Welcome to our new instructor, Piera Calabro!

You might think that Piera is fabulous from afar (and she IS), but her extra-special spark is evident the minute she begins speaking. Her energy is full of sunshine and infectious spirit that makes you NEED to stick around for more. She is such special ball of light, and we are incredible lucky to have her on our team.

Piera comes to us with a great background in fitness as well as dance and the performing arts. Her command of a space when she instructs is amazing, and you can’t help but laugh and have the best time with her while working to your limit. She also has a deep interest in women’s health that matches our mission.

Please read more about Piera in her interview below. (I personally share her obsession with ice cream and skincare regimens lol). And let us know if you want to meet and train with her. You will have a blast!

Enjoy!
~Mahri

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Full name:
Piera Calabro

Where were you born?
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia

What’s your biggest passion?
Musical Theatre – whether it be performing in a show or attending one. In what other medium can you break out into song and dance when emotions have reached their pinnacle?

Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why?
Initially, New York’s fitness industry intimidated me. I knew that I wanted to teach but didn’t know what studio would suit my personality. Luckily, I found Chaise Fitness and became certified as a group fitness instructor there. Pre and post natal fitness is an area of the industry I had always been interested in. I think it’s an incredibly delicate time for women and that attentive care and consideration should be taken to one’s health and well being. Finding Body Conceptions and hearing about Mahri’s ethos was like a breath of fresh air in the over-saturated machine that is fitness today. Our conscious approach to training clients allows for relationships that are built on longevity, compassion and honesty.  

What do you wish you knew when you were younger?
That being gay is ok!

What’s your fitness fashion style?
Anything Athleta

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?
Commit to a skin care regime both day and night from my mum!

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
ICE CREAM

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?
My genuine care for others

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?
I am terrified of birds.

New Instructor Spotlight – Welcome Kate Havlicek!

The minute I met Kate Havlicek, I knew we needed to work with her! Kate has a confidence and a sweet and grounded radiance that makes you immediately feel comfortable around her. Already a seasoned instructor, she brings incredible authority to her teaching that’s rare in those who first start working with us. She is simultaneously humble and kind while also inspiring in her training style. In short — FABULOUS!!

I learned a lot of fun and new things about Kate in this interview, and I hope you enjoy getting to know her as well. For those of you who have the pleasure of working with her privately, you are lucky!!

~ Mahri
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Full name: Catherine Ryan Havlicek (but I have always gone by Kate and I spell it with a K and Catherine with a C!)

Where were you born: Huntington, Long Island

Where did you grow up: I grew up in the town of East Hampton on the very east end of Long Island.

Biggest passion: Dance, movement, and fitness have always been some of my biggest passions. Moving my body in any way brings me the most joy, however I also have a deep love for film and am a huge movie buff!

Career: I worked for lululemon for many years, but also taught dance at the studio I went to growing up, while also teaching other fitness classes like barre and Zumba back in the day! My career has definitely become more centered around fitness as the years have gone on, and I am excited to be acquiring more knowledge about all aspects of fitness and personal training.

What do you wish you knew when you were younger: You do not have to live up to anyone’s expectations other than your own. There is no set path in life, or right or wrong way to live your life.

What’s your fashion fitness style: Pretty much always in mostly black, sleek mesh patterns on leggings, and fun crop tops. Love Michi, Alo Yoga, lululemon, and APL for sneakers!

Best health/wellness/dance advice: For wellness, definitely just to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority – love your body and acknowledge it for all that it is capable of. For dance, if you mess up the choreography, make it a solo!

Guiltiest pleasure: Binging 70’s & 80’s horror movies – they don’t even have to be that good. I just love them.

Quality you cherish about yourself: Being someone people often come to to talk to or open up to. I love being someone who can support other people, because I know I am so appreciative of the people in my life who I can turn to when I am in need.

Something people don’t know about you: I have an obsession with Quentin Tarantino and I have seen Inglourious Basterds more times than I could possibly count. I also do a pretty fantastic Velociraptor impression.

Getting to know Carlyn Rosenblum – an expert in Perinatal Nutrition

In our preconception, prenatal, and postpartum fitness work with women, we have repeatedly found that our clients lack information, are often misinformed, and can experience lots of fear – and it’s our honor to help them exercise and navigate the many physical challenges they experience.  In terms of diet and nutrition, we have fielded numerous questions from our clients who feel lost.  Where do they turn??

We have met a fabulous dietician in NYC who specializes in these life transitions, and we are thrilled to connect her with our community!  Carlyn Rosenblum, an experienced dietitian with specialized knowledge in perinatal nutrition, founded MTHR Nutrition specifically focused on nutrition and wellness during these critical periods.  When we got to know Carlyn, we immediately knew that her work complemented ours and needed to be shared!

Enjoy this fascinating interview with Carlyn, and contact her directly if you need her excellent services!

