Announcing Our Beautiful, Soulful New Instructor, Cristina Gustaitis

It’s exciting for me to meet people who are aligned with my mission and my values as a fitness owner.  It doesn’t happen as often as I hope, which is why I was so taken by Cristina Gustaitis when she auditioned for us.  I saw immediately how passionate she felt about supporting others.  And she had the same soulful connection with music and dance that I have felt in my own life.

I am excited for you to get to know Cristina a bit here and have the chance to experience her in class as well (check her out on Sunday, April 22nd!).  Clients who work with her will have a strong, talented, and thoughtful trainer who truly cares about them and invests fully in helping them reach their goals.

Welcome, Cristina!  We are lucky to have you :)

~ Mahri


Where did you grow up?  Bloomington, Indiana

What’s your biggest passion?  

Sharing the joy of movement with people, young and old. Movement is life and has taught me so much about myself, the world around me and my relationships. It allows me to express myself freely and explore. If i’m feeling down, it always brings me up! Movement is universal and I hope to continue to share and connect with people through it by helping others discover the physical and emotional benefits of movement as well! 

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

For most of my life, I defined myself as a dancer. In my mind, that meant going to auditions and getting performance jobs. What I quickly realized after a few years of living that life in New York, was that it wasn’t bringing me the fulfillment I thought it would. Instead of going to dance classes because it made me happy, I started going to dance classes because I felt like I had to. I didn’t understand why something that had made me so happy for most of my life was making me so unhappy now. I soon realized that, as a dancer, I didn’t have to put myself into the “Performer” box. I started to explore choreography, teaching, fitness and Yoga and slowly began to let go of the guilt I felt for not “making it” as a performer. Once I started teaching and exploring other forms of movement, I realized that I had this entire body of knowledge from all of my years of studying dance that I wasn’t even tapping into as a performer. I began thinking more about how my dance teachers shaped me as a person rather than just a performer. Currently, I spend my days leaping around with my students in public schools, teaching the importance of classical ballet in dance studios, and now working up a sweat and dancing it out with BoCo clients! I’ve realized that a career doesn’t always mean you find one thing and do only that. I get to be around dance and movement every day in so many different ways and I feel more fulfilled than ever! 

What do you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I had known to stop worrying about the future! As long as you work hard and follow what brings you joy, life will unfold the way it is supposed to. It may not look like what you had imagined, but it will be even better because you followed your bliss to get there!

What’s your fitness fashion style?  

Anything versatile that I can workout in but still feel put together while I’m running around NYC! 

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

My brother once told me to “Do something that truly makes you happy every day, and it will lead you to where you’re supposed to be.”

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  

I love to bake AND eat lots of buttery, sweet treats!  

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  

I’ve always considered myself sensitive and often used to think it was a bad quality. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to cherish this quality and realize that it simply means I am thoughtful, grateful and truly appreciate my relationships.

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

When I was growing up I was obsessed with the Laura Ingalls Wilder ‘Little House on the Prairie’ books and being a Pioneer! I spent days in the woods behind my house wearing a bonnet and acting out stories! I even went to a Pioneer school house summer camp!

Meet Whitney Hickman: Our talented new BoCo instructor, kinesiology expert, and puppy owner!

One of the first things you notice about Whitney is her smile.  She radiates openness and joy when you meet her and also when she leads you through one of her fun and extremely challenging workouts. She truly embodies the excellence and warmth of our company, and we’re so lucky to have her!

Keep reading to find out more about Whitney – including her favorite guilty pleasure (yay ice cream and chips!) and the best piece of wellness advice she’s ever gotten.  And make sure you sign up now for one of her classes.  She’ll have waiting lists soon!

~ Mahri

Full name: Whitney Renee Hickman

Where were you born?  Winston Salem, North Carolina

Where did you grow up?  Winston Salem! 

What’s your biggest passion?  Dance of course! 

Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why? Being a double major in college, I always knew I wanted to dance professionally but also somehow combine dance and fitness/training. Kinesiology used to be my “back up plan” but now I’ve realized I can do both full time! I love to make others happy and reach their full potential so I’m so glad I can do that while pursuing my own happiness. :) 

What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  That being an adult is overrated! (lol but seriously.) But also that it is okay not to have it all figured out at once. Take your time growing up and do what makes you happy. Cherish every moment. 

What’s your fitness fashion style?  I love bright colors and printed leggings and a good crop top is always somewhere nearby. I love baggy clothes as well so it’s typically a combination of the two. 

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  The only person you are competing against and/or trying to impress is YOURSELF. Don’t compare yourself or journey to anyone else, as long as you are doing your best the results you want will come. 

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  I love Chips and Ice Cream..Any given day I can eat a bag of Lays and a Pint of Halo Top for dinner and I’ll be completely content with life. 

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?   My personality! I genuinely love to make other people happy. So even if it’s something as simple as a smile or one of my corny jokes, as long as it made someone’s day just a little better, it’s a great day for me. 

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?    I’m the youngest of 8 siblings and my brother closest to my age is 9 years older than me! Guess you can call me a surprise :) 

Anything else about you that I missed? I have the best puppy in the world named Chimmy! 

Our new instructor, Meghan McFerran, is a passionate dancer, trainer, and journalist!

The minute I met Meghan, I was incredibly impressed by her confidence, kindness, and enthusiastic energy. Since joining us officially in September, she has fully embraced the Body Conceptions community and teaches her BoCo classes as if she has taught them for years. Meghan is not only a talented dancer and fitness instructor, but she has an impressive background in journalism and continues to pursue that side of her life in NYC as well.

We are so lucky to have Meghan on our team. Learn more about her here, and make sure to try one of her fantastic classes!


Full name: Meghan Alison McFerran

Where were you born?  Albany, NY

Where did you grow up?  Albany NY and I moved to Delmar (a suburb of Albany) when I was 10.

What’s your biggest passion?  Dance!!!

Tell me about your career. Have you changed directions? If so, why?
I have always wanted to be a dancer. I spent my entire childhood dancing in my living room and putting on shows for my family.  I also wrote a chapter book in 3rd grade and I have always loved writing and planning…I’m a list girl!! In college I studied my two passions, dance and journalism. I began dancing for a company in Philadelphia called Eleone Dance Theatre and writing for the Temple University Dance Department blog as well as freelance writing for other blogs and theaters in Philly and internationally. After college, I moved to NYC to intern at Dance Magazine – a perfect combination of my two loves! I am now freelancing for Dance Magazine and dancing with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and living the amazing Boco life as well :)

What do you wish you knew when you were younger?
I wish I knew that there are certain things in life that we cannot control, so it is okay to let go of those fears and anxieties and just let life take its course. Control only what you can control by working hard to achieve your dreams and the rest will fall into place.

What’s your fitness fashion style?
I love sporty crop tops with high waisted leggings. I also love cropped hoodies! I usually stick to solid colors. I usually wear my hair in french braids or throw on a baseball cap if I’m having a bad hair day!

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?
Listen to your body!! You are different than everyone else, so you cannot compare your training, your injuries, how you are feeling that day, etc. to others. If you really aren’t feeling like taking that fourth class in a row because you are just exhausted or mentally tired – go relax! Treat yourself and appreciate yourself. (That was like 4 things haha)

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Ice cream – Heavenly Hash from Stewart’s in upstate NY (it’s like rocky road). Me and my sisters will go buy a gallon and finish it right out of the carton!!

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?
I am very motivated and focused on my goals, but I am also kind and giving towards others. I feel that it is important not to get caught up in your own path 100 percent of the time. I take time to listen to people, give them long hugs, call the people I love, write letters, and take time out of my day to support and motivate others.

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)?
I don’t know anything about TV or movies and people think it’s so weird! I didn’t grow up with cable and watching movies (to be honest I still can’t sit through a full movie – I have to get up and move!) and I’m still a terrible Netflix watcher. I usually finish one show every year.

Meet our new instructor and Broadway performer, Ashley Adamek!

