This month, we talk with John Salley, who had a phenomenal NBA career with 4 Championship rings on 3 separate teams. Post his NBA career, he has been a host of FOX Sports' Best Damn Sports Show Period, a host on a number of shows such as VH1's Basketball Wives and Basketball Wives LA, as well as a number of other hosting and TV appearances. In addition, he is known for his philanthropy, activism and his investments within health and wellness. With his focus on veganism as well as the cannabis sector, he has a truly diversified portfolio. We talk with him about his career, his legacy in the game and his transition into current projects.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was that moment that you realized that you wanted to play basketball and ultimately, go to the NBA?
JOHN SALLEY: At the time, I think that I was 6 years old! I was realizing that everybody was getting up early to go to work and I saw that people were playing games at night and that’s when I knew that was a job that I wanted instead.
AM: As a 15 year veteran in the league and as the first player to win 4 championship games on 3 different teams, what do you think your legacy is in terms of your contribution to the game?
JS: Oh wow. My legacy? Some of my teammates like me, I say it all the time time that everything is just moments in time! For me to be on that stage 5 times and to win 4 of them is an amazing accomplishment and that can’t be taken away. A lot of the people that I talk to say that there are great players and I tell them that there is a difference between great players and champions.
AM: A lot of people during this time of year get a little confused when it comes to buying their father or father figures something for Father’s Day. What are 3 gifts that you suggest so that we’re not just getting in the rut of a coffee mug or a tie?
JS: A tie and a coffee mug is good because next year you realize that you broke that coffee mug or you're still wearing that tie that everyone saw at that Christmas party ha ha! I have this wonderful bald head. God took the middle out so I took the rest out. I love and use the Philips Norelco 6000 Shaver. It protects your skin from getting those cuts and head bumps. It has rings that goes around. It feels good all day. I shave my head so that I can always be smooth and ready.
I also love, as I am a photographer and always take pictures – Epson Workforce BT4750 Printer with an ecotank. Many people take pictures and they leave it on their camera. Sometimes I like to put it in a frame! I like when you can have something in your hands and and know that you have it.
Lastly, you can get the 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player which is available at Amazon, Best Buy, Target etc. A lot of guys have a lot of Blu-Ray collections but I love that you can just sit back and watch all of your favorite.
I love Bumblebee so funny and you can watch with your whole family at anytime! They also have Forrest Gump which I believe is one of the greatest movies of all time – everybody else does too. Tom Hanks got his award because of it – you can do anything in America and that is a proven thing about Forrest Gump and everything counts to the next point. It’s the 25 year anniversary too! Then there is Batman. I mean, you have Jack Nicholson and he was psycho and they played a lot of Prince music which I loved! The movies come along with this player and it's cool that this is what people want to see. That's what I think works for Father's Day.
AM: This time of year also makes you think about what you want to gift grads – what ideas do you have for that?
JS: For a grad – I don’t want you sitting around all day eating nachos that’s not vegan and just watching movies although it’s a great gift to have! I definitely suggest the Epson printer for anybody.
AM: As you transitioned from the game, you’ve been in movies, hosted shows, are philanthropic and you are making serious moves in the health and wellness sector. Why is being involved in this area so important to you?
JS: Well, I have a big foot but I want to leave the smallest footprint on the planet whenever I decide to leave. I believe everything deserves to have life. Nothing needs to be taken from life it just needs to have life. I believe that the best you can, the best energy you put forth, making sure you do something to help society, the world, the planets, and animals – the more you do the more you’re blessed!
PHOTOS CREDITS | 1st + 4th pic JOHN SALLEY | 2nd pic Jean Nelson | 3rd pic s_bukley |
You can hear John Salley's interview now on our show, #TRIBEGOALS which is a part of Athleisure Studio, our multi-media podcast network! Make sure to subscribe to find out when the episode drops. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast.
We had the pleasure of talking with professional tennis player Sloane Stephens, who is ranked in the top 10 by the Women's Tennis Association. Her accolades include winning the US Open in 2017, as well as 6 WTA singles titles as well as representing Team USA in Tennis at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016! We took a moment to chat with Sloane about her early days of tennis, going pro, her goals for this year as she prepares for an array of matches, the importance of staying healthy, as well as information on the Sloane Stephens Foundation.
ATHLEISURE MAG: At what point did you realize that you were going to be a tennis player and at what point did you realize that you were going to go pro?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well I started playing tennis early because I played across the street at the club and my mom always wanted me to be a tennis player and I don’t know why. I just started playing and it was just for fun. I started in summer camps and just across the street at the club and that’s just how I started. And then obviously, when I turned Pro, you have to decide whether you’re going to go to college or if you’re going to turn Pro. I got to that little middle ground and I was like, “ok I’m just going to try it and see what happens” and it worked out. Obviously when you’re starting out it’s tough because at the beginning you’re making the transition into Pros and it’s a different ballgame. That’s how I decided, it wasn’t anything that was profound, I just wanted to try it to see and hoped that it would work out – so I just went for it.
AM: You won the US Open in 2017, what are your goals to reclaim that title this year?
SS: Well obviously, every tournament that you go into each year, the draws are always different in terms of who you will be playing with, so there is a whole different scenario. I think that for me, the important part is staying healthy. That’s been a big part for me, as obviously I got injured and missed a lot of months, and that is when I had my career kind of reset and it wasn’t fun and it is always something that I keep in the back of mind as I don’t want to do that again. Just being able to reset and stay healthy. Since I have been back, I haven’t had that many injuries just little nagging, that stuff that everyone normally gets which has been great. But most importantly, it’s about staying healthy.
AM: We know that you have been a partner with Built with Chocolate Milk since 2017. What about this partnership has been synergistic with your brand and why are you such a big fan of chocolate milk in general?
SS: Well before I even signed with them, I have been a fan of chocolate milk and have always enjoyed drinking it. I remember being at the Olympic Committee like 7 or 8 years ago and they were like, “yeah chocolate milk is a great recovery tool that you can enjoy drinking. I was like, “yeah perfect” – they didn’t need to convince me to drink it ha! I can just drink it all the time. When I signed with them. I knew it was perfect because I drink it all of the time and it is in my routine and it actually helps me. It’s very natural and super easy. It’s good for me, it helps me recover and I can stay fit with it. It just went into the general – this is good for you, it’s what you need and it has been a great partnership for me thus far.
AM: What are your goals for 2019 that you are looking forward to during the season?
SS: Just a lot of travel and there is a lot of during the year, especially prior to the Olympics. So it’s about staying healthy throughout the season and obviously just trying to maintain throughout the year. We all try to do that in terms of staying healthy and with nutrition which is important in terms of recovery. With all the traveling on the road 30 weeks a year, which is absurd haha, you need to maintain and stay healthy for that recovery. It all plays such an important role in maintenance which is such an important thing.
AM: We know that you were in Rio for the Olympics in 2016, how did that feel to represent the US at the Olympic Games and are you planning to go to Tokyo in 2020.
SS: Yeah obviously Rio was my first Olympic Games and I was super pumped about that. Obviously, it was in incredible experience just in general, and I do want to play the next Olympics as that would be really great for me. But obviously it’s a lot of hard work. I just finished playing Fed Cup and you have to qualify for the Olympics, be eligible, there is a lot that goes into it, but obviously playing for your country and the Olympics is the greatest honor that you can have to represent your country.
The Opening Ceremonies were amazing and I would love to play in this next one as the one after that, I would probably be too old so this would be my last go at it, but I am excited for it. I think it will be great!
AM: Our readers of Athleisure Mag and our listeners of our podcast network, Athleisure Studio know that one of our podcasts, The Road to Tokyo 2020 is dedicated to Olympic athletes and we’re always amazed at the time and dedication needed in order to participate! So we will keep our eyes out to see you on your journey there.
SS: Oh yeah it’s amazing, but all of the qualifications that are leading up to the Olympics. Like everyone just sees what happens when you’re at the Olympics competing, but before that, it's like a year and a half of pre-qualifications and tournaments. It’s a lot of stuff and to get there, obviously it means that you’re amazing and that you took all of those steps to get there which is really cool.
AM: Can you tell us more about the Sloane Stephens Foundation?
SS: Sure, the Sloane Stephens Foundation is based in Compton, California and it’s in the school district. We have 23 schools that participate in the after school credit program and then we have a Saturday program as well. A lot of schools are taking out recess and I think that recess is really important. Being able to bring tennis to the community of Compton is really important and to show them what it’s about, how it’s fun and what the tools of tennis provides you and how you can use it as a vehicle to get you where you need to be whether it’s a high school team, a college team, a community college – whatever it might be. Maybe you want to get a job in tennis to work at a Tennis Journal or for Tennis Magazine, there is a lot of different things that you can do to work in tennis and so many different ways that you can branch out and I think that giving those kids the opportunity to seek more in life whether it be a job or a team – it’s given me a lot in life and I have used it as a means as a vehicle to get me to a lot of places in life and different things that I would have wanted to do. Without tennis, I would not have been able to do those things and I think that giving this opportunity back feels so good as it’s not just for me, it’s for the community.
AM: We’re all about the importance of tribes and those that have influenced us whether personally or professionally as #TRIBEGOALS are essential.
SS: Obviously my mom has been very supportive of me and my career My brothers have also been supportive and have cheered me on and encouraged me to do whatever it is that I have wanted to do. My grandparents are very supportive. Everything I have wanted to do, they have encouraged me to try it out, have fun and if it doesn’t work out, I can always come home. To have that attitude in my life that I can go out and try things and if it works out great, if not, I can figure it out and do it again or go in another direction – it’s a great way for me to live my life and has been so cool.
