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How BoCo Preps You For Adventure: The Rock Climbing Edition


Note from Mahri~

When Emily Kammeyer comes to class, you notice her. Not just because of her statuesque physique and confidence that emenates from her at all times (it does), but she dresses – and accessorizes – amazingly well! It’s no surprise that she specializes in accessories, from blogging ( to crafting her own jewelry and headpieces (E.Kammeyer Accessories). Her work is uniquely stunning– I have a necklace of hers that’s earned compliments every time I’ve worn it!

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Emily in BoCo class!

Emily brought so much athleticism and energy to our #StrongForSummer challenge.  I’m especially thrilled that her training with us helped prepare her for the adventurous rock climbing experience she had at Joshua Tree. Read about her experience below — and check out her beautiful work, too!


Words from Emily~

What drives you? For me, it’s the thrill of a new adventure. I live for trying new things, pushing my limits and feeling the rush of adrenaline. On my recent trip to Palm Springs I decided to spend a day rock climbing in Joshua Tree with my husband. Now, I’ve rock climbed many times before, but nothing quite like these conditions.

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As prep for our trip I decided to try out a new workout called Body Conceptions. BoCo, as many call it, is a workout designed to create a lean and sculpted body like a dancer. What I fell in love with was the complete muscle exhaustion, serious sculpting, and overflowing positivity you find in every class.

fitness lifeThere are a few different classes you can take at BoCo, but my favorite is the classic. It was great prep for rock climbing because it mixes cardio and sculpting into one perfect hour long class. The best/worst part is called the seat section. It’s 15 minutes of exhausting backside work that leave you feeling like you may never lift your legs again. But let me tell you, it really helped with my rock climbing skills. Your legs and butt are what propel you up the rock, and thanks to that exhausting seat section, I was ready.


Now a bit about our climb. Joshua Tree is composed of granite rock formations. What I learned to love about this, is your rock climbing shoes really stick to a granite surface. Most of the climbing I’d done previously involved leisurely climbs with lots of hand holds. Well, this was a bit different. I came to the shocking realization on these climbs that there weren’t many hand holds at all. This is where I learned how to smear, a technique used in slab climbing. Smearing is where you press your shoe into the rock to propel yourself up. Most of the time on these climbs my hands were just flat against the rock and you had to trust your feet to keep you ascending. It was an amazing experience, terrifying and exhilarating experience.


Emily rock climbing!

If you’re thinking about heading to Joshua Tree for a rock climbing trip, I highly recommend our guide Castle Rock Climbing School. We learned so much on this trip and left with fatigued muscles and smiles on our faces.

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Words and (select) photos provided by Emily Kammeyer.

Broadway Stars Teamed Up With Fitness Professionals at LuluLemon To #FuelHappiness: Find Out What Went Down!

If you’ve seen the blog posts and pics this year, you know that Body Conceptions has created a strong connection with Fit for Broadway and its founder, Jane Jourdan. Jane writes about health and wellness in the Broadway community, and Mahri’s Broadway musical theater background connects perfectly with Jane’s mission.

Mahri’s most recent collaboration with Jane at lululemon in Soho celebrating “Fueling Happiness through Theatre and Dance” with cast members of the Broadway show, On Your Feet, was a huge success. Read Kathleen O’Neill’s piece and check out her pics documenting the fun-filled night. And stay tuned in the next year for even more Broadway events and exciting collaborations!


It was chilly the evening of the #FuelingHappiness event, but the hosts sure brought the heat to lululemon SoHo. Guests were treated to $20 gift cards upon their arrival and perused the endless racks of the highest quality athleisure. Their arms were piled high with clothes, and the super-friendly associates helped them choose the best options.

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Once everyone was decked out in lululemon gear, it was time to get the party started. Clothing displays were pushed aside to expose a vast dance floor, and Latin music emitted through the speaker system. Jane, the mastermind behind the Fit For Broadway blog, brought the talented cast of the Broadway show, On Your Feet (Luis Salgado, Hector Maisonet, Brett Sturgis and Nina Larfarga) to lead a fun warm up.