~ Mahri

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1) Your name, and where you are from:

Carlyn Rosenblum MS, RD, CLC

New York City + San Francisco

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

MTHR Nutrition offers concierge nutrition + wellness services for women and families during pre-conception, pregnancy and postpartum. We provide custom counseling as well as other concierge wellness services (grocery store tours, pantry clean outs, cooking classes, meal prep, etc).

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

Through my training as a dietitian I learned that the perinatal period was a critical time for nutrition, both in achieving a healthy pregnancy, but also in impacting the future health of the child (and even the child’s child). However, I quickly discovered that this area of nutrition was not getting the attention it deserved. There was also a world of misinformation, creating confusion, stress and frustration for many women wanting to do right for their body and baby. 

I have always felt that if you can help change the health and nutrition of a mother, you can help change the health and nutrition of her entire family. From an intervention standpoint being able to foster health promotion and chronic disease prevention simply by building a healthy environment in-utero is extremely powerful, yet for many women despite good intentions it does not always happen. 

I wanted to build a business that could support women during this important time for nutrition by providing reliable, evidence-based information and guidance so that they could focus on the joy and beauty of pregnancy. 

4) What are a few of the nutrition challenges women face during and after pregnancy? 

For many women, pregnancy often represents a departure from one’s “normal” eating habits. Body and hormonal changes, food symptoms, and aversions can all complicate one’s ability to maintain a healthy diet. During pregnancy I work with my clients to help increase the nutrient density of their meals and fit nutrition into their “new normal”. The postpartum period is uniquely challenging, especially because of societal pressures on new moms to immediately return to their pre-pregnancy body instead of allowing the body to properly heal. 

5) You also help women navigate fertility. Of the many things you tell women, do you have 3 tips you might suggest to help women think about supporting fertility with their food choices?

  • Quit sugar! In my opinion sugar is the #1 fertility sabotaging food. ALL sugar, even natural sugars can wreak hormonal havoc so it is important to be conscious of even healthy sugar like fruit and limit it to 1 serving at a time, and no more than 3 servings in a day ( FYI 1 serving is only 1/2 a cup).
  • Don’t be afraid of fats: Fats are essential for healthy hormone production and maintaining blood sugar balance, so if you are trying to get pregnant you want to make sure you are including enough in your diet. Swap fat-free products (especially dairy) for their full fat alternatives. That being said, not all fat is created equal! Focus on Omega-3s (Wild Salmon, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds and Walnuts) and unprocessed monounsaturated fats (Olive Oil, Avocado and Almonds). 
  • Eat more plants: Research shows that women who consume more plant-based proteins have improved fertility. I like to have my clients consume at least one plant-based meal per day and focus on consuming eggs and fish over other animal-based proteins. 

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

I definitely believe in a holistic approach to wellness. As trainers, you can encourage your clients to seek nutrition support from a licensed registered dietitian such as myself who can compliment their training. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to nutrition and fitness. Every body is different.  What works for one person may not work for another, and nutrition and exercise need to reflect those differences. Working closely together to create a personalized nutrition and fitness plan can provide clients with the best outcomes. 

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

From a very young age, I knew I wanted my work to serve something beyond just myself. No amount of money in the world would bring me the same amount of joy as when a client tells me how much I have helped them to finally feel healthy and happy in their body so they can get pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy, or feel good about how they feed their family. 

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

They can reach out to me directly via email at  or visit my website www.mthrnutrition.com to book a discovery call. 

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Carlyn believes that feeling your best starts with good nutrition—but also involves how you think, live and show up for yourself physically and emotionally. Many women today feel out of sync with their bodies—especially when it comes to pregnancy. Carlyn works to help you uncover the hidden obstacles keeping you from feeling your best and teaches you how to listen and honor your body by focusing on what healthy means to you. Carlyn is a registered dietitian, with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from NYU. She also obtained her CLC certification from the Healthy Children’s Project. Carlyn is the Founder and CEO of MTHR Nutrition a concierge nutrition counseling service for women. Carlyn dedicates her work to supporting women during the  preconception, prenatal and postpartum periods, which represent an important yet complex time for nutrition. Carlyn takes a science-based, personalized approach to health. She believes that everyone is different, and nutrition should also take into account those differences.

Prenatal chiropractic can be a life-saver! Meet Denver’s expert, Dr. Lauren Love

As I began expanding and meeting people in Denver, I felt especially lucky to get to know the women of Fertile Ground Wellness Center.  Fertile Ground is a “compassionate integrative” health care center that provides women and families with thoughtful treatment across a wide range of health care concerns.  I was especially impressed with Dr.  Lauren Love, an incredibly skilled chiropractor who’s known for her house calls, expertise in prenatal treatment, and her work with infants and children.

I have found that prenatal chiropractic can sound scary to women who aren’t familiar with the practice.  And there can be lots of fear surrounding chiropractic in general.  Through my experience getting treated by Dr. Love,  I quickly realized how grounded, intelligent, and skilled she was.  And I felt like she would be the right person to help others understand how her work could be so beneficial.

