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Meet Our Fit For Fall Challenge Winner & The Instructor Who Motivated Her!

The Fit for Fall Challenge included six weeks of unlimited classes, weekly measurements, tons of wellness tips and fun prizes. Instructors worked very closely with the challengers and encouraged them to work hard and stay focused. Our 2015 Fit for Fall winner, Jackie Kinneary, lost the highest percentage of total body inches – an impressive accomplishment! This was Jackie’s second challenge. Her team leader for the Spring Into Summer challenge just a few months before was Lauren Rodriquez. Lauren remained a huge motivator for her the second time around. Below, get both of their perspectives on how they faced this challenge and came out on top!

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Meet Challenge Winner, Jackie Kinneary

Jackie grew up on Long Island and attended college in Boston. After graduating with a business degree in accounting and finance, she moved back home to New York. Now she lives in Manhattan and works at PwC, in the Real Estate advisory practice. She loves trying out new fitness classes, drinking red wine, eating ice cream, watching ridiculous reality TV shows and documentaries, and spending her summers in the Hamptons.

What is your fitness background?

I was an athletically challenged child who wasn’t great at team based sports, but I took ballet class through middle school and was a member of my high school dance team, which performed at the football and basketball games. During college, dance wasn’t a big part of my life, but since moving to the city, I’ve found that I gravitate towards dance-based fitness classes. To my family’s surprise, I have become a very fitness-focused person!

Arabesque

How did you find out about Body Conceptions and what is it about Lauren’s class that’s so fun?

I found BoCo through ClassPass while exploring different dance-based studios. I started going to more and more classes because of how intense the sculpting part of class is. I saw immediate changes in my legs and arms, which can get addicting! Furthermore, all of the instructors are amazing!!

Lauren and I started working together when I participated in the Spring into Summer Challenge in June and July. She was my team leader and helped me track my progress and stay focused over the eight weeks. I love taking her classes because of the great energy she brings, fun dance moves, and the killer burn in her Power Sculpt classes!

Plank

How do you make fitness a priority when you’re busy with your day job? Were there any moments where you wanted to give up?

Due to the nature of my job, I sit at a desk for the majority of my day, staring at a computer screen. I need an outlet to get up and move, so I always make fitness a priority! I’ll alternate working out before and after work. During crazier months at work, where days can be long, it’s definitely hard to find time for class. However, I’ve found that working out with coworkers is a great way to stay motivated!

Side Leg laugh

What piece of advice would you give to other young professionals trying to achieve their fitness goals while balancing a day job?

I like to plan out my workouts the week before. If I’m already signed up for a class, it’s less likely I’ll bail on it! In addition, it was important for me to communicate my fitness goals with my coworkers. They have been really supportive!

Favorite song to work out to?

I love my Kygo station on Pandora!

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Team Leader, Lauren

Lauren is originally from Charlotte, NC and trained at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has been teaching dance and fitness for 13 years and has been a Body Conceptions trainer for 2.5 years.

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Were there any moments when you thought Jackie wanted to give up?

Similar to most of our challengers, Jackie started to struggle at the halfway point. The first couple of weeks were filled with excitement and adrenaline, but by week three everyone’s body started to feel a bit fatigued. I was able to encourage them to persevere by reminding them of the many improvements they had made thus far and how much stronger they had become in just a few short weeks.

You train countless clients on a daily basis. What makes Jackie special?

Jackie’s positive attitude allowed her to overcome obstacles with a smile and have fun while working out. It also helped that she had competed in previous BoCo challenges that gave her a strong technical foundation. This allowed instructors to give her more refined modifications and really push her to the next level of her fitness journey.

Standing Abs

What advice would you give to newer personal trainers about keeping clients motivated?

I think the best way to keep clients motivated is to give them a specific attainable goal. Whether it’s fitting into an old pair of jeans or something as simple as being able to hold a plank 5 seconds longer. Having small goals set on a monthly or even weekly basis really helps to keep them motivated and gives them a sense of accomplishment

What’s your favorite song to work out to?

There are so many choices! But right now I’m loving “How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris.

Interview and photography by Kathleen O’Neill

 

You Have to Meet Our Challenge Winner: Lauren Burbank

From the beginning to the end of our Spring Into Summer Challenge, it has been an honor getting to know Lauren Burbank.  She is an incredibly talented, focused and sweet person who won the challenge in a group that was our largest to date.  (She lost an incredible 9.5 inches, 3.5 inches off her waist alone!) As you can see, it wasn’t easy!  But she did an amazing job and became such a great part of the BoCo community in the process.

Learn more about Lauren here, and read all about her life and background as a performer.  We love Lauren and can’t wait to keep seeing her in our classes!

~Mahri

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Lauren headshot

Where did you grow up?

I was very lucky to grow up in New Hampshire! It’s a small but beautiful state that offers the ocean, gorgeous lakes and mountains and all four seasons. I’m definitely a New England girl at heart ☺

Tell us a little bit about your background as a performer. What is it like to have that kind of life in the city?

