|Lauren Chiarello, Founder of Chi Chi Life NYC - wearing our Modern Rose Jogger Pants|
This positive and smiley lady has been through a lot (to say the least!). At the age of 23, Lauren was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She beat cancer twice!
Despite it all, she is quite the boss babe at the young age of 32. Lauren Chiarello is the founder of NYC-based Chi Chi Life which melds her three passions: fitness, fundraising events, and cancer advocacy. Lauren is a lover of life, health and wellness, and is on a mission to build a community through the connection of shared experiences. Soak in her positivity weekly by taking her classes: Core Fusion Barre at exhale & TRX at FLEX Studios.
As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this, we are donating 10% of sales on our Modern Rose and Pink Tropics styles to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Survivorship Program, where Lauren is a patient volunteer and advisor. The Survivorship Program offers various services such as counseling and emotional support, workshops, integrative medicine, nutrition, sexual health and fertility. MSKCC is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, that has devoted more than 130 years to exceptional patient care, innovative research, and outstanding educational programs.
Lauren's story is inspiring and motivational, so we thought there is no better time for us to share it with you, than now. Read on to learn more about Lauren, and what’s next for Chi Chi Life!
AM: How has fitness changed your life?
After I was sick, it took me nearly a year to get most of my strength back. It was a slow, rocky journey. A friend introduced me to Core Fusion Barre at exhale and I remember I could not hold a plank for more than 20 seconds. I looked around and wondered if these people had superhuman strength! I grew up an athlete but this type of work was totally different than anything I had ever experienced or seen. I kept going back to class and felt myself getting stronger each time. My teachers literally changed the trajectory of my life, encouraging me to get uncomfortable and tap into undiscovered strength. Two years ago, I decided I wanted to that hold space for others and motivate them to live their best lives. Movement changes everything. We come as we are and get strong together. Come see me in the studio and I will be your cheerleader.
Photo courtesy of @chichilifenyc taken in Meatpacking, NYC during a sweat session with wellthily and Exhale Spa
AM: You teach quite a few fitness classes, tell us more about your Fundraising Fitness Classes?
Combining fitness, fundraising and events is LITERALLY my favorite thing. All my skills and passion rolled into one big celebration – yes please! I love to partner with fellow fitness gurus, companies and groups to curate festive events to bring together our community and build connection. This wild ride of life is not easy and supporting each other – no matter what personal challenge we have going on, is vital to staying afloat and living life to its fullest. If you have any fun ideas of how to partner, I’d love to chat!
|Photo courtesy of @chichilifenyc taken at a Cycle For Survival Event|
AM: We noticed you recently participated in a Cycle For Survival event, tell us more about this, how can we get involved?
Oh yes! Cycle for Survival is a nationwide movement to raise funds and awareness for rare cancer – with 100% benefitting research and clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About 100 spin bikes are loaded into Equinox gyms in cities across the country. We have a big celebration sweating it out over the 4 hour shift, each participating in one 45-minute class. Last week, I rode in the Times Square Takeover event to kick-off the 2017 season. I ride for those who can’t. Last year, Team Chi Chi Life was 4 bikes and 16-rockstars strong, raising $11,000+. I’d love for you to be part of my team this March, shoot me a note over at firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is the epitome of community and connection. The energy is ELECTRIC!
AM: Each month you share your experience during Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Stem Cell Transplant Orientation for current patients and their caregivers, what’s one piece of advice that you always share?
Speaking with patients and their families is truly a gift. I am so grateful to share insight into what they may experience during this challenging time. I always tell them to stay in the present moment. This can be quite difficult to do when the road is LONG. It’s helpful to break all the segments up: pre-conditioning chemo (check!), scan (check!), stem cell collection (check!), radiation (check!), high dose chemo (check!), stem cell transplant (check!), discharge from hospital (check!) – then the 100 days post-transplant is a HUGE milestone. Bit by bit, step by step, day by day, week by week, month by month – I remind these fighters that they absolutely have the strength to get through each phase.
AM: Tell us about your next MSKCC Fundraiser at Sweaty Betty Soho
I am SUPER stoked to be leading this special class for my dear friend and running soulmate, Meg to benefit her NYC Marathon fundraising efforts for Fred’s Team. We have trained and run 2 marathons together for Fred’s Team. After class, we are going to shop Sweaty Betty gear with 25% off and sip on the yummy plant-based energy drink, Metabrew. Donate $40 and you can score one of the few spots left. Sign up on my website now!
AM: What’s your favorite form of exercise these days?
Oh gosh, this is a tough one because I love it all and always want to try new classes, too. I regularly take Core Fusion Barre at exhale, FLEXPilates and FLEXTRX at FLEX Studios, POWER and STRENGTH at Uplift Studios and spin at Soulcycle. I’m also a runner and yogi. I have a tough time fitting it all in and finding that important rest day. Taking time off is crucial to recover your muscles and joints and give your body a little love.
|Lauren is showing us how it's done in Madison Square Park|
AM: Prints or plain to workout in?
I love to mix it up. I am known to wear BRIGHT colored pants and a black top but sometimes I go for black pants then a bold solid top. Functionality and softness factor are key.
AM: Favorite Smoothie Recipe?
Coconut water, banana and kale. Adding the kale is a great way to get my greens in. I often make my own acai bowls, too. I add peanut butter and top with goji berries, pumpkin seeds and shredded coconut. It’s quite a dreamy combo.
AM: What three items are always in your gym bag?
Grippy socks, change of clothes (as I’m often gone from my apartment all day and scooting around to meetings) and my S'well water bottle. One bonus item! A bar of some sorts: Clif, Luna or Quest -- to fuel me.
|Lauren strikes a pose in Madison Square Park|
AM: What’s in the future for Chi Chi Life?
I am making one of my magical dreams come true next year by leading 2 fitness retreats. One is 5-days in the Cayman Islands May 3 – 7 and the other is 6-days in Bali, Indonesia July 2 – 7. It’s going to be a fun combo of all my teaching (barre, HIIT, TRX, Pilates Mat) – come play!
|Lauren's philosophy is 'YES YOU CAN.'|
AM: Anything else you would like to add?
It’s a beautiful day to be alive. Start today. You have the power of choice. You have the ability to lead your best life possible by taking small step toward your goals. Let’s shine bright together!
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*10% of your purchase will be donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Survivorship Program*