After having her third child, Cristina Cuomo, the former editor-in-chief of magazines Manhattan and Beach (which she also founded), struggled to get back into her pre-baby shape. “I took up surfing, spinning and Ashtanga yoga practice, which is quite rigorous, but I was having trouble with the front of my abs. My rectus abdominis had split open,” says Cuomo. Frustrated, she decided to try a session with Erika Bloom, the hyper-toned (just look at those arms!) founder of Erika Bloom Pilates.
“Our Pilates method is like nothing you’ll find in other studios,” says Bloom, who opened her first studio in 2003 and became an instructor after she was sidelined by an injury as a dancer. “In our approach we take modern research on biomechanics, anatomy, and physiology and apply it to our teaching of the exercises and our creation of client programs.” Bloom completely customizes the workouts to each individual client, which she believes is a key component to her (and their) success.
For Cuomo, it certainly was: “After three childbirths, I needed to strengthen my profoundly deep-seated muscles that were failing me. I met with Erika, took one look at her, and I was sold,” she says.
Currently busy penning a book for Assouline about surfing, Cuomo fits in one to three private sessions a week in Bloom’s NYC flagship, which opened in 2011 (there are four other locations in Connecticut, Long Island and at the Amanyara resort in the Turks and Caicos). The difference it makes is notable not only in her physique (her abs are hella tight) but in her surfing (“I perfected my pop-up” she says) and other physical pursuits like spinning (she loves Soul Cycle) and yoga. “Even when I sit at my computer writing and editing for hours, I make sure to engage my abs and get up and move around often,” says Cuomo.
To fuel her active, face-paced New York City lifestyle, Cuomo follows a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. Every morning she makes a tonic of celery, cucumber, ginger and lemon (which she shares with her eldest daughter Bella) and sips green tea throughout the day. “I make cashew milk at home which my son, Mario, likes to heat up with honey at bedtime. I eat any kind of foul, fish and lamb for protein and every kind of vegetable and fruit,” she says.
Cuomo, who is also in the midst of founding her own website geared toward a clean-living, fitness-focused audience, doesn’t believe in going to extremes—or living with deprivation. She enjoys herself during the holidays and then makes January “dry” (non-alcoholic) and limits her consumption of deserts. “I never fast or juice. We are meant to chew and consume protein. Chewing, or mastication, is necessary in the digestive process, the release of vital saliva enzymes, and good for your teeth, among other reasons,” she says.
Bloom, meanwhile, starts her day with eggs and avocado for breakfast and a few bites of apple or blueberries as she prepares her children’s lunches (she’s a mom of two). Between clients, she’ll sip a smoothie with matcha, coconut milk, pea protein, and hemp protein and grab a soup for lunch. Dinner is often salmon, broccoli and yams in the winter and a salad of salmon, red cabbage, almonds, cucumber, and micro greens in warmer months.
Up next for Bloom? Expanding to a new location in downtown NYC and continuing to develop her in-home program in Los Angeles, which she started last year at the behest of Bloom’s bicoastal clients. There’s also a capsule clothing collection with fitness brand Asteria, which she also sells in her NYC flagship. And all of this, of course, gets juggled into the demands of motherhood. “My priority is to maintain balance,” she says.
We’re guessing there’s a Pilates move for that.