I first met Lauren through Instagram. Bon, the amazing co-owner of Freedom Apothecary who you may have read about on our blog, was styling a photoshoot and requested some items from our sister brand. When the results of the photoshoot were posted I thought Lauren looked so amazing in our clothing that I wanted to connect with her about modeling for our newly launched pajama line. We began talking, shot a few looks for our website, and I was so thrilled when she agreed to also be featured on our blog.

This post took longer to release than most—instead of being able to take photos of Lauren in her space, the pandemic hit and we had to figure out how to do it all remotely! But after some back and forth and some lovely photos Lauren took herself, we are so happy to finally be ready to share it. Read on to hear more about Lauren's approach to fitness, beauty and self care, and if you've ever wanted to try Barre check out her classes online. -Amy Voloshin

What’s your morning routine like?

Because I am self-employed, all of my mornings are different. On Mondays I like to sleep in. On Wednesdays, I am up at 5 AM and teaching a barre class at 6 AM.

What's your favorite part of being a personal trainer?

My favorite part of being a personal trainer is watching people grow a deeper connection with their bodies. We often feel so separate from our bodies and moving can make us feel much more connected.

What are some fitness myths you've come across and want to set the record straight?

I think one of the biggest fitness myths is that the way someone LOOKS has anything to do with their health and fitness level. I have seen all types of people in all types of bodies perform at the top of their fitness game. We are all so diverse!

 
What’s your favorite spot in your house?

I have a small one bedroom apartment that I share with my partner and cat. Even though it’s not a super modern kitchen, I love being in the kitchen. I cook a lot and I love to feed people. I totally hang in there sometimes even when we are not cooking. 

Coffee or Tea?

I love a matcha latte (iced or hot).

Breakfast or skip it?

ALWAYS BREAKFAST even if I don’t get around to eating it until later.

Favorite recent read?

I am one of those people who cannot finish a book and I have 7 by my bed that are half read. BUT I did recently get a puzzle book with brain games...does that count?

Favorite way to exercise?

Even though I teach group fitness, I love working out one on one or by myself. Lifting weights and mixing in cardio intervals is my favorite. 

Meal prep or just figure it out mid-day?

I do what I call a “half prep” which usually involves planning meals and then cooking enough for lunch the next day. Leftovers for the win. It is important to make sure I fuel my body even when I am on the go.

Full set pajamas or mix and match your bottoms with something else?

Usually I wear PJ bottoms, a regular t-shirt, and a robe on top.

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?

I love to cook. Chopping veggies and stirring. It totally just relaxes me and makes me feel super creative. 

What do you do for self care?

I write out my thoughts and goals with a pen and paper. I have been a journaler since a young age and I love looking back at old lists. I also go to community acupuncture. This is a space where all people in the community are welcomed and cared for. Everyone there is so kind and loving and you can feel the love.

Favorite beauty product?

Water and CeraVe.

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

I have a lot of ideas. They do not always get turned into a reality but I never feel completely stumped. I feel like I am always looking forward to the next big idea.

Do you have a nighttime beauty ritual?

I wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on heavy duty lip balm. I have really been working on establishing more of a skincare routine but this one seems to be working so far *nervous laugh*

Slippers or barefoot?

I am a Southern Californian girl living in a Philly world so BAREFOOT.

Netflix / Amazon / Hulu? What are you watching and how?

I love ALL cooking and baking competition shows. ALL OF THEM. My partner and I also like to watch Jeopardy together because we are nerds.

How much do you sleep?

According to my smartwatch, I sleep 7ish hours a night and sometimes I take a quick 25 minute nap between fitness classes to relax my body. 

What is the last thing you do before you go to bed? 

Once I am ready and in bed, I take a couple of really deep breaths, I tell my cat goodnight and kiss my partner on the shoulder.

Any tips for someone trying to stay active and motivated during this time?

I love reframing a "fitness routine" as a "joyful movement practice." A practice can always evolve and change. Remembering that everyday is allowed to be different and you can honor how your body feels will allow you to find more comfort and motivation during this time. If I felt like I HAD to do anything a particular way during this pandemic, it would make everything way more stressful. Movement should contribute to your well being, not get in the way of your life. 

You can follow along with Lauren on Instagram at @laurenleavellfitness or learn more about her work on her site, laurenleavellfitness.com.

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