It was so exciting to see Ashley Adamek at our instructor audition.  I have known Ashley through the musical theater business and have always admired her as a dancer.  And there she was at BoCo!  I’m thrilled to welcome her as one of the newest additions to our team.

Ashley has had a varied background in show business, including performing in the Broadway production of Spiderman and touring with Chicago.  These credits are impressive of course (and I tell everyone!), but more important to me is Ashley’s sweetness, strength, hard work, and integrity both in and out of the fitness studio.

Find out more about Ashley here – and definitely try one of her challenging classes (especially her Saturday morning BoCo Bootcamp!).  You’ll be in for a treat!




Ashley dances in the studio

Full name: 

Ashley Adamek

Where did you grow up?  

I lived in Vernon, CT until I was 10, and then I moved to Raleigh, NC

What’s your biggest passion? 


Ashley street leap

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

Dancing has always always been what I love to do and always will, but the business of dancing can be tough mentally, physically, and emotionally.  It’s especially hard when you pour your heart and soul into it without any other outlet except for maybe a “survival” job that you hate but that sustains you between dance jobs.  I got into fitness because it provides a great outlet from dancing.  I can have fun with both, and my focus has shifted to splitting my passion between the two.  At the end of the day I think it’s made me have a healthier relationship with the business of dance, too.

Ashley teaches high knees

What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  

Don’t let anyone intimidate you.

What’s your fitness fashion style?  

Funky, edgy, fun!

Ashley arm stretch

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

It’s all about balance.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  

Cheese…and red wine…

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  

My drive!

Ashley high punch

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

I can move my left bottom eyelid muscle independently of any other muscle.

Anything else about you that I missed?  

Nope!  ;)

Ashley headshot

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!




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.


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!


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!

Nicole side look

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.

Nicole handstand

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.

Nicole Leap

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

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!




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.

JoyceYoung Dancer

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.


Photo by Kathleen O’Neill

Melody: An Interview with Our Resident “Bro” Whisperer and Mommy Extraordinaire

Melody Davi is an extraordinary person and fitness trainer. She manages to push you harder than you can imagine while remaining one of the nicest, most approachable people around. She is a certified personal and group fitness trainer, a pre- and postnatal exercise specialist — and a new mom!! We at Body Conceptions are so lucky to have her, and we also marvel at her ability to juggle motherhood and fitness with so much grace and dedication.

I recently sat down again with Melody and asked her some questions about herself and her recent pregnancy. On Saturday, May 2nd, she will be introducing our first test class for men (and women can come, too!) – called BroCo. Come try this class and meet Melody if you don’t know her yet. You will be blown away!!


Melody kick

Can you tell us a little bit about your fitness background? And you were a performer too, right?  Yes, my interest for movement stems from a background in performing, particularly musical theatre (which is what brought me from the west coast to east). When I began working professionally, I realized that both my cardiovascular and muscular strength needed to increase in order to help my stamina and consistency on stage. Along the way, I discovered how that newfound power could affect my overall health and well-being and fell in love with that sensation. For over 5 years now, it’s been my ambition to bring that same discovery to the clients I work with!

Melody 25 weeks

You recently had a baby! What was it like teaching BoCo classes while you were pregnant? Also, was there anything about exercising during your pregnancy that surprised you?  Honestly, exercising during pregnancy felt amazing! I obviously become much more aware of my body and its specific needs, but found most of the usual negative symptoms associated with being pregnant didn’t affect me. (There still may have been a moment or two of nausea!) My energy levels, however, (especially during the second trimester) were even greater than beforehand, and I found dance cardio in particular to be the most comfortable way to sweat and tone. Like with exercise at any phase in life, it was true that the days I took off were the days I felt tired and weighed down, while the more I could move, the better I felt both mind and body!

Melody with baby 3

What was it like getting back to training clients and teaching classes afterwards? How did you get back into shape so quickly?  Getting back to training clients at first was the only reason I would leave the house; it’s so tough to say “goodbye” to the little one! I am in a fortunate position in that a great deal of my clients, both private and in class, are also mothers (or planning to be!) Having that relatability where we can discuss how pregnancy has change our bodies AND our lives makes going to work more like a day with friends (where we seriously sweat!)

