Mark Fisher trots out in a furry purple cape and mini shorts, ready to coach his ninjas — what most gyms call "clients." He's the walking mantra — Ridiculous Humans. Serious Fitness. — of his fast-growing wellness empire Mark Fisher Fitness. His gym, also known as the Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams, has quickly become the go-to training ground for show biz folk, including Christopher Sieber (Matilda the Musical), Patina Miller (Pippin) and now Andréa Burns (On Your Feet!).
Coming from performing backgrounds, Fisher and many on his team have an edge when it comes to prepping actors for their rigorous eight-show weeks. "We want to make people as generally strong and fit as possible, so they have the stamina to do the shows and so their bodies can do really whatever is asked of them," says Fisher. "If there are limitations to what your body can do, that's limiting your artistic sensibilities as a performer."
What Fisher has been able to create is more than an effective place to work out. He's built a community where health almost seems more like a byproduct of the greater aura of belonging and self-empowerment.
When Burns found out she'd been cast in On Your Feet! — opening at the Marquis Theatre Nov. 5 — she knew she had to get whipped into shape. The bio-musical about pop icon Gloria Estefan promised to be physically demanding. She could no longer resist the Broadway buzz about Mark Fisher Fitness (or her high school pal Katie Finneran's amazing results), so she followed the hype and joined in April to start a new workout regimen. Burns met with MFF trainer Elizabeth Stacey to create a program that catered to the moves she'd be performing in On Your Feet! Now, she regularly attends group classes and semi-private sessions. She focuses a lot of her work on her core, her back and her lats to help with her carriage as she works to execute those Latin dance moves. "I've gained strength and stability everywhere, which helps immensely, especially when you're dancing in heels!" says Burns. "Everything is easier because I'm stronger." With MFF's help, the rhythm isn't gonna get her.
Mark Fisher reveals his top fitness tips:
1. Prioritize strength training over cardio alone for the best results.
2. You can't out-train your diet: You have to eat right for your goals.
3. Make recovery a priority: Commit to getting sleep and managing stress.
4. Consistency beats intensity: We recommend you train three to five times per week, so choose a fitness solution that works for your schedule.
5. Seek social support: Finding a community of like-minded people is the foundation of long-term change.
Kettle Bell - Swings
"Kettle bell swings work out glutes, hamstrings and abs," explains trainer Brian Patrick Murphy, pictured here with Burns.
Pushups work triceps, shoulders, chest, and core. Burns says the biggest change she's seen is in her carriage, which is key in a dance-heavy show.
These X-Band walks — toes in, like Fosse! — work to open Burns' hips and shoulders, while working her full body. "The big concern for me was my scapula, my lats because I didn't feel any strength there," says Burns. "That's come a long way."
See more of Burns' workout here: