repeat for 20 pulses
• Hold plié and begin to press knees back by squeezing glutes and wrapping from the inner thighs to the outer thighs (also known as the rotator muscles)
• Repeat 20 times

Repeat the entire set from beginning to end three times

FitnessRx: Thank you so much Nina!

Photos by: Lisa Haefner

For more on Nina and Solace:
SOLACE New York Facebook:/SOLACENewYork
Nina Instagram: @ninammarchione
SOLACE New York Instagram: @SolaceNewYork