Getting RIPPED

Brian Ripka, president of Judith Ripka Jewelry, loves the exhilarating feeling he has after a run and says he gets his best ideas during this daily ritual. So it should come as no surprise that RIPPED, his new fitness center in Rye Brook, was the result of one such workout. One day, Ripka ran past a cycling studio and wondered why there wasn’t one for runners. That got him thinking about how he could create a dynamic workout in a luxury environment with great music and world-class instructors. So with this vision for a new kind of fitness center, Ripka set out on a quest to accomplish this goal.

On this journey, Ripka met Obi Obidake, a fitness expert, and realized it was not only about running. It was about muscle-toning as well. Obidake designed an exclusive training program that combines 25 minutes of treadmill running with 25 minutes of a boot camp regimen that includes strengthening, weight lifting, stretching and core in a high-intensity interval training format. Obidake says that this training method produces unprecedented results that will change the body, burn fat, build lean muscle, increase endurance and strengthen the mind.

The center offers two classes – RIPPED All Over, an intense 50-minute total-body workout that’s equal parts cardio and weight training; and RIPPED Lite, with the philosophy that everyone has to start somewhere. The instructors break it down, teach the basics, correct form and give options, using lighter weights.

Ripka sees this as a kind of personal training. “Classes are limited to 19 and we have two instructors in the room,” he says of the eight instructors from Westchester County and Greenwich. “It’s much more hands-on – part personal training, part small groups.”

In the War Room, as Ripka calls the classroom, it’s all about doing your individual best. “It’s a noncompetitive environment. Everyone works at his or her own level.” Always the quarterback, he adds, “In the class we’re all in this together, bringing out the best in each other.” It’s important for Ripka to be actively involved. Often you can find him behind the desk or teaching the Lite class.

Much of what he did to build this business was based on the business style of his mother, Judith, the founder of Judith Ripka Jewelry, whom he says has had the greatest influence on his life. Ripka had a front-row seat watching his mother build a business from the ground up and create a brand. He applied her business strategies and philosophy to his new venture, giving the same attention to detail to RIPPED that he and his mother do to designing luxurious gems for women.

RIPPED, which opened in January, is a state-of-the-art space with all the amenities you would expect in an upscale fitness center. Ripka, an Armonk resident, searched all over the country to find the best of everything and tended to every component himself, from the trainers to the sound system, with playlists created to keep clients motivated and inspired, to the towels folded just right.

“In Atlanta I walked into a gym, and they handed me a water bottle,” Ripka says, “so I knew RIPPED had to have that, too.” Everyone who takes a class gets a free one, and the studio is equipped with the Natura water-filtering system found in some restaurants. Clients are also treated to the complimentary Fuel Bar with healthy snacks. And the fitness center boasts a germ-free environment, maintained by a team of cleaning professionals in-between every class.

In his travels, he also discovered Woodway treadmills, a gold standard for training professional athletes and the military, featuring patented rubberized slats for a superior running surface that not only feels great but helps protect against bone and joint injuries.

“For me, it’s always about the product. Whether it’s a beautiful piece of jewelry or a high-intensity exercise class, the product must be superior in every possible way.”

Empowerment is a word that resonates with Ripka, and his goal is for everyone who comes to RIPPED to experience that thrilling feeling.

“I love bringing out the best in people. I want them to go at their own pace, have a good time and come out like they pushed themselves and were the best they could be at that particular moment.”

For more about RIPPED and its free introductory class, call (914) 481-5755 or visit

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