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Our own Mahri of Body Conceptions pumped up the energy level with a high intensity cardio workout. Her uplifting tone of voice and encouraging comments kept everyone in the studio – dancers, yogis, and Broadway stars alike – completely motivated.

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Even the sales associates couldn’t help but take a break from closing up the registers to get in on the action.

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The lights dimmed and the music transitioned to a more calm and soothing sound for the cool down. The room radiated with a sense of relief, satisfaction, and happiness as everyone stretched out their limbs. There’s nothing better than that feeling you experience right after you’ve worked your body to its core and are giving it the nice stretch it deserves. But in this case, it DID get better with the help of Tiny Empire, which had a table of organic, raw, pressed juices set up and ready to be enjoyed.

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While the guests sipped on their refreshments, they scanned the displays of My Intent bracelets (handmade pieces that reflect various meaningful intentions) and Hickies (cool shoelace substitutes that turn any sneakers into slip-ons). Everyone was in great spirits, making new friends, and catching up with old ones. The raffle winners were announced, winning prizes that included a personalized shopping experience with LuluLemon SoHo and a gift card to Birch Coffee. No one went home empty handed because goodie bags filled to the brim with treats were handed out at the end of the evening.

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Liquid IVYuve , Maple WaterPerfect BarHaus Urban SkincareHickiesR.Evolución Latina

Then everyone circled up, and lululemon Soho Manager Erin reinstated the purpose behind the evening: To spread positive energy, kindness, and of course, to fuel happiness. It can be done in a number of ways, including donating your time to R.Evolucion Latina (an affiliate of Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS) by teaching dance lessons to underprivileged artists. Gabriela Garcia was there as a representative, and told the heartwarming story of how the program came to be. She had lived her dream of performing on Broadway but was eager for more, so she decided to give back.

One by one, the cast members of On Your Feet also shared their touching stories. Although everyone faced different struggles, the one commonality was that each of them had experienced something preventing them from pursuing theater and dance as a full time career at one point in their lives. Yet each of them found the courage and strength to persevere. And now they’re all living their dream without regrets. Luis’ adorable son, Hikari, could not contain his excitement, and ran towards his father. Then he prompted Luis to get up and dance– it was absolutely precious!

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Jane could not have been more accurate in saying it’s hard to find a sense of community in the vast city of New York. But through theater and fitness, she has been able to find just that. And Mahri’s words also hit close to home. It’s easy to get consumed in a tunnel-vision mindset, only focusing on achieving one serious accomplishment after the next, while letting the world around you pass by. It is not until you take a moment to pick your head up and just look; become aware of the beauty that surrounds you every day and embrace it. Find what makes you truly happy and be fearless in chasing it. That’s what Mahri did, and she’s built not only a fitness empire, but a family. Clients look forward to BoCo classes and personal sessions because the trainers know more than just their names; they know their stories—and they’re actually friends. Fun events like this one are just the cherry on top of the cake.

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Find out the Story Behind Silver Continent – and the Bracelets Made Just for BoCo!!

When Georgia Alexandra of Silver Continent mentioned the possibility of creating a bracelet specifically for Body Conceptions, I was floored. I had met Georgia through a circle of mothers in the city who had built fantastic companies in the wellness, beauty, and fashion industries. Georgia’s jewelry is delicate and sophisticated, and she uses only the finest socially conscious materials and gemstones. I had admired her work on several occasions. And the possibility of having an exclusive piece with BoCo colors thrilled me! Georgia’s Collection Bracelet line is made with silk and lapis beads in the sport version and with additional diamond adornments in the classic version. The BoCo edition features our classic grey and purple colors. These bracelets can be worn day and night in the shower and to bed without taking them off. And most importantly, you can wear them while you exercise!!

I have included my interview with Georgia here for you to get a better sense of how she got to this amazing place in her career. And I have also included shots of Lauren, Allie, and I rocking the bracelets during a fun photo shoot in the park with Kathleen O’Neill. We had a blast that day!

We are now finally offering these Silver Continent Bracelets on our store page! Check them out – and come wear them with us in class!!


