Photography by Winnie Au.
I own more spandex than denim, and more sneakers than high heels. I’m happiest when working up a sweat, and I feel cranky after a few workout-less days. And, while I could wax poetic about kettlebells for hours, what I find truly spectacular and inspiring about the fitness world are the powerful gals behind some of the most innovative brands.
I'm talking about the women — my fellow Ladies of Sweat — who have turned their passion for fitness into large, lucrative companies that work to positively change the lives of others. Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, the founders of SoulCycle (pictured), have turned indoor cycling into one of the most popular, addictive, must-do workouts in New York City and beyond. Their concept was founded on the idea that workouts shouldn't have to feel like work — and their commitment paid off, in more ways than one.
Then, there’s Sadie Lincoln, founder of the Barre3 method, which now has over 60 franchised locations, a successful online workout program, and a lifestyle app. Sarina Jain's Masala Bhangra Bollywood-inspired workouts are taught worldwide. Burr Leonard developed The Bar Method, one of the first studios to offer a spin on the Lotte Berk Method. Jennifer Vaughan Maanavi and Tanya Becker are the driving forces behind the chic, celeb-touted Physique 57 classes. And, these are just big names. There are countless lesser-known — but just as incredible — women who are changing the conversation about exercise and paving the way for female business owners on a local level.
It was only a few years ago when working out, for most people, meant nothing more than spending a half-hour on the elliptical (and maybe busting out a few bicep curls) at your fluorescent-lit gym. But, these female fitness visionaries are the main muscle behind the “fit chic” movement. They’re making exercising cool, diverse, and fun. They are redefining what it means to train and are truly raising the bar of what we can expect from our exercise classes.
Whether you’re a total fitness nerd like myself, or someone who just wants to have fun while working up a sweat, these powerful businesswomen — who may or may not wear leggings and sports bras in the boardroom — are inspiring examples of how you can turn your passion into a career. And, if you want, you can do it in spandex.