Originally launched in Las Vegas in 2013, TruFusion brings in the desert-like heat, with class temperatures ranging from 95 to 103 degrees and 40 to 50 percent humidity, creating a heat index of 120 degrees. I did a two-a-day, Tru Hot Pilates and Tru Barefoot Bootcamp and left feeling completely dead afterward.

Both were instructed by Liz Carrillo, who guided the class through our mats, elastic bands, light weights, and kettle bells (for bootcamp). Imagine a yoga flow meets Pilates repetitions combined with bootcamp energy, as downward dog was followed by light, weighted warrior poses and kettle belled bridges. As the movements increased, so did my heart rate and the inevitable drench of sweat. I earned my place in this TruTribe.

What is the TruFusion method?

TruFusion is a new group fitness concept offering heated and unheated yoga, barre, Pilates, bootcamp, boxing, TRX [Total Resistance Exercise] and cycle under one roof. We’re a TruTribe of authentic, edgy, and aspirational members dedicated to bettering their lifestyles one class at a time.

Describe the goal of Tru Hot Pilates & Tru Barefoot Bootcamp.

To challenge your stabilizing core muscles. To manipulate your heart rate via the kettle bell and hand weight drills. To challenge your cardio vascular endurance with the use of heat and HIIT [High-Intensity Interval Training] exercises. To work on your range of movement through the flow of yoga fused into all classes . . . and to find your edge.

How does heat affect the body differently than if it were room temperature?

The heat helps to detoxify the liver and kidneys, release toxins through the skin, loosen and warm up muscles and ligaments, and helps you burn up to 800 to 1000 calories in 60 minutes.

Why does this work?

Have a goal? Our heated classes will help you meet it. Trust us and see. We will challenge not only our physical fitness but also your mental strength and fortitude.

Who should avoid it (for health reasons)?

TruFusion is for all health and fitness levels. However, we encourage individuals to consult their doctor if they have any concerns. Not recommended for individuals under 16 as their sweat glands have not fully matured.

What is your background and how long have you been with TruFusion?

I’ve been with TruFusion for three and a half years now. My background is a trifecta of certifications — NASM [National Academy of Sports Medicine] personal trainer, NSMT [Nevada School of Massage Therapy] licensed massage therapist, and group fitness instructor with an initial focus on Pilates.

What do you do after a great workout to unwind?

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate — bonus points for a nutritionally dense smoothie. It’s all about self-care. I love to take a nice, long hot shower and lather myself in coconut oil.

What Is Your Workout Mantra?

Take it one inhale and one exhale at a time. Everything is temporary. Do your best today according to the circumstances handed to you.

Your favorite workout class?

Tru Barefoot Bootcamp Core. It incorporates everything we offer. It’s great as your hardcore workout for the day and for muscle maintenance.


This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

Daily Fitness: Juicing at The Giving Room

(This article originally appeared in the August 23, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Black Dragon. Sunburst. Lotus. These are just some of the countless juices offered at The Giving Room, an organic grocery and juice bar located in Southold.

In 2010, the Giving Room opened its doors on the North Fork. At the time, it shared a wall with a boxing studio and acted as a community space for yoga classes. Only four years later, the Giving Room expanded to include an all-encompassing health lifestyle shop.

Paula DiDonato, the company’s founder, left her full time job at AmEx corporate in Manhattan to pursue a life of wellness; more than for herself but for an entire community.

“Everything about this place is organic in terms of how it developed,” DiDonato said as we ordered our freshly made juices.

“By looking for a peaceful place that helped me become healthy on every level — spiritually, emotionally, physically — I started to learn about yoga and well-being. Our clients taught me a lot, so I have a really strong interest in what we’re offering.”

Looking around I saw everything from green cleaning products to local jams. The shelves were filled with food products such as nuts and granola, stored in glass jars to help reduce waste and eliminate the plastic.

The shop’s loyal customers include both a local contingency and the summer crowds.

As the blender silenced in the background, three colorfully filled glasses came out, lined up at once.

“The idea is really to continue a healthy lifestyle,” DiDonato said. “To compliment it, we introduced a very small juice bar as a way for people to enjoy something light, organic, and fresh after class.” As I reached for my first sip of the gorgeous purple fluid in my glass, DiDonato continued. “They all have different elements that are healthy for you, that are also enjoyable and delicious.”

Black Dragon, made with orange juice, blueberries, strawberries, turmeric, ginger, and protein, is probably best for the morning, pre-or-post workout.

Wendy Chapman, a resident of the area since 1998, entered the store for her traditional fix. “This is the best thing that ever happened on the North Fork,” she said. “It’s the best place in town because of the warmth and the friendliness.” She sees the next drink in my line of beverages and asks for a sip.

The Sunburst, a refreshingly light and summery taste with carrot, apple, orange, pineapple, lemon, and turmeric is perfect for a hot day, or after good sweat sesh.

DiDonato certainly lives an organic life but admits that modern medicine is essential in addition to natural remedies. Of course, since her yoga certification five years ago, this entrepreneur hasn’t been on prescriptions due to the liquid nourishments she’s created. And she’s sharing, or better yet creating, all her secrets.

Her personal favorite is the XXX. It has cucumber, celery, ginger, lemon, kale, parsley, dandelion, spinach with extra lemon, extra ginger and extra turmeric: “Everything you need to help the body function optimally.”

Last in line was the traditional “green drink.” The Lotus was a cleansing beverage my body immediately thanked me for. With kale, pineapple, green apple, and ginger, it’s a sweet spin on an earthy liquid.

As DiDonato handed me refilled mason jars for my “juice cleanse,” I reached for a sweet finish of Ali Katz Small Batch Baking chocolate chip cookies. The Giving Room is the room that keeps on giving!

What’s next for the Giving Room? Aside from continued participation in loyalty juice programs, DiDonato and her team of superwomen are playing with tastes like rosemary, oregano, and other herbs with strong antibiotic properties.

They currently offer private parties in the studio or in the comfort of your own home with a yoga instructor, props, music, and a choice of juice or smoothie. There is also yoga for all levels, 85-degree hot yoga, meditation classes, and the Ellen Herman barre method and Pilates program, where exercise meets dance.

The Giving Room is located at 56215 Main Rd., Southold and is open seven days a week, year-round. Call 631-765-6670 or visit

May your glass overflow with goodness and your mind be at peace. Cheers!