Feb. 15. 2016
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Meet Taryn Toomey, the founder, and brains behind the populary workout The Class.

Hey guys, happy Monday! Inspired Interview is making a brief comeback for this inspirational leader in fitness bridging the gap between the mind-body-spiritual connection working out can give us. Trust me, this is beyond a “workout” and I’ve been itching to take The Class with Taryn as soon as I make my way to NYC or if they do a little pop-up here in Nashville (hint, hint to The Class team!). I interviewed Taryn the founder and brains behind The Class to hear more about how she came up with this unique style of working out, what her favorite foods are, and selfishly I wanted to know how in the world she balances work/life being an entrepreneur and momma. Here’s what she said…

Live Well With Taryn Toomey of The Class


  • Taryn Toomey

If someone were to ask you what you “do”, what would you say?

  • I developed a method called The Class which builds a lean, strong body and cleanses the emotional and spiritual self through intense physical exertion, therapeutic instruction, and heart-pumping music.

What’s your background, i.e. how did you manifest this amazing career?

  • I started in corporate fashion and after so many years of feeling unfulfilled, of wanting more, of continuously “running to yoga,” I decided to jump ship and dive into teacher training. After years of teaching vinyasa, I went to Peru and met my amazing mentor, Mama Kia. Between the work I did with her and subsequently having two beautiful daughters, I needed a fire to move, shift, shake what was unwell in me. My workouts organically began to change to help release the bound up tension in my body from becoming a new mom, from my history, from the day to day stressors.

What’s your favorite quote or mantra that brings you back to center?

  • When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I pause and think, “What is the next right move?”. And then do that.

Where/who/what do you draw most inspiration for your work?

  • My work is about releasing bound up energy. So the inspiration comes from my history, my upbringing, my daily life, and the desire to create a better future for my children.

What’s your favorite workout gear to wear? Day to day wear?

  • lululemon “In The Flow” crops and Outdoor Voices everything.

Picture this; you’re living your most perfect day- what does this look like?

  • Sleep in and wake up naturally, enjoy a morning smoothie and a workout, add a little retail therapy with some of my favorite lady friends, massage and facial at a spa that has a sauna, drinks with my girlfriends, dinner with my husband and my kids, tuck my kiddos into bed, be able to head to bed early. (PS. I have never actually HAD this day.)

Now what’s your actual typical day look like?

  • My children wake me up before the sun comes up, I roll out of bed and make breakfast for the family. Then begins the daily hustle getting the kiddos ready for school and out the door. From drop off I head straight over to teach The Class, shower, and head to the office. My midday break is popping over to my local coffee shop for a chai on my way to pick kids up from school. Then it’s back to the office. Depending on the night, I might teach or meet up with a girlfriend, if I’m lucky, before putting the kids to bed. Rinse, wash, and repeat! Every other week, I try to squeeze in an acupuncture appointment or a pedicure to keep some ritual of self-care.

You’ve inspired so many women, myself included, unleashing their potential and just “letting that shit go!” How do you ‘let it go’ when you face challenging or stressful times?

  • Honestly and humbly, I turn to The Class. Afterall, that is how and why it came into being. It was created from my own need to find a place of release that felt real and effective.

What’s the one thing you tell yourself or remind yourself to keep work/life in balance? (I’m still trying to learn this one!):

  • Just do the right thing especially when no one’s looking and it’ll all be okay.

Since we’re a bunch of nutrition nerds here and love the details; what’s your typical meal for…

  • First thing upon waking: probiotic with the Morning Tonic that we suggest for The Layer, our seasonal detox program: warm water with turmeric, cayenne, lemon, ginger
  • Morning: fruit followed by a hard boiled egg and a handful of nuts
  • Lunch: some sort of salad or heavy vegetable based dish. My usual is beans, collards greens, sweet potato, sauerkraut, wakame with carrot or tahini dressing. The more vegetables, the better!
  • Dinner: late snack and small dinner. I love the butternut squash soup that our friend and chef of The Layer, Mikaela Reuben created. It’s better than any restaurant butternut squash soup I’ve ever had.
  • Snacks or sweets: Mango slices, popcorn, hummus with brown rice chips, hummus & tabouli on endive leaves
  • Favorite beverage: Almond Milk Flat White and if we’re being honest here, red wine

If you could pick one food or meal to eat over and over again, what would it be?

  • If like I should say pizza or french fries so I don’t sound like “I’m just saying this for this interview”. But to be honest, it really matters to me how food makes me feel. The right foods help me have a healthier state of mind. SO… it’s that big ‘ole salad I mentioned above.

What’s your favorite…

  • Way to decompress from a busy day: unfortunately, there’s not a big decompression period after I get the kids to bed. When I get the chance, I’ll meet some of my girlfriends for a good belly laugh.
  • Bedtime ritual: brush teeth, scrape tongue, Joanna Vargas rejuvenating serum, legs up the wall
  • Morning routine: Once I am done teaching the class, I’ll shower and use Joanna Vargas’s exfoliating scrub in the shower. After, I’ll dry off and use several serums: first is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, second I use Joanna Vargus’s Daily Serum, then Joanna’s Daily Hydrating Cream and finish with skinCeuticlas SPF 50. For my body, I use Mio Skincare’s body oil.
  • Beauty secret: sweat, water, sleep
  • Biggest tip for self-care: when you feel your emotional state becoming erratic, it’s a sign that you’re exhausted, carve out time for yourself
  • Green juice or coffee or tea? Yes, in that order.
  • Dog or cat? Not while I’m in NYC.  

What advice do you have for someone starting to live a healthier lifestyle, right here, right now?

  • If you’re not moving your body, find somebody that you know who does, link up with them, and start. What I have found with students, is that when they begin to feel how movement changes their body, mood, overall happiness, then you’ll want to eat better and in there, a new lifestyle begins.

You often mention the physical benefits of taking The Class is just an added bonus that comes along with it; can you tell us more about this? So many fitness programs out there solely focus on getting lean and ripped, it seems all your clients are in this state…and happier to!

  • We focus on lifting the butt, slimming the waist, toning the arms, torching calories which leads to an overall leaner self. As we do so, we address a lot of the noise and voices of self-doubt, judgement, when we are challenging the body in this way. We use the activation of the physical body to bring those feelings up which ignites the voice in the head and drive the class into moments of full cathartic release of these things.

What’s next for you and The Class in the next 3 years?!

  • This March, we will be expanding to LA! Our 9am classes will be held at MNR Dance Factory in Brentwood on Mon, Wed, Fri and our 7am classes will be held at Ra Ma Institute in Venice on T, Th. Classes begin March 5th! We hope that the next stop will be London. We are also working on street to studio layering pieces and hope to create a live streaming model for The Class to bring this work to students outside of NYC and LA. I am somewhat in my own way about that because the experience in the room is so unique. I want to make sure that we are able to still able to capture the energy and release that goes on in the room.

So where can everyone keep up with you to learn more?

I hope you all enjoyed reading more about Taryn and those of you out in NYC and LA, I’m super jealous that you get to try this amazing mind-body workout! Cheers to an inspired Monday and thanks to Taryn for sharing her lifestyle with us! p.s. check out a couple of her moves in action on The Coveteur.

Feeling inspired? As a Dietitian Nutritionist, I help you manifest your best self and work with clients around the globe to help optimize your health, reach goals, feel and look amazing! Sign up here to start nutrition coaching with me, and let’s make this your healthiest and happiest year yet.

xx McKel