Enjoy getting to know Dr. Love, and feel free to reach out to her if you live in the Denver area.  She’s in high demand — but you may be lucky to grab an appointment!

~ Mahri

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Your name, and where you are from:

Hi everyone! I am Dr. Lauren Love and I am originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida but moved to Denver, Colorado 3 years ago with my husband.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?  What exactly do you do?

I am a second generation chiropractor who grew with up with both parents being chiropractors. My upbringing very much revolved around the “chiropractic lifestyle” which meant receiving regular chiropractic adjustments and following a holistic way of life. 

I decided to become a chiropractor after finishing high school and went to Florida State University where I received my Bachelors in Exercise Science. After finishing my undergrad, I went to Logan Chiropractic College in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated with honors and my Doctorate in Chiropractic (D.C.).  I now dedicate my practice to care for pregnant women, infants and kids in Denver, CO. What’s unique about my practice is a I am house call chiropractor, which means I bring my care to my patients homes for ultimate convenience and high quality care.

 

This a big question – but what is chiropractic?  Is there a philosophy behind why someone might want to seek chiropractic care? 

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine which involves diagnosis and treatment or “adjustments” of spinal misalignments. The philosophy of chiropractic focuses on body’s innate ability to heal itself and how the structure of the spine affects the function of the nervous system.

When and if our spine becomes misaligned, the increased stress on the spine can lead to irritation of the spinal nerves. Spinal nerves ensure proper communication from our brain to our bodies’ cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. Therefore, if the spine is misaligned this can ultimately have an effect on our nervous system and how well our brain and body communicates and functions overall.

Someone might want to seek out chiropractic care if they are looking for a natural and holistic way to ensure their bodies are performing at optimum. Another reason patient seek out chiropractic care is for natural pain relief. When our spines are under increased stress, misalignment can occur, often leading to uncomfortable symptoms like lower back pain, neck pain and tension.

We have a huge pregnant clientele.  What are the primary reasons pregnant clients seek your services?  What are the biggest benefits you see from your prenatal adjustments?

Many women are realizing the benefits of regular chiropractic care for a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy and as they prepare for safer and easier birth. Pregnancy is the one time in a woman’s life where hormonal and structural changes can lead to dysfunction and imbalance in the body which is completely normal. As the belly grows and hormones increases relaxation of pelvic ligaments, the body’s center of gravity shifts forward leading to imbalances in the pelvis and even the uterus.   

Women often seek out my care for help with: 
– Lower back pain
– Pelvic or pubic bone pain
– Optimal fetal positioning
– Upper back tension
– Rib pain
– Heartburn

Women under regular chiropractic care during pregnancy often benefit from less discomfort, increased relaxation, decreased tension, and faster and easier labor and delivery with less need for medical interventions! Studies show chiropractic care can decrease labor and delivery times in 1st time moms by 24% and in second and third time moms by 31%.

 When during pregnancy do you think chiropractic might be a better choice than another form of bodywork?  On the flip side, is there any time when you would not recommend chiropractic — e.g., any specific conditions or period in pregnancy?

I am an advocate of chiropractors being a part of the pregnancy health team. I work with many other birth workers in my community including: acupuncturist, massage therapist, physical therapist, doulas, midwives, and OB GYNs to ensure my patients receive the most comprehensive care. That being said each one of these health professionals has their own expertise so if a pregnant women’s concerns involves the spine and/or musculoskeletal systems that is the chiropractor’s expertise! 

Chiropractic care is safe from preconception up until labor and delivery and can even be very helpful postpartum. Since I work hand in hand with other health professionals if a condition which could possibly put mom at increased risk arises I will make to refer her to the right person so she receives the attention and care she needs. 

How do you respond to clients who are nervous about the concept of someone doing spinal adjustment during pregnancy? 

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is extremely safe, gentle and effective. Patients will often voice their concerns to me during our phone consultation or first visit and I do my best to educate them on how gentle the chiropractic adjustment is and how it works to help them achieve their pregnancy goals. I also assure them that I have studied and trained to treat pregnant patients more than the average chiropractor and have been certified in Webster Technique which is a specific chiropractic technique for the pregnant patient. 

What do you love the most about your work?

I love educating my patients about the changes that occur to their bodies and choices they have during pregnancy, labor and delivery and helping them experience a more comfortable and healthy pregnancy experience. 

How can I contact you and use your services?

I offer free phone consultations for all new patients where we can discuss concerns, review health goals and find out how chiropractic can help them during pregnancy, postpartum or with their growing families. 

I can also be reached by phone (303)-720-6911 or email (drlaurenlove@gmail.com), and check out my website at www.drlaurenlove.com

I travel to my patients homes for house call visits in the Denver metro area and surrounding neighborhoods Tuesday through Friday. I also work at Fertile Ground Wellness Center in Greenwood Village for in-office visits on Mondays. 

