Check out Yvette Johnson, our new Denver trainer!

Yvette is truly one of the most joyful, positive, and energetic people I have ever met!  I was so lucky to get to know Yvette through one of our other team members, and I knew immediately that she would be perfect for Body Conceptions. 
 

I love interviewing our new trainers and finding out interesting tidbits about them.  In this case, I was delighted to learn that Yvette played the SAME cat I did in the musical, Cats!  She and I also share the same guilty pleasures (read below to find out what they are).  And there is so much more to learn about her, so keep reading!

 
I am so happy to welcome Yvette to our team.  Denver has been such a fun place to grow our company, and her presence makes it all the better!! Anyone interested in Denver training?  Contact us right away before her schedule fills up!
 
~ Mahri
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Full name: Yvette Johnson Brisley
 
Where were you born?  Norther California
 
Where did you grow up?  Fair Oaks, CA
 
What’s your biggest passion?   Dance…any kind and all of it!
Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life pursuing my dance career pretty full-on, dancing for several dance companies, regional theaters, cruise ship productions and all sorts of gigs in NYC, California and now Colorado! When Covid hit, the demand for the sort of fitness I offered increased tremendously, as dance and theater productions were put on pause. This giant pause in the entertainment industry actually made me realize just how special being a trainer is, and I grew to love it just as much as performing! These days I am back to dancing professionally here in Denver while being a fitness trainer. This combination of dancing and training others is my perfect balance and I am so thankful to be pursuing both!
 
What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  “You are enough!” I heard it my whole life growing up, but I really didn’t know it until a few years into my professional dance career.
 
What’s your fitness fashion style?
Colors and patterns…all of them!
What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  “Listen to your body.”
 
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  Drinking a glass of wine while having an epsom salt bath (and maybe watching the Bachelorette).
 
What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  
Over the years I’ve realized that I have a natural joy for living that I am super
thankful for. Generally I wake up excited for life and I’ve developed a desire to share that joy any way I can.
What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?  At one point in my life I made a living pretending to be a cat dancing and singing in a shiny unitard on a cruise ship in the Caribbean!
 
Anything else about you that I missed?Basically I am a happy dance/fitness enthusiast who is really interested in guiding other women to live their best lives wherever they’re at! And if you can’t get ahold of me, I’m getting lost deep in the mountains with my hubby!

Asia Bonilla just joined our NYC team! Read all about her here

Asia has a beautiful energy that’s clear from the moment you meet her.  She is filed with positivity and warmth, and you know right away how much pride she takes in everything she touches.  I was so excited to meet Asia and experience her workouts, and I was also thrilled to get to know more about her life and background.
 
There are so many things you can’t imagine about a person until you dig deeper!  Read below, and find out Asia’s guilty pleasures, her path to fitness and its role in her life during the pandemic, and also find out about her podcast!  I love Asia’s many layers, and I am also so excited to get to know her better and better through her work with Body Conceptions.
 
Make sure you book now if you want to work with Asia — her schedule will fill up quickly!  We are so thrilled to have you, Asia!
 
~ Mahri
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Full name: Asia Inocencia Bonilla
 
Where were you born?  Harbor City, CA
 
Where did you grow up?  Trabuco Canyon, CA
 
What’s your biggest passion?  Dance and fitness!
Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why?  I went to college for dance because that’s always what I’ve wanted to do, and in college, I discovered the power of cross training. I immediately fell in love with all things fitness, but I didn’t really consider it as a career path until the pandemic when I was forced to take a step back from dance. As much as I love to dance and perform, I also have a passion for teaching people how to correctly move their bodies through exercise. It wasn’t until recently that I truly discovered the power of “and.” I don’t have to choose just one thing because I can be a dancer and a personal trainer, and I am happy to be doing that now.
 
What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  Growing up, I always used to strive for perfection, but now that I’m older I know that true perfection doesn’t exist. Part of what makes us human is our imperfections, so now I strive for excellence.
 
What’s your fitness fashion style?  I love leggings (especially ones with no front seam!) and tops with a built in bra because who has time to put on a bra and shirt!
 
What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  My most helpful dance advice was from one of my instructors in college. When we would go across the floor or do a combination, he would always say “make it happen or make it up,” because we can always trust ourselves to make things work even when we make a mistake.
 
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  I love the Twilight series. I’ve read the books and watched the movies at least 5 times, and I do a reread and rewatch every couple of years. I just love love, and this is my guilty pleasure romance story.
What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  I cherish my positivity. I always try to make the best of a situation. I’m definitely a glass half full kind of person.
 
What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?  I have a podcast with my best friend called Throwback Paperback where we read and reread young adult books from our childhood. I love to read, so this has been a fun way to revisit some of my childhood favorites, such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Percy Jackson. We release new episodes every Monday, and you can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
 
Anything else about you that I missed?
My favorite beverage is water! Got to stay hydrated!

Get to Know Our Fabulous NYC Trainer, Shannon McGee!

Shannon McGee is one of those people who make you feel comfortable the minute you meet them.  We value our trainers so much and take a long time to make sure they are right for our company, and it has been especially challenging for me to get to know people in NYC while I live in Denver.  But Shannon immediately struck me as a confident, warm, gifted, and knowledgeable trainer.  I am so excited to welcome her to our team and to introduce our clients to her extraordinary talent!