I started singing at a very young age, my Mom is a beautiful singer and some of my earliest memories are of us belting it out with recordings of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey in the living room together. I come from a very musical family, my brother Chris Burbank is an incredibly talented and accomplished trumpet player and we were lucky to have so much music in our day-to-day lives growing up. I fell in love with musicals in 4th grade when I learned about Phantom of the Opera and was hooked! I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Theatre and moved to New York right after finishing up a season of summer stock.

The life of a performer in New York can be exhausting when you’re running from one class to the next class to a meeting to your survival job to who knows what other responsibility BUT when it’s good, it’s phenomenal. I’ve had the pleasure of singing with Essential Voices USA and The New York Pops under the direction of Judith Clurman over the past year and was honored to have shared the stage with Kelli O’Hara last December at Carnegie Hall. It was dream come true!

You were such a superstar in our challenge! Why did you decide to do it, and what was your experience like?

Lauren Before After

Thank you so much! I came to Body Conceptions for the first time in February to Erin’s Monday morning class. The class left me sweating buckets and sore in muscles that I pretty much never knew I had, ha! The fact that each class ends with a really fun dance portion was also right up my alley; it’s one of my favorite parts of class to this day. Erin’s uplifting energy, passion for teaching and willingness to listen struck a chord with me. I shared some of my physical struggles with her and she recommended trying the BoCo Challenge the next time the opportunity came around and I’m so happy I did it!

I decided to do it for my career (to have a more competitive edge physically) but more importantly because I was tired of being upset over certain parts of my body. It is sad to admit that since about high school I have been unhappy physically and I was ready to make a conscious effort to make things different.

My experience overall was life changing. It was so good not to be in it alone by having a community of other women who were also looking to achieve their fitness goals. Attending a class where you actually know the other class members makes for a great sense of camaraderie and having weekly measurements kept me accountable, which made all the difference for me.

There were times when it was extremely difficult, about 2 and a half weeks in it was particularly tough because I wanted to see the results of my hard work right away and I didn’t feel like I was seeing any big progress. This is when I would usually give up on a new workout routine. I’ve given up at this point in the past and the Body Conceptions challenge helped me to break that mold. Even on the days that I didn’t push as hard as I could have or eaten as cleanly as I originally intended there was still going to be another measurement session of my body on Monday and there were still going to be my fellow teammates the following morning sweating it out in class. The sense of community in BoCo had a huge effect on my progress. I am closer to attaining my fitness goals now than I ever have been!

Have you noticed any changes in the way you think about fitness after the challenge? And how has it affected your approach to your career?

Absolutely. I came into the challenge trying to do something for my body for my career and I’m leaving it with an entirely new way of thinking. Instead of only wanting a better looking body for casting directors to see I’m much more interested in being a stronger person for myself and that has been a huge shift. I find that on days that I don’t work out I feel sluggish. I really crave getting a morning sweat on before I attack my day.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” was something I heard from an instructor and it stuck with me. When you push yourself to go beyond what you think you can do there is an incredible sense of accomplishment and confidence you gain that I hadn’t felt before the challenge and it is addictive!

“Why isn’t anyone smiling? You guys, it’s just exercise!” This was another great idea from an instructor that made a shift in my thought process about fitness. Working out is a gift, not a chore. It is your opportunity to check all the other crap you have going on in your life at the door and focus on your incredible body. It is also so important to find a workout that you love and inspires you! BoCo is hands down the most fun workout I have ever done and it keeps me coming back to challenge myself. I can’t wait to see how the whole process will effect my audition season which is about a month away from now!

If you could only pick 3 things to tell them, what would you say to young aspiring performers moving to the city for the first time?

Lauren performing

1- Make friends and a strong sense of community for yourself! When I first moved to the city I was so gung-ho about auditioning and doing all the things I was “supposed” to do right after undergrad that I didn’t take care of myself as well emotionally which leaked into my career process. It is going to be tough but if you have a group of positive people with similar goals that you surround yourself with it will make a HUGE difference.

2- “Don’t forget your art” is something one of my professors in college, Dr. Santore used to tell us before we would be off for the summer. He didn’t want us to become so distracted in our “time off” that we didn’t prioritize our singing or dancing or playing of an instrument or acting. The city can sweep you up in distractions. Don’t let your survival job or your other responsibilities stop you from investing in yourself and your art. Yes, auditioning is important but don’t let it be the only place you practice your art. Find a positive creative outlet that allows you to remember why you do what you do in the first place.

3- Get familiar fast and take advantage of this place! Use apps on your smartphone to get cheap Broadway tickets and see everything you can! Nothing is more inspiring than watching people do exactly what it is you want to do. NYC offers so much art, go see as much of it as you can and stay inspired!

Ok, time for fun! What is something funny or unusual about you that most people don’t know?