 

BIO

As a second generation chiropractor, Dr. Lauren had dedicated her practice to caring for growing families so they too can benefit from healthier and fuller lives with chiropractic care. Dr. Lauren focuses on pre and postal chiropractic care and practices various gentle chiropractic techniques, including The Webster Technique. These gentle, safe and effective techniques allow her to provide specialized care for the changing spine and pelvis during pregnancy. Dr. Lauren’s passion is helping women achieve more comfortable pregnancies as well as shorter and easier labor and delivery. Dr. Lauren also understand how sometimes its hard to find time for self-care in our busy lifestyles and that is why she started her business of bringing chiropractic into the home. Chiropractic house calls are a convenient healthy solution that allow you to receive the care you deserve without the hassle or added stress!

Our new instructor, Emily McElwain, is a beam of light!

Emily is the kind of person who lights up a room the minute she enters.  She has such an enthusiastic and sweet energy, which makes working out with her such a fun experience.  

I saw this energy in Emily at our audition, and it has continued to grow as we’ve gotten to know her.  Her transparency as a person has also been extremely refreshing — and so hard to find!  I am excited to have found Emily and look forward to introducing her to you.  Read more about here (and her Louis Armstrong impersonation!), and be sure to take her class this Sunday, April 29th. Even as you drip with sweat, she will keep you smiling!!

~ Mahri

Full name:  Emily Claire McElwain 

Where did you grow up?  Sioux City, Iowa (Northwest Iowa) in a beautiful home just on the outskirts of the city. 

What’s your biggest passion?  

My biggest passion is dancing & spending time with my loved ones! I’m also very passionate about seeing the world, experiencing new things, and spending time in the sun at the beach.  

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

I am a professional dancer in NYC, so my career has taken many-a shifts in the last year and a half. I began in the city with the hopes to join a modern/contemporary dance company and that led me to finding multiple survival jobs that weren’t worth my time and energy. I lost hope and interest in that pursuit, until, I found an incredible mentor who sparked a fire in my contemporary training. This training has become more for my own self enjoyment/fulfillment than any financial or success driven needs. Recently I’ve taken great interest in musical theatre! In the last few months I performed in the musical Grease at the Palace Theatre and I’ve found jobs to support these musical theatre dreams that are exciting and fulfilling. I am a dance and yoga teacher for youth programs in the city and I’m finding a great appreciation for health and fitness. Entering the world of fitness has been a new and exciting experience for me and I’m very inspired by the BoCo team in many ways. I know these fitness/health interests will develop into an even greater love and passion with time and cultivation! 

What do you wish you knew when you were younger?

As a child I wish I had practiced yoga and realized how much I love avocados! 

What’s your fitness fashion style?

I am all about comfort! I love a good print legging with a comfortable flowing top. Athleta is one of my favorite spots to find a cute and comfortable workout outfit. But, I’m also all about thrifting and finding a great deal!  

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

Don’t waste your time doing anything you don’t love. 

Always be fully present in what you do. 

Full out or get out!

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

LOVE sweets so very much. I could eat a pound of chocolate a day! 

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?

I am a very positive person and I really love making people smile.

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

My little secret talent is my Louis Armstrong impersonation. As a child I grew up on 50’s & 60’s music and movies and fell in love with Louis and his incredible, unique and soulful voice. 

NYC Fitness Program

You have to meet Our #FocusedForFall Challenge Winner and Close Runner Ups!

Athleticism Challenge

Wrap-Up Party at Athleta Soho

It’s hard for me to believe that the #FocusedforFall challenge has ended already. It feels like we were planning our partnerships and signing people up to begin just yesterday!!

This was an especially interesting challenge for me personally. I started traveling back and forth to Colorado to expand the business and began relying on my team to run the challenge more than ever before. I was hearing good things but did not realize the true extent of the commitment and excellence of everyone involved until I started checking in on challengers and looking at their progress. I was seeing bigger changes than ever before in challenge history! And the enthusiasm of the challengers was off the charts!!!

I owe so much to our instructors who took so much interest in each and every one of our challengers and helped so many of them reach — and far exceed – their personal goals. It is a testament to their amazing teaching and communication skills, and I thank them deeply. I am also incredibly proud of Roxanne, Sarah, and Katie for the amazing work and dedication they put into the challenge. Their results were so inspiring, and we are so happy to introduce each of them to you here. Thank you also to Kathleen O’Neill for coordinating these interviews.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

~Mahri

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 Challenge Winner: Roxanne

NYC Fitness Program

Tell us about yourself! 

I’m 29 years old, and I was born and raised in New York. I lived in Philadelphia for a few years during my college years, while I studied Political Science and Art History, but eventually came back to my roots. I love New York more than words can ever describe. I still wake up everyday thinking how fortunate I am to live here. I think most people would say I’m pretty optimistic and keep an upbeat attitude. My motto in life is to live passionately and deeply.

Describe your career and how you originally got into the industry! 