PHOTOS COURTESY | PG 74 Scott Draper | PG 77 Brecht Van’t Hof | PG 82 Zhukovsky |
You can hear Sloane Stephens' interview in May on our show, #TRIBEGOALS which is a part of Athleisure Studio, our multi-media podcast network! Make sure to subscribe to find out when the episode drops. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast
On today’s #TRIBEGOALS we’re chatting with WTA and US Open 2017 winner, Sloane Stephens. We find out how she came to tennis as well as her decision to go pro, her focus this season as she takes on an array of matches, the importance of staying healthy as well as what it was like to represent Team USA in 2016 for the Olympic Games at Rio.
We caught up with Celebrity Fitness Trainer Ron Boss whose clients include: Ne-Yo and Kevin Hart. He shares how he came into the fitness industry, his approach to working with clients, his partnership with Cellucor, how important it is engaging audiences at fitness events, as well as his social media is in order to showcase his brand and vision.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Prior to creating Just Train what was your background before becoming a celebrity fitness trainer?
RON BOSS: I kind of got my start from football. I was always an athlete and my background just always came from sports teams and always being in the gym and competing with myself to be better and to compete with my teammates and starting Just Train came from that mindset.
AM: What was the moment that you decided that in addition to being a fitness trainer, you also wanted to have a brand?
RB: Well for me, it was always about something bigger than myself and once football was one of those things that were kind of taken away from me or that I didn’t excel at it the way that I wanted to, I obviously had to change careers and being very passionate about entrepreneurship, I didn’t want to go to work for anyone. If I did create something, then it would need to be something that benefited multiple people. That’s kind of how we started to build.
AM: How do you define yourself as a trainer and what do you think that people are looking for when they want you to train them?
RB: I define myself as a committed trainer. I approach it from a psychological standpoint and with those that are committed in terms of their long term goals and not a short term one. We’re going to get results, but obviously, the main focus is to mentally challenge people. I believe that if you train the mind, the body will follow. We want to get people to believe that they can do anything at first and that’s really my approach. So, we use competition, we use a lot of reassurance, and also holding them accountable for when they fall short. So using competition and doing this throughout their workouts will build upon the things that they may not be good at.
AM: What methods or modalities can clients expect when they are training with you?
RB: Well you’re definitely going to come and feel like an athlete. That’s one of the things that I love to get my clients to understand that everyone is an athlete. I want you to move a little bit more and to have fun. We’re going to put our bodies into various positions and I want you to do a number of things – not just lifting weights, but to move, and feel good that you can do all things whether it’s lifting, or jumping or running. Having a strong core and all of those things which is why I have an athlete's approach to training.
AM: Which is what we saw when we were going through your Instagram - seeing all of the drills that are like what athletes go through.
RB: You want to make it fun for people and one of the things that you see on TV every day is sports and sports is fueled by athletes who are very motivating not only to young kids, but to athletes who they have motivated us as young people when we were growing up. That’s where we get a lot of our fuel from and thinking back we look to athletes that inspired us and why not try to be more like that by moving more and creating longevity in our body and to look good while we’re doing it?
AM: What are 3 routines that you feel that people should include in their workouts regardless of what their goals are?
RB: Oh haha you’re going to be put me on the spot. I think that plyometrics is very important in being able to move without weight – calisthenics for pullups, pushups and things like that, I obviously want people to do and jump. The third one is core – keeping a strong core. We focus a lot on that as it’s the base of your body and is the center and we want it to be strong. Those are all great things that I like to approach with my clients is being able to move your body weight, move from side to side, plyometrics – jumping and things like that and obviously, the core component for foundational movement which keeps it as the baseline.
AM: We know that you are a Cellucor athlete as you did a session recently at Model Volleyball in Miami, you were recently at The Retreat - FUNKSHION at SXSW - why is this synergy between you and the brand such a great fit?
RB: Well I have been with them going on for 4 or 5 years now. One of the main reasons why it's #1, I appreciated them for the being the leader in the industry and I saw an ability for them with their amazing products that I use and then to have the ability to continue reaching people through energy and motivation. To be able to be at events like that and to spread the knowledge and to be with them as they evolve. To see them focusing on the body builders to the everyday moving people to also dealing with the natural products like C4 with the natural zero energy is incredible to be with people who not only knows that it works, but to push it in order to continue to evolve.
AM: How is that beneficial for you in terms of extending your brand and do you feel you will do more of these engagements?
RB: It's important to have these type of events and partners to gain more exposure and I gain more exposure. We have a really unique message. I am on the go all of the time – they have a product that is on the go and it benefits and tells people that you don’t get to make excuses and you can make time no matter where you are. You’re busy but you can make time. I’m flying all of the time from here to there and you never know what to expect and there is never a reason for you not to train!
AM: The challenges of building a business and growing it can be intense, what are lessons that you learned that have carried you through your business?
RB: Just stay consistent to the plan. It’s not easy – it wasn’t easy. When you’re building a business, it’s always important that you stay and believe in the core mission of where you are trying to go. People won’t understand it, but if you do it and remain consistent and hold yourself accountable with the things that you do good and the things that you do bad – nothing is a guaranteed success, but you have a damn good shot at it to excelling and being successful. You have to define your success in the beginning of the process and if it’s money, it can’t be that, it has to also be other things that continue to motivate you and take you to the next level.
