You know that feeling when time seems to be flying by and you don’t even know where the last year of your life went? Yet, at the very same time, that same year can feel like 10 years? That’s how I feel sitting here, attempting to write about the first year of The Sweat Life. While so much of me can’t believe it’s already been a year since we launched this little site of ours, it’s even harder to think it’s only been a year, as this journey has felt like a lifetime.
I can now officially say there is nothing as rewarding and humbling as creating something from nothing, and turning a dream into reality. While The Sweat Life is still a massive work in progress, and still in its infantile stage of what I hope will be a long life ahead, I get incredibly emotional thinking about what we have accomplished thus far — and more so, the people who made it happen.
I may be the "face" and the driving force behind this brand, but The Sweat Life would not exist without our small but mighty team — Lacy, Ryan, Jamie, Hayley, Adam, and Adam — who work tirelessly and enthusiastically, often pulling late nights and working through weekends to keep our little ship sailing. Nor would we have been able to achieve any of it without our incredible community of studio owners, trainers, nutritionists, doctors, brand leaders, and so many more who have welcomed us with open arms into this community, and allowed us to share their stories, their voices, their expertise, and their hearts and souls. It is through them that our heart and soul exists.
I still will never forget my very first time pitching The Sweat Life (then, just a concept called “The Fit List”), to Kari Saitowitz, owner and founder of the Fhitting Room, where we hoped to, and eventually did, shoot our very first episode of The Sweat Life. I didn’t know Kari personally, and she most certainly didn’t know me — or anything about this little idea of mine. Kari expressed that she had been approached before to film her studio, which had already grown quite a little cult following in its single location on 80th and Lexington. However, she had never said yes and was quite apprehensive about the idea of allowing cameras inside. Yet, for some reason, in her downstairs office under the Fhitting Room, I managed to convince Kari to take a chance on me and on The Sweat Life. I owe so very much to Kari. Not only was she our first “yes,” but she became an unparalleled mentor as I officially entered into the world of entrepreneurship and started my own company. Without her belief in our vision, and more so, her belief in me, I truly believe I would not be sitting here writing you this very letter.
As more studios decided to take chances on us and allowed us to come film their methods, these “yesses” eventually turned into requests. And eventually, those requests turned into a waiting list of studios wanting us to come cover them. When we launched the site a year ago, we were “cold emailing” people within the space to write articles for us. Now, we have over 300 contributors, so many of whom have become dear members of The Sweat Life family, and we often have trouble keeping up with the pitches and press requests that fill our website’s inbox. I still have many moments when someone reaches out to ask if they can write, or if we can cover a brand, when I think, “Wow, they actually know who we are!” I sort of hope that feeling never goes away.
So, for the next two weeks, we will be celebrating our amazing Sweat Life family of writers, by honoring each of them on the front page of the site, so that you can easily click through and read their incredible articles. We will also be counting down our Top 25 Most Popular articles from a year in the Sweat Life, through our Daily Newsletters and social media, so keep an eye out! Join us in taking a look back at these incredible pieces of work, and help us celebrate these inspirations and incredible talents.
And of course, we would have no meaning or purpose without you — our readers, our viewers, our followers, our community, and now our family. You, too, have welcomed us onto your computers and phones, into your homes and into your lives with nothing but open hearts, love, and support. Every new viewer I see on Google Analytics, every comment on an article, and every "like" on Instagram or Facebook touches my soul, constantly drives me to keep going, and so often offers more support on a personal level than I could ever express. It is because of you that we show up day in and day out, and because of you that every ounce of sweat has been worth it. There just are no words to express my gratitude for your continued support and loyalty, so I will offer the simplest words of them all — thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
(However, a simple thank you just won’t cover it! So we will also be spending the next two weeks offering daily giveaways of classes and goodies, to more properly thank you!! Make sure to follow along on social media, share our articles, and get a chance to win some amazing prizes!)
While this past year has, in so many ways, been a dream come true — no dream is realized without vision, passion, effort, sacrifice, and a mass amount of incredibly hard work. I am truly grateful each day for the opportunity to build my own company and work for myself, but I often think there is a romantic view of what “startup life” actually looks like. Living in a world of Mark Zuckerbergs, Sergey Brins, Larry Pages, and Jeff Bezoses, I understand why we are tempted to skip a traditional career with the hopes of founding the next big thing.
However, in thinking about the past year, I have realized simply having a “good idea” is not enough — an idea without proper execution so often stays just as such — an idea. Don’t get me wrong, I came into this with VERY little experience in so many areas of what it takes to start and run a brand like The Sweat Life, and I am learning (and making mistakes) every single day. However, I also entered into this journey with a 10-year career in media — having been the lowest man on the totem poll, to leading teams, to running multi-million dollar projects — and, still, so many days I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing! Yet, this is what it takes to start something. If you are considering it, just know it will take over your entire life, and you must be willing to put everything on the line and work your butt off for it.
I don’t say this to be negative in any way or to preach. However, I also cannot look back on this year and pretend that this has all happened effortlessly, without its fair share of sleepless nights or without its share of struggles — many of which I know still lie ahead.
I also wouldn’t be doing justice to this year without acknowledging the happenings of my personal life. As so many of you know, this has been perhaps the most challenging year of my life on a personal level. After losing my mother in February, then one of my best friends, Alex Niles, just a few weeks later, and parting ways with my boyfriend just a few weeks after that — I’m fairly sure the universe is officially testing me. I have been open and honest that it has most certainly been a challenge to keep my head in the game day in and day out (as this is a daily commitment) while facing such personal challenge. But The Sweat Life has also been a gift - offering me continued purpose, a continued reason to get up and push forward each day, and more of a support system than I could have ever imagined. It has also taught me that we are all stronger than we think we are, and are able to accomplish so very much - even in our weakest moments.
As I look forward to the hopeful years ahead, of where all of this can one day go, it’s truly thrilling. However, for the next two weeks, I will relish in celebrating this past year, the people behind it, and celebrating you.
I hope you enjoy this little journey back in time with us and help us celebrate in style. If nothing else, again, make sure to stay tuned for the many goodies and giveaways we have in store!
Thank you, from everyone here at The Sweat Life. Here’s to a year — and many more to come.
Until next week,
Founder, CEO, and Host
The Sweat Life