Cycle For Curls: Soul Cycle Meets Charity In The Name Of Lost Hair

Curls For Girls

You may have noticed that I don’t talk much about cycling here. It’s because I struggle with cycling (cardio isn’t my strong suit, and my legs aren’t as strong as they may appear so pedaling can be a challenge), and I’ve only been to about three  classes. So, when I agreed to participate in the First Annual Cycle For Curls charity event (by Curls for Girls), I  questioned my sanity. However, I soon discovered that Soul Cycle is an entirely different experience, especially when you’re surrounded by positive energy in the name of charity.

Plus, progression doesn’t come from staying within your comfort zone, right? Exactly.

So, here’s the backstory: Curls for Girls  is a 501c3 organization founded by celebrity hairstylist and beauty expert, Pat Sumpter. Its goal is to provide age-appropriate wigs and mentoring to girls experiencing hair loss due to treatment for medical-related illnesses or other conditions at no out-of-pocket costs to their families.

Curls For Girls
With Pat Sumpter, the founder of Curls for Girls.

Sumpter partnered with the American Cancer Society, and tapped two time Emmy-winner Mara Schiavocampo, also known as, “the next Diane Sawyer,” to host the event at Soul Cycle on the Upper West Side. Yup, we piled into Soul Cycle and spun in the name of charity!

You should also know that Mara Schiavocampo is an avid fan of Soul Cycle. It helped her lose over 90 lbs post pregnancy with her first child (you can read all about that in her book, THINspired: How I Lost 90 Pounds–My Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Self-Acceptance). Speaking of, she is currently about eight plus months pregnant and out-cycled all of us  (with the exception of our awesome instructor), and she was as sweet as pie.

Mara Schiavocampo, Good Morning America
With Mara, the Soul Cycle Slayer!

Our 45 minutes of cycling to everything from Beyonce to Mary J. Blige was lead by Liz Chestang, who made the experience enjoyable with good music and a great attitude. For the first time in history, I actually enjoyed a spin class because it seriously wasn’t just spin, it was Soul Cycle, which is an experience of it’s own (more detail on what Soul Cycle is actually like soon), and I was surrounded by positive vibes.

Liz Chestang, Soul Cycle
Post workout swelfie with Liz, our fearless Soul Cycle instructor.


Vegan Divas
We sure did indulge post workout. Vegan Divas provided the treats.


Nubian Heritage Gift Bags
We were spoiled!

I caught up with Pat Sumpter to chat about her inspiration for launching Curls For Girls two years ago, her reason for pushing forward, and how she personally keeps in shape. Keep reading for the good stuff!

Why is this cause so dear to your heart?

I’ve worked in the industry for many years. I actually had the opportunity to work with some amazing people and I’ve worked with a lot of women that were experiencing hair loss and over the years I would help them find wigs and have them fitted for wigs and just kind of teach them that it’s okay. You put your wig on and it’s all about your attitude and you just keep it moving. I know from working with these women over the years how traumatic it is to a woman to lose her hair. People say, “Well it’s just hair,” but it’s not just hair. That’s our identity. Then people started contacting me about younger family members that were experiencing hair loss and when I started doing research and trying to help them find wigs, I realize that there was really no place to go to buy wigs for young girls. I knew that I always wanted to do something to give back and at that moment I just thought you know what? That’s it.That’s basically how Curls for Girls came about.

What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself since launching Curls for Girls?

I never realized how rewarding and fulfilling Curls for Girls would be for me. I just can’t even explain how I felt when I provided the wig and the beauty day. I’d never felt anything like that before. To see them happy and wearing their wigs and styling it and feeling beautiful, it’s the most beautiful feeling in the world for me. I always say that I’m really proud of the things that I’ve done, but there’s nothing like Curls for Girls. The other thing is that spending time with these girls and what they’re going through, I think at that moment when we do the beauty day, I feel like everybody in the room feels like they need to express gratitude more often–because nine, ten, thirteen-years-old, going through this treatment, losing their hair and they miss years of school and everything–it just really makes you look at life differently. I feel like it just keeps me grounded and it makes me want to do more.
What’s next for Curls for Girls and yourself as a business woman in general?