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Getting to know Georgia and Silver Continent:

1) Where are you from, and where did you grow up?
Born in NYC, I grew up between New York and Athens, Greece.

2) What led you to become a jewelry designer? Have you always been an artistic person?
From a young age I fell in love with fine arts. In college I pursued graphic design only to move on to visual communications in the field of fashion because using the computer as my ‘instrument’ felt too structured. To create something visually beautiful that carries some kind of information always underlies what I did. Be it creative direction for an editorial photo shoot or painting a piece on commission. When my son was born there was a shift. The freedom to create something tangible sparked joy and fine jewelry was clearly it.


3) Tell us a little about Silver Continent and the pieces you create.
Silver Continent is a fine jewelry collection inspired by my family’s heritage, background and love of travel. I believe it will continue to evolve as we do into a refined vision of my expression. Each piece of Silver Continent Fine Jewelry is created with the highest quality fine gemstones and metals available. Conflict free and sustainable materials speak of the urgency for socially conscious fine goods. It is ever so important to know how something was made as well as where it comes from. The collections are for the most part made up of a limited edition of pieces. In addition, one of a kind fine jewelry is created in collaboration with our clients upon request.


4) You are a mother, right? How do you manage to incorporate fitness and healthy living into your lifestyle? (And is that hard to do sometimes?)
As a mother of two little ones (soon to be 4 & 6 years old) it has become increasingly important to incorporate fitness and healthy living into my every day. A brief early morning meditation followed by a morning workout boost my energy for the day. In all honesty, it was difficult to find the right formula – for me. When the children wake up there is always something I can be doing with them and I don’t want to miss out on that. So for me, that means waking up at 5am and giving myself a two hour window to meditate and exercise and put my full attention on these. Every woman is different, every Mom is different and every family is different. It may take longer for some than others, but there is a balance that can be found that really feels right. I also like to take some time in the evening and come back into balance with meditation.

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5) We are so excited that you are curating a piece for Body Conceptions!! I’ve worn mine every day for two months through workouts, showers, and everyday living, and it still looks beautiful. Tell us about your Diamond Collection Bracelet and Necklace!

I love to hear that Mahri! I am thrilled to offer this exclusive piece to Body Conceptions clients! The Collection Bracelet / Necklace was created in essence as a collection of memories we gather during our travels. A short trip upstate or a journey back home to Greece or India. Every time we travel we create these new beautiful memories and almost always bring something back with us. And so, this piece is symbolic of that kind of journey. Also, it is versatile and can be worn simply around the neck as a layering necklace or shorter choker like piece or as a bracelet wrapped around the wrist a few times. Simple, thoughtful, timeless.

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6) Tell us something interesting or different about yourself that people may not realize!
Every woman has many facets. A few of mine include exploring our beautiful planet as a fashion stylist for Vogue in what I now call “my past life” (life before children!), and a deep connection with and love of nature and animals.

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7) Did I miss anything?
Cheers to a new collaboration and friendship celebrating health and beauty! Thank you!

Bracelets.Georgia Alexandra Davis portrait March 2015

Purchase your Diamond Collection Pieces for BoCo here.

BoCo Backstage: Get a Sneak Peek Behind The Scenes to Find Out How Mahri Created her Fitness Empire. And This is Just The Beginning! —

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that there’s a lot of activity going on in the Body Conceptions world these days.  Between some amazing new instructors, photo shoots, events, and new locations, BoCo is busy — and getting busier all the time.

We caught up with Mahri Relin, founder and owner of Body Conceptions, to get to know her a little better — to understand where all of this came from, how she really feels about the fitness scene, and what drove her to create her company in the first place.  We can tell that some big plans are in the works.  Stay tuned for news of some exciting new directions.  And in the meantime, read all about the woman behind the method!



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Tell us about yourself. Where were you born, and where did you grow up. Where did you go to school, what did you study? What styles of dance?

