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You’ve probably sweated in one of her classes or seen her demonstrating movement or stretching techniques on her instagram or Well+Good. As one of the most in demand instructors at SoulCycle, Charlee Atkins has grown up with the company and launched her own off-the-bike wellness brand Le Sweat. This petite powerhouse will be taking a few dozen on an adventure to the Philippines early next year on Le Retreat, her group fitness trip where she combines travel, workouts and best of all creating connections. 


Q. What was it like for you to move to New York in 2011 to teach at SoulCycle and how did you become one of their most in demand Master Instructors? When you are not teaching, are there any other workouts that you like  to do to complement your overall fitness?

A: I’m from a small town in New Mexico, so the big city was never on my radar. I was living in LA at the time I was approached by Soul to join their team when they only had five studios (there’s 88 now!) and so the co-founders of Soul relocated me to NYC. I grew up with the company and in return helped the company grow. Personally, I’ve always loved the science of exercise (I have my bachelors in Exercise Science) and I love learning and educating myself. I took a lot of workshops, acquired a few certifications, and would always read up on exercise and recovery techniques. All of that extra knowledge lead me to develop my off-the-bike persona, Le Sweat, which has since turned into a fitness lifestyle brand itself. As far as Master Instructor goes, I think my dedication to always keep myself educated and on top of fitness trends allowed me to be a good example to other instructors.

 

Q: Nutrition goes hand in hand with fitness and is an important part of staying healthy. What do you typically eat in a day and do you have any guilty pleasures? 

A: I get this question a lot. Short answer: I eat everything. Longer answer: Being aware of food portion sizes helps maintain your diet. Because I work out often, nutrient timing becomes one of the biggest factors in maintaining enough energy to keep going. A typical day is: oatmeal for breakfast, smoothie after class, salad/sandwich for lunch, Chicken/Rice/Broccoli vibes for dinner. My guilty pleasure is popcorn and Haribo dummies!

 

Q: Health and wellness has become a focus for many women today. How do you define being healthy and how do you maintain your mental and emotional well being?

A: Being healthy is feeling good within yourself. That includes physically, emotionally and mentally. At some point in the day/week/month/year one of those wellnesses slips and that imbalance is what contributes to us feeling ‘off.’ I think it’s important to be aware of the thoughts that go on in your head and decide which ones to believe. Another way of putting it is to have better conversations with yourself. I think we all need an outlet, something that we feel ‘free’ or ‘liberated’ doing. For me, that’s travel and exercise. It’s easier to talk myself into taking a vacation, but the power woman in me knows that exercise is a lot easier to take care of, especially at short notice. I think wellness is knowing yourself, navigating your thoughts, and thus controlling your actions.

 

Q: You started Le Sweat and launched group fitness trips called Le Retreat. What inspired you to create it and what is your mission for Le Sweat? Can anyone join you on Le Retreat or do you need to be in top physical shape?

A: I am so proud of Le RETREAT! I am about to head out on my fifth Le RETREAT. Me and 21 others are headed to the Philippines in February 2019! Le RETREAT is open to any- and every- body. I’ve always loved traveling, I love it so much that I’ll take a solo vacation if my schedule allows it. Le RETREAT was created based around my solo vacations. So many of my girlfriends were inspired that I would go somewhere solo and they would tell me they didn’t think they could ever do it. I teamed up with a fellow fitness friend who also loved solo travel and we started going on “Friendmoons” together - traveling to romantic destinations non romantically (ha!) We’d come back from our trips and so many people wanted to travel the way we did, that it lead to creating the first Le RETREAT. It’s a fitness retreat because all of my vacations kick off with a workout. Everything about it is inspired by fitness: morning runs, hikes, bodies of water, etc. 

The biggest return and the reason why I love doing retreats so much is to bring people together. I don’t think we realize how much we hole ourselves into our own social circles - and how much we need each other and crave new experiences and new connections.

 

Q: Your day must be packed from teaching at SoulCycle to running your own wellness brand, so tell us #whatsinyourbag?

1 - Lacrosse ball! My little massage tool and the secret weapon for my Le Stretch class.
2 - Dessert Essence blemish stick - my skin gets wrecked working out so much. This is my on-the-go ‘zit stick’.
3 - Chapstick
4 - Drunk elephant whipped cream moisturizer: #skingoals
5 - Laptop: #workinggirl
6 - Swell bottle: hydration station!
7 - Mini exercise band - for warming up before workouts..or for working out!

 

For more details on Charlee's Transience bag, see our Plunge Backpack in Black.