What’s next for Curls for Girls? We’re based here in New York. I actually went to my hometown, St. Louis, and we have a base there as well. I partnered with two hospitals. We’ve partnered with the American Cancer Society, St. Jude, Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and we want to just try to reach more girls in the coming years and we also want to expand to other cities. I’m very, very happy and blessed and to be able to provide this service.

Tell me about your personal fitness habits. Do you soul cycle on a regular basis?

This was my first time doing Soul Cycle.  I was in the military years and years ago, and I think that was my introduction to staying fit, and after the military I was like, “I’m never working out again in life,” and then I realized I missed it and how much it had become a part of me. I just make sure I get some type of exercise in and so I always tell people, anything can be exercise so don’t look at it like, “Oh my god, I can’t do this class or I can’t run.” You can just walk. You can do anything that’s exercise. Parking far away from the store and walking. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. I look at everything as exercise.

For more information for how you can get involved, visit


Roz Mays ‘The Diva’ Is Definitely Not Too Fat For Fitness

Roz Mays
Roz “The Diva”stops by ‘The Doctors’ to talk size discrimination in fitness.

Roz Mays, also known as “The Diva”, has been on a roll lately! And I’m proud to say that she is definitely one of my pole sisters. Actually, she is one of the people I encountered in my very first pole dancing class in 2011, who encouraged me to keep going just by her existence. I was inspired by how confident she was, and how good her moves were, but that’s just me…and probably most people. However, there are unfortunately many people who have negative views toward anyone who isn’t a size 2. That’s just what it is.

Enter that time that Roz auditioned for America’s Got Talent, where Howard Stern attempted to roast her. He basically told her that she would be seen as a joke and that she was too fat for fitness. Sadly, this isn’t something that Roz hasn’t heard before. Many people seem to believe that fitness is all about size, which actually isn’t the case. There are heavier people who are fit, and there are slim people who aren’t. The other thing is, just because someone seems trim and fit, and actually has muscles, doesn’t mean that their form is correct, or that they’re someone you generally want to train with (there are a lot of trainers and fitness personalities out there who don’t use or teach correct form). Everyone starts somewhere when it comes to working out. Some people (aka the lunks) forget where they used to be and look down on everyone else. Personally, I’d rather train with someone who is humble, fun, and encouraging, and all of the above is exactly what Roz is.

Since that AGT snafu, Roz has been all over the media spreading her message of size diversity. Enter The Doctors. I saw this floating around social media and got super excited. Check it out:

Again, you have to start somewhere. You aren’t too [insert self-deprecating statement here] for fitness. How else do you think you’ll achieve your goals in a healthy way? As cliche as this might sound, haters gon’ hate, but haters don’t have any say in your life. They don’t pay your bills, and they damn sure ain’t gonna sit at the doctors office for you, right? So, get your life and seek out instructors and fitness environments that have your best interests at heart.


Weight Lifting and Loss: Finding Literal, Physical Strength Through Death

Liz and Bobby
Liz and Bobby

–By Liz Wayne

I have this love hate relationship with lifting. I love it because I hate running. I hate it because I love not exercising. But alas, my body is not the type that stays looking great without exercising. Losing weight had more than aesthetic value, I have a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes and I knew that if I didn’t control my weight it would become an issue later in life. I had tried numerous diets and I had started and stopped going to the gym multiple times.

In the end, my biggest weightlifting inspiration for lifting was Bobby. He was 6’4’’ and 370lbs when I met him. He valued his strength but he was serious about dieting or training. He was a gentle giant.

Something changed in him. One summer he did a Velocity diet. He lost 50lbs in one summer by eating only one solid meal a day and protein shakes for breakfast and lunch. He was noticeably different ever since then. He became obsessive about training himself, making himself into a stronger person. I was his training partner. And his test dummy. For some reason, Bobby was really excited to be able to workout with me and it was infectious.