I was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico but moved to Cape Cod, MA after a year and grew up there. I went to the Nauset Regional school system before heading off to college at Williams to study psychology and neurobiology. I had started dancing (ballet) when I was 5, but I didn’t think it would become a serious part of my life until I attended graduate school. I was in a doctoral program in Clinical Neuropsychology at UCSD/SDSU but spent every free minute taking modern dance or ballet class or performing in the area. Since I soon realized that dance was my true passion, I made the greatest decision of my life to leave school, move to New York, and see if I could make it in the dance scene. I had begun with ballet as a child, but I had gotten serious about modern dance and had also spent lots of time during my travels studying different forms of dance around the world. Because of this, I was pretty well prepared to enter the Broadway scene that requires proficiency in lots of different dance styles.

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How did you get into fitness? What is your fitness background?

After dancing and performing nationally and internationally for many years, I realized that I needed to ground myself in the city and think about having a more consistent form of income. That was exactly the time when a great friend of mine contacted me to audition for Tracy Anderson. I was so impressed by the way that she brought dance and fitness together. And I also loved the way she used music to motivate people (because I’m a music fiend!). I was hooked and knew that I had found my next career. I was sad to leave her studio after a major ankle injury, but that brought me to FlyBarre, the new barre method that grew out of Flywheel Sports. I was honored to be named the Creative Director for their first year, and that paved the way for me to want to create fitness material that was most effective for me and also for my clients. I had lots of ideas that diverged from the barre scene, so starting my own method and my own company made the most sense.

Who was your mentor/guide supporting you on your journey to success? Describe how and why you established relationships in the industry?

I had some amazing clients who encouraged me to go for it and start my own thing. They saw that I had lots of ideas about how to run a company, and I was always coming up with new material that revolved around my personal fitness philosophy. And I saw how amazing their results could be. Once I started Body Conceptions, I was incredibly lucky to reconnect with Deborah Kessler, an old friend of mine with expertise in small business marketing and operations. She was a wonderful addition to the team and helped guide us tremendously in our early years. She remains a really valuable confidante and close friend.

I have built Body Conceptions around my growing relationships in the health and wellness community. I believe that fitness should be part of a larger wellness picture for people, and I like to bring lots of different resources to our clients. Out of this philosophy, I have had some of the most wonderful relationships with businesses and wellness figures in the community that include Jane Jourdan of Fit for Broadway, Dana Campbell Coaching, Lolë Activewear, Just Salad, Ellie Shepley, Brooke Marrone, Elvie, Tovita Nutrition, and WTRMLN WTR among many, many others.

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What inspired you to launch Body Conceptions? What was your main goal when you started?

I had been creating material for other companies, but I had a huge desire to create my own method using fitness principles and approaches to movement that felt the best for my body. On top of that, I was seeing results in my clients that were amazing me.

I think my psychology background also had an impact on my decision to create a place and an environment that I believed in. I saw so many women who were afraid of exercising because they had insecurities about their bodies and felt like they didn’t fit into the fitness scene. And I believe that EVERYONE deserves to experience the benefits and joy that come from making fitness part of their life. I wanted to create a studio where the fitness was highly effective but where the environment was extremely welcoming, supportive, and community-driven. I am so proud of the way my instructors have embodied this philosophy.

How did you come up with the name Body Conceptions? Were there other ideas in the works? Can you explain the meaning behind the logo?

Believe it or not, my mother came up with our company name. She knew my philosophy about how fitness belonged in a bigger health and wellness context. And the name, Body Conceptions, spoke to the many ways that we think about and care for our bodies – through mind, spirit, diet, social connection, music, exercise, etc. I loved the name immediately.

The logo came from our wonderful designer, Brad Egnor. He created a feeling of flow and movement using the “B” and “C” letters that reflected my background in dance, my personality, and the sophistication I wanted to convey.

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How have you and the company grown over the past few years? Has anything about the mission and/or goals changed at all?

I began the company as a one-person private training business. I knew I wanted to grow, so I wrote the manual for the method and started attending networking events to meet like-minded wellness professionals in the city and create partnerships. When I started, I didn’t think I wanted to open my own permanent studio but rather sought connections with people in hopes of eventually joining a bigger collective or wellness center.

