What does it mean to be strong?

by Mahri Relin, photos by Kathleen O’Neill and Matthew Simpkins
© 2015 www.mattsimpkinsphotography.com

© 2015 www.mattsimpkinsphotography.com

“Beach-body ready!”

We all know the pressure as the summer approaches to be “teeny-tiny” and “beach-body ready.” To feel comfortable enough to wear you favorite bikini, summer mini dress, or short-shorts and look amazing for the summer.

I get it – and I support anyone’s quest to achieve the best version of themselves on any level.  I ask, though – How many of us ever feel like we have truly “arrived?” That we REALLY feel good in our bathing suit or are fully ready to hit the summer streets confident and truly beautiful in our skin? Sadly, so many of us don’t get there. And it has nothing to do with our bodies. 

My journey to become stronger

I have been open about my own journey this past year to find my own path and embrace changes that were true to me.  I pushed back more than ever to protect my needs in the business (and personal life incidentally), and it felt amazing.  From a fitness perspective, protecting my physical needs was another lesson learned.  I dove so deeply into our client training and events that I developed some new and uncharacteristic injuries.  I realized very quickly that I needed to put my body and myself first to be the best trainer and (injury-free) instructor I could be.  This was not natural for me since I had always had a stoic “show-must-go-on” mentality.  But in truth, there wouldn’t be a show without a strong body!

I mention all of these things because the strengths I recently honed as a person, business owner, and athlete have inspired me look at the question of strength in our clients.  How could we help people build themselves from the inside out?  How could we help them take our workout to another level, find balance, and gain the inner and outer strength to take on the summer — all the while feeling GREAT in a bathing suit because they just felt great about themselves??


Jumping in the park - Lolë

Kathleen O’Neill photography

The challenge!
Challenges provide the best opportunities to focus on inner and outer strength.  Challengers get to know each other, and they are encouraged to support each other’s progress the whole way through.  Technical tips are shared so that everyone can perform better in class.  And lots of partnerships with skincare, clothing, meditation, and bodywork companies help our challengers seek beauty, balance, and healthy choices along the way. 
I want everyone in our challenges to see amazing results.  And believe me, they do!!  But more importantly, it’s about the realization that they can hold a plank or sustain a seat series much longer than they imagined. Or the friendships they develop with fellow challengers that last for many years. Or the skincare products that make them feel radiant, partly because they won them from taking the highest number of classes in the group that week!


Listening to music - Lolë

Kathleen O’Neill photography

So what do I mean by strong?  I mean finding your groove, reaching new heights with your body, feeling capable and beautiful, and protecting your health and personal balance. And it’s my hope that a challenge like ours can help all of us go into the summer with the strength to reject the notion of the “perfect” summer body — to stand up for ourselves in more way than one, and shine from knowing that we are all capable of amazing things.

Want to sign up for the #StrongforSummer challenge?  Go to www.bodyconceptions.com, go to our Mindbody scheduler, and select the “Events” tab!


© 2015 www.mattsimpkinsphotography.com

© 2015 www.mattsimpkinsphotography.com

Get to know Ashley Nelson – and our wellness morning at Bandier!

Get to know Ashley Nelson – and our wellness morning at Bandier!
Photos by Kathleen O’Neill

Ashley Nelson came into my life during our Valentine’s #LoveYourBody #LoveYourSelf challenge. She entered the challenge full-force, diving into the classes and tackling the method with so much positive energy and enthusiasm. Even with her tiny frame, Ashley saw incredible results and now has the kind of ab definition you can’t help but compliment. She’s a big champion of our challenges and  will be jumping right back into the next one coming up in June.

Ashley authors the blog, Impossibly Imperfect (www.impossiblyimperfect.com), a mix of travel, fashion, and lifestyle adventures from around the country and world – capturing images and stories that are exciting, effortless, stylish, and of-the-moment. I was excited when she suggested that we partner together to host a wellness event at Bandier.

Below are moments caught by our photographer, Kathleen O’Neill, at our early-morning event on May 11th. Studio B at Bandier was the perfect location for our class with its huge, light-filled room, plus plenty of space for post-class mingling and eating. We had incredible gift bags, snacks, and life-saving coffee. And the girls at Bandier couldn’t have been sweeter. This was a morning I won’t forget for a long time.

Body Conceptions by Mahri Jump Cardio

Mahri leading a killer class!

Class started with a full-body warmup, pumping music, and lots of jumping.

Body Conceptions Arm Toning Workout

Our guests looking fierce, toning their arms!

Kathleen O'Neill Photography

Time to tone the booty and belly!

It was amazing how much everyone in the room focused and went deeper into their form despite the early hour.

Body Conceptions NYC exercise

Ashley, Nicole, Mahri and co. getting that cardio on!

Our thighs were screaming in our deep lunges and squat jumps.

Body Conceptions Stretch cool down

Cooling down and returning to that zen :)

The class ended with a stretch and breathing series.

Group Fitness Class Manhattan BoCo Nicole Picard

Nicole loves getting her sweat on, upside down!

Our acrobatic Nicole hit her mark after class!

Mahri Relin Body Conceptions Tovita Nutrition Oats

Tovita Nutritionists served delicious overnight oats!

Body Conceptions Fitness Coffee

Brooklyn Cold Brew served refreshing iced coffee!

We were all grateful for the  yummy overnight oatmeal snacks provided by Tovita Nutrition and coffee by Brooklyn Cold Brew.

BoCo Mahri Relin Allegra Cohen Tovita

The crew shares a laugh post-workout

Ashley Nelson Impossibly Imperfect Bandier

Fab, fit, fierce friends getting silly!

We let loose, fueled by caffeine!

Body Conceptions Event Gift Bags Amika

Look at all those goodie bags!

Body Conceptions by Mahri Relin Bandier goodies

Tons of goodies!

Our gift bags were filled with the best from Amika, Hickies, MNDFL, Skin Laundry, BoCo, and Korres.

Allegra Cohen Ashley Nelson Bandier BoCo

Mahri, Allegra, and Ashley!

I couldn’t have been happier, surrounded by great energy, great friends, and my amazing instructors. Shown here with my dear friend, Allegra Cohen, and my new (and also dear!) friend, Ashley Nelson!

Bandier Body Conceptions Event NYC Bloggers Press

Thank you all for coming, we had a blast!

This was quite a group.  I would do it all again any time!

Wanna join our next challenge? Here are the deets!!

BoCo’s #StrongforSummer Express Challenge
a focused, 4-week program designed to help you get healthy, strong and confident for the summer.

What Is It??
• Unlimited classes for 4 weeks — June 1st -June 28th
• Measurement of your progress
• A 90-minute BoCo intensive to kick you into high gear!
• Weekly wellness tips
• Triple points with our favorite local rewards partners
• Weekly featured wellness services and prizes
• A shopping party at Lolë’s Soho store
• Grand Prizes for our winner!

Last season’s winner lost over 13 inches — 5 inches off her waist alone!!

$320 (Only $290 if you sign up by 5/20!)

Sign up here!

Here are some great posts from Ashley documenting her challenge experience:





Mahri Relin

The Best Way to Celebrate Mom — And You!

Words & photos by Kathleen O’Neill

Mahri Relin

Mothers, daughters, sisters & friends jumping with Mahri Relin!

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we teamed up with Randi Zinn of Beyond Mom to celebrate female relationships on Sunday, May 1st at 10:00 AM.

Randi Zinn

Randi Zinn of Beyond Mom getting her BoCo on!

Guests brought their mothers, sisters and/or girlfriends for a morning of fitness and empowerment at Athleta’s Flatiron studio.

Erin West Body Conceptions

BoCo Trainer Erin West helping out the back row

Mahri taught a killer BoCo class that got everyone sweating and smiling together, followed by a discussion led by Randi about the importance of women in our lives.

Mahri Relin

Our Raffle Winner!

To top it all off, guests got to mingle and browse the Athleta racks while enjoying gifts from our partners: Vrou water, Go Macro bars, Bare Snacks, and Just Salad.

Mahri Relin

Bare Snacks Apple Chips!

There were even masseuses from SOOTHE App present to provide massages, and a representative from Julie Lindh Skin Fitness signing people up for free skin consultations!

Mahri Relin

SOOTHE Massage

Overall, it was the perfect affair that allowed guests to take a step back from their busy lives and appreciate the value of the special women in their lives.

Beyond Mom Body Conceptions

Randi Zinn and Mahri Relin