We developed a routine. Waking up at 6:30am. Breakfast of veggie omelet, bacon, blueberries, and tea. In the gym by 8:00am. It was a routine that guided my life, gave me extra purpose in waking up so early. I still hated the gym. I never quite “loved” the pain of lifting but I could tell it was doing wonders for my health. And I loved doing this with Bobby.

Bobby was a demanding trainer. I remember one of my first “sessions” with him. On my last set, I took the bar and loaded it with 45lb pounds on each side. I attempted to pick it up but before I could he stopped me and added 25 more pounds to each end. I looked at the now 185lbs with the fear that I might break my back but I pick it up nonetheless. I checked my posture in the mirror, looking for the neutral spine that I need to do this back squat properly—I jokingly get distracted by my own ass in the air, hoping it would lighten Bobby’s mood. He smiled but told me to hurry up. Taking a deep breath, I slowly crank out 8 reps. He says “good” and points at the next exercise. As I predicted, I didn’t walk straight for a week. Turtles and newly-walking babies were faster than me. When napkins or pens fell to the ground I left them there. Sometimes he would look at me and say I was overreacting, that I couldn’t possibly be that sore. I just rolled my eyes, picked my battles. The third day was the worst because of the delayed onset muscle soreness. But I was surprised to find that going into the gym again did help relieve my soreness. Bobby had this way of pushing your performance beyond what you thought was physically possible. He knew it and it made him really smug, but I loved him for it.

Over time, I didn’t need him to watch over me lifting and he also began to train other people or become too engrossed in his own challenging routine. I decided not to let him be my trainer because having my boyfriend be hyper-critical of my diet and exercise 24-hours a day wasn’t wearing well for me. I wanted to like him at the end of our sessions. It worked out nicely though because he taught me everything I needed to know and he was beginning to train those around him. News of his training successes were spreading and people were more willing to try his diet and exercise tactics ben cause they knew it would have results. Soon he was training an army of women as well as a few secret clients who didn’t want people to know they had caught the spirit. Bobby was a firm believer that everyone should do weightlifting and that weightlifting was the cure for all medical and mental evils in the world. His aims weren’t completely altruistic however, Bobby had hopes of making money off training one day and he knew women were more likely to hire a trainer than men were. He was building experience and clientele. Every morning at 8 he had a group of 2-5 women following him, learning how to do squats and deadlifts. Despite his new pursuits, I always knew he was watching me. I would catch him smiling at me, shaking his head at me when I start squatting unnecessarily in his direction.

When bobby died, I tried but I couldn’t force myself back into the gym.
I had always assumed—no prayed—that his memory would make me want to be in the gym and make me feel motivation. It did just the opposite. There were too many memories. So much of my lifting experiences was associated with him. I found myself looking to the side envisioning him smirking at me. I half expected him to walk over all-business to correct my form and walk away without another word which was his thing. Sometimes the memories were so overwhelming that I couldn’t concentrate on the lift. I began to feel negatively about myself because I couldn’t reach my own goals. My whole routine was gone. The gym made me tear up. People kept telling me how happy they were to see me back and it made me feel even more hollow. I was back but I hadn’t accomplished anything. Protein shakes made me gag. The motivation I had for getting up so early was gone. I watched my body lose all the muscle I’d spent the last few years building.

The gym became one of those places that was just too painful to visit and I couldn’t afford to feel that way. In some ways, getting back into a gym routine was really like starting a new life. I had to learn independence in the gym. To make the experience about me and not about “what he would have wanted”, a line I’d heard too many times. To use the knowledge that he gave me but to separate him from. Bobby taught me well. He gave me a great foundation.
I switched gyms. I made my goals small. I would need to build up to the strength I had before and there was no use trying to pretend like nothing happened. I rewarded myself for making it to the gym at all because I needed the positive encouragement. I am very much still on the journey, but I know I’ve come so much farther than I was two years ago.

I met Liz Wayne at a media event and we got into a discussion about women being afraid to lift weights. She then told me this touching story and agreed to write it.