Soon I had way too many requests for training to handle them myself and hired my first instructor. I also realized that I needed to start giving public group classes so that more people could find out about us. Within 2 years, I had 4 instructors and a regular class schedule on top of a growing private training program in the Hamptons, NYC, and New Jersey. It felt amazing!

Looking at the opportunities around me recently, I have thought a lot about our growth – both alone and in connection with the partnerships we have built over the years. I am also now open to having a dedicated Body Conceptions studio space, which would open so many doors for us and give our clients a truly elevated fitness experience. We have some exciting plans coming up, and I almost can’t believe how far we’ve come! Stay tuned!!

What obstacles did/do you face while running a small business? What are the most rewarding aspects of spearheading BoCo?

Starting from scratch the way I did gave me a lot of opportunities to build the business from the ground up just the way I wanted. I was able to be extremely careful about the instructors I chose, and I could spend a lot of time developing the brand culture. I could also build the relationships in the community the way that I wanted and focus heavily on client needs. The downside of starting small without investors is that you have to improvise a lot with your resources – and renting space in different locations can be tricky. And anything that goes wrong falls on your shoulders! But I am so grateful for the dedication and support of my team. I look forward to growing with them together and expanding the company model.

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How is Body Conceptions different/similar from other fitness programs?

I developed Body Conceptions very carefully. It is based on dance principles and focuses on developing the lean and sculpted physique of a dancer. But I don’t ever want people to feel intimidated to come if they aren’t dancers! There is no complex choreography in our classes, and all levels are welcome. In addition, we have a more balanced focus on both body sculpting and cardio in our classes than other methods. You will truly feel like every part of your body has been targeted!

I am a huge music junkie, so music in our classes plays a major role in helping clients enjoy what they are doing without realizing that they are working so hard. I think having fun is crucial to sticking with a fitness method long-term. You should really WANT to make fitness a part of your life every day. And while this is one of the more challenging methods out there, I take huge pride in our extremely low injury rates and in how many of our clients overcome their back, hip and knee injuries through their work with us.

What do you look for in a BoCo Trainer? What do all of them have in common, and what makes them unique?

So many of us love our fitness classes when our instructors are great. For that reason, I take lots of time finding just the right people. I want instructors who are extremely warm, supportive, and motivating and who are not afraid to push our clients’ limits. It’s crucial to me for everyone in our classes to feel like they are important and for our instructors to monitor their technique and progress over time. All of our instructors have nationally recognized certifications. And most of them are also certified pre- and postnatal exercise specialists.

I like to choose instructors who understand the method but who also have their own unique charisma and personality. Every BoCo class you take will be true to our method, but you will also see differences between each instructors’ personality, choice of music, and style of movement. I’m really proud of those differences, and I love coming to the classes they teach to support them. I am a broken record, but I am so grateful for the love and care they all put into their work and the ways they have developed their own unique identities. I hope we are able to keep this level of excellence no matter how big we grow.


Your Trainers are specially experienced in pre and post-natal fitness. Can you describe what exactly this entails and why you want to focus on it?

Yes! We want to be able to work with women through all stages of their life – and that includes their pregnancies. So many fitness studios in the city neglect pregnancy. But so many studies that shown how important it is to keep exercising when you’re pregnant!

I have studied pregnancy extensively, and I subsidize the pre-and postnatal education of my instructors. That way, they can work with our clients from the moment they prepare for their weddings through their multiple pregnancies and beyond without interruption.

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What was your most memorable BoCo moment? Was it when a client improved drastically, or when you got to teach class to your best friends? Or when Vogue published an article about you?

Wow – that’s a hard question to answer. I think my favorite night was our official public launch in March 2013. We held our big class and reception at a studio/gallery space in TriBeCa. Some of my favorite friends, clients, and members of the press filled the room for the class, and we had a fantastic live DJ – Shem Alleyne. The energy in that room as we exercised together was magical, and the love and support I felt from everyone that night made me feel so happy. Nights like those help you realize that you are making the right choices and that your work really matters to people. I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my friends and colleagues.

Why do you believe that the BoCo method really works?

