Tucked into a very “Zen” studio in Manhattan’s Chinatown you will find Steve Pasterino (otherwise known as “P”) and his studio, Bodies by P. I was introduced to P by nutritionist Dara Godfrey, who herself is a downtown workout guru. As a regular follower of her social media posts, it was clear to see how great she looked and I needed to try her regime myself.
One class with P changed my entire thinking about my body and my approach to exercise. While I’d been a devotee of cycling classes for several years, I’d become concerned about my legs and backside getting a little too muscular. P’s first pronouncement to me was “I can make you leaner.” I’ve now been working with him 2-3 times per week for a few months and am absolutely loving the results so far.
P’s unconventional approach focuses on strengthening muscle groups and parts of the body that most trainers and fitness classes miss in their push to give you a workout “experience” which largely focuses on cardio, strength, and core work. (Sorry guys- BBP exclusively works with a female clientele).
W Magazine ran a recent article titled “Is Bodies by P New York’s Best Kept Workout Secret?” Maybe not anymore! Read on for my Q&A with P, and to learn all about his method.
FO40: Stephen, BBP is a method that you created yourself. Tell me a bit about it?
BBP: Bodies By P is a culmination of 15 years of my own fitness journey- which included everything from sports training, swimming, running, body building, to experimentation with different diets and supplements. Years and years of experimenting with my own body has brought me to the conclusion that 98% of common exercises are exactly what one SHOULDN’T be doing. I found the same with my clients. I’d constantly be testing new exercises, getting results and retesting them again. It has taken years to develop, but I have been able to replicate these amazing results with just about everyone willing to do the work.
The BBP approach is focused on problem areas and their weaknesses. These are the parts of the body that every other method in my experience has failed to effectively address: the inner thighs, every muscle in the butt, behind the arms, the lower back. This also includes building a flat lower stomach, strengthening the hips, and preventing quad dominant dysfunction.
FO40: Did your background in physical therapy help as you honed your method?
BBP: I’d say it is the foundation of the workout. It has taught me everything about the body: how the muscles function, how they move, and how the interact with one another. This knowledge and experience allows me to create a bespoke workout for each of my clients which incorporates their ascetic goals while always mindful of any unique physical limitations, whether a restriction in their joints or a group of muscles that are not activated or working properly. I can take clients who have been injured and individualize a workout for them that not only make them look great but achieves rehab goals.
FO40: You focus a lot on taking the bulk out of women’s legs and strengthening their butt. Is that why they call you “The Ass Master”?
BBP: Conventional butt exercise’s like lunges, squats, and mat pilates workouts tend to cause swelling in the thighs. I wanted to come up with a different approach to working the butt. The key I have learned is to slow down the exercise and activate all the muscles in the glute, thus preventing “quad dominance.” I have created a range of techniques to do this all stemming from my knowledge of functional science and physical therapy.
For years, I’ve noticed that all of my female clients coming from other gyms have only really developed one part of their butt, while the rest has been neglected. The butt is actually made of three major muscles, and it’s the biggest strongest muscle group in your body. It is connected to your pelvis- the center of your body- and is turned on through every motion you go through. In my workout I find a way to work your butt every second of the workout- every angle, every range of motion, using bottom-up and top-down drivers. There are so many ways to activate your butt muscles, and when you use my method of working these muscles the results are pretty clear. The women who work in my gym develop perfect, lifted, round glutes.
The areas I seek to tone and strengthen most are the bottom/inside of the glute and also the uppermost part of your glute that connects into your lower back. The very bottom of your butt is a key area- it takes a lot of work but when you get it to activate and lift, it changes the way you look. Not only does this remove any sag, but when that muscles tightens it pulls and tightens the inner thigh. I’ve spent years figuring out how to make that muscle work!
FO40: I found that as I turned 40, the more I worked out, the more I gained weight. How can BBP help women over 40?
BBP: There’s a fine line between working out and just doing work. Out of the desperate desire to “get into shape,” most women end up overdoing it. I used to work out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week when I was younger. When I got busy with work I had to cut that down to about an hour 4 days a week. Counterintuitively, I became stronger, leaner, and looked healthier when I worked out less- a eureka! discovery. Too much exercise just creates physical stress- inflammation and swelling; a release of stress hormones like cortisol.
A lot of women have come to me with the same story. They were working out way much, gained a ton of weight, and ended up with hormone issues. I don’t know the exact science behind it, but I know enough to draw some conclusions. If you are continually breaking down your body and doing excessive cardio, your body will go into a “survival” mode. Not only will it made you hungrier, but also your body will hold onto and store every calorie it takes in which often results in weight gain.
FO40: Let’s discuss supplements. What are thoughts and recommendations?
BBP: I love the right supplements. They are a natural way to fire up your blood flow and get your body functioning at its optimal threshold. I’ve narrowed the most effective vitamins and herbs to just a handful. The one that I feel is particularly effective is called Ashwagandha. It’s commonly recommended for women, and its benefits include improved blood flow and digestion aid.
FO40: What is next for you and BBP?
BBP: With BBP I hope to reach as many people as possible and get them thinking differently about the way they work out, providing my clients with results they didn’t think were possible. To stay on the loop of what is coming next, go to my website and sign up for email updates, thank you!