Check out this interview below and get to know some great things about her.  Like me, she loves to go to movies alone with a tub of buttered popcorn.  She also loves sharks, believe it or not! (I differ from her there lol)  Enjoy this interview, and also reach out if you want to train with Shannon before she books up quickly!

~ Mahri

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Where were you born? Plano, Texas

Where did you grow up? Frisco, Texas

What’s your biggest passion? Performing!

Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? I have had a fulfilling dance career performing as a freelance artist as well as dancing with different companies in NYC and I am still pursuing this! I currently dance with a contemporary dance company and a cabaret! In addition to performing I discovered my passion for fitness and education in 2015. Guiding others in their fitness journey became a huge passion of mine and helping people find strength and confidence in their own bodies is extremely important to me. My goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for every client I work with.

What do you wish you knew when you were younger? Don’t wait for approval or validation from others, believe in yourself and go for it!

What’s your fitness fashion style? I love wearing leggings and a cute crop! Neutral colors are my jam, especially wearing all black!

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten? Stay true to yourself.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Going to the movie theater by myself and seeing a movie. Buttered movie theater popcorn is a must!

What quality do you really cherish about yourself? I love my ability to adapt and go with the flow.

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)? I am obsessed with sharks! It is a dream of mine to go cage diving in South Africa with Great White sharks.

Anything else about you that I missed?
I am just so grateful to join Body Conceptions and am so excited to get started!

Meet Christa Rost, Our Newest Denver Addition!

I had been eyeing Christa Rost for some time before getting the chance to work with her in Denver.  She has a wonderful reputation in the fitness community, and I already knew how much I enjoyed her warm and positive personality.  

I’m excited to give you a chance to get to know Christa here in this interview. As you will see, she’s had a wide-ranging background with some major twists and turns (and believe it or not, she almost became a musician!).  I relate to these big life changes, and I love the way it brings a different kind of perspective and intelligence into the fitness work.  

Anyone who gets the chance to work with Christa will be exceptionally lucky!  Read more about her here, and reach out to us if you would like to book a session with her.  I feel so lucky to be able to live in Denver, and building such a great team has been a wonderful part of the process!

~ Mahri

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1) Full name: 

Christa VandeZande Rost

2) Where were you born? 

Fort Wayne, Indiana

3) Where did you grow up?

See above👆🏻

4) What’s your biggest passion?

My family

5) Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why?

I was a full-time graphic designer until I became pregnant with my second son in 2011. I began pursuing a fitness career soon after I had him because of the flexibility it offered while raising a family. 

6) What do you wish you knew when you were younger? 

Success comes in many forms. It’s not always directly connected to career and finances.

7) What’s your fitness fashion style?

Mixing high and low, street style and athleisure.

8) What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?

Everything in moderation. Including exercise and food.

9) What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Beach travel

10) What quality do you really cherish about yourself?

My ability to be flexible.

11) What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)? 

I grew up playing the clarinet, flute and saxophone. I almost studied music instead of art.

 

Christa’s Bio
Christa Rost grew up in the Midwest dancing and competing in gymnastics, but began her journey in the fitness industry in college teaching a variety of group exercise classes popular in the mid-nineties: step and hi/lo aerobics, bootcamps, and dance cardio. After working in the design industry for 12 years in Denver, she returned to teaching group exercise in the form of barre and sculpt, but quickly added trending modalities such as: bounce, HIIT and indoor cycling. She has taught at several different boutique studios and gyms in the Denver and Boulder area in the last 10 years, and enjoys sharing her passion for group fitness with her clients and friends. Christa is honored to join the Body Conceptions team and looks forward to expanding her fitness industry experience through carefully curated classes and personal training. 

Do you and your children need help sleeping?? Meet Denver-based sleep coach, Seth Davis!

Those who know me and my journey in business know that I am obsessed with finding services that improve our clients and their families’ quality of life.  It’s been extra exciting to find those kinds of businesses in the Denver area, and sleep coaching company, Sleepably, is no exception.  Seth Davis and his colleagues specialize in helping adults and children find workable sleep habits and improve their quality of life as a result.  Most of our new moms struggle the most with sleep since they have difficulty finding a sleep routine let alone manage and understand sleep issues that come up for their babies.

In this interview with Seth, find out how and why he got into the sleep coaching business, and learn some great tips on how to help your babies sleep better.

Thank you, Seth and Sleepably!

~Mahri

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1) Your name, and where you are from:

My name is Seth Davis and I am from Denver, Colorado.

2) Tell us about your business and what you provide:

My business is called Sleepably, and we provide sleep coaching for adults and children. We work one-on-one with individuals who are dealing with sleep issues, or with parents whose children have sleep challenges. Our goal is to discover the root causes of the sleep problems and create personalized sleep plans to help them or their children (or both) achieve better sleep. 

3) What made you decide to move in this direction as a business? Could you talk a little bit about your journey getting here?

Sleepably arose from a personal need, because I struggled with sleep issues for 15 years or more. For those who have experienced sleep issues, or have had children who don’t sleep well, you’re probably familiar with common effects of sleep deprivation like frustration, fatigue and moodiness. It’s not a fun space to live in and I didn’t want to stay there for much longer, so that led me to take action.

