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Our Newest Superstar Instructor: Nicole Picard

We noticed Nicole right away when she auditioned for us.  Her technique was fabulous, and she had a resumé that was spot-on.  But what really sold us was her sweetness, charisma, musicality – and ENERGY!  She’s the one jumping the highest in the room, and her movement style is funky, cool, and fun.

Nicole agreed to answer my questions for this interview.  Her answers give you some great insight into her background and what makes her such a great BoCo trainer.  Make sure you find her on the schedule, and run to her class.  You’ll have a blast!

~Mahri

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Full name: Nicole Picard

Where were you born?  Hartford, CT

Where did you grow up?  Suffield, CT

What’s your biggest passion?  This one’s pretty obvious but… DANCING! It’s been a constant throughout my entire life, and for me, it’s the best shortcut to happiness. Whether it be dancing around in my tiny living room, or performing in front of thousands, I always feel like the best and truest version of myself when I’m dancing.

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Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? Although my career is just in the beginning phases (I graduated from college just a year and half ago), I have shifted directions a little. After graduation, I decided I wanted to pursue dance professionally, and immediately landed a job dancing for the Brooklynettes, the dance team for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. I loved performing center court at the Barclays Center throughout the 2014-15 season home games and had a blast interacting with fans! When the season ended, I got involved working in fitness and found that the immediate positive feedback I received from clients was so rewarding. Although I had so much fun working in entertainment and am still dancing professionally on the side, my career has shifted more towards working in fitness because the feeling of helping others become healthier and happier is even more rewarding to me. I especially love working for Body Conceptions because I am able to combine my utmost passions of dancing, fitness, and helping others!

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What do you wish you knew when you were younger?
I wish I knew to really trust the timing of my life. I have found that when one door closes, three more open, and life always hands you exactly what you are ready for.

What’s your fitness fashion style?  My fitness fashion style is all over the place. Similar to my every day style, I have LOTS of black but also have a million vibrant tank tops and sports bras!!! I prefer solid colors and don’t own too many patterned items, but I love cutouts, mesh and lots of straps.  My favorite brands are Beyond Yoga, Alo, and Lolë!

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What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten was to find a balance that makes your body and soul happy. There are some days where going on a 10-mile run and drinking a green juice is exactly what I need, and others when resting my body and catching up with an old friend is more important. You look and feel your best when you listen to both your body and your soul equally.

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What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  Chocolate. Every day. Honestly can’t remember the last day that passed when I didn’t have any!

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  One of my most cherished qualities is that I love to learn and grow. The minute I feel too comfortable in anything, I always strive to find a way to push myself! I think it’s so important to keep moving forward and to constantly learn more about yourself and the people and places around you.

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What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?  One of my first jobs was dancing in a magic show! I know how to levitate, disappear, and was even cut in half several times ;)

Anything else about you that I missed?  My junior year in college, I studied abroad in Australia and have been obsessed with everything (and everyone) Australian ever since! I still keep in touch with all of my friends over there and many have come to visit me in New York City.

Select photography by Kathleen O’Neill

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

 

Our New Jersey Superstar, Kerry Clarke!

When we were looking for great instructors based in NJ, I never thought we would find someone as skilled, experienced, and PERFECT for BoCo as Kerry Clarke.  Having recently moved from NYC to NJ, Kerry has an extensive background in fitness in addition to her previous life as a dancer. And her workouts are amazing.  Dream come true!

Even more importantly, Kerry is a warm, cool person with tons of charisma. We love her sense of humor, and she also has such real and grounded energy.  We have asked her to talk a little bit about herself here, and you will learn some fun tidbits.  Thanks, Kerry, for a great interview – and welcome to Body Conceptions!

~Mahri

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Full Name:  Kerry Joyce Clarke

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?  Edison, New Jersey

What’s your biggest passion?  Probably traveling.  I feel most alive when I am out of my comfort zone and seeing/experiencing something new.  There’s nothing like a good trip to put your life into perspective and see things a bit clearer.

Tell me about your career.  Have you changed direction?  If so, why?   I was a dance major in college, and had intended to pursue dance for a living.  Life got in the way, and soon after graduation I sold my soul to corporate America.  After a few years, I really craved more creativity and movement in my life and I started teaching barre in my spare time as well as logging hours for my 200 RYT training.  I followed my heart, and with the support of my husband, started teaching fitness for a living.  It has been a really rewarding experience…it energizes me, keeps me in shape, and perhaps most important, has introduced me to some of my best friends.  It connected me with like-minded, strong people who cherish their health and love inspiring others to be the best versions of themselves.

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What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  How precious free time and sleep is.  Now that I have NONE with two toddlers ruling my household, I miss those moments of downtime where it was just me and my thoughts.  Many nights when I’m tucking my kids into bed, I wish so badly that the roles were reversed and someone were tucking me in!

What’s your fitness fashion style?  To be honest, my fitness style is definitely a bit more bold and daring than my day to day style.  It also changes with the workout.  I wear totally different apparel for dance cardio, versus spinning or barre.  For a tough BoCo class, I tend to choose a layered look on top….usually a strappy and bright sports bra as the base…and baggier capris.

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  To “listen to your body!’  I know how many classes I can teach without crashing.  I know my breaking point.  I know when I need a great massage, a day to sleep in, more water in my system, etc.  I try to avoid burning out at all costs.  It’s important to stay healthy and stay energized.

