Email me for more information at hans@hanshageman.com

This is what we believe. Our best clients believe these things as well.

We are an artisanal training studio for women who don’t like gyms.

You felt guilty and signed up for that year-long gym membership. You’ve only been a few times. You got on the treadmill, took a couple of classes, and tried to not hurt yourself on the shiny machines. All you got for all that money was the same body you went in with, even more guilt because you stopped going, and a smaller bank balance.

You jog when it’s not too hot or too cold and you take a yoga class when the mood hits you. You know this isn’t getting it done but you don’t know what else you can do. Willpower and self-discipline are an issue for you when it comes to exercise.

When you come to Brownstone Fitness, you won’t have to figure it out on your own. We don’t do “classes.” We help you to train for looks, strength and function. You’ll come in for the toned arms and the six-pack and you’ll sty for the confidence and the physical and emotional strength you’ll gain. You’ll have more control over your body and your life. We’ll be your fitness family – without the dysfunction.

You won’t find the latest dance fad, exercise toy, or workout program that will leave you quivering in your own sweat or, worse, injured. We use kettlebells, suspension trainers, and your own bodyweight to help you meet your goals.

We start the sessions with a dynamic warm up that helps you to regain movement that should be natural but that most of us have lost. We’ll then do core strengthening. This will help you get the abs you want and the power you need. We then move on to strength. This is accomplished with the above-mentioned tools. It will build your muscles (oops! I should have said, “toned”) and raise your metabolism so that you can burn fat. Forget the “bright, shiny objects. It’s about principles, effort, and consistency.

A husband and wife team with multiple certifications does the training. We aren’t Photoshopped fitness models. We are parents, small business owners, and middle-aged people who’ve had to work around our own aches and pains.

Had a bad day at work? An argument with your spouse? Exercise shouldn’t just be one more stress that’s added to your life. You aren’t a transaction for us. When you come to Brownstone Fitness, you’ll quickly realize that we are the best part of your day and week – just don’t tell your significant other!

My name is Hans Hageman and I was long overdue for a bio remodeling! Unlike a lot of bios or “About” sections, this one is going to be in the first person. I’ve always been a first person sort of guy and even my eyes started to glaze over as I read the old CV.

Why You Might Want To Listen To The Don Quixote of the Fitness Industry
The worlds of physical culture and fitness are not new to me. I grew up watching my father work out to things like Jack LaLanne and the Royal Canadian Exercise program before a stroke robbed him of his ability to communicate and move. I worked at one of the first “Nautilus” gyms in the city in 1981, as I helped pay my way through law school and became the first trainer for a young woman from the Wagner projects who went on to compete in the Ms. Olympia. Bodybuilding was enjoying a lot of popularity and I competed and met some wonderful, colorful characters.

I realized early on that being strong makes you harder to kill. I realized that physical strength and the confidence that came with it were wonderful shields to go with the spear of moral courage. To paraphrase the advice given to Theodore Roosevelt by his father, I knew that “it was important to be dangerous as well as decent. If you were dangerous enough, people would not long laugh at your decency.” It also doesn’t hurt in my work as a consultant to police departments around the country.

My path as an educator had led me to become a Reiki master under William Lee Rand and a Master Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). These are the tools for the mental game. On the physical side, I have gone in deep – much like I did in the education game. I’ve received Ashtanga Yoga teacher training from David Swenson. I’ve received Level 1 Coach certification from USA Track & Field and USA Boxing. I am also a Sports Performance Coach certified by USA Weightlifting and an HKC (Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification).

I believe that, to a great extent, we earn the bodies and faces we have in middle and old age. There are obviously exceptions. My parents couldn’t armor their vital organs against the stress of caring too much – the stress that eventually killed them. But at the end, I want to have more laugh lines than frown lines; the spine of a Spartacus instead of the demeanor of a Dilbert. I want to be known as someone who loved and who taught people to be better than they ever thought they could be.

The creation of Brownstone Fitness came from the same place that moved me to the practice of law, and the creation of three schools. It comes from a place of faith and love. So, when I say “I’m a personal trainer,” it’s as simple as that and a lot more complicated.

That’s A Lot Of Stuff!
I know, I know!- I’ve done a lot of stuff. The things I mention here are the result of a strong sense of mission and a little A.D.D. When I talk to people who have read my bio, many of them look away and mumble, “Wow, you’ve done a lot of stuff!” Only I can see the cartoon bubble that then appears above their heads as they say to themselves, “And now you’re a personal trainer?! I wonder what happened?”

What happened, is that I continue to be unreasonable, stubborn, arrogant, passionate, hopeful, and caring. Those qualities allowed me to get through Princeton University, Columbia University School of Law, and got me to join the post-Vietnam ROTC and Army Reserve (where I worked on my fear heights by rappelling out of hovering helicopters in the 101st Airmobile school).

The Adult, Responsible Me
My parents’ work with in the civil rights movement, their groundbreaking work with drug addicts, and their belief in standing up to bullies of all sorts, made my decision to practice law a natural one. My righteous indignation and interest in liberation theology took a temporary detour as I began my career at law firms that specialized in real estate and mortgage-backed securities. I had student loans to pay off, for goodness sakes!

