What Our Clients Say



“I was attracted by a notice in our church bulletin offering a free fitness assessment and some training sessions as part of a Lenten health and fitness challenge. I am now officially a “senior citizen” and I see how much “creeping” disability robs older people not only of mobility and independence but also of joy. I don’t want this to happen to me any sooner than it must – never, if possible! While I do walk quite a bit and have a fair amount of endurance for that activity, my mild asthma leaves me a little short of breath at times, my balance is only fair (increasing my fear of falls), and I could certainly use more upper body strength.

I came expecting an overall fitness assessment, and maybe some casual oversight as I worked out on my own on various machines. I would have been quite happy with that but I ended up getting so much more. Bernadette not only assessed my strengths and weaknesses but she also listened to me and took into account my own fitness goals which included better balance, greater strength and greater endurance. She demonstrated the various exercises for me and joined in with me until I could accomplish them on my own. She stayed with me every step of the way. I also liked the fact that she wasn’t afraid to challenge me to improve just a little bit more with each session.

While I have to date only been working out for a few weeks, already I am capable of a great deal more than when I began. My stamina and strength have improved and it seems to me that I am using my asthma inhaler just a little less! After my first session, my heart rate remained elevated for hours; after my last session, my heart rate quickly returned to normal; my resting blood pressure is now as low as 95/66 and my resting pulse, down to 66-71 which, for me, is quite low. Even during the day under the stress of work, my normally rapid pulse remains steady and calm! Quite a bit of improvement in a short period of time! Thank you!” – Kathleen C.

“Following the fun, creative, physically and mentally challenging regimens designed and instructed by Brownstone Fitness, has improved not only my physical appearance, but it has also strengthened my willpower. Pushing myself physically has enabled me to realize how much my body is actually capable of. Working out with Hans has consistently provided me with a boost in self esteem, confidence in my physical dexterity and an overall improvement in how I carry myself. Workout with the trainers at Brownstone Fitness and with time you will notice how you begin to push yourself farther in any and every activity you’re involved with.” – Tiffany P.

“On Saturday I took my girls to the playground as always but this time decided to work out while they played, instead of sitting on the bench surfing on my iphone. I did our usual warm up, including inch worm, and most of our workout, except for the sprints in between and rows. I worked out for 40 mins. Really pushing myself with push ups, burpees, squats, planks etc. I’m addicted to boot camp thanks to Brownstone Fitness. For me to do all that on a Saturday was major! I was so proud of myself and see unbelievable change in my strength. I feel so strong, powerful and happy! Thanks to all of you at Brownstone Fitness!”- Elif Kavakci


“Some time ago when I met Hans, before I knew what he did, I started telling him about my son and football. At the time I think I was trying to talk myself into letting him go with the sport knowing that at least I didn’t have far to go to say a prayer or 2. Hans remembers this conversation more than I do and offered to train my son a couple of times a week. He said simply “you told me about your son for a reason” and he would work with him if he was willing. Seyoum started his classes with Hans during pre-season football. The first time he came out and said “mom, this is harder than football” but was looking forward to the next workout! Within a few weeks, my son was very conscious about his diet, his posture and slowly working on his schedule! Physically he looks great and feels good. He is very confident and tired at the end of the day, with no time for being a slouch!” – Leah Abraham

(The following is a testimonial with some bias 🙂 and a back story for another time)
“When I was young my father (Hans Hageman)  had me on a set work out plan; he did this for my health, confidence and career plan. He helped me in so many ways. I was a very quiet and shy seventeen year-old. I wasn’t socially active and I didn’t make friends very easily. It wasn’t until I started to workout with my dad that I discovered how different I could become in a good and  life-changing way. While I worked out with him I gained and built my self confidence – and he helped mold me as a person. I was able to make conversation with almost anyone  because I felt good about myself and wasn’t ashamed of what other people would think of me. I began to take on more responsibilities in school and volunteered whenever I had the chance.