I started researching sleep coaches online and quickly decided that rather than hire one, I wanted to become one, fix my own sleep problems and create a business to help others. 

It was fascinating to dive into learning about sleep. I was able to identify all of the habits I’d been keeping over the years that were fueling my insomnia, which provided several a-ha moments. Since then, I have been much more well-rested and upbeat while continuing to build the business. My wife Rebecca and our friend Sara joined Sleepably as pediatric sleep consultants, so now we’re able to really help people young and old to rest easier and feel better.

4)  You have a pediatric side to your business.  Why did you decide to add that component? Also, do you help pregnant women?

After hearing from client after client that often their own child’s struggle with sleep was the root cause of their own sleep issues, Sleepably began offering pediatric sleep coaching. As parents ourselves we understand the struggle is real and decided we would love to bridge this gap and help out our fellow parents! To date, we have two pediatric RNs who are also certified pediatric sleep consultants. We now can confidently serve all ages from newborn to elderly, and we are really proud of that aspect of our business. 

We love to empower prenatal and postpartum mamas to take their health to the next level by providing wellness resources. We are always looking to expand our circle to help support this population. We love to provide sleep help to not only the moms themselves but to the babies, which inevitably helps moms and dads in the long run! Motherhood is a journey. Nothing happens overnight, and it’s an honor to join forces with new moms and teach them lifelong skills that will allow them to flourish in their new role.

5)  We have lots of moms who need help supporting their children’s sleep habits, especially little ones younger than 2 years old.   Do you have 3 tips that might help moms calm down and help their babies sleep?

Great question! I asked our pediatric sleep consultants (Sara and Rebecca) to weigh in on this question, so here’s what they had to say.

Sometimes it can be as simple as charting a sleep log to monitor how much sleep your little one is really getting. A few easy sleep strategies that we like to recommend to parents are:

  1. Appropriate sleep and wake times.Your baby has scientifically recommended wake and sleep windows based on their age. Simply finding the sweet spot of how long to stay awake between sleeps can be the secret to finding that healthy sleep schedule.
  2. Dark room. Light can prohibit the release of melatonin, so it’s important to make sure that the nursery is dark. Even light from the hallway, light slipping through the blinds, or a white night-light can be enough to disrupt sleep. We recommend making sure the nursery is so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. If you do use a night-light, make sure it is colored amber or red so it does not inhibit melatonin production.
  3. In bed by 7:30 p.m. Well-meaning parents will try to keep their kiddo awake later in the evening to increase the likelihood of them sleeping later into the morning. However, this practice will only lead to more wakeful nights of sleep. Fun fact: After 8 p.m., a hormone called cortisol is released that can inhibit sleep, causing frequent night wakings.

6) We truly believe that fitness does not exist in a vacuum and look for knowledgeable practitioners to refer our clients when they need support in areas other than our own like sleep support. How could we as trainers help YOU do your job better with our clients? How might we work together?

Fitness and sleep really do go hand-in-hand, so there’s a natural connection here. Body Conceptions is already helping its clients on the journey to better sleep by ensuring that they get consistent physical activity. As an adult sleep coach, I often find myself recommending that my clients increase their activity levels to better support their sleep. So by emphasizing fitness and nutrition, Body Conceptions trainers are contributing a key piece of the puzzle. When Body Conceptions refers clients who aren’t sleeping well to us, we can look at the rest of the puzzle pieces to see how to better arrange them for optimal sleep. 

And on the flip side, when we engage with clients who would benefit from exercise, Body Conceptions is a ready-made solution for us to recommend. Our pediatric sleep consultants work with many postpartum moms, and we’ve found that a lot of those moms would benefit mentally and physically from working with Body Conceptions trainers.

7) What do you love the most about your work?

I love guiding adults from being tired and frustrated to understanding their sleep and being able to sleep confidently. Having been where they are, it’s rewarding to finally give them the rest they’ve been missing. During consultations, I provide a lot of education and it’s fun to see clients have some of the same a-ha moments that I did when I was getting my sleep coach certifications.

And on the pediatric side, it’s equally rewarding to see parents’ relief when our pediatric sleep consultants navigate them through their children’s sleep challenges. Many of these parents have been running low on energy, time and patience for months or years, so they almost don’t know what to do with themselves once their kids are sleeping more normally.

 

8) How can our clients contact you and use your services?

Whether your clients could use help from an adult or pediatric sleep coach, we’re ready to dive in and help. The first step is to schedule a free phone call with us, usually about 15-30 minutes, to tell us more about your situation. If our coaching is a good fit for you, we can begin working together to define and achieve your sleep goals.

Seth Davis
Seth Davis is a Certified Adult Sleep Coach and the founder of Sleepably, a Denver-based team of sleep coaches who help children and adults sleep better. After struggling with insomnia for many years, Seth decided to not only become a certified sleep coach and fix his own sleep problems, but to help others overcome their sleep challenges. He now works one-on-one with clients to explore how their thoughts, behaviors and lifestyles are potentially affecting their sleep, and to create personalized plans for overcoming their sleep issues. Seth enjoys helping adults of all ages and backgrounds achieve healthy, sustainable rest to enhance their everyday lives.