AM: In order to commit to working out and being where you want to be, we know you have a no talking policy when working out - what are 3 must haves of other things that are essential for clients to know when working out with you?
RB: There aren’t three things, there is only one thing – the mind, once you’re ready to go. I don’t care if you’re not a great mover or the best mover – if you’re not mentally ready, to be able to challenge yourself, that’s the thing – the mind. To be able to come out and work out with me, you have to be mentally prepared to challenge yourself to the next level. So, for me its not a three part thing it’s a one part thing. Once you have decided that you want to see a change, no matter whether it’s fitness or entrepreneurship or going to work – when you decide that you want to be the best, it starts with our mind first. So when you decide to work with me, it’s a mindset thing. All the physical components will fall into place.
AM: You train a number of celebrities including Kevin Hart, how did that come about as his trainer who also travels with him, how do you balance that schedule along with your other clients, trainers, etc?
RB: Yeah you know that I have been fortunate enough to build a team. You know, you find a balance. I met Kevin through Ne-Yo, well honestly, I met Kevin back in 2004 when we met at the barbershop so we go way back and I was training another client, Ne-Yo and they are really good friends. Kevin and I just had this energy to continue to build something with one another and we just found ourselves building towards some runs, fitness movements and then it kind of got us to this point.
You just find yourself between that balance of doing what I am hired to do and what I want to do which is again – to building something that is bigger than myself. If it was just about me being a Celebrity Fitness Trainer, that would not be interesting to me for the long term, so we have to get these moments with the Just Train idea, the Cellucor partnerships and the things that we have been able to build along the way!
AM: As someone who travels a lot, what are 3 must haves that you have in your bag that are your essentials?
RB: I keep resistance bands on me all the time. You have to have some good deodorant on you so that you don't get musty! I always like to have a pair of fresh work out clothes because you feel good and you look good. You’re motivated to keep going into the gym to put in good work. Contrary to the last few weeks, I haven’t been changing my clothes very often because I have been in my focus mode. You really want to stay and look good when you go to the gym and you want to build on that!
I keep resistance bands, fresh outfits and some deodorant to make sure that I smell good!
AM: We love that your Instagram shows you working out, including videos of you and Kevin, people that you have met who are inspiring and just you when you're just hanging out - how important is social media and having this well rounded presence to your business?
RB: I’m just so fortunate to have social media right now to be able to spread a lot of messages to get up and do more and move more. Physical fitness has been a by-product of that to challenge people to that part of the life. Social media has been a great way to be able to reach so many different people in so many different walks of life. It’s very interesting to be a football player and then for people to be able to come and find you – they say, “man where can I find you?” and then you give them your Instagram and then they’re like, “man, my boy on Wall Street – he follows you.” What’s the chance of that and it’s cool when they say that their mom follows me and it’s like “oh shit” – social media is a really great tool to do that!
I don’t know why they are following me, but I want to be a source of good energy and social media has been able to provide me that and I want to be able to create good content to be able to motivate people. It inspires them that they are able to train and do great things as well as being able to live and have fun! It’s not about being one dimensional. I don’t believe in eating a certain way, I like to enjoy life, take vacations – whatever it is. But social media has been able to allow me to show that life is not one dimensional. You don’t have to just wake up, go to work, go to the gym, sleep, wake up and do it all over again.
AM: We are all about tribes and those that inspire us to be our best selves - who are 3 people that you look to in your tribe as sources of inspiration?
RB: I’m inspired by my family number 1 as an overall. The people that I am around – Kevin inspires me just because you can’t become complacent! The third person is myself - if that’s ok to say! When you look at who you are and where you came from and that there is more that you can give as you know where you have been and where you can continue to push that ball forward.
AM: When you hit the gym, what songs are on your playlist at the moment that you enjoy listening to?
RB: Aww man! I’m kind of all over the place these days! I like R&B, a lot of slow jams then I go to a lot of old school 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Trying”. Man, I go to A-list R&B, I don’t know, it just depends on the mood. Sometimes I’m really in a sweet mood and everybody says that I am not a sweet guy because I don’t smile much but actually, I’m the opposite! So, I’m really a nice person and listening to slow music makes me happier.
AM: When it's time for a bit of down time and you're not focused on clients and your brand - how do you take time for yourself?
RB: I take time for myself by going to the gym actually. Really thinking about things and sometimes I just need to sit down in a room or in my office and think about my thoughts. I like drives. It sounds corny but sometimes I like to just get in the car and just think about and look at things that I want to achieve and accomplish and it just helps me to refocus!
AM: Tell us about your style. What's your go-to's for working out, going out, around town and lounging?
