By Ray Rogers
The architecture of Holly Rilinger’s new Lifted studio space is semicircular (with its raised platforms and dim lighting, it almost feels like you’re in a spaceship), but the experience has been full circle for Rilinger, a longtime Hamptons favorite trainer, beloved for her highly motivational, high-energy workouts. The former pro basketball player (at one point she ranked as the No. 1 women’s collegiate point guard in America) cut her instructor’s teeth in the very space that now bears her name above the door. “Twelve years ago, I taught my very first group fitness class for Zone Hampton, right here in this spot,” she recalls. “I remember thinking, I don’t know how anybody can afford to be out here! I slept on sofas back then.” After that, she taught for a solid decade in this space when it was Flywheel, before teaching via online platforms and from her garage in her property in Springs during the pandemic. “So, this is a big homecoming for me.”
Together with fiancée Jennifer Ford, a veteran yoga teacher and Reiki master on the East End and in NYC, the pair is building a studio to cater not just to clientele wanting physical fitness, but to those looking for spiritual wellness. In addition to the more amped-up classes combining weight training and HIIT cardio, you’ll find full-moon and new-moon Kundalini gong baths, and other sound and scent journeys on Sunday evening weekend wind-down sessions. (You might even spy Rocco or Luna, one of the couple’s adorable Chihuahuas, nestled in Ford’s lap during the proceedings.)
Rilinger and Ford are the perfect match in and out of the fitness studio. “She’s very much the yin to my yang,” says Rilinger. “She’s yoga, Reiki, essential oils and positive psychology. And I’m a former pro athlete, lifting weights, strength training, all that stuff.”
The name Lifted references both the classes with strength training via lifting weights, and the spiritual uplift that meditation and yoga bring. “We want you to lift in all ways. We want you to leave here feeling clearer, stronger, happier,” says Rilinger. “And that really came from my days as a pro athlete. You couldn’t succeed on the court if you were just one side of the spectrum. You had to be focused and clear and positive and resilient and committed.”
Classes in the ground-level auditorium are tailored for all types and levels, from low-impact weight-centered workouts to high-intensity cardio workouts and beyond. One thing each offering has in common is Rilinger’s methodology: All of her classes start and end with a brief meditation, and in between, says Rilinger, “I’m going to take you to your edge—I want you to cuss, I want you to scream, I want you to almost cry. And then I’m going to drop you in that second meditation so you can see what happens when you gain control again.”
In the floor below, there’s a studio for barre, Pilates and burlesque dancing, run by Marissa Ivana, the former wellness director at Topping Rose House. If you’ve worked up an appetite, you can grab a Remedy Organics smoothie to replenish after class. Eventually they plan on installing infrared saunas and offering IV drips for full-service head-to-toe uplift.
65 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton; theliftedmethod.com