Read all about Rhiannon, another incredible new trainer!

We are so lucky to have Rhiannon on our team!!  I knew I wanted to work with her the first time I met her, and she has been such a lovely, caring and conscientious member of our company.
 
Rhiannon’s career reminds me a bit of mine.  She absolutely loves dance in every way, and her passion for helping others has had a big influence on the choices she has made along the way.  This caring quality makes her such an attentive trainer, and anyone lucky enough to work with her will see that right away.  
 
Find out all the fun and quirky details about Rhiannon below, including what most people don’t realize about the way she was raised!  Thank you for everything, Rhiannon — we are excited to work with you!
 
~ Mahri
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Where were you born?  
Queens, NY
 
Where did you grow up?  
Queens, NY
 
What’s your biggest passion?  
My biggest passion is dance!
 
 
Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? 
My career is being a professional dancer and fitness trainer. In college, I always thought I’d be a strictly modern dancer and go on to dance in a small company. After graduating, I began to find a passion for musical theatre and commercial dance and decided to pursue that. Around the same time I began delving into fitness and really found a passion for teaching and helping others. This is where I began my journey as a fitness instructor!
 
What do you wish you knew when you were younger?
What I wish I knew when I was younger is that there’s no single easy journey in life. Things are going to get tough and you might get knocked off of your original “perfect” plan. I think when those things happen, not only does it make you stronger but it creates new paths and new oppurtunities you might have missed originally!
 
What’s your fitness fashion style?  
My fitness fashion style is definitely very simple! I love simple and functional clothes that don’t break the bank! Target is probably my favorite place to shop for fitness apparel. 
 
 
What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  
The best piece of health/wellness/dance advice I’ve ever gotten would probably be to always explore new ways of moving. This can apply to dance and fitness! I never like to get stuck in one genre for too long because then I’m not making myself as dynamic as possible. In fitness, I love to try new botique classes and different instructors! There’s so many options in NYC that you can never get bored.
 
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  
My guiltiest pleasure is definitely binge watching reality tv shows! I’m obsessed with anything Real Housewives or Jersey Shore. Currently re-watching dance moms from the beginning LOL.
 
What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  
A quality I really cherish about myself is always wanting to help other people. I truly find joy in teaching and making sure peoples’ needs are being met. This is why teaching private trainings is perfect for me to ensure what I’m giving a client is tailor made to their wants and needs!
 

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What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?  
Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m a born and raised vegetarian! 
 
Anything else about you that I missed?  
I’m just so grateful to be a part of the BoCo family!!!!!

Meet Demi Remick, one of our newest team members and fabulous tap dancer!

It’s been such a pleasure getting to know Demi since the very first time we met.  She is known as an incredible tap-dancer in NYC dance circles (which definitely impressed me!), but some of the most wonderful qualities about her from my perspective are her deep care for others, her conscientiousness and strong sense of responsibility, and her warmth and connection with others.  These are the qualities I seek in our trainers, and I feel so lucky to have her on the team.

While the COVID pandemic has made it difficult to meet our trainers in person, you have so many opportunities to see Demi online and train with her in virtual sessions.  Contact us to arrange sessions with her, and you will have such a fun experience! 

Read about Demi below to find out more about her background and her secret dream (which I have a feeling will come true!).  

Enjoy, and join me in welcoming Demi to the team!  ~Mahri

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Full name: Demi Remick

Where were you born? New Hampshire!

Where did you grow up?  New Hampshire but I moved to NYC at 15-years-old!

 

What’s your biggest passion?

Tap dancing!

Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? 

I am a professional tap dancer, teacher and performer. I haven’t changed directions, only added fitness into my life! I love taking care of my body because it is my instrument, and sharing that with others is such a special addition to my life as a dancer!

What do you wish you knew when you were younger? 

Not to stress out about so many small things. To enjoy the ride and look forward to the future!

What’s your fitness fashion style?

High waisted leggings and sports bra matching set!

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?

The body is capable of so much more than we think. Our bodies are smart, resilient and adaptable!

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups!

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?

My resilience, determination and commitment to everything no matter how small in my life.

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)? 

I love stand up comedy! Some of my favorite comedians are Steve Martin, Bo Burnham & John Mulaney!

Anything else about you that I missed?

I have a secret dream to be a tap dancing host or guest on Sesame Street! If you know one of the producers, send them my way.

How do I manage this “new normal”?

Anyone who has followed our Body Conceptions events in the last year has gotten to know clinical psychologist, Dr. Rachel Goldman.  “Dr. Rachel” (as she loves to be called) has been a strong force in the wellness scene in NYC, and she has partnered with me several times on panels designed to help postpartum women find balance and feel less stressed.  Her expertise spans a range of topics centered on women’s health and wellness in addition to behavior change and weight management.  She is a true expert on how we can manage our stress in difficult times, and these times definitely count as difficult! 
 
I reached out to Dr. Rachel to ask for her guidance, and I hope her thoughtful and measured answers help you and your family the same way they helped me.  You will find great tips on how to handle new-mom overload and stress-eating, and you will also find some great ideas for how to keep the whole family more balanced and connected right now.  
Please enjoy.  We at Body Conceptions send lots of love!
 
