We Speak Body Empowerment With These NYC Babes

We are continuing the Body Empowerment love this month, because strong IS the new skinny, don't you agree? So impressed by the amazing and inspiring women we have met since launching our line, we want to share their stories on body empowerment with you as well! Read on to learn more about a few of the boss babes that are inspiring us this month! 

Clara Ma BollyX Fitness Instructor

Clara Ma, BollyX Regional Trainer + Creative Solutions Manager

Even though I grew up dancing and exercising from a young age, I never knew what it meant to be empowered in my own body until I started dancing on my college dance team. All through out high school, there was a lot of pressure put on by my dance career to stay small and thin, often at the expense of food choices and consumption. It wasn't until I went to college and joined my school's dance team that I understood what being a healthy athlete meant. At Cal, our coach put us on an exercise routine that consisted of circuit training and cardio and at the end of every day, I was famished and directed towards healthy, nutritious choices for food. And the end of our training season, I surprised myself by jumping higher and dancing more powerfully that I ever had - and more importantly, I felt the best I ever had. I didn't feel guilty for eating and I didn't try to stave off hunger pains by ignoring them. Instead I felt empowered to make healthy choices and exercise productively and as a result, my dancing flourished. Today, I have the chance to help others feel empowered and instead of focusing on the number on the scale, focus on unleashing your inner rockstar!

Follow Clara @tinydancercxm + check out BollyX Fitness


Shelby Albo, Travel Industry by Day + Fitness Industry by Night

I grew up as a dancer and body image was so important! Not just to me but to the choreographers and casting directors too. While being on a full scholarship for dance in college, I began training in Pilates and eventually got certified. My body was becoming stronger, and that empowered me. I didn't want to worry about my size, but more so my strength. Becoming stronger allowed me to move in ways I wasn't able to before and "strong" became my new "skinny". Now, I want to empower women (and men) that it doesn't matter their size because healthy and strong has become our new skinny, and I feel like society is on board with that. I am able to use my strength through my travels and making my adventures more active. And while I am no longer performing on the stage, the fitness studio and instructing has become my platform. I am able to use my voice to remind people why they have come to class, that we're in this together, and I will be there to encourage and motivate them through each drop of sweat.

Follow Shelby @travelfitlove


Kayla in the City

Kayla Kleinman, NYC Fitness Blogger + Co-founder of Holistic Happenings

My body is not perfect. I’ve had 4 stretch marks on my right inner thigh since I was 16… and more stretch marks than I can count on my butt. I have a shocking amount of cellulite covering my ass and thighs. I've had solid, muscular quads for as long as I can remember. My belly more often than not looks like I’m carrying a nice little food baby. But my body is so much more than these physical details. My body ran the NYC Marathon last year... and I finished the race with a smile on my face. My body can do a killer tricep push-up without dropping to my knees. My body can fly through the air with the greatest of ease at trapeze. Body empowerment to me is celebrating all the fabulous, amazing things my body can do. These thunder thighs carried me through 26.2 miles (and not to mention all the weeks of marathon training!) and that's something I will forever be proud of.

Follow Kayla @kaylakleinman + @holistichappening and check out her blog Kayla In The City


Alex Harris, Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor 

What does body empowerment mean to me?  For me, empowerment comes from focusing on what I have the ability to control in my life (which, by the way, you have much more control than you think).  How cool is it to know that you have the ability to shape and sculpt your body?  My strength comes from 100% dedication and hard work.  I was not born with this strength, I took the initiative to make a change and now I get to see the results.  Now, what is more empowering than that?

Follow Alex @alex.harrisc


Samantha Cornell, Lawyer + Sweat & Wellness Enthusiast

My personal concept and definition of body empowerment has evolved over time. For years, I considered body empowerment to mean loving and accepting my body, no matter it's size or shape, but recently my definition and understanding has grown to also include loving and accepting my body for what it can do, rather than what it cannot. Growing up I was always tall and thin. While some of you may think that sounds "ideal," I struggled during my adolescence as I was frequently shamed for being too thin and often accused of having an eating disorder, strictly due to my natural body size. As I entered high school and college, I struggled with weight gain, as I felt that any change to my body distorted my understanding of my sense of self. It wasn't until my mid-20's that I was able to learn to appreciate and love my body for how it looks and what it can do. This was a major part of my fitness journey, as I learned that although muscle gain changed my body, it was allowing me to physically do and achieve so much more. No longer am I controlled or concerned by the number on the scale, the size of my jeans, or how an old piece of clothing fits as long as I know I am living as my healthiest and best self. Body empowerment to me today means loving and owning the body that I've been blessed with and everything it can do.

Follow Samantha @thesweatchronicles and check out her blog The Sweat Chronicles


Leslie McDonald, Believer in Holistic Wellness, Self Care, Clean Eats + Co-Founder of Holistic Happening

Body empowerment means loving your body for everything that it is and all that it does.  There is only one of you and your unique self cannot be compared to anyone else.  I have always been shorter than all of my friends which means I carry weight very differently than them - usually in my stomach and hips.  Growing up I was always comparing myself to others wishing I had smaller thighs, a flatter stomach, a slimmer face, and straighter hair.  Body empowerment has been a struggle, but for me, it has been learning to embrace the strength my body holds in my larger thighs, the sexiness in the curve of my hips and the beauty in my clear skin and rounder face.  Body empowerment is standing strong by my beliefs, supporting my body, my mind and my passions.  It means taking smalls steps every day to express myself as an individual and love every part of who I have become and what my body has done for me.

Follow Leslie @balanced_life_leslie + @holistichappening and check out her blog Balanced Life Leslie.


Kelsey Whallon, BollyX Business Development Manager

It took me awhile to truly understood what body empowerment meant. Growing up in the dance world, specifically in ballet, I was taught at an early age to judge the way my body looked. Standing in front of a mirror in a leotard and tights for so many years created a habit of constantly critiquing every part of my body that was imperfect while comparing myself to everyone around me. It wasn't until I slowly transitioned from dance into the fitness space that I learned to really appreciate my body for letting me do all that I ask it to do. We all have bodies that deserve to be celebrated and gifted with kindness. Everyone is beautiful and each person has to find that within themselves. It's important to do what makes you feel good!

Follow Kelsey @kwhallon + check out BollyX Fitness


 Mariam Chubinidzhe, BBG Girl, Yogi and Wanderluster

I used to hate saying I was a dancer up until recently, because I always thought that my body didn't fit the build. I am a little bit above average height, I have hips, curves, boobs, and not a flat stomach. I wasn't tiny like the dancers I knew from high school. From the age of 3 I went through a ballet/jazz phase to ballroom/latin competitor phase and ended my dancing career with Georgian Folk dancing. What my younger self didn't realize was that dancing helped to shape who I am. I have incredibly strong legs because of all the countless practices and performances I spent on my tippy-toes. It was only recently that I figured out that dancing also shaped my love of fitness. I have my own body, my own style of living, my own personality. I'm unique. You start realizing that once you allow yourself to love yourself. Fully and genuinely love yourself. Then you'll look in the mirror and realize, your body is amazing. You are amazing. “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” - Marilyn Monroe

Follow Mariam @newyorkfittie

What does body empowerment mean to you? Leave your story below, to be featured in our next body empowerment round up.

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