RB: Just Train apparel is amazing and I wear it a lot! There are some other brands that are really cool – Alo Yoga has some really cool men’s stuff that came out recently and that’s kind of my loungewear. I’m really simple as I like comfortable t-shirts and pants when I go out at night. I love Jordan 1’s as it’s kind of one of my favorite shoes – I have a number of them as well as some exclusives that are really cool. A nice kick will make a whole outfit look 10X better.
AM: In the city that you're based, where can we find you grabbing a drink or meal, working out and to go shopping?
RB: I’m based in LA so when I’m shopping, I like Nordstrom, it’s one of my favorite department stores because you can get really expensive stuff although I am a middle kind of guy so I like to get really nice t-shirts and things like that. In LA, you’ll find me at a restaurant called Leo & Lily a lot. They have a homemade breakfast. There is a new spot called Mister O’s for a good brunch on a Saturday morning – it’s really incredible there and is owned by the people who own Bull Steakhouse.
I have a Just Train gym here in LA that has really cool equipment that influencers can come in and use. A lot of trainers in this industry don’t have the equipment or place that they can go to where they can train their clients as well as to build content, to my partners over at XD Fitness Equipment, they built this whole gym facility that is super cool so that people can come in and be as creative as they want to be to film content. So I love to go there and if not, I am at Equinox in the Valley just kind of putting in some work. I like the space of creativity to kind of do what I want and to just throw shit around!
PHOTOS COURTESY | Ron Boss + The Retreat FUNKSHION
You can hear Ron Boss' interview in April on our show, #TRIBEGOALS which is a part of Athleisure Studio, our multi-media podcast network! Make sure to subscribe to find out when the episode drops. You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and wherever you enjoy listening to your favorite podcast shows.
Over at Athleisure Studio, #TRIBEGOALS dropped their latest episode! When you think of Adam Carolla, Loveline comes to mind immediately. He co-hosted this relationship focused call in show with Dr Drew Pinsky on MTV and you learned a lot of information while having levity throughout the show. He is also known for The Man Show, being a host of a number of TV and radio shows including, The Adam Carolla Project which focused on home improvement on TLC. In addition to appearing on Dancing with the Stars, The Celebrity Apprentice, his voiceover work, his own sangria line known as Mangria writing a number of books and more – his passion for cars is undeniable! Last month, we interviewed Adam at The Chicago Auto Show where he shared where his passion for cars emerged, Paul Newman, working on cars, Exotic EVs and of course his bromance with Jimmy Kimmel.
Over at Athleisure Studio, we just dropped our latest episode of #TRIBEGOALS. In the NBA we're now midway the season which means All Star Weekend just took place. We’re excited to have the chance to discuss with Al Horford of the Boston Celtics a 6 x All Star to talk about his passion to play the game, mastering his position and who has inspired him in his tribe to be as successful as he has been.
When you think about it, as many people as there are on the planet, the world is very small and here in NYC with so many different people, there aren't that many degrees of separation between you and someone else - even if they are on a completely different coast or continent.
We respected Celebrity Fitness Trainer Lacey Stone's craft, hustle and approach to fitness and seeing her on E! Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian. Since have her in our feature, NEW YEAR, N3W YOU, our worlds collided again right before the holiday season to talk about her partnership with Core Power Protein Shakes by Fairlife, her approach to training her clients, the miracle that is the human body, owning our super hero and her new partnership with The Wall, which avid readers of Athleisure Mag will remember from our Athleisure List feature from a few years ago. For our Athleisure Studio podcast listeners, there are portions of this interview that were included in Lacey Stone's episode of #TRIBEGOALS, which was released earlier this month and there are conversations in this issue that were not part of the podcast as well.
As the Jan issue is focused on New You, we knew that we wanted to bring the necessary tools and resources to kick your year off right. As we analyze how we will be adding new things into our workout and areas we want to target for our physical goals, we also need to be aware that we have to replenish our bodies, which is where Core Power Protein Shakes by Fairlife comes into play. Recovery is an important tool to bring back nutrients and nourishments into your body so that you can optimize all of your efforts, the brand's release of this new product is available now with flavors that include Banana, Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla. It is lactose free and has 26 grams of protein! With the first ingredient being filtered milk - there are no powders, artificial flavors or additives in it so you can enjoy a silky, smooth, and creamy taste while enjoying dairy protein with natural casein and whey, which is an essential to recover after a workout.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We have interviewed a number of Olympians, celeb fitness trainers, athletes etc and we just launched one of our new podcasts, The Road to Tokyo 2020 where we talk to athletes that are working on their Olympic run from their training as well as recovery and other events taking place in their lives. We also have #TRIBEGOALS, which is all about changemakers sharing about their tribes and those that they are involved in, how they started and lead a variety of fields.
We find that in speaking to athletes and those who enjoy working out, our conversations tend to go into not only the work- out, but the pillars of recovery from those that are physical like foam rollers and pain management tools, to those that are consumables, so this is definitely a great topic to cover for our readers of Athleisure Mag, as well as those listeners who listen to our shows on our multimedia podcast network, Athleisure Studio! As we get older, you need to start implementing to replenish your system as your body will continue to do what you want it to do, but you also need to make sure you are giving it the proper nutrients as well. You feel the difference when you’re not properly nourished. When did you know that you wanted to be in the fitness industry?