I really enjoy making hideous faces. Sometimes I put grapes underneath my upper lip and attempt to sing a la Cindy Loo Who, “Fah-who for-aze, Dah who dor-aze, welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!” Basically any time there are grapes around, it happens. My Dad never takes himself too seriously and is one of the funniest men I know and always embraces silliness, it was such an awesome way to grow up.

What are your favorite things to do in the city?

I love going to see live performances! I try to take advantage of having Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters, the Metropolitan Opera, City Center and many other performance venues in my city as often as I possibly can. I also love trying out new restaurants with my boyfriend and watching him perform with his band, Della Grove. I am so blessed to have his support, he really understands what it is like to be a performer here and is an all-around crazy talented person and the kindest man. There is so much to experience in NYC! Getting my nails done is another favorite, which sounds silly but I absolutely love it when I’m not in a show and I can take advantage of being able to paint my nails bright colors again, ha!

Lauren library

Are you overdoing it already? Stop!!

80's final 7

Are You Overdoing It Already? Stop!!

Ok – you’re in it. Full-fledged. Back from your vacations and New Year’s parties and fully engulfed in your resolution activities. High-impact daily exercise, no carbs, no alcohol, full-restriction/maximum pain. Full-on!!

Are you seeing results? Chances are you’ve already seen some change. Are you sore, starving, craving sweets, a little bit cranky? Probably yes. Give yourself another few weeks of this pace, and something will need to give. And chances are that more will go with it.

I am not a naturally pessimistic person, and I truly believe in the power of will and conviction in most people. It’s great to commit to healthy change, especially after an especially indulgent holiday season.

The pitfall here, though, is the sheer intensity and breadth of the changes that many people try to make this time of year. It’s all about doing everything at peak intensity. All at once. And once one thing begins to crumble – maybe one or two little cupcakes at work look way too wonderful to resist – the thoughts creep in…”I might as well abandon this whole crazy thing.”

sweaty girl

Photo Credit

“I’m an all or nothing person.”

If you are the kind of person who needs to jump headlong into change to make it happen, take a minute to ask – “Am I the kind of person who needs to be strict with myself to get anything done?” “Will I feel like a failure if I cheat or miss one day of my new exercise schedule?”

If you say yes to either of these questions, you are likely in danger of halting everything if one thing goes wrong. Is this your pattern? Going full-on and then finding a month or two later that it all went by the wayside eventually?

You can do this!

Research has proven that habits don’t become habits until they have been repeated for enough time to become automatic. And your thought process is a major factor in your ability to overcome obstacles and stick with change for the long-term. If you’re in the midst of desperately trying to change but know it will eventually derail, don’t give up!! There are ways to adjust your approach and make this a New Year, New You for real!!

1) Pick a schedule that’s realistic. Chances are you can’t keep exercising 2 hours every day if that wasn’t your previous routine. Look at the week ahead, chart your exercise routine, and give yourself days of rest. See whether the schedule you set is something you would actually look forward to continuing every week.

2) Ask yourself whether your exercise and nutrition regimen makes you happy.  Do you look forward to your new routine? How do you feel afterwards? Soreness and physical struggle during the exercise and soreness can turn people away from their exercise routines before they see the positive benefits. Make sure you are taking classes or doing exercise that actually feels fun. Perhaps add amazing music to your running playlist. Look for instructors that inspire you. Choose classes that engage you and make you feel energized and happy when you leave!

3) Embrace failure.  Instead of berating yourself for “falling off the wagon,” welcome these moments as chances to learn more about yourself. Do you have the worst will-power in the middle of the day? Make sure you bring your own snacks for those 3pm cravings. Maybe re-examine your sleep schedule if you notice that you’re most hungry when you haven’t had enough sleep. And do you really hate eating salads every day? Stop forcing them down and look for other, tastier ways to get a healthy fix for lunch. The goal is to help you stay more health- focused in a way that truly works for you and no one else.

4) Plan ahead – and don’t forget the rewards!  All work and no play is a recipe for disaster. You need to build benchmarks and rewards for yourself that keep you motivated and help you see and measure your progress. Have trouble being consistent? Give yourself a spa day if you have managed to stick with your fitness schedule for two weeks. Finally kept process food out of your diet all week? Buy yourself a great fitness outfit. You don’t necessarily need to spend money — Even just allow yourself to relax or do an activity you absolutely love to do to celebrate all of your focus and dedication. After a while, the results of your dedication will become incentive enough!

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In light of resolution season, we are so excited to be offering a New Year, New a You 6-week challenge this month. Our last challenge was an amazing success with some incredible results (think average 6.5 inches lost!) and we’re offering even more perks for our challengers this time around.

Since it’s clear that fulfilling your resolutions can be tricky, we believe that our challenge program provides a great way for our challengers to get into the habit of exercising regularly, see amazing results, and have fun in the process. Challengers also make great friends and connections within the Body Conceptions community.

Check us out, and sign up for the challenge at www.bodyconceptions.com. When you get to the scheduling program, click on the Events tab.

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