~Mahri
 
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Everything is in a state of flux right now, and lots of mom and families are feeling overwhelmed.  Do you have any tips on how moms can feel more centered?  Maybe a few tips on what they can do for themselves at this time?
 
When we are feeling stressed, or going through a difficult time, the first thing that tends to go out the window is our self-care. My recommendation is to try to maintain some sort of routine, even if it is a new routine for you. Remember to focus on what is IN your control, which includes your health behaviors- specifically including water intake, the food we put in our mouths, movement, sleep, and stress management techniques. 
 
As a relatively new mom yourself, how are you handling working from home and balancing care for your child?
 
This is not easy and it is a daily struggle, but maintaining some sort of routine has been helpful. I also remind myself that I am doing the best that I can, which I am given the current situation. Remembering to use positive self-talk can be very helpful. It is difficult with my husband and I both trying to work from home, and not have childcare, but we make it work (as I often say). We try to take shifts working and spending time with our little guy when we can and we both definitely focus and get work done when he naps.  It’s also important to remind ourselves that many people are experiencing the same (or similar ) thing right now, so people will be understanding. I do virtual sessions and teletherapy from home, and I am honest with my clients that I have a 1 year old and they are all understanding. We need to be more understanding and kind to ourselves as well.  
 
You work with weight management and behavior change, and it can be especially tricky to handle stress eating right now.  Do you have a few tips on how to keep that under control?
 
This is definitely tricky right now and I hear many people struggling with snacking/eating out of boredom or stress during this time.  Something to remember is that when we are at work, we tend to be busy and have distractions, but we also may not have a fully stocked refrigerator or pantry within a few steps of us.  
 
Now, being home and working from home, we have that luxury  – food is always available and accessible to us.  Sticking to a routine definitely helps.  Plan out your meals and snack times just as you would if you were at work.  If you find yourself going to the kitchen at other times, ask yourself what is going on.  Many times we are bored at those times and then we need to come up with an alternative behavior to participate in during those times.  
 
Of course if you are truly hungry and you haven’t eaten in hours, then you need to eat.  But if not, figure out something else to do at that time.  It could be a sign that you need a short break.  Take a walk if you can, do the plank or a short workout, call a friend, etc.
 
And finally, I would love to talk about how the whole family copes with being together and at home right now.  We definitely recommend trying a family workout, which can be a great bonding experience to let off steam and feel better together.  I would love some thoughts from an expert like you on how to help keep families happy and healthy together right now.
 
Doing some sort of fun activity together is definitely a great idea. We have been doing family workouts and family walks together, but I think anything that you do together as a family can be a nice way to bond together.  For many families that perhaps didn’t typically have meals together, this is a great time to start doing that. Everyone is now at home and family mealtimes is a great bonding time, as well as having many other benefits. 
 
I would also suggest that everyone continue to have some sort of “me time.” This is a change- you are not used to all being home together at the same time, and for days at a time. Speak to your family and figure out a schedule that works for everyone. Perhaps take shifts and allow each other the time that they need— even if it is only a few minutes. Additionally, I would ask each other what they need and how they are doing. This daily family check-in could be an activity that you do during a family meal. Ask each other how you are coping and if there is anything the family can do differently to help each other. Communication and support is key right now!  
 
 

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Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS (aka Dr. Rachel) is a clinical psychologist who takes a holistic approach to health. She specializes in the mind-body connection, including stress reduction, the treatment of obesity and weight management, and health behavior change.  She is also Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine and has a private practice in NYC where she utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy to assist in behavioral changes, both with individual clients and corporate wellness. She is a sought after expert who has been featured in media, including The New York Times, TIME magazine, CNN, USA Today, Shape, and Women’s Health. She is on the Wellness Board of VeryWell.com and continues to be an expert guest on Sirius XM Doctor Radio. She continues to live an active lifestyle in NYC with her husband and 1 year old, and is passionate about helping others live healthier and happier lives by promoting positive behavioral changes. She believes everyone CAN live happy and healthy lives! 

Moms out there needing exercise, we’ve got you covered! An Interview with Brooklyn Bump

Below is in interview I had with Amelia Freeman of Brooklyn Bump, a community-driven site for Brooklyn moms to connect, share, and learn from one another during the early stages of motherhood.  Brooklyn Bump is filled with incredible resources for moms, so I felt so grateful to featured on her site and share the virtual resources we have been creating for pregnancy and postnatal recovery.  

To see the interview on their site, go here.  Also check out their fantastic resources and follow Brooklyn Bump on Instagram.  They are a great community!!

~ Mahri

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Mahri Relin, owner of Body Conceptions, talks to us about her personalized workouts designed to support women through all stages of life. They are at-home training sessions designed specifically for expecting and postnatal moms – fun for both you and baby.

Mahri, you are such a positive energy and have created a wonderful at-home fitness option for so many women to get moving on their own time. How did Body Conceptions come to be and why did you decide to provide remote workouts opposed to the traditional class setting?