LACEY STONE: I was an athlete my whole life and it was so organic to me. There is a basketball court near my hotel and I can’t even... I’ve been in NYC for three days on this tour and when I have downtime, I love going to some shoots. I can’t believe that all my shots were going in and I still had it! So I always played sports and then I moved to New York when I was a kid and I tried to work at MTV and I just kind of saw what it was like to not be able to wear sneakers anymore. As a production assistant, I saw how unhealthy people were so I got a side job to work as a trainer at Equinox and I saw what you could be in the fitness industry before it was anything. It was right at the beginning when they were starting to sponsor us as Nike athletes and I thought, this is it. I knew I could make an impact in this industry because it was so organic. A lot of what I saw at the time – there were no HIIT interval classes. I was one of the first HIIT interval classes. I couldn’t really go to the beat and everything was dance.
Coming out of dance, they were taught to look the part and I was never trained to look the part. I was taught to be the athlete so my body had to be a weapon, not pretty. I was like, the women in this industry need to understand that it’s not about how you look, but it’s about how you feel and how strong you are. That’s what I have stood by the whole time and that’s why this is so organic because women don’t realize how strong they are. So when I kick their butt and compliment them, they’re like, “am I?” And I’m like, girl, you’re waking up at 5am, putting on your superhero leggings, coming to me to let me kick your butt in a way that you didn’t even know that I would, and then you’re kicking butt in the office – especially here in New York or in Chicago, and then you’re going home and cooking dinner and making sure the family is taken care of, the husband – whatever and there’s kids as well. So you guys have to take care of yourself, you have to eat – women forget to take care of themselves. Not only with the food, but their heart.
AM: We loved seeing you on E! for Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian – you have a whole psychology element to how you train your clients. Do you find that draining as a trainer because you're fixing the body and then you're getting into the mind with that inter- play?
LS: Sometimes it can get really emotional and people have different issues. But it is really rewarding to watch someone’s eyes go from “I can’t” to “I can”. Not only in the gym, but outside of the gym, because I am trying to create superheroes. I am – in the sense of knowing how powerful you are. A lot of times when people are blocked in how hard they can run on the treadmill or how much they can lift weights because they don’t think that they are strong enough, I go back to what happened to you – who told you this? It doesn’t happen as much with men as they are like, “I used to be like this and I am going to go back to this” and when my clients cry – everyone cries who works out with me – everyone does. I have been through a lot and I can look at someone’s eyes and see that there is something there. So I will ask them what is going on to find that motivation that will help them through the rest of their life and finding that thing that is making you not believe in yourself.
It’s the moment that I feel like I have changed them when I can get to that point. Yes there is a lot of stuff that goes on with someone when you get there and there is a lot that happens after that point as well. Right now, I am dealing with someone that she is so scared of the release that she is having that it’s making her want to hide again with the pain that she has had. The more that you repeat a negative pattern, the more that it becomes a reality and you get addicted to the chaos and you don’t even know how to live without it. I majored in psychology in college and I believe that fitness starts in the mind before the gym. So the answer is, it is draining at times but there is draining in any job and I feel that my skill set is different than other trainers that I have been able to help people change their body and I have been fortunate to help people get through divorces, deaths, quitting jobs and making companies. We're finding that now in launching my virtual training platform that it is a competitive market. Everyone is launching one and if you want to write what’s the future of fitness? Virtual – beyond – beyond. People are coming up to me saying, "can we use your body and the way you speak and put it in AI and make you show up and walk around?”
AM: Absolutely, if you have a trainer that you like, being able to have that access and their voice in your head while you workout without them being there is huge. It motivates you and encourages you to continue your process.
LS: Yes and there are sensitive suits with sensors so that when you wear it while working out, you can feel my hands on you. It’s all about algorithms which is why you’re able to open your phone with your face. There is an algorithm that senses your face for your nose, mouth and eyes. So these suits sense the algorithm of shoulder, it’ll be a process, but it will happen sooner than people think. My point of differen- tiation than other trainers is for me to get into this for this side of fitness. I believe that emotional health is the most not talked about thing in the world. You’re supposed to be tough, you’re supposed to handle your life, you’re not supposed to have feelings of insecurity or doubt and if people do – especially in New York if they sense it, they say, “I see the blood. You’re done.” I want to help people make themselves healthy. They can tell me and if I am out of my depth, we will go to a therapist, but tell me where your weakness is and let’s work on that and not have it get in the way of your fitness, your relationships and in the way of you.
AM: Wow. So for you, what are 3 routines that you do for yourself that you enjoy doing whether it's for your fitness or the entire mind/body balance that are your cornerstone for getting you from day to day?