I always felt I was never strong enough for sports, however once I stated to workout with my father I realized I don’t have to be ashamed anymore. I felt much stronger so I started to take part in sports such as basketball, football, and track & field. My father always pushed  me to eat healthfully and maintain a positive exercise program.  I felt good and rested every morning. Thanks to my father I never had to deal with a weight issue – if I didn’t have him helping me I may have. Ever since I can remember my dream was to be a United States Marine.  My father helped me chase my dreams. With his workout plan I was able to get ready for basic training.  To this day I still use his work out plan. I am a United States Marine and have been one for 4 years. Without my father’s help I don’t know if I could ever have had the strength to enlist. I feel as if my father can help others as he did me, if you would just give him (and yourself) a chance.” –Cpl. Anthony Howell – United States Marine Corps

“If there is one word to describe my life before talking with Hans, it’s stuck! Hans has a gift for asking the right questions at the right time to uncover the truth about the life I’ve been living and the life I was meant to live. Today, I’m on a new journey–my true path–and I refuse to look back.” Ramon Johnson, filmmaker, blogger
“I met Hans approximately 30 years ago. I came to meet him through his mother who was a wonderful person who I guess saw something in me and introduced me to her son (Hans). At that time I was about 15 years old and Hans was off at law school. Also around that time I had started to develop an interest in running, and that’s when Hans began his mentorship that would last till this day.

Through Hans’s guidance from the ages of 15 till 18 I had run competitively in over 64 NY Road Runner 10K sponsored events, always placing in the top three for my age category and being able to hold my own against adult seasoned runners. Upon graduating from high school I joined the United States Marine Corp. Because of Hans’s mentorship (both physical and mental) Marine Corp Boot Camp was a breeze. During my time in the Marines I continued my love of running which included completing 4 Marathons and 11 half marathons.

When I left the Marines I joined the NYC Police Department where I remained pretty fit for the next 15years. Although I was no longer running in races I continued to run, work out, and box, always seeking the guidance and knowledge of Hans and always getting the right advice, the right work out, and the right spiritual “Guru-like” guidance that he gives. Sometime after my 15th year of being with the NYC police department I sort of lost the passion to exercise (too many donuts!). That lasted for about seven years and took me from weighing 163 pounds to weighing 210 (Wow! I know!). Well, I just recently (May 2011) retired from the Police Department and I decided to take a job overseas training police in Afghanistan. Prior to taking that job I had to go through a six week mini boot camp so I turned to my mentor, my friend, my Guru, and, to be quite frank, the one person that knows more about fitness than anyone I know (if you don’t believe that ask anyone that knows about fitness who has had a conversation with him). I turned to Hans, and once again with his direction and guidance he was able to set me up with a nutrition and training plan that got me through the training after not working out for over seven years – but it didn’t end there.

As I read Hans’s blogs and the articles he posted and the fact that I was going to Afghanistan, I became motivated to work out again and to become what I call “Hans healthy.” So for the past two months Hans has been training me (via emails and Face Book) and I wish I had taken a before picture, because I didn’t expect the results that we have achieved. I have gone from weighing 210lbs to weighing 198lbs (my goal is 175lbs). My knowledge of the body, the mind, nutrition, and proper exercise, is all due to what I have learned from Hans and as always I thank him for being a part of my life. I encourage anyone to give him a call, sit with him and Bernadette, take a class in and if you don’t agree with what I have said then I will refund you the cost of that first lesson. Trust me, you won’t regret it.”
Dino A. – former US Marine, retired NYPD, current contractor -Afghanistan


“I have to admit that I’ve been to “those other gyms.” I am working on a career in international modeling and my schedule is crazy.  When I get home from traveling, I always make sure I come back to BF.  Even when I’m away and doing a workout, Hans and Bernadette are in my head screaming ‘Come on, you can push harder than that!’

In addition to the hard work, you get to workout with some really nice people.  Everyone there expects to be pushed to be at their physical and mental best.

I personally like being pushed hard.  It’s kind of like being a boxer in that 12th round and when you get tired and want to give up, you need someone in your corner.  Your trainer tells you not to give up and to keep fighting.  You don’t want to disappoint them or yourself. you remember all the hard work until this point.  You know with the corrupt training you’ll win by a knockout.