Thanks so much, Amelia!   I have done lots of thinking about this question.  I originally started Body Conceptionsbecause I felt like so many women were looking for fitness experiences that felt joyful, motivating, and effective but that also worked for them as individuals.  I am very supportive of other fitness businesses out there, but I felt when I started my company that lots of women felt pressured to come into classes with a high level of fitness from the beginning and that there was a lot of pressure to conform and push their bodies to the limit even when it wasn’t right for them.  

I also recognized that there were times in women’s lives – like pregnancy for example – when they needed extra fitness guidance and support, and there were very few fitness experts out there to help them.

For me, helping people individually and discovering how I can work with them and their specific individual needs is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world.  I love finding out what people need and helping them gain strength and confidence in their bodies and their lives over time. I also love going through fitness experiences with them and seeing the joy and energy on their faces afterwards.  There is nothing better than helping someone feel happier and better about themselves, and thus giving them more tools to help fuel the rest of their lives.  

I love that and can imagine it is a very rewarding feeling!

Tell us about your shift in focus to prenatal/postnatal clients and why it was important to offer in addition to the private training sessions that already existed. 

That’s a great question!  I actually had a prenatal focus even from the beginning, but there were lots of people who came to us for other things too — wedding and event preparation, lifestyle fitness, general health improvement, etc.  We actually still see many of those original clients because people tend to stay with us for a long time, but we started becoming hyper-focused on pre and postnatal exercise in the last 3-4 years. Once I saw that women were not getting the fitness information they needed to get through pregnancy and the postnatal healing process properly, I realized more and more that this needed to be a big role of ours.   

Knowing that knowledge was the key to becoming the best pre and postnatal fitness experts possible, we started diving deeper into the information out there as a company, which often meant getting into PT territory since fitness education can often be too general.  We have also had conversations and taken courses with doctors, psychologists, dietitians, coaches, and integrative practitioners, among others, to get as full a picture as possible about what women need at these crucial times of their lives. We want to know as much as we can, but we also acknowledge the limits of our expertise and refer our clients out to our favorite experts when they need extra support.  We have an AMAZING network!

How do your pre/postnatal workouts differ from others and what can a mom-to-be or new mom expect at their first class?

Our workouts are based on the Body Conceptions method, which is a dance-based cardio and sculpting approach.  This doesn’t mean you have to be a dancer or even remotely coordinated, but we use dance-based principles that focus on alignment, strengthening and lengthening your muscles, and supporting your joints properly during these crucial times.  We also focus heavily on incorporating core work, and we do lots of integrative movement that’s excellent for your mind as well. And it’s all set to great music, so you can’t help but have fun in the process!

Although people don’t realize this in the moment, our method has tons of improvisation built into it. This allows our trainers to be able to shift direction rapidly or accommodate anything specific at the drop of a hat.  Our trainers are also heavily trained in pre and postnatal principles, so they can always accommodate those principles within the workouts depending on the needs of the client. And that part is especially important. We understand that each person and each pregnancy and postnatal recovery process is different.  We focus very intensely on understanding your unique needs as a client and accommodating and supporting those needs so that you can get the most healthy and personalized experience possible with us.

In your first session with us, you can expect tons of questions about your background, special conditions, and anything specific you might be experiencing in connection with your current or recent pregnancy (e.g., diastasis, pelvic issues, back or shoulder pain, etc).  We will do some assessments, and we will also start teaching you principles right away so that you have some things to keep in mind both during and after your sessions with us. You will experience our workout the way we feel would work best for you. You will move your whole body, likely do some sweating, and you will probably feel pretty challenged.  You will also have a great time – the most important part!

That’s so true! The workouts I experienced were so fun and such a great mix of cardio and strength but with the ease I needed to feel comfortable being a couple months postpartum. Also, my baby LOVED watching which was a great way for us both to spend the better part of an hour. Do all of your trainers show up with variations of a set workout you’ve created, or are they all unique depending on who teaches? Curious to know what “formula” you use so-to-speak in establishing these mom-targeted routines. 

I’m so glad you had a great time!  Each of our trainers has a unique flavor, so it’s really fun for us to match them with clients depending on how we think personalities will go well together.  And yes, babies love to watch us!! Moms sometimes think they need to put their new babies down for a nap in order to work out with us effectively, but we have lots of success doing the workout in front of their babies who love the music and visual stimulation.  (And we also have exercise you can do WITH your babies too!)

Our workouts generally have a set structure with specific principles and targets for the body, and I spend a lot of time discussing the principles behind why we choose to move certain ways within the method.  Beyond that, there is a lot of room for the trainer to improvise, which is a crucial part of our work. The improvisation allows the trainer to change direction immediately, and often they will need to drop any plan they might have walking into a session with a client who needs something very different in the moment. 

I came to a session once and learned that my client had just fallen down some stairs but still wanted to work out! (I don’t recommend exercising while injured, but she and I were pretty confident that we could work around what had just happened to her.) I took a very different approach in that moment than I intended and somehow managed to give her a tough workout without causing any pain.  Without the freedom of improvisation, I never would have been able to do that – phew!

Oh wow! Yes, I’m glad you both were able to make the session a success under the circumstances!

Speaking of one form of “injury” to another, what types of movements and recovery methods are you and your team focusing on when visiting a mom who has recently given birth? 

