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

Jane Jourdan of Fit for Broadway: Supporting her “tribe”

Jane Jourdan, creator of the wildly successful blog, Fit for Broadway, talks a lot about the people in her life who have inspired her.  Without realizing, however, she has become a true inspiration to so many people who have come to see her as a guiding light for living a healthy, authentic, connected life.  And I’m one of her biggest fans!!  From her recent e-book to her fun-filled events, Broadway interviews and deeply thoughtful advice, she is a force to watch!

I am so excited to be doing an event with Jane on Tuesday, May 19th that will feature Broadway performers from the cast of Broadway’s Cinderella along with the global charitable foundation, Because I Am Girl.  The night will include a Body Conceptions workout followed by a discussion and talk-back with a full panel of inspiring and phenomenal women, including Jane.  Please join us, but RSVP quickly to before it’s full!

I was so excited to have a chance to interview Jane about her life and her incredible blog…

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We are so excited to be working with you again, Jane! Can you tell us a little bit about Fit for Broadway? How and why did you create it?  

I feel honored to be working with BoCo again! :) I created Fit for Broadway just over a year ago and I can’t believe how much has changed in my personal journey in that amount of time. A year ago, I was auditioning full time and had the idea of creating an online source about the fusion of Broadway, fitness, and health. I originally wanted to call it “A Singer’s Guide to Wellness” and wanted to feature recipes and healthy living tips for performers. I didn’t have much of a vision for it past that. At the time, I was participating in a musical theater workshop and Kristine Bendul (who was in Cinderella at the time) was teaching the dance session each day. She completely blew me away. I remember watching her in complete awe almost to the point of tears because to even say she is a beautiful, wildly talented dancer is an understatement. I had the idea of interviewing her for what had then become my blog, Fit for Broadway, about her health and fitness lifestyle. I thought sharing the advice of a well established and respected artist in the Broadway community would be useful for aspiring performers. I interviewed her over dinner and we talked about everything from meditation to veganism to relationships. It was a really profound moment in my journey when I felt entrusted to share her story in such a unique light. We focused on her artistry, how she lived day to day, how she overcame her struggles, and the intense dedication it took to work on Broadway.

And so became Fit for Broadway!

I feel so honored to interview Broadway performers because, for me, the inspiration extends past the stage. Their stories are full of perseverance, self-discovery, triumphs, battles, and everything in between. I think sharing a very transparent version of someone’s journey is so much more beautiful and interesting than sharing their highlight reel. Also, I think if your health is your main priority, it is much easier to deal with the ups and downs of this industry, and life in general.

I’m currently working on my blog full time and have never felt more fulfilled and inspired in my life. I love events that bring everyone together like our upcoming, Empowering Girls through Theater and Dance! It’s a way to celebrate all of our personal journeys and our common passions. I’m beyond excited for this next year and all of the new and exciting things coming up for Fit for Broadway. Stay Tuned! ;)

You are a performer yourself, right? What’s your background?  

I am! : ) I have been singing my entire life and studied classical voice at Loyola Marymount University. I grew up completely obsessed with Phantom of the Opera and then dove completely into the opera world for a few years. My biggest influence musically has been Anna Netrebko (check her out! She is fierce!) I actually got to meet her last year, which was completely bananas. She is my hero. I transitioned to musical theater about two years ago and fell completely in love with the world of Broadway. I’ll always identify myself as a singer. I’m really focused on Fit for Broadway, and that transition feels really natural for me right now.

What’s your favorite part of doing Fit for Broadway?  

My top 3  (in random order) :)

1) Connecting with readers
2) Hosting events like our upcoming, Empowering Girls through Theater and Dance
3) Interviewing Broadway performers

BoCo is so passionate about empowering girls and women as a company. I would love to hear your thoughts about that, and how it’s a part of your work, too.

