MAY COVER + IMG 4 | Crossfit Sport Bra REEBOK | Legging ALO YOGA | IMG 1 + 2 | Lingerie Set HANRO | Karma Color Bracelets SEQUIN JEWELRY | Tree of Life Bracelet MOIRA ANN DESIGN | Lariate Layered Necklace STERLING FOREVER | IMG 3 | Lingerie Set + Kimono HANRO | MAY BACK COVER | Sport Bra + Graffiti Legging REEBOK |
Our May cover is graced by Layla Luciano, a celebrity fitness trainer based here in NYC who has not only been noted as one of the city's hottest trainers, and also was one of the stars of Bravo's Workout New York and is the Co-Founder of PACT PARK! We sat down with Layla to find out more about her, the show and what she is working on!
ATHLEISURE MAG: When did you realize that you wanted to work in the fitness industry?
LAYLA LUCIANO: I have always been extremely active and full of energy ever since I was a kid. I played basketball, baseball, did track and field, gymnastics and martial arts. I started martial arts when I was 5, and because I was so dedicated, I earned my first degree black belt when I was only 11. When I received my black belt, I started assisting teaching classes for the children's program and I loved it! In high school, I volunteered to teach for my karate dojo to blind and visually impaired students. These experiences truly made me fall in love with teaching, and so when I went to college, I majored in elementary education. When I started student teaching in NYC public schools in Harlem, I thought I would automatically fall in love it. I fell in love with the kids, but not the curriculum system. I also saw all of the kids’ unhealthy eating habits, their school lunches and the fact that they only get half an hour of recess. Kids naturally have so much energy and need to burn some of that off throughout the day in order to really concentrate on school work! Instead of continuing on to teach the K-6 curriculum for NYC public schools, I started my own after school programs and summer camps for kids fitness. I taught a Latin dance program and a karate program, but the underlying idea for both of these programs was teaching my students the importance of building healthy bodies and lifestyles! I always knew I loved helping people better themselves, so two years later I continued to share my passion for fitness by developing and creating my own classes at various NYC fitness studios, including bootcamp, pilates and kickboxing.
AM: What areas do you feel are your expertise within fitness?
LL: In terms of training techniques and working with clients, because I'm fluent in a variety of workout styles, I feel like I'm very good at creating programs for clients so that they see the changes they want to see and they never get bored! I'm also very good at teaching two groups at once, like I did at Barry's Bootcamp for over 4 years.
AM: What's your style when training clients and where have you been an instructor in NYC?
LL: My style is tough love, but fun. I will make you work hard and push you to do so! I've been an instructor at NDG Fitness, SLT and Barry's Bootcamp.
AM: We are fans of Bravo's Work Out New York, what was it like to be in the cast?
LL: Filming Work Out New York was definitely a rollercoaster ride. Some days I loved being in front of the camera, and some days I would be so tired from teaching, training clients, training myself and filming all day that I was cranky and over it! I was excited to share about my life as a fitness professional in NYC with a very different upbringing than most. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of how much editing could be done to manipulate any situation. As a fitness professional who wants to motivate and inspire, I feel like there were some aspects of my life that were highly dramatized that even made me a little uncomfortable watching, since it wasn't truly me (more like Layla multiplied by 1000).
AM: Is there another season for you/the cast and who from the show do you hangout with?
LL: We are still waiting to find out! I still hang out with Courtney, because we are from the same crazy person planet so we understand each other :P
AM: We know that you and Jay have your own studio fitness, tell us more about PACT PARK!
LL: PACT PARK is a high intensity, but low impact group fitness experience. The unique workout combines boxing and MMA strike training on a Nexersys machine that calculates strikes, accuracy, power AND friction training on a Lynx board, which concentrates on mobility, balance, control and coordination, using body weight training to maximize form, speed and power. PACT means Proprioceptive Aerobic Cross Training. Proprioceptive is about body awareness, knowing exactly what you're doing not by seeing, but just doing. The aerobic cross-training is by going back and forth between the Nexersys machine and the Lynx board. And a Park is just a fun place!
At PACT PARK, we give you metrics and data from the Nexersys machine to help you progress and give you results to improve your body & mind! You get a great release being able to hit the machine. We are also focused on training your body safely on the Lynx board because you're not jumping, you're sliding, which helps strengthen your joints and ligaments in a low impact manner. And on the machine, the pads give a little resistance when you punch them and are safer than hitting a punching bag.
In March, we started doing 30 minute pop up classes at Hub Seventeen in Lululemon Flatiron on 17th St. and 5th Ave before the studio itself opens to create some buzz and have people try out the new workout! We will continue these pop up classes throughout the summer until we open our first permanent location in NYC by Fall 2016 as that's the priority right now!
AM: For those who want an amazing booty this summer, what 3 workouts can we do?
LL: Understanding the three main parts of your booty will help you understand the movements you need to make in order to work it in every possible way for the perfect shape all around! Hip thrusters for optimal hip extension for the gluetus maximus. For gluteus medius and minimus fire hydrants with ankle weights and lateral band walks (with the band around the ankle).
AM: What's your personal style when you're at the gym and then going out?
LL: My gym style is the same as when I'm teaching a class or training a client because I usually go from one to the other. I love my sports bras to be a bright pop of color with sexy straps (like the Lululemon Free to Be Wild bra). I love tight tank tops that are either cropped or go just past the belly button (I usually end up cutting all of my tank tops to that length if they are too long). I love playing with different bottoms especially since I'm an ambassador for Carbon38. I get to try out all different designs and styles! When I'm going out I love to really play dress up since I live in workout clothes all day! My going out style is very sexy, but trendy.
AM: How did you get into aerial? how did you get into it?
LL: When I was about two years into my fitness career teaching bootcamps, lifting weights and doing boxing and muy thai, I felt like I was missing something. I've always loved competing in kata at my martial arts tournaments. Kata is a detailed choreographed of movements and strikes with a goal to internalize the movements and techniques so they can be executed and adapted under different circumstances without thought or hesitation. Competing in kata in tournaments was almost like a performance since you are judged on technique, style, balance, timing, and verisimilitude! I love being a strong, badass but I was missing the combination of that with style, grace and performance. That is how I discovered aerial three years ago!
AM: From the show, we can see that you have a great sense of self, are comfortable in your own skin and are able to speak your truth without reservation. How did you get that sensibility?
LL: I was born and raised in NYC (that alone will make you tough) with a strong, loving mom who truly taught me to love myself and that is how I was raised it wasn't until I start- ed modeling towards the end of high school and into college that I become very self concious. At that time my particular look was "too exotic" and I had "curves" (which is an
outrageous statement because when I look back at pictures of myself from then, I was so
skinny...I just had a little wider hip!) As tough as you are, comments like that over and over again start to get to you. When I started com paring myself to other models, that's when I realized this world wasn't healthy for me and I found myself again through where I started, fitness! Everyone wants to look good but make sure you are also doing it for your health and for the good feelings you get when you make yourself better and stronger!
In Step, Layla Luciano fashion editorial was shot at The Colorado (201 E 86th St) and Pure Barre (1325 Lexington Ave) on the UES in NYC.
Read more from the May Issue