The trainers at BF don’t quit on you.  You have people there who will keep pushing you and make you believe that you can accomplish any goal you have set.

I would only recommend Brownstone fitness to anyone who is serious about changing their body and their mind.  You have to be willing to spend time with a  family that will make you the best you can be.  If you’re tired of trainers who only point you from exercise to exercise but don’t know about diet or getting your mind right, then go to Brownstone Fitness.  If you want personal attention and a place where you can’t hide, go there.

Finally, as Hans’s former student, he know that I had always wanted to get bigger and stronger.  As a student athlete I started at his school to work myself hard.  At 17, I liked my results and it didn’t hurt that the ladies did too – HaHa!  When I found out he was opening the studio I knew I had to be a part of it.

I’ve worked with other trainers and I soon came to realize that if I wasn’t working out with Hans, I’d be better off training myself with the lessons he taught me.  When I planned my modeling career I got serious about going to the studio and it paid off as my body developed like crazy within weeks.  This played a big part in me getting work overseas.

The bottom line is that if you want a shot at physical and mental perfection go to Brownstone Fitness.  Don’t be afraid to be better than you are.” Fazon Gray

Fazon Gray


“Dear Yaromil, Hans and Bernadette,

I’m not so sure I ever sent a thank you for all you did for Francesca during her 6 weeks with you and her friends. She LOVED her boot camp classes and really felt empowered by what you said to her and what you taught her during her time with you each week. She really felt stronger after each session, and I love the encouragement she received from all of you. I feel she now knows that she is capable of much more than she thought she ever was – this is huge. Thank you! thank you!

Francesca proudly wears her Brownstone tee shirt and has continued to exercise at home (teaching me and her little sister!). At Francesca’s age, so much is changing, that it’s nice for her to feel so confident!
She has – since leaving you – been able to accomplish hanging off the monkey bars and “walking” across 4 bars hanging by her arms. it’s a first! she could never leave the first bar! a true testament to just how much stronger she has become!” – Pamela A. Guarrera


“Hans Hageman was a powerful presenter for the issues of nutrition and health for our students. He enlightened them and gave them a wealth of knowledge to review and assess. Hans inspired our young people to reassess diet and health habits and to be more aware of their choices.” – David Addams, Executive Director, Oliver Scholars Program



“Brownstone Fitness is the perfect alternative to the big, chain gyms you find all over NYC.  This is a no-nonsense gym, free of the clutter of unnecessary equipment.  The classes are intense and worth every penny.

I started at Brownstone Fitness 9 months ago doing one-on-one sessions with Bernadette.  I loved the personal attention – it encouraged me to try my hardest, while feeling safe that the exercises wouldn’t result in injury.  After a month of once-a-week personal training, I switched to the small group classes (3-6 people) and upped my workouts to 2-3 times a week.  Bernadette found a class led by Hans that was at my fitness level, so I felt challenged from the start.  I was worried that I would lose the personal attention in the group classes, but that wasn’t the case at all.  I ended up enjoying the classes more because of the friendly and supportive classmates.  We often stay a few minutes after class to share healthy recipes.  Hans and Bernadette are eager to share their devotion to health – through training, e-newsletters, personal follow-up emails, and webinars.

The workouts can be intense, but that’s what I’m paying for, and that’s how you get results.  Brownstone Fitness is a lifestyle, and I’m glad I found it.” – Michelle Sorenson


“If you’re an active person seeking a challenge, go to Brownstone Fitness.  This is the most challenged I’ve ever been with a work out.  The family style foundation of the studio makes you feel comfortable and motivated because you receive that individual attention.  The positive energy is immediately felt the minute you walk in the door and are greeted by either Hans or Bernadette.  Hans and Bernadette are great people who are genuinely there to work with you and help you achieve your goals.  I highly recommend Brownstone Fitness especially if you’re looking for a change of scene and are over the same old treadmill routine!” – Yoa Olivares


“Although I started running when I was a teenager, I had never worked with a trainer or paid much attention to muscle balance. When I got plantar fasciitis and had to switch to swimming, though, I got in touch with a friend who dances and does Feldenkrais body movement method. He was the one who put the idea in my head that I couldn’t just power my way to a healthy, pain-free body with just sports.