LS: I have the 3 pillars of your life which is personal, professional and physical. Those are the 3 things that make a human being. What is personally happening? Who do you surround yourself with – the truth? Do you surround yourself with trends and all of that or people that don’t believe in your magic? Life is a superhero movie there are evils out there and they can take you to the darkness or you can be the superhero that continues to show up and be the light that doesn’t allow it to takeover you, which the more people that get taken over, the harder it will be for us to succeed. So personally, what’s going on with my relationships and my family? I am always working on bringing goodness to them so that I feel good with what’s going on.
When I wake up, I play, Sia’s The Greatest – that’s my alarm. “You’ve gotta have stamina – uh oh – I’ve got stamina,” you know that’s one of the lines in the song! Professionally, what are you doing? Is it lighting you up and a lot of people didn’t figure that out at a young age and that’s something that you have to be good at. You’ll have to find something else that lights you up in your life. Physically are you injured – do you take care of yourself? What are you putting inside of your body to make you succeed?
Everyday, I try to get an A to create balance in those categories. Somedays maybe I don’t do as well in one category, but at least I know that I am doing my best everyday. I train people to do that. When you do that for a week, you feel amazing and imagine if you did that every single day. Every time I fall down in my career, I remember the people that I have trained and how I have told them that they have to get up and it makes me do it or otherwise it would make me a phony – and I’m not a phony!
AM: Wait are you writing a book? The force that you are with the honesty –
LS: Let’s write a book!
AM: It’s just amazing because what you are saying is applicable to just life.
LS: That is my point of differentiation and that is what I am trying to communicate to people more. As you know, the landscape is changing very quickly and trying to figure out how to make it happen. No one reads anymore – maybe we do, but things are based on an image and a copy and it has to be short and powerful when it’s on Insta- gram. You have to hit people at their heart, which I am good at. Yes I want to make people feel like they can do it – I’m working on it! With the virtual platform I am working on it in terms of writing a book.
AM: In terms of recovery, what are all the things that people should be doing – especially women?
LS: It’s really important for them to think about taking care of themselves, and women don’t. If you’re kicking butt and many women are thinking of wanting to lose weight, you want to fuel your body so that it can be successful. If it’s operating at a deficit it’s going to break down mentally or physically. You know it! I see it over and over again. That’s why I suggest people use this and it sounds like a commercial and it’s not, but I wasn’t really sure. You know you get a product and you’re not really sure, but for me, I try it out for a while before I agree to work with it.
I started with the milk by Fairlife and I said, “I don’t know Alex” – who is my manager. I just threw it in my bag and I’m a busy human. So I’d drink it and I was worried because of every- thing that they say – milk will it bloat me? What will happen and it didn't - it gave me a surge of energy and you start believing the media as well, al- though I know know what’s right and what’s wrong and I would drink it and feel a goodness about my body and it brought me home to the truth of – I’m from Wisconsin and I was like, this is what it tastes like, it’s pure and not watered down. It’s good, silky, creamy and you need to fuel your muscles after working out and you just need to fuel yourself. So I suggest - which is scary for women to eat. What I deal with, is people that are so confused by everything out there, which is why I try to be truthful so that people believe me. Sleep – what are you doing guys? Sleep and water – the toxic environment of what your body is around means that you have to put the good things in balancing it out – the evil and the good.
AM: What does this partnership with you and Core Power Protein Shakes by Fairlife look like?
LS: Basically, it’s just me being a part of their team and doing events that we are working with them on. We want to get the product in people’s hands and introduce them to why it is important. We can’t go into details now as we’re still in the beginning stages, but if you think about it – we want to get to people’s Core Power which is what we have been talking about. It’s not just the physical, but the wholeness of the human being.
AM: What is the best approach for those that are going into the holiday season as you want to enjoy the parties and events taking place, but you also want to be in a good place to get back to hitting the gym after the season is over. How can we enjoy the season and place ourselves in the best place for meeting our goals without feeling like we have to miss the season?
LS: I think that women work so hard and don’t take care of themselves and during the holiday season, it’s a time to get connected and to reconnect with yourself, your spirit and the loved ones that you have. You need to think about going home and having sweet conversations and saying, “I’m sorry that I wasn’t here this year, but I’m here now and let’s make the most as well as to remind you how much I love you.” That’s the time to do that and you know you’re going to have to go back to war, but right now, we're at peace and let’s do that and remember how far we came. Whenever I go home, I like to drive to my highschool in Wisconsin where I was the star basketball player and just sit on the court and say that I took all of this and did something with it. If you didn’t do things with it then why – why did you stop the thing that made you feel special? Take the time to bring it back so that you have this fullness. People underestimate the human being which is made of neutrons, electrons and protons. We’re energy – we’re a miracle – how do we breathe? We’re all this special thing – our parents came together and created us and people need to take a moment and come back to that and fill up your energy and take the time to slow down and think. Don’t focus on what you need to lose weight – just focus on staying steady, go on those walks with your family, cook together healthfully…
AM: In terms of the methodology, you have some trainers that feel that if you are a certain body type, then there is a prescribed workout that you have to do or only do this over here. What’s your focus when you are working with people – is it set or individualized?