I love the way my body feels doing the Body Conceptions workout, and I definitely notice a difference in myself when I am doing it. But don’t just believe me! Our most dramatic empirical data has come from our challenges during which our clients take as many classes as they can for 6 weeks while we measure their progress. We see significant changes in their waist, hips and thighs across the board, and most challengers lose a total average of 7 or more inches. One challenger blew everyone out of the water when she lost 14.2 inches – 5.2 inches off her waist alone!

Many of our private clients have had major life changes because of their work with us. Three of my current clients started exercising for the first time in their lives and are now making it a regular part of their lifestyle. (One of them even ran a marathon last year!) Many of our clients lose lots of weight, and they also experience dramatic changes in their body shape. I am particularly proud of our pregnant women. So many of them experience easier labors because of our workouts, and they recover much more quickly after the baby. And on top of everything, we get to be part of their growing family.

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Should I Do The BoCo Spring Challenge? Yes!!!

So – we’re about to launch our first official BoCo Spring Challenge! I’ve been thinking about fitness challenges a lot these days, and I felt like it was important to talk about their benefits here. After all, when people can take fitness classes and try to get healthy every day, why would they want to enter a challenge? What makes a challenge more effective than any kind of “resolution?” And what are we offering that might help people see great results?

Why a “Challenge” this time?

Since its inception, Body Conceptions has run a semi-annual “Intensive,” a 6-week program involving extended classes 2-3 times a week that everyone takes together. This format is great for creating a sense of camaraderie and obtaining results together BUT those of you who can’t come to our two extended classes during the week lose out on the experience. So many of you have work and other obligations during the day.

We recently expanded our schedule and welcomed lots of you to our classes who work during the week. We also decided to try something different for our spring fitness event. This time around, we decided to give you unlimited access to our class schedule. And unlike our last Intensives, we will be measuring your progress with objective data on top of providing you with some amazing perks. Now you’ll see that you’re truly making progress and getting healthier just in time for your summer beach days – and you’ll be having fun along the way, too!!

Why Is a Challenge Effective?

We’ve all made promises to ourselves to get fit. The problem is that we seem to be ok with breaking these promises to ourselves. We’re too tired, too busy, too distracted – we give up just as quickly as we start. …But what if suddenly we’re provided real evidence of our effort? What if we become part of a team that checks in on one another? And what if we can win contests? Suddenly the game changes.

We will be putting you into groups and giving you team leaders who will coach your progress. We all know that group camaraderie helps keep you focused. It makes you feel supported and encouraged. You tend to feel pressure to perform for the group and do what you can to help the whole group succeed. Also, if there is measurable data that shows you how you are doing, you start seeing the direct connection between your efforts and your progress. You start taking control of the process and also holding yourself accountable for that effort in a group setting.

Signing up for a challenge commits you to a program with a beginning, middle, and end. You are not promising to make a vague and endless promise to yourself to get healthier. You are essentially saying to yourself, “I am committing to this specific, finite program that will involve a bunch of other people in the same boat and will have very specific and doable steps I have committed to follow. I will do it!”

What if I Don’t Have Time to Take Tons of Classes?

Honestly, you’ll be surprised. We have classes that satisfy every workout schedule, and you can take your classes any way they work for you. You might find that you want to take all of our classes in a row one week, or perhaps you prefer late nights, lunch, and weekends. You can do whatever works for you. Use your results to motivate you to intensify your approach. Challenges like this help you cater your experience to your lifestyle, increase your power and stamina, and potentially inspire you to make fitness a more frequent part of your schedule.

What if I’m Worried About Doing the Workout Correctly?

Don’t worry – We have you covered!! We will be running a workshop to teach you how to perform BoCo exercises effectively. Our team leaders will also be on-hand to answer any questions or concerns, and our instructors value technique above all else. Even if you have never taken a BoCo class before, you will find yourself learning quickly with lots of support, correction, and encouragement.