Getting tired of not being able to describe what I did for a living to my mother gradually moved me closer to my original path. My next law job as an Assistant District Attorney in New York’s Office of Special Narcotics, really allowed me to understand what it meant to “do justice.” Eventually, seduction reared its evil head as I packed up the U-Haul and moved to Washington where I held the long title of “Minority Chief Counsel and Staff Director for the United States Subcommittee on the Constitution.” I met a bunch of lobbyists and a couple of lifelong friends and had a front row seat to the disturbing process of how laws get made.

The declining health of my parents and a desire to avoid the siren song of lobbyists who whispered to me about life after Capitol Hill, led me back to New York. I took a job with an innovative public defender’s group that joltingly and convincingly let me know that there was no way I was going to save the world through the practice of law. One good thing about the job was that it allowed me time to put together a plan for an independent middle school (before charter legislation was even a gleam in a hedge fund manager’s eye!) that would serve children who had not done well in the public system. I got seed money with the assistance of John Kennedy, Jr. and a professional backgammon player who was a friend of the family. The start-up years of The East Harlem School at Exodus House required me to wear a bulletproof vest because of death threats from crack dealers who didn’t appreciate my interference with their entrepreneurial efforts outside my school. I survived with the help of a skinny, Irish cop on a motor scooter who stood with me on many summer evenings when all I wanted to do was hide and cry, a statue of St. Michael given to me by a stranger, and friends I had made on my path. The school is now run by my brother and is coming up on its 20th anniversary in its new $25 million dollar facility. I couldn’t stay because I would have missed the death threats, fighting rats, restarting boilers, and unclogging sewer lines – in addition to the teaching, cooking, and parenting. I finished up there with a little more than fifteen minutes of fame and awards from places like Essence Magazine, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, the Princeton Alumni Association, and New York Law School. I got to make the run of interviews on CNN, ABC, CBS, WNEW, and New York 1. I maintain my sense of humor as I look back at the articles in the New York Times, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, and the Christian Science Monitor. You really are in trouble when you start believing your press clippings.

Also around this time, I took my minuscule savings to start The Sulaxmi Girls School in Lucknow, India. My wife, Bernadette, created the Salus Foundation to support our wonderful local partners, Shashi and Suri Mehta. They do the heavy lifting on a day-to-day basis for poor Hindu and Muslim girls. It’s hard to believe we’re in our tenth year!

I took my fundraising and pedagogical savvy with me to become the executive director of Boys & Girls Harbor, a youth development organization with a budget at the time of $14.5 million. While there, I created an independent high school that brought together teens who society had tossed away – the bullies and the bullied, the wolves and the lambs. They learned together and respected each other. They hosted students from Brazil, Hong Kong, and Senegal. They received praise from the French Minister of Education. They traveled to work projects in Ghana, Senegal, and Nicaragua where they cleaned neighborhoods, tutored little kids, and assisted in the creation of micro-gardens for AIDS patients. Then… they were told their school would be shut down. My board decided they no longer wanted to work with “those kind of kids.” I pressed those board members on their code language and told them I would not continue to do their bidding if they shut the school down. The board believed that the “golden handcuffs” of salary and pension would keep me there and keep me quiet. Guess what? I am now a personal trainer.









Bernadette Hageman is co-owner and trainer at Brownstone Fitness. Her graduation (cum laude) from City College was driven by a promise she made to her grandmother, Elaine. When not training, she has worked as a nonprofit and high school administrator, high school history teacher, college admissions counselor, and physical education teacher. She’s a former professional dancer with the Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company and dance instructor for the Alpha Omega and Jackie Robinson Foundation’s afterschool programs, American Red Cross Instructor for CPR and First Aid, and as a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts.

Her most challenging and rewarding position has been as a mother to her seven children and the many others who adopted her. Bernadette combines her professional and personal experience to train and provide wellness coaching to clients.

As a sprinter, judoka, and former professional dancer, she has always been a student of athletics and fitness. Her extensive study and training spans many disciplines including: Pilates, track and field, kettlebells, and senior fitness. She has received certifications from AFAA, USA Track & Field, and HKC for kettlebells.

In addition to working with women ages 20-60 at Brownstone Fitness, she specializes in senior fitness and physically preparing women who want to enter the Armed Forces.

Bernadette’s passion to serve extends beyond Brownstone Fitness. She is also the volunteer executive director of the Salus Foundation. The Salus Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded to support the Sulaxmi School for Girls (co-founded by Hans Hageman) in Lucknow, India.

Call us at 646-472-9769 or email Bernadette at Bernadette@BrownstoneFitness.com


  1. […] Presented by Yaromil Fong-Olivares and Hans Hageman […]

  2. Gloria Berrios-Baylor on October 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I would like to see more pitcures of what you can do and what results can be obtained after the age of 55 years old and has lost the unwanted weight and now ready to tone the body and develop a healthy eating habits.

  3. hans on October 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Gloria,

    I wish we had more pictures for that age group. It seems that women of my generation are a little reluctant to have pictures posted publicly. If you’d like to come in for a consultation we can talk more about your goals and maybe I can put you in touch with some women who would be willing to talk to you about their journey.

    You can also reach me at hans@brownstonefitness.com or my wife at bernadette@brownstonefitness.com

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