Meet the Winner of our #LoveYourself #LoveYourBody Challenge!
Interview and Photos by Kathleen O’Neill
Clients embarked on a 6-week challenge, focusing on self-love, intention, and beauty from the inside out. Here’s a recap of what it entailed:
* 6 weeks of unlimited classes from February 14th-March 26th
* Weekly measurements to monitor progress
* Weekly nutrition and mindfulness tips from Tovita Nutrition, Body Conceptions, Basq Skincare and Dana Campbell Coaching
* Class passes provided by MNDFL meditation
* Free chiropractic consultation from Vivian Giannakakis Chiropractic
* Free skincare samples and first-time facial from Skin Laundry
Weekly prizes from Basq Skincare
* Smoothie tastings from Just Salad
* Perks and partnerships from Hickies, SweatStyle, Perfect Bar, My Intent, Basq Skincare, Just Salad, WTRMLN WTR, Lolë Clothing, Tovita Nutrition and Fit for Broadway
* A slow stretch and meditation class provided by founder Mahri Relin and Dana Campbell
* Final party and shopping experience at Lolë Soho
Ilana Becker’s strength and perseverance led her to lose 13.6 inches – 5 inches from her waistline alone – and also gain a new perspective on life. There was tough competition, sometimes with herself, but she rose to the top and was our challenge winner. Ilana went home from the challenge party with a long list of gifts from our lovely partners. Get to know Ilana and find out how she really learned how to love herself and her body, below!
Tell us about yourself! I’m a total New Yorker. My Mom is from Brooklyn and my Dad grew up on the Lower East Side. Though I spent my childhood in Bucks County, PA, we spent many, many weekends here visiting family. This gave me the chance to fall firmly in love with the city (I still refer to ‘him’ as my first boyfriend). I moved back here the second I could, to study acting at New York University. The fam followed me back and now we’re all here: my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my two delicious nephews.
Describe your career and how you originally got into the industry! Well, I’m still an actress! I begged my parents to let me audition for Star Search as a kid, but I had to go to college before I pursued anything professionally. I got my first agent through a university showcase while I was attending NYU. I booked the very first audition I went on, and <laughs> became WAY too optimistic that it would always be that easy. It wasn’t, but really I feel very lucky to have the opportunities to maintain a career that I’m proud of. As I grow and continue to experience life, it absolutely informs and cultivates the work I’m doing.
How did you find out about Body Conceptions’ challenge? I met Mahri through my best friend, Allegra Cohen. She had been taking class for quite some time (and she looked AMAZING) and she invited me to come with.
Like most people experience with Mahri, it was love at first sight…and JUMP. It didn’t take long to realize that not only had I found the workout that truly worked for me, but I had found a true and meaningful friendship with its founder. After taking class for a few months, Mahri really encouraged me to embrace and embark on the challenge.
Looking back it’s remarkable how hesitant I was. I really didn’t think there was any way my body could change THAT MUCH, and I certainly didn’t think I had any kind of shot at winning. It’s funny the stories you tell yourself about yourself. I spent my entire childhood in a dance class, yet never identified as being an athlete. I was comfortable in my skin, but I never really felt STRONG. So I decided to continue taking class, with a stepped-up game. I took out the other physical activities I was doing to really see what would happen if I BoCo-ed and ONLY BoCo-ed 6 times a week.
What kept you motivated throughout the 6 weeks? What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them? I’ll admit, the results are a profound motivator. I lost 3 inches off of my waist in the first 2 weeks. I couldn’t believe it. That second week check-in was really my light bulb moment. All I was doing was taking class and really making a solid effort while I was there, and it just HAPPENED.
From that point on, I made it simple for myself: just plant the seeds of hard work without worrying about how they would pay off. I think after that, it was really just a challenge within myself; how hard could I work while I was there to really execute each workout to the best of my best ability, and not cheat or shortchange myself. Walking away from each class knowing I did the best I could really strengthened my relationship with being self-motivated.
The staff at Body Conceptions was instrumental in all of this. They are such a joyous, lovely group of women and they were so excited about the challenge and all of our individual efforts. I really can’t say enough about Mahri and her team. I wish I could bring them along with me wherever I go.
As far as obstacles, there were many. The challenge dates fell over pilot season, which is the busiest time of year for actors. I grew concerned that I wouldn’t have time to do my best work AND workout. There were moments where I would walk out of a night class to an email with an audition for the next day knowing I only had a few hours to prepare 10 pages. Things were also coming to the surface in my personal life that I hadn’t yet dealt with, and I was quickly becoming overwhelmed with how to balance it all. This is where the challenge really shifted for me. I realized that I owed it to myself to make my insides match my outsides. I was feeling physically strong for the first time, maybe ever, and I knew I had to make some tough decisions to grow and strengthen emotionally as well.
There is no showing up and being perfect. There’s just dealing with what is in front of you with the best version of yourself. This is the most longwinded way ever of telling you that the challenge has really helped me to stay present and strike balance in my life. I’m such a talker!
How did it feel when you found out you won? Whatever the results were, I truly already felt like I won for so many reasons. Coming out stronger, with renewed and strengthened relationships and ideals, is more than I could have hoped for.
What are you going to do now that the challenge is over? Pizza.
Okay, I’m half kidding. I’ve definitely indulged and that is SUPER important. I do hope to maintain these results. The challenge wasn’t about a diet or deprivation but learning to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle for the long haul.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working or working out? Well, my work is fun so that’s always there. But I revel in sleeping in, traveling, going to the theatre, comedy, quality time with my boyfriend and my friends & family and throwing dance parties alone in my apartment.
What’s your favorite BoCo exercise? The final song of each class where you’ve worked so hard and you reward yourself with a dance party. See above. :)
How does BoCo compare to other workouts you’ve tried? What makes it special? Mahri’s BoCo slogan is “It works,” and it really does. The sense of community and love that Mahri has built around her studio are unparalleled. When you meet her, you meet this giant network of like-minded individuals in the health, wellness and lifestyle world. She really does want the best for every single person that walks through her doors. What’s more special than that?
What advice do you have for future challengers to succeed? Stay present. Let go. Go easy on yourself. AND HAVE FUN!
If you haven’t seen Ilana in one of her recent commercials or appearances on television or film, go to her website and check her out at http://www.ilana-becker.com.