I’m currently a Recruitment and Selection Coordinator at a charter school in Long Island City.  Before I got into this role, I had been working in education for several years and did my graduate work in Public Administration and Policy.  I began to help with hiring a bit at the school, and when a full-time position opened up that would allow me to handle recruitment and selection for the school full-time I jumped at the opportunity. I love what I do and feel so lucky that I get to work in such a rewarding field.  On a daily basis I get to meet really interesting people that are passionate and excited about their work.

How did you find out about Body Conceptions’ challenge? 

My amazing nutritionist, Priya Lawrence, had been raving about the classes.  She suggested that I take on the challenge. At first I was super nervous (by nature I’m not a competitive person at all) but fell in love with the BoCo community and the incredible instructors.  I knew that the challenge would be a great opportunity for me to push myself in a way that I hadn’t done before. I remember feeling like a complete failure during my first class with BoCo with Julia, because we had been working on parts of the body that I hadn’t work on before, but she made me feel so great about everything after and really encouraged and helped me throughout the challenge.

What kept you motivated throughout the 4 weeks? 

The pure feeling of excitement and joy. I loved going to class knowing that I was part of an incredible group of women really dedicated to their health and happiness.  I would set small goals and milestones for myself, and achieving them was a feeling like no other.

How did it feel when you found out you won?

I felt like I had won the lottery! It was the craziest thing and totally unexpected.  There were tears (of joy of course!).  I’m definitely not used to winning things, so it was a complete shock.

What are you going to do now that the challenge is over? 

I want to continue going to class several times a week, and make sure that even though the challenge is done I’m still dedicating that time each week to my health and well being.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working or working out? 

My friends make fun of me that I’m a tourist in my own city. I’m a huge art geek and love checking out the latest exhibitions around the city  One of my favorite pastimes is also trying out new bars and restaurants.  I also love to travel whenever I can get a chance to escape.

What’s your favorite BoCo exercise? 

I love the dance portions of the workout. Any chance to let loose and blow off steam is like music to my ears.

How does BoCo compare to other workouts you’ve tried? What makes it special? 

I get bored easily in classes, but BoCo has this wonderful way of really engaging me and keeping me excited.  I think that what makes it special is that no two workouts will ever feel the same, and there is such a variety of exercises in each class.

What advice do you have for future challengers to succeed? 

I really believe that the sky is the limit, and if you really put your mind to something it’s really truly possible.  Believing in yourself is so important. Keep at it, even if there are more difficult weeks. It all pays off.

 

First Runner-Up: Sarah

Workout Company

How was the Body Conceptions challenge meaningful to you at this time in your life?

I truly don’t think there’s enough room here to accurately articulate how meaningful this challenge has been for me. For me personally, this year has been an education on how to take control over my health, but also on how to let go of the harsh internal voice that has been responsible for my self-deprecation for so long. Body Conceptions stepped in at the perfect time, when I needed the positivity and encouragement the most. The challenge was an amazing way to push myself physically, but it did so much more for me mentally than I could have realized. Knowing that I could come to place where people were welcoming and excited to see me after a horrible day at the office or a stressful week was so good for me emotionally. I’m at an interesting time in my life where I feel like many things are a bit out of my control (aka I’m almost 30), so it meant the world to come to a positive place for an hour and focus on something that I knew would make me happy. The teachers and the students were both so important to the success of this challenge and it says a great deal about Body Conceptions as a whole that this place constantly attracts the most amazing people. I’m a BoCo-er for life.

 

Second Runner-Up: Katie

Body Conceptions by Mahri

How was the Body Conceptions challenge meaningful to you at this time in your life?

I just moved to New York City a few months ago and have found the transition to be both incredible and difficult. Finding my personal rhythm is taking me some time–from jobs to workouts to where to go for brunch. It all takes time, I know this–logically.

But emotionally, I can often feel frustrated with myself for not being perfect right away, I get discouraged when a process takes a long time and those negative feelings make me feel lonely and isolated.

All of that being said I did the BOCO challenge because I was ready to let go of the negative feelings and connect to myself in a new way. That way of connection to self was to connect to something larger. For me that was Dance. Dance has always been a part of my life but as I got older it slipped away from me without me realizing it. My first BOCO class was a lightbulb moment. I remember how much fun I have when I dance. I felt renewed leaving class sweaty and sore. I connected.

On top of all of this the instructors create not only a safe space that is all about being strong and alive but also a place that is full of joy.

And that is what really has made this journey so meaningful to me. I find joy when I go to class that stretches throughout my life. Like shining a flashlight on a dark corner, BOCO inspired me to live my life with more joy and always find time every day to dance.

Creating a Career from Your Passions with Mahri Relin

Many who know me in New York City know that I performed in the musical theater world for many years, both in the US and around the world.  I was an extremely passionate performer, but I wish I knew a few things then that I know now.

Jane Jourdan of Fit for Broadway has dedicated her life and work to helping aspiring Broadway performers as they navigate their careers and seek health and wellness support in the process.  In her first ever Fit for Broadway Workshop, Jane will present an amazing roster of Broadway stars and fitness and wellness experts who will introduce their workouts, provide words of wisdom and tell their personal stories — with great food and snacks to boot.  Hurry, there’s still time to sign up here!!

