People Who Make Us Look Good: Omar

Who: Omar, group fitness instructor and personal trainer

Where: Equinox (multiple locations, but can frequently be found at 92nd/Bway & 76th/Amsterdam)

Age: 26

Before NYC he: Lived in Ecuador

Random fact: He came here to play professional baseball and tried out for the Yankees twice. A shoulder injury ended that career path.

So are you having a hard time getting motivated to work out? Meet Omar. I mean, look at him for goodness’ sake! Of course you can’t tell what an amazing instructor he is from this photo, so allow me to elaborate.

Before I had kids, I used to study Seido karate. The punching and kicking just fulfilled some sort of need in me and it was a great stress reliever. Plus, I learned how to do push-ups on my knuckles. Pretty bad-ass. Then I got pregnant. On the day I was supposed to test for a belt promotion, instead of impressing Kaicho with my mad karate skills, I ended up in the bathroom puking my guts out. Then came a baby, and thus ended my career as a karateka.

I discovered  Powerstrike class at Equinox several years ago. It was developed by Ilaria Montagnani, who does not have any fat cells. At all. It’s a very aggressive kick-boxing class set to music. It fulfilled my need to punch (imaginary) things and gave me a great workout.

A few years ago I noticed and became a fan of Omar when he started subbing for some of my favorite teachers. Apparently he picked up quite a few fans (shocker), because soon he was all over the Equinox schedule.

Omar came to the US from Ecuador when he was a teenager, with dreams of a baseball career. This never materialized, and when he was 18 he got into a bit of trouble with drugs and alcohol. He managed to quit this all cold turkey, but was left with a 290 lb body.

He started working out and got a job at Equinox…in the maintenance department. Despite many requests to join the training program, he was refused. He eventually got a job at the Equinox front desk, and from there became a floor trainer. The rest, as they say, is history.

He started taking boxing classes and working out with serious boxers in the gym. Ilaria eventually found him and she trained him in Powerstrike, and he became interested in mixed martial arts.

He teaches many other conditioning and martial arts classes at Equinox, but I go to his Powerstrike classes primarily. A few notes of warning: He has a lot of regulars,and GOD HELP YOU if you stand in their spots. This includes me. I’m second or third from the right, front row. I will glare at you like you have never been glared at before if you dare to stand there.

Also, the classes move quickly. Omar’s tagline, “Lotta punching, lotta kicking” could not be more accurate. You will never be bored. It’s a mental exercise as well as physical, because you constantly need to be thinking ahead to the next move.

Are you sick of your girly pilates and riding the stationary bike to nowhere?? That’s what I thought.

(Omar teaches 26 classes/week at Equinox. He also started a training business, Omar’s Titan Method.)



  1. Engracia Katsoufis · May 13, 2010

    I found Omar’s class by accident when one instructor left and he subbed and replaced her, and that’s all I needed. Omar brings the challenge you need with alot of motivation, drive, and support. I’m unable to take his class but miss it dearly in my workout repertoire. I would suggest that everyone take his class at least once, because once you’ve done it, you feel you can do anything.

  2. Carla · August 27, 2010

    I took Omar’s Definitions class yesterday at the Equinox at 420 Lexington… He is absolutely wonderful!!!! He makes you want to follow him. I look forward to taking more classes that he instructs!!!

  3. Janet · December 2, 2010

    I started taking Omar’s Powerstrike class about a month ago. I LOVE IT!!! It is a physical and mental challenge but I look forward to it. I do notice that certain people stand in certain spots during the class. I’ve only been able to hit the front of the class once and that’s because I was waiting by the door!!! But he is a wonderful instructor and I love, love, LOVE his class.

  4. Guest · October 29, 2011

    You don’t own spots at Equinox. Get over yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s