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?  I have two fears….#1. the dentist and #2. flying (yes, which is challenging when you love to travel.  Picture the plane scene from bridesmaids)

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  These days…..veggie straws.  I buy them “for my kids” and eat the bag!  Doh!

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  I consider myself to be a pretty good “connector.”  I’m most definitely a people person and I really pride myself on keeping up my relationships.

Anything else about you that I missed?  I am a total unabashed snob when it comes to both coffee and chocolate.

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Photo by Kathleen O’Neill

Our Newest Addition: The Talented Melody Davi!

Melody is one of those people you can never forget.  From her unique style to her huge bursts of energy in her fitness classes to her warmth and positivity, she is a true gem.  I met her several months ago and was excited to welcome her to the Body Conceptions team this summer.  You will drip with sweat when you take her classes (I did!), so I recommend running to sign up for them before they fill up.  You might even be lucky enough to become one of her private clients!

I was excited to learn more about Melody – and find out some really interesting and different tidbits about her life.  Check her out!

~Mahri

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Full Name:  Melody Kathleen Davi

Where were you born?  Aurora, Colorado

Where did you grow up?  Colorado and Northern California (Nor Cal!)


What’s your biggest passion?  Health and wellness, but specifically the use of movement to better one’s daily outlook and quality of life. And my dog, Skooter. Actually, he may come first!

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Tell me about your career. Have you changed direction? If so, why?  As a kid, I dreamed of becoming the first theatre actress/astronaut to perform a musical on the moon. The closest I got to this was traveling internationally for many years as an entertainer. (Though some destinations felt like another planet!) The love for health and wellness that dance instilled in me prompted a transition into my current line of work. Maybe now I will teach the first dance cardio class in outer space?

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What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  One should work to live, not live to work. I had spent a great deal of my life focusing solely on the “next step” as far as my career was concerned. In doing so, I ended up not truly enjoying some amazing experiences. Letting my priorities shift to what’s really important in life has brought me greater joy on a daily basis!

What’s your fitness style?  With this summertime humidity? Headgear, headgear, headgear! My lovely (not) Italian locks frizz up like a lion’s mane, especially when drenched from dancing. If I’m not rocking a hat, you’d better believe I’m sporting a headband from the stash in my bag. And I own a closet full of Brooks sneakers!

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What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten? Strangely enough, “do everything in moderation”. I am an all or nothing kind of gal. If I love a workout, I want to do it 7 days a week for months straight. If I’m into a new food craze or “diet” (Paleo much?), it is all I swear by. In both cases, you can either get burnt out, injured, or just plain defeated. When I learned how to enjoy small indulgences, some rest days, and allow myself to not be “perfect”, I discovered my healthiest self!

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?  I played recreational basketball as a young teen. Though I couldn’t shoot a hoop to save my life, I was the most down-n-dirty defender out there on the court, and ended up being nicknamed “The Harasser” by my coach. Watch out for old school training drills (fast feet! jump squats! lateral shuffles!) that always pop up in my classes.

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What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
  Cheese. Just any and every kind. The stinkier, the better! (Although my heart will always belong to good old fashioned Parmesan. Again, I’m Italian…)

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  I truly enjoy listening to and helping others. (Maybe I should have added therapist to possible occupations?) Being a personal trainer allows me assist others in finding a physically healthy self, but in general I truly enjoy supporting people as they talk out life’s issues. Want to grab a coffee and vent to an open ear? I’m your girl.

Anything else about you that I missed?  Oh, just one more guilty pleasure: lying out on any and every beach. Some day down the line, my old bag o’bones will retire to the Amalfi coast, drinking Prosecco and eating cheese every day!

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Meet the Wonderful Megan Beers!!

I first met Megan in one of my fitness Intensive programs.  I remember noticing her beautiful strength, control, and focus and wondering, “Who is this girl??”  I came to know Megan as an incredibly warm, knowledgeable and capable trainer.  She is one of my premiere prenatal fitness experts and also a popular Body Conceptions instructor at Rutgers University.

I feel lucky to know Megan, and I’m happy that you’ll get to know her a bit here, too!

~Mahri

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Where were you born?  Edison NJ

Where did you grow up?  Washington, NJ

What’s your biggest passion?  To Dance!  That’s why I love what I do so much. I get to dance and help others feel good about themselves.

Tell me about your career.  Have you changed direction?  If so, why?  Yes!  I was training to be a professional ballet dancer when I got a career-ending back injury during my senior year of high school.  All of that time spent trying to rehabilitate myself led me to decide to become a Pilates and fitness trainer.

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What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  Not to spend so much time worrying!  I think I wasted a lot of time in my head, and I’ve learned since to pay more attention to what’s in my heart.

What’s your fitness style? A combination of enthusiasm and focus.

What piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  Never stop dancing!  I was told this when I was going through my injury and I think the real message there was that no matter what happens, find a way to do what you love.

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?  I almost always wear socks. I have a bit of a foot phobia!

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Watching every and any reality show!

What quality do you really cherish about yourself? I’m determined to keep learning and growing so I can become the best version of myself.

Anything else about you that I missed?  I’ve been very lucky to have really amazing parents who are responsible for me now being able to live a life filled with passion and joy.

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