That’s a great question!  We are thinking a lot about the trauma our mom has just experienced and the individual needs they have at that time.  In other words, we want to know whether that mom needed a c-section or had a vaginal delivery, and whether there were tears, etc.  We will also check for diastasis (or a split in their abdominals, which is common), and we will assess any pelvic floor issues – plus posture issues, back pain, neck or shoulder issues, the full gamut!  Our approach moving forward will be aimed at how to build up strength the right way while accommodating any of these individual issues (and of course referring them to any specialists if we feel they need that).  

One of the most important needs for a newly postnatal mom is strengthening the connection between the rib cage, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and deep core. We talk a lot about this as a company, and we do lots of education around this with our clients.  Believe it or not, breathing properly after having a baby is the first and most crucial step to recovery. It’s the key to healing and also setting yourself up for everything that comes afterwards, from the first steps to ultimately getting back to the exercise intensity that you had before giving birth!

Here is the question I know everyone reading is thinking. SPACE! Space is an issue for so many of us New Yorker’s and inevitably becomes a question of… “But do I have the room?” What do you tell moms who don’t think their space is conducive to working out in?

Believe it or not, crowded living rooms or bedrooms are some of my favorite spaces for workouts! We honestly don’t need much space at all to give you a workout.  As long as you can put down a mat (and hopefully have at least a little space for us to put one down next to you), then we are usually all set. On top of that, I love using chairs, pillows, countertops, and beds as great ways to support the body at different levels and use different kinds of leverage and challenge. We have also had great sessions in small hotel rooms and kids’ playrooms.  Almost any space is possible!

Amazing!

Now to touch briefly on the global crisis we are facing together as COVID-19 touches our nation. We are living in uncertain times and small businesses of all kinds are trying to navigate ways to accommodate a world of temporary isolation. What are ways moms can keep using your services even when you or one of your awesome trainers can’t be there physically? 

Thank you so much for asking.  We are doing our best and also trying to spread the word about other businesses who can help families remotely too.

We are actually offering FaceTime sessions for both individuals and small groups. It’s becoming a really fun way for groups of friends to connect and sweat together.  And we can also really see and correct clients when we do our one-on-one sessions, even on the screen! We do workouts for whole families because – let’s face it – we all need to let off steam and find ways to have a great time together right now.  I have a family of 5 planning to work out with me later this afternoon!

We also have an On Demand video platform, which you can access from our website (www.bodyconceptions.com).  It has lots of full-length and shorter workouts, and there is a pregnancy section with both prenatal and postnatal information as well.  

Basically, we’ve got you covered right now if you really need to sweat, let off steam, and have a good time.  We all need it!

Those are great options – ones I’m personally very grateful for.

Lastly, aside from offering training sessions you also are a great force in the birthing community bringing moms together through special events and gatherings. What’s next for Body Conceptions and where else can fans (like me!) expect to see you in the near future?! 

One of my biggest passions is bringing moms together for workout and wellness experiences and educational panels.  I have been doing that in both Denver and NYC, and I also do my best to introduce our moms to lots of other great businesses and practitioners who can help them.  

Right now, we have had to delay plans in NYC for an event I am dying to tell you about and had to delay an event we had already scheduled in Denver — so please stay tuned for announcements about both of them once things start to calm down.  I think a great idea now is to recreate these experiences online. I am getting ready for a few of those offerings and will announce them soon. (I’ll make sure that you’re one of the first to hear!)  

I want to send love and good health to your community right now.  You are not alone by any stretch, and my company and I will do our best to help ease your load and feel better.  Thanks, Amelia, for giving me the chance to connect with everyone!!

Thank you, Mahri! I’m a big fan of you and your company. Thanks for supporting our community and all you do to keep moms everywhere healthy and happy!

When Your Family Needs Childcare! Meet Lindsay from Bell Family Company

I have worked with moms and families for over a decade, and without a doubt one of the most stressful experiences for them is finding new childcare.  It’s harrowing to find the right person since there are clearly so many factors involved.  Parents need to feel comfortable with that person spending lots of time with their children, and they also need to get along with them as adults.  Safety is a huge factor, and it can be difficult to get information on their new person’s history or experiences with previous families.

We don’t necessarily connect with childcare companies as a fitness business, but I realized immediately when I found out about Bell Family Company that they provided a service that’s essential to our clients.  They do lots of vetting of their providers, and I found out about them through trusted sources who had great experiences with them.  We can’t guarantee every experience of course, but I love passing on information about great people when they can potentially help (and relieve the stress of) a huge group of our clients.  

Meet Lindsay Bell below, founder of Bell Family Company – and a sweet person as well! Find out more about her company, some fun and interesting details about her personal history, and get some tips on what to look out for in a great childcare provider.  We definitely recommend using her company, and we want to hear about your experiences with childcare in general.  (DM us at @bodyconceptions on Instagram!)