Melody with baby1

The fact that I was able to exercise throughout my pregnancy (I was doing dance cardio right up until the day I went into labor!) helped make bouncing back MUCH easier! I already had a baseline of fitness to start from on Day 1 Post-natal, and the biggest challenge was telling myself to take it easy. (I may have brought resistance bands to the hospital…oops!) Starting from my core and working out from there, I’ve been focusing on first strengthening what pregnancy weakened, and then maintaining everything else. Plus, carrying around an ever-growing infant makes for a stellar arm workout!

Melody side plank

You are known as providing an amazing workout for men (in addition to women of course). What can we expect from your BroCo test class coming up on Saturday, May 2nd?Do you have to be a guy to do it?  Our new class addition, lovingly dubbed “BroCo” is my no means a men’s only class. Basically, it is designed to follow the same Body Conceptions format of strength and cardio intervals, with the intensity bumped up a notch. Also, no dance cardio! Instead, we’ll focus on athleticism: calisthenics, plyometrics, and mostly body weight conditioning. Those dreaded sliders MAY be making an appearance as well…

Ok – totally random final question. What’s one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?  Well, it’s maybe not THAT surprising, but I am a bit of a tattoo lover. (5 so far!) My latest (and largest), a Magpie bird in honor of little Maggie, is by far my favorite!

Melody baby

Meet Our Newest – and Fantastic – Trainer, Allie!

When you meet Allie, you can’t help but instantly like her.  She is a very genuine, kind person with a great sense of humor and a fun personality.  But don’t let that fool you.  She’s a tough trainer!!   In one of her classes, she somehow manages to make you laugh and have a great time while simultaneously challenging EVERY muscle beyond your limit.

I recommend trying one of Allie’s classes – and also getting to know her.  Allie is a fantastic addition to our BoCo team, and we are honored to have her!


Read more about Allie here…


Harris Headshot 2014 B+W 2  copy copy

Full Name:  Alexandra Marie Harris

Where were you born?  Colorado Springs, Colorado

Where did you grow up?  Saline, Michigan

What’s your biggest passion?  Navigating the world around me and continuing to question/learn. (and moving n’ grooving, shimmying n’ shaking!)

Allie dance red

Tell me about your career. Have you changed direction? If so, why?
I have trained as a dancer since I was just a youngster. I am currently performing with various companies and choreographers and presenting my own choreography. While I feel fortunate to be following my dreams, I also understand the difficult reality of dance as my livelihood and the need to prioritize my health and well-being. With a love for movement, teaching, and community, fitness was an obvious pathway for me. I am so excited to have found a sustainable direction that allows me to use all that I have learned and am passionate about.

Allie gymnastics

What do you wish you knew when you were younger?  I’m still figuring that out!!! But maybe that’s what I’ve learned- that it’s OK to be uncertain and it’s never too late to try something new. That, and peanut butter is not a food group.

What’s your fitness style?  Down-to-earth hardcore! I love to push and be pushed but I really appreciate honesty and humility. I also love mixing grace and poise with serious power moves to fully test myself physically and mentally.

handstand mountain

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten?  Listen to your body! This sounds so simple but it’s so important to be in tune with your body in terms of what it needs – rest, nourishment, challenges, etc. And not every body needs the same things!

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little
funny or weird)?  I once dressed up as Gollum from The Lord of The Rings and it was the best Halloween I’ve ever had. I also love board games and have a dream of starting/joining a weekly club- any takers? Lastly, in college I had a reputation for falling onstage during dance performances- so much so that my friends started an “Allie Tally” of all the times I wiped out! Graceful much?!!

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?  Peanut butter- ugh, why is that stuff so good?

What quality do you really cherish about yourself?  My openness to understanding others and my willingness to question and challenge myself.

Anything else about you that I missed?  Did I say that I liked peanut butter?

Harris full body 2013 copy

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!