Whether or not you decide to join our challenge this time around, I hope this helps you consider the benefits of joining a group fitness program. If you ever find yourself having trouble committing to your own personal goals, perhaps becoming part of a larger group effort will help you shed your worries and excuses. Who knows? You might also see some amazing results, make some great friends, and win a fabulous in-home vegan dinner for 4!! (Just saying…)

Join our Spring Challenge, sign up though the Classes page at and select the Event tab on the scheduling page!

Joanie – My Wonderful Instructor and Health Coach


I knew as soon as I heard about Joanie that I wanted to include her in my business. Words like lovely, devoted, holistic, empathetic, hard-working, and knowledgeable were some of the qualities that were used to describe her. And not only did she have extensive experience in fitness, but she had her own health coaching business and a philosophy about wellness that closely matched my own.

I pursued Joanie for a while until I wore her down (ha!) – and I’m thrilled to have her now as the senior member of my team!

It’s so important to me that Body Conceptions represents more than just fitness. We promote health and happiness in all of our clients in all stages of their lives. We also believe that nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and emotional health are all too interconnected to address separately.

Since Joanie’s business, Motivated Nutrition, represents one of the first wellness businesses we have welcomed as a partner, I thought it was important to include her here so that you can get to know her a little better. Plus, she’s just a really cool and fun person (even when she’s inflicting pain on you in your training sessions with her!).



Health coaching is kind of a mysterious term. What does it actually entail? And how did you get into it?

I get this all the time!  “What the heck is a health coach?”

I like to describe myself as a life coach that specializes in fitness and nutrition.  I help my clients set sustainable wellness goals and then we work together to transform those goals into action.  I set them up for lifelong success as they learn to listen to their bodies, become informed consumers when navigating the “health world” and strive to live each day with optimal energy and positivity!

Do you have a general coaching “philosophy?” If so, what is it?

My philosophy is rooted in the concept of “bio-individuality”.   There’s no such thing as a cookie cutter solution to our health.  We all have different background, likes, passions and goals.  There’s no such thing as one diet or lifestyle works for everybody.

Do you work with different people differently?

The bio-individuality approach means that every client is a new challenge.  And I love a challenge!  I try to understand each client as a whole person.  What foods do you love?  How much time do you have?  What workouts excite you?  How well do you manage stress?  There are so many factors that go into figuring out what lifestyle changes are going to help you reach your goals!

What have been some of your biggest challenges as a health coach?

My biggest challenge is teaching clients not to blindly follow whatever the health “trend” of the moment is.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a mean, green juice, but the juicing fad at the moment is driving me bonkers!

You are a knowledgeable and talented trainer for Body Conceptions, and the results you have gotten with our clients have been nothing short of amazing. Without mentioning names, could you talk about some of the accomplishments you’ve seen?

Aside from loosing weight and gaining strength, the biggest accomplishment in my clients has been the transformation in the way they feel in their bodies and view themselves.  There is nothing more beautiful than a woman totally in love with the way she feels in her body.  All my clients are gorgeous that way!

Part of my own philosophy establishing Body Conceptions came out of my interest in helping people lead healthier and happier lives and also connecting them with a bigger wellness community in the city. What are your thoughts about combining health coaching with fitness training?

They are one in the same.  Being physically fit is essential to good health. You want to be able to run with your children, enjoy nature’s beauty on a long hike, and not have to worry about aches and pains when you are doing things you enjoy.   My tag line has become “The healthier we are, the happier we play.”  Health coaching isn’t just about food.  It’s about becoming healthy and happy enough to “play” through life!

Ok – now to the fun stuff. Do you have any vices? What are they?

A glass of red wine and semi-sweet chocolate chips before bed.  It’s my worst, and most cherished, bad habit.  I’ve tried to cut back to just once a week but after a long day of exercise, there’s really nothing better.

You like to work with children, right? What kind of work have you done with them?

Can you remember how boring health class was growing up?  With childhood obesity on the rise, we can’t continue to make children memorize the food pyramid and expect them to eat healthier because of it.  We’ve got to get them moving and make nutrition fun!  I’ve developed a creative movement program that builds confidence in children as movers, gets their heart rates up, enhances creativity and the end of the session they are telling me things like “Sugar is whack!”