This post first appeared on Fit for Broadway on September 7, 2016.  I am honored to be one of the featured fitness experts at the workshop and to share my passion with the group — at a workshop I wish was available to me when I started out several years ago!

~ Mahri

www.mattsimpkinsphotography.com

www.mattsimpkinsphotography.com

Creating a Career from Your Passions – with Mahri Relin

Following my passion is a non-negotiable for me. The moment I decided to leave my clinical neuropsychology graduate program many years ago — along with almost everything I was taught I “should” do – I knew I would never turn back. I started a much more authentic and joy-filled life as a dancer, and I truly became me. I knew I could never return to my habit of listening more to others than to myself about what I needed to do, or what was the “right” thing for my future.

If you have also chosen life as a performer, then you know what I mean. If you truly love something like that so much, you know that it’s a calling you can’t ignore. And you have to test your limits, abilities, and opportunities as much as possible.

But what about those others things in life necessary for survival that might seem painful or scary? Like making money when you’re not performing to support your New York rent? Or planning the next step after performing life doesn’t make sense to you anymore?

I was starting to grapple with those questions at the exact time I was invited to audition for the Tracy Anderson Method studio 7 years ago. I had been traveling a ton, and I was getting tired of living out of a suitcase. I also knew that turning back to the temping route again between jobs was too unpredictable (and boring!).

I was thrilled to be hired at TAM – and more importantly, it opened up a world of music and movement that was exciting for me as a dancer. It shaped and strengthened my body beautifully, and it finally allowed me to focus on helping other people rather than just myself! I was HOOKED!!

I’m not going to say that life in fitness is all fun and games. I work very hard physically every day, and I take educating myself and staying organized in service of my clients really seriously. But I have to say that the experience of creating movement to amazing music and shaping each workout for each individual client is thrilling, challenging, and fulfilling all in one. I get to hear what’s going on in my client’s lives and shape workouts for them that fit their individual bodies while helping them to let off steam. And I do everything with them so that I can lead and motivate them. Not every method is like mine, but I feel so lucky to have been able to create something that makes me feel stimulated, healthy, and connected with my clients all in one. And I feel like I can fulfill my passion every day as an expressive dancer who also has a valuable background in psychology. I many not be done with my dance career completely, but I feel so lucky to continue living out my dream in a new way.

I’m sure some of you must be wondering — how can you make something like this happen for you, too?

I have some tips for performers hoping to add fitness to their lives and careers. There are definitely some important things to know if you’re really serious about making a move like this:

*  Do your research:  Take classes all over the city. Figure out which methods and studios speak to your body and to you as a person
*  Get to know the instructors:  Find out how they feel about working there and if they feel supported by each other
*  Figure out how the company handles performers:  Some companies allow performers to keep performing and leave when they need to leave. Others don’t allow this. If you want to keep performing, be very clear about this with management
*  Connect with the owner/hiring manager before auditions are held:  Show them how great you are – how positive, collaborative, flexible, hard-working, and reliable you can be. You will have a big advantage in the audition room
*  Go for it!:  Adding fitness to your routine is extremely good for you as a dancer. I wish I had know about fitness work much sooner in my career. I would have had more stamina, a stronger core, and more control of my body. Even if you don’t decide to work in the field, definitely take some classes. You’ll love them!!

Feel free to reach out to us. We would love to meet you!! You can find out more about Body Conceptions at www.bodyconceptions.com, and email us at admin@bodyconceptions.

Manhattan Dancer

Our new trainer, Brittany, is a beautiful ballerina!

 

Photos by Kathleen O’Neill

Brittany teaches her classes with the biggest smile — and you can’t help but become carried along by her energy and enthusiasm!

We struck gold again with an instructor like Brittany Hillyer. A sweet and modest person, she barely mentions her impressive background as a former New York City Ballet dancer (unless you ask!). But you can see her pedigree in the care she takes with her classes and the love she brings to movement. You will enjoy finding out more about her life and background below — and be sure to check out her next 7am Wednesday Power 45 class!

~ Mahri

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NYC Photographer

Full name: Brittany Alana Hillyer

Where did you grow up?  Monroe, GA

What’s your biggest passion? I would say performing, whether it’s on a stage, in a studio or teaching a class, that amazing adrenaline rush is still the same.

Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? I have! I moved here at 16 to attend the School of American Ballet and went on to perform with the New York City Ballet for four years. That was my first career and a lifelong goal. I was extremely one track minded which was great! I realized as you have more experiences with age it’s tough to suppress curiosity for other interests.  I decided to transition into another career and enrolled full time at Hunter College to study film and media.

Fitness was a natural progression for me. I can still express myself the way I know best, through dance and music while also finishing my bachelors degree.

BoCo Jump

What do you wish you knew when you were younger? Have more fun and take a step outside your bubble every once in a while! It’s not going to kill you

What’s your fitness fashion style? I’m really in to the high waisted leggings and crop tops!