I think empowerment has to be the bottom line constantly, in what we believe and promote. This industry can make you very fragile if you’re not ready for it. I think the most important thing you can do is find your inner strength and inner voice and hold on to that with all your might. Even if you’re not a performer, life is full of twists and turns and I think staying true to yourself is key. You can lose yourself in this city without inner strength and an amazing support team, what I call my “tribe”. And those are things you have to create yourself. I wanted to create not just a source, but also a community where people feel supported to chase their dreams. Whether it’s becoming stronger, more healthy, or standing on a Broadway stage one day. In my mission statement for Fit for Broadway, I have key themes: community, authenticity, honesty, empowerment, inspiration, motivation, and support. I try and make sure through my posts, the events, through anything associated with Fit for Broadway, that I’m staying true to these themes.

What’s something about you that might surprise people?

Probably that I’m from New Mexico. 9 times out of 10 the response is “I’ve never met someone from New Mexico!” which is awesome! It’s a far far away magical land that I get to call home! Maybe also surprising is that I went to undergrad in Los Angeles, lived a year in New Orleans after I graduated, and then made my way to NYC. So I have hopped around! But New York is now my home and I plan to be here awhile.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like to add?

I always like sharing my favorite mantra which is “You are enough.” Sierra Boggess is pretty well known for this message and it really is one of the most empowering messages you could send yourself. For a long time I fought against my body, fought against my voice, fought against things that were uniquely me. The more and more I embrace myself exactly as I am and try to become the best version of THAT…that’s when the magic happens. And that’s really all I want to do through Fit for Broadway, whether it’s my advice, or someone I’m interviewing, or an event- I want people to feel celebrated for authenticity because YOU ARE ENOUGH!

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!


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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.

Megan Fitness

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.


Meet Trainer Extraordinaire:
Lauren Rodriguez

I am so happy to have such great people working for me. Lauren is such a creative and dedicated trainer. If you can, try one of her fantastic classes this month at Stepping Out Studios. You’ll have a blast!



Full Name: Lauren Rodriguez Johnson

Where were you born? Naples, Florida

Where did you grow up?I spent half of my childhood in Naples and the rest in Charlotte, North Carolina.

What’s your biggest passion?  Dance, and pretty much anything that keeps me moving and lets me be a little bit of a ham

Tell me about your career. Have you changed direction? If so, why?  For me, fitness and performing have always gone hand in hand. I have always considered fitness to be a big part of my dance career because it keeps me active and feeling and looking great. Now I’m taking advantage of my knowledge and experience to help others find a way to a higher well being and better self image.


What do you wish you knew when you were younger? That you can’t please everyone. I am still guilty of this from time to time, but I have learned that there comes a point that you need to be able to say “no” and put your own well being first.

What’s your fitness style? I am pretty disciplined and driven. I have always been self-motivated and goal oriented. That being said the free spirit in me has to love what I’m doing. If I don’t get enjoyment from it, I can’t stick to it.

What’s the best piece of health/wellness/dance advice you’ve ever gotten? To be a “smart” dancer. So many times in the dance world we push ourselves so hard to reach perfection that we don’t take the time to consider what it could do to our bodies in the long run. I have always known that I wanted dance to be a part of my life forever, so I strive to keep myself as educated as possible in the realm of anatomy and sports medicine because I truly believe that if you take care of your body, it will take care of you.

What’s something most people don’t know about you (that’s maybe a little funny or weird)? I fall asleep to I Love Lucy every night, and according to my husband, will often times sing along with the musical numbers in my sleep

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Twizzlers, I can eat an entire bag at a time!

What quality do you really cherish about yourself? My wholeheartedness. Whether I’m teaching a class, performing or spending time with family and friends I try to put my whole heart into it and do everything with gusto. For me everyday is an opportunity to live life with unreserved enthusiasm.

Anything else about you that I missed? I am happily married to a wonderful guy who is a talented musician. We have a 13 year old dog named Humphrey who is the light of our lives. The “doing all things with gusto” sometimes backfires and makes me a bit of a klutz. I am half Cuban and half Italian. And I am convinced that I have the best family and friends a person could ask for and am extremely grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people every day!

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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.