What makes you feel powerful in your life? What gives you true confidence? A passion that makes you feel whole, and one that you’re proud of. Fitness is a love in my life that gives me a combined strength, power and confidence. It is my time to myself, to work on perfecting my strengths, as well as channeling energy to improve upon my weaknesses.
While most of you know me for my work in the fashion industry, what you may not know is that I spend my off time with my friends in the fitness world. Working out is part of my daily routine, and I’d be lost without it. I love the feeling of my feet pounding the pavement during a run. I daydream about punching and kickboxing in my Zen Combat class. I do restrain myself from practicing those moves while strolling down the city streets. I live for the end of the day, when I bust out of my dress, lace up my sneakers, squeeze into spandex, and bolt out the door ready to conquer my workout. Toes tapping, jabbing the elevator button (as if it helps), heart racing, and finally the doors open. Where am I headed, you ask? To my weekly fitness classes at Equinox.
I found my fitness match, when I met legendary fitness professional, life coach, and Black Belt, Violet Zaki. I remember peering through the window of an Equinox class room, many years ago, the first time I took her class. Her Australian accent echoed as the music pumped throughout the room, and her energy was contagious. I watched the first class, as an outsider looking in. At first glance you’ll want to look like her, as you watch her super fit bod, bolt across the room. Then you hear her speak. Her sarcastic humor is an ab workout in itself, which has you in stitches before you even begin class. Next you watch her move, and quickly realize that she is no joke.
Violet packs a mean punch; firing off a few killer kicks, as she spins circles around her students, individually helping them learn proper technique, in her martial arts inspired Zen Combat class, which she created. If you pop in for class, expecting an easy breezy workout, you’ll be sorely mistaken. The class includes running, in between the punching and kicking combinations, leaving you completely breathless by the end of the workout. Don’t think you’ll get away with slacking either. Violet will push you to maximize your potential with bigger movements, proper technique, and constant cardio. Why? Because she cares, she knows we’re up to the challenge, and her program as just as much about stimulating the mind, as the body.
Violet leads four classes, which have become my favorites at Equinox, including the following:
- Zen Combat: a martial arts inspired, cardio kickboxing class, created by Violet.
- Atonement: focuses on pure power and strength training using resistance.
- ABsession: uses strengthening and stabilizing exercises to tone and target the core.
- Power Trip: a heart pumping, high intensity class, combining cardio and strength training.
I quickly fell in love with her classes because of the full body workouts, as well as the energetic spirit of the class. Bottom line…it’s a blast, and a super fab workout.
These days, the chipper welcome is quite familiar on Saturday morning, yet the chatter of the students still catches me by surprise. To the “newbies” out there, it sounds much more like happy hour than a fitness class. But to us regular grasshoppers (as Violet calls us), it’s our daily grind and the time that we share our lives with each other. I see us as a team. We celebrate our very best days, and we’re there for each other during the worst, in a spoken and an unspoken way; through our words, as well as movement. It definitely is my happiest hour and our classroom feels like home.
I had the pleasure of teaming up with Violet to create this photo shoot, as she used her expertise in movement to direct the shoot, while coaching me through the exercises. She pulled out her sassy, styling techniques to create my double braided hair style…just another trick up her sleeve. For activewear, I styled athletic capris, and a strappy sports bra, layered with a puffy vest, and alternated with a satin bomber for an edgy look.
The shoot was a blast, and Violet once again pushed me out of my comfort zone, proving that I was capable of showing another side of myself…the one that I love. She was right. She is a voice that I trust, and a person full of heart, and full of soul. She represents the words she stands by, each and everyday. “One mind. One body. One life.”
You can find Ms. Zaki at Columbus Circle and Greenwich Avenue Equinox. Her daily class schedule is listed here. Make sure to follow her on Instagram here, and on Facebook here. She’ll turn you into a grasshopper in no time!
*Technical Direction & Hair Styling/Violet Zaki, Photography/Grant Friedman
- Reebok: Strappy Sports Bra
- Top Shop: “I” Low-Rise Capri Leggings by Ivy Park
- Missguided: Satin Bomber Jacket
- Adidas: Performance Vest (similar here)
- Adidas: Performance Jacket (similar here)
- Asics: GEL-Kinsei 6 Running Shoes
- Adidas: Boxing Gloves (similar here)