I started training one day a week with Hans and Bernadette mostly motivated by lower back pain that didn’t go away with stretching or swimming. The initial evaluation was like nothing I’d ever done, focused holistically on balance, strength, flexibility and the state of my muscle memory. Both Hans and Bernadette are incredibly knowledgeable about anatomy and different approaches to understanding the way movement becomes engrained in muscles – for better or worse. I’ve asked them for advice on everything from recovery from knee surgery, my son’s soccer training, and my own struggles with my lower back. It has all been excellent and balanced. And best of all, since I have started training with them, my back pain is almost entirely gone. It’s also not bad that I can now keep up with swimmers a lot younger than I. The highpoint was passing a lifeguard while we were both on kickboards.

There is a lot that I like about training at Brownstone: the small classes, the never ending variety of movements and cycles, the stream of information about why we are doing what we do and how to keep it going on our own. I love the generosity with which Hans and Bernadette give their knowledge and their creativity.

The three benefits I enjoy most are the way my muscles have responded to the training, realigning themselves in ways that really alleviate the pain I had; the flexible strength I’ve gained, which transfers to all the other sports I do, not to mention my daily activity; and the sense of well-being (is it too much to call it a high) on the days that I train. It’s obvious that it makes my body happy.”- Lynnette Widder


“Dear Bernadette,

I was very luck to have seen the Groupon and found Brownstone Fitness – without the discount I would not have tried out training with you. The discounted price allowed me to try it out with very little risk and realize how much I had to benefit by continuing to attend your sessions. Now that I’ve been training with you continuing is a priority and I’m finding ways to work it into my budget.
As a result of training with Brownstone Fitness I have noticed my body becoming stronger and I feel better as I go about my daily activities. I’ve also noticed I am more ‘comfortable in my skin’ and weight management is much easier (some days my diet is not as good as it should be but I’ve kept a very steady weight over the past seven months of training at the studio). When I do gain a few pounds they come off pretty easily by continuing to work out and being more mindful of what I eat.
As I mentioned to you a few weeks ago: my running has really benefited from the training I’ve received at the studio. I finally ran a race with a 9:56 min pace and the next week ran a seven mile run (which I haven’t done since high school)!!!!! I find the two exercise methods really compliment each other well and the core strength that develops at the studio has noticeably improved my running form.
There are so many features I like about training with you guys. The small groups give each person individual attention – I know my form will be corrected if I’m misaligned and I can ask questions if I don’t understand the exercise. The time is key for me, my schedule is very busy but you keep the sessions under and hour and I know I can commit to fitting it into my schedule (even before work). I really like developing strength at the same time as stretching (active stretching I think you call it) – this feels very good but also helps my running. The exercises I learn at the studio are very portable so I feel empowered to keep doing some of them when I’m traveling, I like how many exercises I can now do without any or minimal equipment. The new online system is great, I am able to plan ahead and/or reschedule when I need to – I like that it shows me how many more sessions I have left in my package.
There are two more things I like about training at the studio that stand out: the sense of community and the genuine care you and Hans show towards your clients. I live at 116th and Lenox, walking over to the studio each day makes me feel more connected to the neighborhood, between the park and the studio I like how local my fitness regime is. I’ve also enjoyed meeting and working out with some really neat people.
As you know, my back’s been acting up recently: this happens to me every 12-16 months or so. Usually I have to stop exercising, start physical therapy and often take pain medication. This is the FIRST TIME since my injury in 2005 that I was able to exercise through the ‘flare up’ and it has only been possible because you both are willing to listen to what I’m struggling with then offer stretches and modifications. When my back starts spasming my instinct is to protect it but I often don’t know how to do this while still building my other muscles, this small group environment has made it possible to keep going and trust my body to you. Now, three weeks after the back started bothering me it’s on it’s way out, I kept exercising and I didn’t need to visit the Dr., PT or more importantly I didn’t need any pain medication!
Thank you both very much”
Sarah Hansen


Leave a Comment