Group Fitness Instructor

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten? 90% of the things you worry about  never happen. Drink water!

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Ridiculous amounts of frozen yogurt and or Levain cookies.

Manhattan Dancer

What quality do you really cherish about yourself? I would say my positivity, I truly feel there is a positive side and something to learn from everything that happens.

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)? I can move my ears up and down on their own.

Anything else about you that I missed? Nope! Just come take my class at 7am every Wednesday!! It’s early, but I promise you’ll have a better day!

Dancer Leap

Manhattan Waterfront

Get to know new trainer, (and secret dough lover), Sarah Beymer!

Photos by Kathleen O’Neill 

Note from Mahri~

When you are near Sarah Beymer, you can’t help but feel her energy, warmth and positivity.  She embodies the spirit of encouragement that is so important to me at Body Conceptions, and she brings so much fun to her classes as well.  If you haven’t tried one of them yet — run, before they sell out!! We are lucky to have her, and you will feel lucky to experience her joyful and challenging workout.

*Sarah Beymer teaches BoCo Bootcamp every Wednesday night at 6pm.  Look out for her guest subbing appearances as well.

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Where did you grow up?  I’m a proud Pacific Northwester that grew up in the Seattle area.

What’s your biggest passion?  My two greatest passions include performing and bringing joy to others.

Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? I always knew I was going to pursue dancing professionally while growing up.  Conversely, my education was also very important to me, so I made the decision after high school to attend college first and soon graduated with a degree in Global Business from the University of Redlands in southern California.  While in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Milan, Italy for both semesters of my junior year, which in turn has been one of my most valued experiences to date!

After college, I wasted no time and made the permanent move to Los Angeles to begin pursuing my dream full time.  All in all, the City of Angels did not disappoint! The talent, creativity, and drive within the city gave me a great place to continue training and begin my career.  I began traveling and performing company work throughout the country, and made my debut on the big screen in Fox’s Glee, Disney Channel’s Shake it Up, and the remake of Annie.  While I’m so grateful for all the talented dancers I met in the commercial dance world of Los Angeles, I’m excited to experience the different flare that New York City brings to the industry.  NYC has always been a place I wanted to explore, and I knew it would be an instant regret later in life if I didn’t take the time to experience it now.  There’s just no other place like it!

As I have always lived an active lifestyle, transitioning into a fitness career has been on the back of my mind in recent years.  It’s been a matter of finding the right method with the appropriate supportive and encouraging environment. With that said, I fell in love with Body Conceptions after my first class! I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this incredible team of individuals with such an aspiring mission behind its practice.

NYC Dancer

What do you wish you knew when you were younger? I wish I realized I didn’t have to drive myself crazy trying achieve an ‘A’ on every project and test in school.

What’s your fitness fashion style? I love bright colors!! My staples include a pair of high-waste leggings, fun sports bra, loose fitting tank top, and the ‘dancer’ in me tends to have a flannel close by to layer on and off.

Dancer Sarah Beymer

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten? Listen to your body!!  This has been crucial for longevity as a professional dancer.  When your body is faced with something that doesn’t feel right, there is most likely a reason for it.  It’s important to make adjustments and modifications as needed. Your body is continually changing, growing, and yes, aging too, and every day is different from the one before.

Consequently, your BRAIN will often tell you that your body is weaker than it actually is….it’s all about pushing yourself beyond what your brain thinks it can do, but honoring your body when it believes it has reached its limit.

Kathleen O'Neill Photography

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? SWEET TREATS!!! I have always had the BIGGEST sweet tooth! I tend to have at least one piece of chocolate after breakfast, lunch, and dinner….life’s short, right? :)

What quality do you really cherish about yourself? I’ve always been one to appreciate the little things in life.

Sarah Beymer BoCo Trainer

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)? I have an obsession with dough…..cookie dough, pizza dough, cake batter, pastry dough….its quite bizarre

Anything else about you that I missed? Favorite things include sunflowers, parks, outdoor markets, biking along the beach, festivals, live music, DANCING, tailgating, quality time with friends and family, traveling, hiking, learning and experiencing new things, and a cold beer on a Friday night :) 

NYC Pier Fitness

adidas

We are big fans of our #StrongForSummer challenge winner and close runner up!

(Interviews and photos by Kathleen O’Neill, C. Lo’s makeup by Victoria Hoffman).

Note from Mahri~

I love running challenges because they give me such great opportunities to meet new people and also witness some amazing accomplishments. I exercise for a living (so it’s easy for me to make it happen every day), but I am always so impressed when I see our challengers truly commit to their workouts with us and get stronger and stronger with each passing week.

We have not traditionally named our second place winners, but I felt that BOTH C. Lo and Natasha put in a tremendous amount of work and saw beautiful results. And they were both such wonderful people to have in our classes. I feel so happy to consider both of them parts of our BoCo family – for this challenge and beyond!