#EmotionInMotion: How I Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed



I haven’t written about my emotions in a while, yet it’s therapeutic, so when I was asked to write this post either about feeling glamorous or overwhelmed for Bernadette Pleasant’s #EmotionInMotion Blog Tour along with other emotional and expressive women bloggers, I thought it would be a good idea. I am an empathic, compassionate, sensitive, highly intuitive and emotional Moon Child who knows a lot about feeling overwhelmed.

The picture you see above would be me, of course. I don’t remember much about that day, but I was about 9, it was Easter, and I was definitely overwhelmed by frustration about something. In that moment, I’m pretty sure that whatever it was that was bothering me was petty. I vaguely recall my mother telling me that I couldn’t do or have something and so, I made that face in an attempt to wish her into the cornfield. She sometimes took photos of me making that face in an effort to get me to stop. I still make that face today because I’m hard-headed, and I still get really overwhelmed by my emotions, and especially adulthood, but at least I now look at that photo and chuckle.

If I could go back in time and send that little girl a message based on what I know now, I’d tell her how much more disappointment she’d face and how much stronger she’d become because of it. I’d warn her about the anxiety and depression that she would be so easily overwhelmed by. I’d urge her to focus on things that feed her soul, especially when she’s feeling swamped by the weight of everything, and although this is cliche, I’d encourage her to not sweat the small stuff.

The grown woman that that little girl has become is still an empathic, compassionate, sensitive, highly intuitive and emotional Moon Child but it’s only now, several years later, that she is learning how to cope.

I work in media, a high pressure field that in the height of my depression in 2013, I had to take a break from because it made me want to either lash out or die, sometimes both at the same time. I was so overwhelmed by my desire to feel better and be better that I got stuck and very sick. I made no progress creatively or mentally and while I haven’t been literally suicidal, I’ve come close metaphorically. I have questioned whether I wanted to continue living. I found myself weighing the pros and cons of whether it would be worth it to get out of bed. I beat myself up about my career not going the way I had planned, or hoped. I wondered why a lot of the people I had encountered in my field were so shitty. I had grown accustomed to a culture of staff getting cursed out in meetings or being berated for looks, weight, not having enough Twitter followers and other arbitrary, trite things. I wondered why people in general were so crappy toward each other. It was a stifling phase I was in.

Eventually, tired of being deluged by so many negative feelings and tired of not wanting to participate in my life, I got therapy. I also started consistently pursuing hobbies that speak to my soul, like dance, and pole dance, being active in general, and writing for myself, not some magazine and not an audience. I’ve learned how to say no, how to prioritize, how to eliminate toxic people and environments from my life, how to stop beating myself up and how to get over being overwhelmed to the point where I’m not making progress, and I’m starting to feel better, one day at a time.

Emotions can be transformative as long as you allow yourself to feel, identify and understand.  If you’re ready to further explore those feelings through movement, then keep reading to find out more about Bernadette Pleasant’s #EmotioninMotion tour.

EiM FB Cover 1

Bernadette Pleasant, the creator of Emotion in Motion has developed a safe and sacred day-long journey that engages the mind, body and soul. Weaving together the use of music, percussions, meditation, and hands-on healing. Her January 4th workshop will create an impactful, life-changing experience for each participant! You can purchase tickets here or participate in her latest giveaway.

To enter the giveaway go to her website and leave a comment answering the following question, “When someone says you’re emotional, what does that mean to you?”

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The Evolution of How I Pole Dance


I’m in a weird space when it comes to pole dancing. I’ve lost most of my strength because I stopped working out as much as I did last year and have regressed in the progress that I had started to make when I was consistent. Lately, I’ve been going to class when I go. Last year I was going at least twice a week. I recently  joined a gym that offers pole dancing and plan to supplement that education with some of the better studios that focus strictly on pole but the issue now is scheduling. I started a new job so being consistent is going to be hard but I’m passionate about pole again, so that’s the first step. I lost that enthusiasm for a minute but it’s back so I’m going to make redeveloping a consistent practice a priority (I have a pole at home that I use sometimes but classes are better).

