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“Wellness to me is feeling good in my body,” says Heather C. White, founder of Boston’s TRILLFIT. “It's feeling connected to those around me. It's feeling seen and feeling supported.”
It was a lack of that kind of support that led to her starting TRILLFIT in 2005. At the time, she was struck by the lack of diversity in the studios and gyms she’d been trying. She didn’t feel like she belonged and stopped going entirely.
For many people, that would be the end of the story. But Heather had a feeling other women of color were experiencing something similar. “That's how TRILLFIT was born.”
I started TRILLFIT because I was on my own fitness journey, frequenting boutique fitness studios to big luxury gyms, and was constantly confronted with the same reality: there was an overwhelming lack of diversity, I didn't feel that I belonged, and so I stopped going. I realized there might be other women of color feeling similarly, and I decided to try to create an experience to speak to them. That's how TRILLFIT was born.
We've shown that there's a different way to do things. When we talk about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—one of the narratives is that it's expensive, it doesn't make financial sense, and often that's why people disregard those initiatives. For us, we made that our platform, our grounding statement. We drew a line in the sand, and we made a promise that we uphold and continue to reinforce. That's why our business has evolved into a movement. People have a reason to choose TRILLFIT, people have transformed at TRILLFIT, and the spark that they get here—affects them long after they've left. Of course, we're focused on our P&L (and we're crazy up YoY), but we've shown that you don't have to compromise your values or your mission to do that. We've shown that success can look, feel, and be different. I'm a first-time entrepreneur from a family of immigrants, and I turned down an offer for a luxury space (with free rent) to be in a neighborhood that served the community I wanted to focus on. A lot of people thought that was nuts—I credit our location and our commitment to the community as the reason we're successful.
Expect to sweat, to have fun, and to meet people that truly see you. Our classes span from Cardio Dance and Boxing to Sculpt and Restore—and they are meant to complement and build upon each other.
We're expanding our class schedule and staff, and we're launching our new community wellness program in April. You can expect to see our commitment to the community grow in a radical and actionable way.
It takes a lot of intentionality, and to be honest, I'm not the best at it. But when I do prioritize it, I love massages and spending time with my people. I work out a ton—and because my schedule is so crazy, I really focus on making sure I have time to get in the studio—and that acts as a stress reliever for me.
Wellness, to me, is feeling good in my body. It's feeling connected to those around me. It's feeling seen and feeling supported. Start by looking at yourself in the mirror and deciding that you deserve to feel good. Then make a list of the things that serve your mental, physical, and spiritual self—things that will make you feel good—and pick one. Then choose a day a time to do it. See how you feel after and repeat often :)
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.