LS: It’s individualized, but for everyone, it’s back to basics. The more you do something the more you repeat something the better you will get at it – negative or positive. So, I try to see what’s the thing that I can tell that they dig. I’m good at all the different kinds of modalities so I have yoga, dance, HIIT, cardio because I want cardio and to find the fit for each of my clients. Let’s say you’re sedentary, we’re going to walk before we run. I think the best workout for losing weight is that there is an intermediate, beginner, advanced level to all programs that I do in person or online. HIIT gets your endorphins up and energy – it raises your spirit which when you feel it you want to do it again and again and it becomes addictive.
AM: Who are 3 people that impacted you - maybe there were 3 moments in your life that were hard, but they really impacted you as a source of inspiration whether you knew them or didn’t know them?
LS: I’d say my college basketball career with my coach. She was incredibly charismatic and she had a great marketing mind. We were in Maine and a top 10 basketball team. How do you recruit people to go to a place where snow is up to your knees? She was so charismatic where she drew an audience. You wanted to play in front of a full crowd. She would say that she wanted to use this as a platform to help kids and to create basketball camps so she could be a millionaire and that people would come to participate. I was like, who are you and not that money is everything, but I thought it was amazing how you can think to be a businesswoman in sports. There weren’t that many successful female coaches at the time.
Equinox, when I started where fitness wasn’t where it is today. They were innovators and they created the boutique industry and the teachers there were inspiring. I have had so many different things there.
Then my ex-wife, being in LA and facing my fears. I had been in NY where I had created this amazing business that was dedicated to helping people, teamwork and creating a legacy – I was signed by Nike and leaving NY - I did it all for love – for what my core said to do. The she left me within a couple of months and my friend died, and not having Equinox anymore and losing everything and being like, “what do I want again?” and having the time to do that. Kind of starting to drink too much and starting to be depressed and I got a little suicidal. I lost everything and I thought that everything that defined me – I started my program of professional, personal and physical – don’t drink, workout hard, let’s see if I can save myself. I did – I created the 8 weeks to change program for others that were going through a similar need to have a comeback – it became successful. Khloe Kardashian noticed me – a new trainer coming from NY to LA – do you know how many trainers there are in LA? I stood out immediately and they picked me for the TV show and I said, “thank you ex-wife,” had it not been for you destroying my life that it catapulted me to a point in my life that I could create a virtual platform and got a manager that is amazing that has helped me to be able to speak and be here back in NY in my time – it’s full circle. Signing with brands that I can speak authentically about them and just being the light that if I can do it, you can do it!
AM: You were on the first 2 seasons of E!’s Revenge Body by Khloe Kardashian and we remember the moment when we saw you as we had been following you years prior to being on this show and as we had you in one of our NEW YEAR, N3W YOU segments a few years ago – we were so excited to see you there and sharing your brand on that network! Will you be on the 3rd sea- son as well?
LS: I’m not coming back for the 3rd season, but I will be back for the 4th season. It was an interesting series of seasons and I have a few things going on currently and I’m kind of happy the way it came about as I wouldn’t have had time. You get so caught up on being on a show and the time it takes to be on that show that you don’t have time to develop other things. Everything I do is what I tell you. It’s a stepping stone to where I want to be.
AM: We just saw that you have partnered with The Wall! Tell us about this studio, why you will be teaching classes there and what drew you to coming there?
LS: Jason Wimberly, the founder of THE WALL, and I have been friends from afar for years. I've watched his career blossom and I have so much respect for all he has done. THE WALL recently opened and he offered to partner with me and my Trans- formative Comeback Camps. These camps included heavy lifting, HIIT, and cardio/ dance drills 2x/ week. The other big part of camp is doing 3-4 spin classes/week. When Jason told me my camps could live at THE WALL and I could teach my own signature spin class called STONEcycle. It was a no brainer. I had been working at Flywheel and leading my camps at a gym called Lockbox. When this offer came about it was too good to be true. Now all my programs could live under one roof, his. I'm soooo excited to be a part of The Hive and Jason's vision. Keep an eye on us, there are big things on the horizon. AM: What are the classes offered that you will be teaching there? LS: I will be leading My Comeback Camps which include - 8 Weeks To Change, 1 Month Mission, Reboot (2 Week Training Camp), and STONEcycle.
AM: We could chat with you all day as you have so many words of empowerment and motivation!
LS: I love this stuff – if you got something out of it, then I love it. AM: It’s like, mental hydration listening to you. LS: Oooo ok or mental recovery …
AM: Haha yes. When you were talking about the fact that you could be a strong person, but even that person needs to be refueled. We have a respect for your career, the fact that what you say on your platforms and how you approach things is exactly like who and what you are now, it’s refreshing as there are a number of people who they are not the same as their brand and it’s a mess. It’s always great to see the authenticity and to see that from you.
LS: Same – same.
PHOTOS COURTESY | Lacey Stone
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