What's Her Secret: Lauren Boggi

This former dancer, Pilates instructor and USC cheerleader brings the fun to your workout class.

Source: Dom Episcopo; Art by Tanya Leigh Washington

Lauren Boggi is a former dancer, Pilates instructor and USC cheerleader. In 2005, she created a cheerleading-inspired group fitness method that combines cardio, strength-training and fun. Now incorporating food products and a fitness apparel line, the Lithe Method is popular among women of all shapes and sizes. Boggi talks confidence, self-care and beat-boxing.

What does wellness mean to you? "It's all about happiness and self-confidence to me—your attitude towards the rest of the world definitely starts with you and your head and how you feel about yourself, really. The idea that your ideas are good; your feelings are valid; you're strong, beautiful, worthy. One thing I've learned from working with a lot of women over the years is that building self-confidence definitely doesn't happen overnight. It happens through success and achievements, but also from growing from your mistakes and coming out stronger, and also just from taking care of you. Working out, eating well, doing things for your body and doing what you need to do for yourself."

Why do you think so many women have confidence issues? Have you struggled with negative thoughts yourself? "Absolutely, I've definitely struggled with that. I feel like it's always there, and we're women, and we're perfectionists and we always want to be better and do better. Even I feel it. You gain a few pounds, you feel bad about yourself. But it's really important to just turn it off and get back to basics and start over. Just because you had a bad day doesn't mean that you're doomed."

What's Her Secret: The Lithe Method's Lauren Boggi
Source: Dom Episcopo

When you have a bad day, what do you do to get back to a positive state? "I definitely start with the food aspect, because I strongly believe that food has a powerful impact on us. Sometimes I eat some dark chocolate, it's my secret indulgence. I don't go a day without a little bit of it. [Also] comfort, music, I go for a manicure, spend time with my son, workout."

Since you feel food is so important, what is your diet like? "Well, I'm 80/20. I'm pretty good Monday through Friday. I eat whole foods, I try to eat lean and I try to eat seasonally. I'll do, like, a smoothie for breakfast, my Vitamix is always out, and then a hard boiled egg for a snack. Then, lunch is usually a big green salad with lentils and garbanzo beans and feta cheese, or chicken, then for dinner, I love fish. So curried shrimp, sea bass...I love all things Caribbean. And I definitely have coffee and chocolate every day. And no matter what, I'll always take the weekends off. I'll go out, but I usually still watch my portion sizes."

What's Her Secret: The Lithe Method's Lauren Boggi
Source: Lauren Boggi

What's your own workout regimen like? "With all the work that I do, and you add a kid in the mix, it is tough. But I teach four to six classes a week now, and I also train my instructors, but I walk everywhere. I used to run, but I found I can't anymore, it's just a little too jarring. I also will just turn on music in my house and just stretch, to realign and take it down a notch, because the [Lithe] Method is so high-energy."

Has becoming a mom changed your outlook on health and wellness? "Oh yeah, it's become so much more important to take care of myself now, because I am focused on him. And I'll find myself just, you know, not making time. I'll grab for a handful of Goldfish or something, and I'll say, 'Lauren, what are you doing?' It has to become a priority, especially when you're a mom."

What's Her Secret: The Lithe Method's Lauren Boggi
Source: Bob Cho

Is this type of self-care something you try to teach your clients as well? "Yes, yes yes. I find that many of them, I'd say 40 percent, are moms. They barely get in to exercise! So it's like, you have to make it important. You're going to be a better mom if you're well. Once you get that ball rolling, you don't want to stop. And the hardest part is getting started. It really is inertia. But once you get started and you see how good you feel, your body craves it, in every way."

What advice or inspiration would you have for people wanting to get started, but every day is a different excuse? "You just have to say no to your excuses and do something fun. I don't care what it is. I always say to people, 'Think back to high school. Remember practice? Whether it was your sport, maybe you were a cheerleader, maybe you played soccer, and you were with your friends, and you were practicing.' Just get moving, get started and do something that you really love. The fun will keep you there. Boredom is a killer. People will make any excuse if it's not fun, you know?"

What's Her Secret: The Lithe Method's Lauren Boggi
Source: Dom Episcopo

How does the Lithe Method incorporate the fun? "Oh my gosh, it's so much fun. It's done to high-energy music and we are definitely cheerleading, but some of the classes we do yells, we do beat-boxing, it's very rhythmic and musical, and very difficult, but the bands also add an element of fun too, because you feel that you're flying."

Finally, is there any other balance ritual that's crucial to your sense of well being? "A bath every night. I really feel like there's just something about getting in the tub with essential oils or salt and a candle and a magazine that's so amazing. And it really decompresses and erases everything from the day. It gets you back to you. Water, skin…I guess I'd say that's my secret."

The Lithe Method is based in Philadelphia, with studios planned for LA and New York this fall.