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Nancy Leary-Babcock whips South Jersey into shape

Nancy Leary-Babcock whips South Jersey into shape

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“It’s not about having the perfect bikini body, it’s about feeling good in your skin,” says Nancy Leary-Babcock, owner and trainer at Ocean City Local Studio Workout. Leary-Babcock specializes in what she refers to as functional training. “I develop workouts to help my clients move through everyday life and to feel good doing it,” Leary-Babcock says. Although, that doesn’t mean her workouts are easy. “Some of these classes are so stinking hard, but I don’t give anyone an exercise that I can’t execute correctly myself,” Leary-Babcock says. That’s why at 55, this grandma is arguably in better shape than most.


Leary-Babcock is going on her 36th year in the fitness industry. “I was one of the very first certified aerobic instructors in this area,” Leary-Babcock says. Her first certification was through Nora Anderson’s AAAI/ISMA. Currently, Leary-Babcock is certified as a Master trainer for Real Ryder (indoor cycling), a Master trainer for Trigger Point, she’s AFFA, IDEA and SCW certified, as well as a certified TRX and Kettlebell Athletics instructor. So what does all of that mean? Basically, Leary-Babcock has a tool box full of fat-blasting, muscle-building workouts that can whip any body into shape.

As a coach, Leary-Babcock’s personal goals are reflected in her training. “I don’t feel like I’m 55, I feel like I’m in my thirties. Last weekend, I was tubing with my grandkids. I can’t imagine not being able to get up and down off the floor with my kids and grandkids,” Leary-Babcock says. To her, fitness is about living the life that you want and feeling good doing it.

“Everybody’s goals are different, that’s why I have such a variety of workouts,” Leary-Babcock says. While her classes are undeniably hard, she offers modifications so that you’re able to workout at your level. “There’s no competition here, there’s camaraderie. And I keep my class-size small so that I’m able to give each person individual attention.”

The selection of classes available at O.C. Studio vary from Real Ryder (indoor cycling), to Barre, TRX Tabata (a calorie burning, body-weight based high-intensity interval workout at a ratio of 20 seconds of high-intensity with 10 seconds of recovery) to Bootiful Booty (lower body toning), Horizontal Conditioning (cardio conditioning with intervals of full body toning), Ab Lab (core) and Local Pump (strength and toning). A single-class pass starts at $20, with package discounts available. Reservations are required for classes.

“I have a love/hate relationship with some of my classes. I love the result, but they are hard,” Leary-Babcock says. Unlike many fitness instructors, she does the entire class along with her clients. The only class she doesn’t do is the TRX, and that’s just so she does not take a TRX apparatus away from her eager clientele.

Although classes are a great option, if you’re eager for a transformation and looking for more complete personal attention, personal training is the way to go. Many of her clients will opt for personal training mixed in with some classes. So, if you’re willing to show up, Leary-Babcock will coach you towards your goals. “The majority of what a transformation takes is consistency with workouts and good nutrition. I’ve seen some incredible transformations,” Leary-Babcock says.


The fitness industry has drastically changed over Leary-Babcock’s three-decade career. “35 years ago, it was much less about strength-training, it was all about steady-state, high-intensity aerobics. Now science has proven how important strength training is for bone density and your body’s ability to burn calories,” Leary-Babcock says. Cardio has also changed. “Steady-state cardio is becoming a thing of the past. I still think it’s good, but research has shown that high intensity interval training is much better for fat burning,” Leary-Babcock says.

Above all, Leary-Babcock advocates a varied or cross-training approach to fitness. “At 55, I’m still injury-free, which I think is because of the all the cross-training that I do,” Leary-Babcock says. Every workout that Leary-Babcock creates is different, she is constantly changing, adapting and learning. She also creates her fitness plan around five main components: strength, core, cardio, stretching and balance.

Reaching your fitness goals may seem like climbing a mountain through a jungle of information. “Right now there are so many personal trainers and every time you turn around there is a new style or method,” Leary-Babcock says. But with 35 years of experience and success, Leary-Babcock knows what it takes to get you in shape.


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