Melody full_body

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!

Melody Cali Skooter copy

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?

Melody Ship Sing copy

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!

Meloldy Fit Hoodie copy

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.

Melody Black white side plank copy

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!

Melody Amalfi

Deborah Kessler: The Gem Behind Body Conceptions

Whenever I am asked how I was able to start and develop Body Conceptions, my connection with Deborah Kessler is one of the first things I mention.  I knew Deborah for many years before I started the business, and she was one of the very first people I approached when I needed business and marketing advice.

Deborah has now become integral to so many of Body Conceptions’ partnerships and business strategies.  She also happens to be one the smartest and most creative people I know on top of being a tireless and conscientious advocate.  I recommend Deborah to any new or transitioning business owner who needs branding, marketing or operational support!



Deb color body shot

1) Where are you from? I grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ

2) In your own words, can you describe what you do? Alright, let’s see… I am a marketing and business development consultant. I’m a lot like a therapist with a background in finance. I work with companies that are in transition and help them with branding, marketing, and operations management.

3) How did you get where you are? Any professional twists and turns? Yes, many!  My path has never been straight which makes life all the more exciting.  I have always believed that opportunities come when and how you least expect them.  Live fearlessly and welcome every opportunity because you never know where it will lead you.

I moved to New York and worked as an actress for a number of years.  Marketing and bar program development were always my “between jobs” jobs.  I was fortunate enough to become employed as marketing director of a restaurant helmed by a notable chef and a very influential Wall Street businessman.  When they chose to close the restaurant I was offered a job working for the restaurant’s owner on Wall Street.  Though far out of my comfort zone I accepted the position and grabbed the bull by its horns so to speak.  I left performing behind and got what I like to call my on-the-job MBA. I learned everything from private equity to trading (commodities and equities), business management, international business, fundraising, finance, technology, and the soup-to-nuts of how to launch a start-up…the list goes on.  My main focus became marketing and business development for a wide array of companies.  My last big Wall Street project was preparing a financial technology company for a public offering on the NASDAQ.  I then started my own consulting company.  It has been quite a ride!

4) What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever gotten? We had a poster in my house growing up that said “To be good is not enough when you dream of being great.”  That has always resonated with me.

5) If someone told you they wanted to start their own business, what’s the first thing you would say to them? I would probably say “Great!”   It takes a lot of guts to start your own business. I deeply admire those who are willing to take a risk to pursue their dreams.

Deb Pregnant shot

6) Now for the fun stuff! Tell us about your new baby girl! (Truthfully, she’s one of the most beautiful little girls I’ve ever seen!)  Thank you.  Motherhood has been an incredible journey.  I think the most eye-opening moment was when Alexandra was five days old and I realized the simple act of picking up the mail meant bundling the baby, putting her in her stroller and bringing her with me.  No longer could I dash down a flight of stairs and be back before my coffee brewed.  Speaking of which, I would kill for the ability to start and finish a hot cup of coffee too!  Never had I experienced this degree of life altering responsibility. But the responsibility came with the most amazing pay-off.  Every smile melts my soul.  When she wraps her tiny chubby arms around my neck I am reminded of how lucky I am.  My 6-month-old daughter loves people but hates being bored.  She could win any staring contest, she is not fond of bananas, she loves to sing, she loves to shriek, she is fiercely determined and sleeps 12 hours each night.  Without that last bit I would have never survived the past six months!

Little Alex

7) What’s the most unusual thing about you that most people don’t know – that you’re willing to share? :)  I have three last names; my birth name, my professional name and my married name.  I often don’t know who knows me by what name…I confuse myself all the time.

8) Is there anything here that I’ve missed?  You forgot to ask me about how happy I am to be working with you and the beautiful, energetic women of BoCo. The difference you all make, how brave you were starting your company two years ago, how passionate you are every day of your life, and now the enthusiasm of your trainers…it is an inspiring thing. I am honored to work with this company and to help you further your business and your mission.

9) If people need your services, how do they get in touch with you?  Email is always a great way to go!  .