6.19.18 | Photo Credit: Romney Studios
Inspired by movement studios in both Los Angeles and New York City, Erin Romney opened Romney Studios in New Orleans in 2005. She was passionate then about offering a carefully planned and diverse class lineup with offerings that are safe and available for all age groups, and she maintains that same level of passion still today. To say Erin is an inspiration to live a more active, balanced lifestyle is an understatement.
Read our full interview with Erin below including more on the tools she uses on a daily basis to feel her best and focus on her health (even as a busy mom!), her go-to breakfast to power up for her day and the mantra she’s living by right now…
YOU HAVE BEEN PRACTICING AND TEACHING FITNESS NOW FOR 18 YEARS…TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU CAME TO THIS PLACE OF BEING SO PASSIONATE ABOUT FITNESS AND TEACHING IT TO OTHERS?
Before opening Romney Studios in 2005, I worked at just about every gym in New Orleans teaching Pilates and cycling. It was a great experience as I was exposed to many different people and I saw all the options out there. I could identify what was missing from a client point of view, so I decided to open my own studio to provide that. I was an athlete in college. I swam for my university so on the off season, I was constantly in the gym to keep my fitness levels up. In the gym I was exposed to Pilates and Spinning. I loved how they complimented my swimming and I was hooked as a client. Later down the road, I became certified in teaching both of these modalities and I haven’t looked back since.
I’ve been a mover all my life. I was always in some activity such as gymnastics or replicating the fly girl dance moves from In Living Color in my living room. I was born to move! I have first-hand experience of seeing what an unhealthy lifestyle can do to the body and the mind. I know the severe and painful consequences of not loving and taking care of your body, so I chose to become as educated as possible to prevent that.
HOW HAS ROMNEY STUDIOS EVOLVED SINCE YOU FIRST OPENED, AND WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?
When we first opened, we were a very small studio focusing on privates and small groups. We had Pilates, Spinning and something called Gyrotonic. Shortly after opening, Hurricane Katrina hit and everything changed. After we were able to open back up we were unexpectedly slammed, and people didn’t want to leave. They would often stay an hour or two after their session just to lounge and take in the special retreat space we had created. I loved the sense of community that we were rebuilding in New Orleans within our tiny studio. We shortly took over the upstairs to handle more people but soon we grew out of that space. We found a larger space down the street, remodeled it and continued to grow.
We started off as a smaller scale studio and still have some of our original privates and small group classes that started with us in 2005! But along the way, we saw how the energy of the larger classes such as barre, BOSU and cycling were on fire. There was a completely different energy with the larger group dynamic that we loved. About four years after opening the second studio, we grew out of that location and built our current studio on Magazine Street. It’s our largest one so far and we have expanded our offerings. We absolutely love our community of clients and instructors!
We are an investor-free local business that has grown organically. We take inspiration from NYC and LA and at the same time we listen to the needs of our clients. That would be the biggest lesson I’ve learned: listen to our clients while evolving!
The second biggest lesson: movement is multi-faceted. There is no one movement modality that will bring you true strength, fitness or flexibility. That’s why our offerings today are as diverse as they are. Each one has been selected to provide a very specific result that the others can’t provide. Also, each offering at our studio can be done well into your advanced years. They are safe, effective and won’t damage your body after a few years. My goal is to be as active as I am today when I’m in my 70’s!
FROM A MIND/BODY/SPIRIT PERSPECTIVE, WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT FITNESS AND MOVEMENT IS SO IMPORTANT?
As I mentioned, I witnessed firsthand the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle within my own family. I can say without a doubt that watching someone you love decline in physical and mental health is heartbreaking. I couldn’t do anything about it even with the knowledge and expertise I had. It has driven me the opposite direction with passion. I realize that everyone is going to make their own choices as that is their path in life, but I choose to lead by example what the effects of a healthy lifestyle can provide a person with, both mentally and physically. I hope to inspire others to change any unhealthy path they might be on. I can say without a doubt that it’s all linked: movement, nutrition, spiritual health and mental health.
AS A MOM, WHAT HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST IN THE WAY OF FINDING BALANCE TO STAY FOCUSED MOST IMPORTANTLY ON YOUR FAMILY, BUT ALSO ON WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS, AND FOR YOUR OWN DAILY MOVEMENT?
I can tell you with all honestly that it’s taken me 14 years to find balance with all the roles I play. It hasn’t been an easy journey to grow the business and my personal life. I have managed to find balance with my business and my family life. As with everything I choose to be involved with, I take being a mother seriously and I know how important these younger years are for a child’s success later in life. I’ve really tried to approach parenting consciously and to allow my children’s souls to shine through in their own individual ways. But it’s a constant journey, learning how to improve this.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOOLS YOU USE ON A DAILY BASIS TO HELP YOU STAY ON TRACK WITH FEELING YOUR BEST AND LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE?
Meditation. It’s been the most important thing I’ve done for myself in the last four years. With running a business, being a mother, wife and staying active in the community, my reaction to a stressful situation is different now. That is priceless to me as I don’t absorb the stress within my body any longer. I’m also my best advisor when my meditation practice is strong. We all have the answers within us if we are just willing to get quiet and listen to our intuition/guidance/higher selves.
That intuition helps drive me to decide what’s best for me each day in terms of movement, food and what I can handle on my to-do list, my interactions with others and how to best guide my children.
EARLY BIRD OR NIGHT OWL?
Usually an early bird but with the addition of children in my life, some days I need to sleep in!
WALK US THROUGH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE…
6:15am | Meditate for 20 minutes. Get ready for work and make up all the beds in the house (I need visual order in my house).
7:00am | Breakfast with the kids. Some mornings require a review of my class playlists, so I blast my music throughout the house while I’m getting the kids ready.
8:00am | Kids are off to school and I’m on my way to work.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO BREAKFAST?
In the summertime, I love a spinach and berry smoothie. For wintertime, I usually go for oatmeal or avocado toast.
WHAT’S THE MANTRA YOU’RE LIVING BY RIGHT NOW?
Everything comes to you at the right time. Be patient.
Romney Studios is located in Uptown New Orleans on Magazine Street.