Enjoy!
~Mahri 

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Where did you grow up?
I grew up on a small farm outside of Cleveland, OH. My four sisters and I loved imaginative play; always developing towns down in our basement, making forts in the woods behind our home, setting up stores in our bedrooms selling items we crafted. We helped our mom and dad a lot with the home; picking veggies in the garden, feeding the cattle, mowing the lawn (when we were old enough), helping with laundry, etc. My parents taught us the perfect mix of responsibility and fun.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into childcare.  
I am the oldest of 5 girls so babysitting and leadership have been with me since I can remember. I am the product of two educators so I also get my love for caring and teaching children from my parents. I remember pitching my parents on allowing me to babysit my little sisters when I was 12 years old, I was very convincing and they let me! While I was in high school, I continued babysitting for local families on the weekends and after school. I got my first full time summer nanny job when I was 16. I worked 8-5pm M-F and cared for 3 girls 5, 6 and 7 years old. I loved it! Since that I babysat all the time, it must have been hundreds of families over the years and all ages newborn to teenagers.

Why did you decide to start your own company?
As a teenager I religiously read Glamour Magazine; that is how I learned and became obsessed with wanting to move to NYC. It wasn’t my grand plan to start a childcare placement agency, but I guess it was always in the cards for me to care for children. In 2005 I moved to NYC without a job and started babysitting for a few families on the UES. I kept at it adding my friends to babysit when I couldn’t and the families started to tell other families about my babysitters club. In 2008, I realized I had something special with my babysitters club and licensed it.

In my experience, finding the right person to watch their children – especially in a very involved way like nanny – can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences as a mom. What advice would you give moms on what to look for in a childcare provider? What are the qualities they should find?
Connection between child and nanny is important, but even more so the connection between nanny and parents has to be special. I always advise moms to focus on the connection vs other matters that come secondary. Its like when you are dating and want to find a good match for yourself; you want to have that connection because you are going to work alongside this person for a long time, you are going to raise children with this person, you are going to share a home with this person, etc.

Nannies that report having an excellent connection with their employer tend to stay on longer term and become part of the family.

Every family wants the same basic things in a nanny; loving, caring, nurturing, etc. No one really comes to us and says, I really want to have a great connection with my nanny!

What should parents avoid? Are there any red flags you identify when you are hiring childcare professionals?
-Nannies that don’t respond quickly; just move on. If someone is interested they get back right away.

– The families that come to us all want nannies that are legal to work in the USA.  If your family prefers this, be sure to review all documentation carefully.

-If you are a busy working parent and don’t have time to dedicate to a search, go with an agency. It’s so time consuming running a search, so if you have the means outsource it!!

There are other flags, but we have found they are on a case by case basis.  For example you may not want to judge someone that doesn’t smile right away in an interview; maybe she is nervous or maybe in her culture she is not taught to do that. When we send a profile to a family we’ll communicate our experience with her thus far and give notes to prep the family on what to expect and ask about to further get to know her.

Could you tell us a little about Bell Family Company? What can parents expect when they want to work with you? What are the kinds of services that you provide?
I think the most special thing we offer is our on-call 24/7 concierge; during off hours a family can come to us anytime with a request! It’s basically a safety net for parents. So if your nanny gets sick or you have a last minute meeting you have to go to at night, families contact us and we get them booked with a sitter.

Our agency is family owned, and ran by mothers, former nannies/sitters and educators. We provide a white glove experience; so families are not just dealing with technology, they are speaking with a member of our team, talking through questions, getting guidance on situations, etc. Our agency provides all family care services; full and part time, baby nurses/night nurses, on-demand sitters (daytime, evening, weekend), Travel Sitters, Family Helpers, you name it we do it.

What’s one of the best pieces of advice you ever received about starting and running your own company?
“Not everyone is going to like you, and you are not going to like everyone.”

“Don’t worry about being loved by others, you want to be respected by them.”

The first quote is from a friend from college and the second is from my dad. Notice they are both focused on pleasing others😊

Is there anything else I haven’t asked that you would like to share? Anything unexpected or interesting about your background?
My husband was my first investor. He and I worked together for a year to take the business to the next level. My mother was my first employee and she is still with the company. I will forever be thankful to her for all her time and devotion to Bell Family Company.  Oh last, but not least I’m the mother of two young boys!

How can families reach you?
Email me, . I’d love to hear from them! They can also call the office and speak with a member of our team 212-265-3354

 

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More about Lindsay:
Lindsay Bell learned early on about responsibility and leadership as the eldest of five girls she grew up babysitting. After graduating from college in Ohio, Lindsay landed her first job in NYC with the Radio City Rockettes (one BIG family). She most notably executed the production of the 75th Celebration Edition of the Radio City Spectacular Book and coordinated The Rockettes in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade all while babysitting for a handful of families on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. After three years, the babysitting became more and more demanding, and that is when she saw the opportunity and need for the business. Lindsay officially founded Lucky Lil’ Darlings in 2009, which at the time placed only on-demand evening babysitters, it was later renamed Bell Family Company in 2014 placing all family care needs. In 2013, Lindsay lead the acquisition of NY Nanny Center which merged with Bell Family. Bell Family currently with over 1,000 nannies and sitters, continues to expand and serve as a leader in the family care space. For the last 10 years Lindsay has focused on pursuing her passion for complete, trusted family care, establishing an unmatched network of reliable family care providers, interacting with America’s finest families and aligning herself with the best in family brands.