At the moment I am a level two, which is kind of not good because last year I was more a basic three. When it comes to pole dancing you advance when your body is ready but I’m naturally strong as long as I condition myself and eat properly, so advancing shouldn’t take me too long (although, my core is slow to respond to strength training) but I’ve been poling since 2011. It has been off and on but again, I feel like I should be more developed in my practice than I am. I get so discouraged when I see women who started at around the same time that I did doing much better than me. I’m working on not comparing myself but it’s hard.

I still struggle with leg hangs, something that has never been my forte, and I lack fluidity. The latter has become extremely important to me. When I first started pole dancing it was all about nailing tricks. I just wanted to be strong and show off what I could do but what happened is, I started being able to do individual tricks but without real dance moves. I lack vocabulary and it looks silly when you’re in a class where they tell you to freestyle but all you can do is individual moves so I want to fix that. These days I’m about learning more combos and transitions and not thinking too hard about my freestyles and choreography so that even if I’m in a space where I can’t or don’t feel like doing death-defying tricks (it’s not like I know that many) I can still create a dazzling flow. The more I watch pole dancers lately, the more I look for fluidity. There are some, like Caitlin Goddard for example, who just breathe fluid motion.

So being a smooth operator, but in my own way, is my current focus, because I plan to do more pole performances (whenever those opportunities arise, hopefully they do but that’s another story) and flowing just feels good.

Grunty News: Baobab Wellness Hosts Family Fit Brunch in June

Krishna Davenport of Baobab Wellness is a mother, wife, entrepreneur and holds a full time day job yet she still finds time to make sure that she and her family are active and well. She’s sharing that sentiment with other families in June at her Family Fit Brunch.

Here’s a snippet from the press release:

With initiatives like Let’s Move and Eat Well Play Hard, healthier living for children and families is gradually becoming a way of life. The team for online health portal Baobab Wellness is looking to bring some of those healthy solutions to Brooklyn families at the Family Fit Brunch on June 14, 2014, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at Decatur Middle School, 272 MacDonough Street, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
“It’s hard having a career, two kids and other obligations that sometimes force me to skip my workout, and I realized if this made me feel miserable, it was probably true for other parents,” said Krishna R. Davenport, Baobab Wellness founder. While childhood obesity seems to be trending downward, there has been a significant increase in type-2 diabetes in adults and children. Davenport wanted to create an event that would showcase ideas of how to turn healthy eating and physical activity into a family affair.
“I wanted to make working out with your family fun – like a party,” Davenport said. “In New York, there
are day parties that focus on alcohol and largely unhealthy meals. I wanted to use the same foundation, but with a focus on healthy living.”
Family Fit Brunch will feature Zumba, running, healthy cooking demos, Reiki energy massage therapy and much more. Davenport’s philosophy is that working out and eating healthy can be fun, and her goal through this brunch is to help families strengthen their bonds as a unit as they learn how to make better choices about food and living a fulfilling active life.

View the entire press release here where you can scan a QR code to keep up with the event.

Visit www. or for more information about Krishna Davenport and the Family Fit Brunch.

Fit Travel Strategies: 8 Ways to Stay Balanced on Vacation


Sometimes I struggle with impulse control when it comes to food, especially sweets, so vacation and travel in general tends to be a free-for-all. If you’re anything like me then you understand this but we can work this out!  I’ve been traveling a lot this month and have two more trips coming up, one at the end of the month for business-play and the other at the end of June for straight up vacation, so I’ve been figuring out how to keep my eating habits on the road balanced (or close enough) so that I don’t feel guilty for vacation indulgences.

Here are eight strategies that seem to be working.

Start Pre-Gaming

You know the old cliche that goes something like, “Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready” right? Well, I can’t stress how important that is. Don’t wait a week before your trip to get serious about working out and watching what you eat because, guess what, you’re not going to get any results that are really worth it, and you’re going to undo everything on your trip anyway. Start developing routinely better habits in advance enough that they start to become part of your life. That way, by the time you get on your trip you’ll be in a mindset where you’ll want to work out and where you might not even want certain foods and beverages.


Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort

Vacation, and even working trips should still be fun getaways so chill out. Don’t police yourself to the point where you don’t have a good time and don’t beat yourself up if you eat something that doesn’t make you feel good. Remember, you can do better at your next meal, and you can always reset and recharge tomorrow.

Strategize Your Travel Diet

If you’re staying at a hotel, see what food they offer in advance so you know what you’re getting into and try to at least  keep your breakfast consistently healthy. Stay away from the pancakes and waffles or don’t go there every single day. Go for omelets, boiled eggs, fruit, veggies and yogurt (depending on the sugar content) instead.  If you’re a heavy drinker then beware the sugary cocktails!

Bring Your Own Snacks

I’m a carry-on champion so I don’t bring a ton of snacks with me but when I do it’s usually nuts and bars like KIND bars and Lara bars, and when I get to my destination I grab a few apples and bananas to keep on hand. The latter two items tend to be abundantly available at hotels for free, and if you’re staying in an apartment they’re the two good-for-you foods that definitely won’t be hard to find. Snacks will keep you from overeating and can help you stay on track if you’re someone who needs to eat every few hours (raises hand).

Do Some Quick Workouts

All it takes is 15 minutes of interval training in your room. I like to get it in in the afternoon but it depends on how my day goes. My favorite app for intervals is SWorkit. SWorkit randomly selects moves like burpees, planks, jumping jacks, etc and times your intervals and rest periods as you go.

Paddle Boarding
Preparing to fall off a paddle board. I was terrible.

Beach Time

Meditate on the beach and/or find a nice yoga or Pilates app (SWorkit also has yoga) so you can work out outside, go swimming or get involved in some watersports. This is a two for one deal. You get your workout in and beach time too. If you’re going somewhere that doesn’t have a beach then walk it out!

Use the Gym

Santa Barbara Golf and Beach Resort Curacao
Gym at the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort in Curacao.

Utilizing your hotel gym, if it’s decent enough, or even fitness classes if offered, are other viable options too.

Drink Green Tea

I’m a tea drinker and believe in the power of green tea. Seriously, I credit green tea with helping me get my pooch smaller so, I try to have at least two cups of it every day, even when I travel. I try to drink this before consuming breakfast. My green tea on vacation practice is new. I’ve only been on one trip since incorporating it in my routine and I haven’t had a hard time getting it but again, check where you’re staying in advance to see if they have it otherwise you might have to bring your own.

What do you do when you travel? Do you shirk your fitness routine and try to find balance?

Throwback Thursday: Dolvett Quince’s Quick Workout Wisdom

Dolvett Quince

I interviewed Dolvett Quince last year for JET, and we talked mostly about the Biggest Loser, which was prepping to air its season finale at the time. This is a quick left over that didn’t make the interview where he shared his favorite fat-burning workouts, and answered the popular quandary about whether we should eat before or after working out.

On Fat Burning Workouts
I’m a huge advocate for body confusion. I feel like if I do a comination of strength training and cardio in my workouts I’m gonna maximize the benefits to my body. A lot of female clients that I’ve trained in the past are geared tward cardio and wanna train this way. The guys that I’ve trained in the past tend to want to just strength train. The benefits of both sides is to do a combination of both.
On Eating Before or After Working Out
It depends on the person. It might be trial and error but listen to your body.

And boom goes the dynamite!

I prefer to eat after a workout but sometimes my body needs it beforehand so it varies. How about you?

Before you go…

Scroll back up and ogle admire his physique to ensure your good day.

Chrissy K Fit Teaches You How to Breathe Through Workouts

Chrissy K Workouts

The headline here probably should have read something like, “Chrissy K Fit Teaches You How to Breathe Through the Pain.” You know how it is when it’s sometimes hard to keep up with a workout because you feel like your body is shirking its responsibility to supply you with oxygen. Part of that could be because you need to build stamina, or because you’re not breathing properly. I’m afflicted with both issues but I find that learning and remembering to breathe correctly helps, so here’s some good advice from Grunty Crush Chrissy K.

Get to know Chrissy K via her Grunts and Glam interview here.