I also have a family health-coaching program that helps families incorporate better nutrition, meal planning, exercise and wellness habits into their busy, everyday lives.

And what’s something fun about you that no one would ever guess?

I took 7 ½ months off and backpacked through Southeast Asia with my fiancé a few years ago.  We walked 6 miles of The Great Wall of China, climbed 3 volcano’s in Indonesia and nearly died in a sulfur mine at the bottom of one them (!), learned to drive Elephants in Laos, slept under a million stars in an Indian dessert after riding camels for 8 hrs, and hiked through a blizzard in the Himalayas in Nepal for 8 days…All while wearing the same 2 T-shirts and 3 pairs of underwear.   AND I made some pretty awesome travel videos along the way!

First Post:
Starting Body Conceptions

From 32 Cute Little Girl in Pink Dances photos set (uncropped) k

Photo by Michael L. Baird

I’m about to get wordy!  Sorry for the essay here – but I thought I’d share a little bit about my beginnings.  Several people have asked me, so here goes!

Women and Their Bodies – Why Do We Hate Ourselves So Much?

One of my earliest “body-image” memories with my mother revolved around the kids in my school who made fun of me.  They called me “shrimp” ALL THE TIME- and in fact I was a good foot shorter and 15 pounds lighter than many of my peers.  My mother told me, “This may feel bad now, but you’ll be happy you’re small when you get older.  Just you wait.”

Sure enough, my genes for small stature served me well as a dancer and as an adult.  But I couldn’t help but wonder, What if it had gone the other way?  What if I had been born with the propensity to be overweight?  Many of my peers had family members who were larger, and many of them struggled with their weight for many years if not their whole lives.  We were all dealt certain cards in our families, and why was I any better because I was small?

Heading into the world of dance and fitness, I have always had very strong feelings about the way we’re treated as women and about the way we as women feel about ourselves in a world of such extreme body messages.  We’re told that skinny women are more beautiful, that overweight women are slothful or messy, that the skinnier we are, the more lovable we’ll become.  I saw dancers hospitalized for developing bulimia after being told to lose ridiculous amounts of weight by their dance schools, and I knew many fellow dancers who engaged in some of the most extreme and bizarre eating disorders I had ever seen.  All in all, they were trying to fit an external vision of what they people wanted to see, and they gained their sense of selves from their successes or failures at controlling their appearance.  I became angry about these body pressures and sad for them all at the same time.  I wanted to tell them to find things in their lives – especially dance and movement! – that made them feel better about themselves.  And to forgive themselves for eating.  Because after all, we ALL have to eat!


The Fitness Journey Begins

I came to fitness through dance.  A great friend recruited me to work for Tracy Anderson, and the discovery at her studio that dance-inspired movement could also serve as great exercise was one of the biggest revelations I ever had.  I had not completely understood the value of fitness until then (since I had honestly only gotten exercise from dance classes and shows).  I have since developed my own system for strengthening and toning the whole body, but I’m grateful that such a huge, great fitness world opened up to me at that time.

Despite my excitement at discovering dance-fitness, my awareness of body image issues in women became all the more apparent to me – even more than in the dance world!  In many fitness classes I took and taught, I saw some intense peer pressure, self-loathing, and exercise bulimia, and I saw so many women who couldn’t manage to feel good about themselves because they were so critical of their bodies.  And many overweight women I knew never wanted to step into a fitness class at all because of their fear of being judged.  And lots of times, they were right to be worried.

I knew what my own mission needed to be

My decision to start Body Conceptions came out of my observations of different fitness studios and the ways I realized I wanted to run my own business differently.  I worked on different approaches to exercise with my own private clients, and I observed how they got the best results.  Most importantly, I realized that my strong feelings about how to support and encourage all women of different ages and sizes required me to break out on my own to create my own place, my own environment.  I wanted to give the best workout possible, no question.  But I wanted to make every different woman with every different body, life stage, and fitness level feel like they were welcomed, accepted and encouraged.  This mission is an ideal that needs constant work and constant self-examination — but I’m willing to take the challenge.