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Meet our amazing winner, C. Lo!

adidas

athlete

Tell us about yourself! I’m the real C.Lo even though I can’t sing as well. I’m originally from the South Shore in Massachusetts (yes, I pronounce my “r’s” and yes, I pronounce “room” like “rum”) and have been in NYC for about four years. I love my bunny Herman (www.instagram.com/professor.herman), animation (watching and creating), and putting an egg on food.

Describe your career and how you originally got into the industry! I manage operations and accounts in the printing industry – we print just about anything on paper from invitations to menus to napkins to art reproductions. I moved to NYC unemployed and applied to as many jobs as I could. I was hired as a project manager and have been in the industry ever since.  I am also launching an Etsy shop soon with my friend Meredith (http://www.mgniles.com/) that will combine our love of print, graphic design, and illustration. Keep your eyes open for it!

How did you find out about Body Conceptions’ challenge? I go to Julia’s Monday class every week, and she initially told me about the #LoveYourself #LoveYourBody Challenge, but I was traveling a lot and also was admittedly a little intimidated. When this challenge came up, she again encouraged me to try it, and I am so glad I did!

What kept you motivated throughout the 4 weeks? My biggest motivator was my teammates and all the BoCo trainers (especially my team leader Julia!) I’m pretty shy in workout classes but all the trainers try to meet everyone and make you feel part of the group immediately. I also got to know some of the girls in the challenge, and they really motivated me to take more classes when I didn’t want to (like doubling up on classes in one day, ugh!), or to keep those weights up when my arms were drooping. I wouldn’t have done as much without their support, and I’m grateful for BoCo for building such a great community.

My friends, employees, and family were amazing too. Everyone was giving me a lot of support and as cheesy as this sounds, their enthusiasm really energized me to go to class when I had a long work day.

How did it feel when you found out you won? Incredible and really shocking. I don’t ever win anything that involves physical exertion or self control, ha! I knew a lot of girls were working very hard, so I wasn’t even thinking about winning. I was most surprised at the amount of inches I lost. I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention during my weekly measurements, but I was stunned when I heard the final numbers. I kept thinking I must have heard the results wrong!

lunge

What are you going to do now that the challenge is over? Start eating cheese again! But I am still going to continue BoCo, although I might go three times a week instead of five or six. Now that I know I can get stronger and lose inches with this workout, I don’t want to stop!

active sports

What do you do for fun when you’re not working or working out? I love reading, drawing, playing video games, checking out new restaurants with friends, watching Netflix – pretty much anything that involves sitting on my butt and not moving, haha!

What’s your favorite BoCo exercise? Arms and legs! I think these exercises are really fun, and I love the burn. The movements are always very interesting – who knew moving your leg in and out on a small slider could hurt so good?!

fun workout

How does BoCo compare to other workouts you’ve tried? What makes it special? I’ve tried so many workouts (and diets and all the “fads” that come out), but I got hooked on BoCo after my first class, which, perhaps fatefully, was also the first class my Team Leader Julia taught! The trainers are all so nice and really try to get to know you. I truly feel like they are there to help you with your goals instead of just going through the motions of teaching a class. It motivates you to give it your all versus just doing the minimum. Also I love how the classes are structured. Not only are the workouts just the length of one song, but they are broken up so you’re not doing all the cardio or toning at once. It’s the only class I’ve taken so far that is fun and works out my whole body. Everywhere burns – even muscles I didn’t know I had!

workout

What advice do you have for future challengers to succeed? Here are the four things that helped me!

Firstly, it’s important to get a comfortable, fun outfit to wear and nice sneakers! This seems really obvious, but I never really believed it until I did it. It seems silly to spend money on that, but I could not get into my workouts when I was wearing things that didn’t fit or move right and had sneakers with no support. You’ll be working out a lot so it’s worth the investment.

My second piece of advice would be to really push yourself and think in increments. When you’re doing the seat section and think you can’t possibly lift your leg up anymore, keep telling yourself you’ll do just five more, and soon you’ll start hearing the count down. And anyone can do 8 lifts!

As far as dieting, I didn’t want to go all out because I wanted to keep sane during the month, so I told myself I would just cut one thing out. I chose my biggest weakness: CHEESE! I did not realize how much cheese I ate until I stopped eating it. Now I am very happy it’s back in my life, but I am trying not go crazy with it as I used to.

Lastly, really take advantage of the community. My team joked that we saw each other more than our own friends. But it will be true, so get to know the others. It’s not only nice to have personal cheerleaders in class but also people to commiserate with!

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Thank you, C Lo!!

Now meet our impressive, close runner up, Natasha!

Massage Therapist

What kept you motivated throughout the 4 weeks? What motivated me was my big Vegas trip coming up in September and the support of my teammates.

What’s your favorite BoCo exercise? I love all the classes, but if I had to pick one, I would say the Sculpting class was my favorite.

What do you do for fun in your free time? I love going to the beach, outdoor activities, and enjoying the weather..

nyc massage