Nutrition is key: Remember to eat well and fuel your body right! Imagine if you posted everything you ate in a day on your Instagram. What would your feed look like? Would it have posts of nutrient-dense foods? You want to eat healthy, so you can be the best version of you!
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Fornarola.
Andrea Fornarola is the Founder and the Director of Elements™ Fitness Studio. As a professional dancer, music theatre performer, actor, and fitness guru from Manhattan, NYC, Andrea is reinventing the fitness industry with her unique high-performance specialized Barre and Dance fitness training method.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I started in the fitness industry as a dancer/performer teaching dance and fitness as a survival job. I was always an excellent teacher/choreographer, and I enjoyed putting movement patterns together, as well as studying how movement helped the muscular-skeletal system stay strong. I got my first fitness gig in early 2006 being hired by Physique 57 as one of their founding instructors. I went to a friend’s practice class, and I immediately fell in love with the Lotte Berk Method and barre classes. I later went on to continue to teach in the industry and pivot my focus to teaching fitness classes full-time. I studied multiple fitness modalities learning how different companies trained their teachers and what methods they used to create their workforce.
I gained multiple fitness certifications, and later in 2010 authored my own fitness manual that I still use today and serves as the backbone of all Elements Fitness Studio’s curriculum. I launched Elements East Hampton in 2014, launched our corporate wellness program in 2016, and in February 2020 signed the lease for a New York studio.
In the spring we’re focused on all online content and are excited to continue our journey both in studio and online. Our focus is to create an all-encompassing online wellness community that meets and services clients in every element of their daily lives.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I’ve had a lot of interesting encounters; I would say the most interesting would be meeting some of my most influential clients. A simple phone call led into a lasting relationship that I’ve now had for over 7 years with a well-known, high-profile female entrepreneur from Manhattan. At Elements, we don’t sweat and tell, but the woman is incredible and someone who has made a profound impact on my life. Being flexible and open-minded has led me to meet some of the most wonderful, amazing, and lifelong clients.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake that I made was trusting that someone’s word meant the same as mine. I’ve learned that it’s extremely important to outline every business transaction and have a written legal agreement. It’s important that there is full transparency and understanding of all expectations in our business relationships. It helps to keeps things clean, simple, and to-the-point, and it leads to successful, long-lasting relationships.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I really thank my husband Will. His partnership and expertise have been extremely important in the building of Elements’ physical studio spaces. I have also learned a great deal about contract negotiations and project management working with him.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
During that COVID-19 pandemic, the need for fitness, wellness, and community has become crystal clear. Our clients quickly gravitated to Elements’ online offerings and truly missed the interactions and routines that were part of their daily lives before the pandemic.
Creating an online portal for clients to join and participate in allows them to both enjoy our classes in the studio, as well as at home, so they can choose the safest and healthiest options that fit their needs.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
1. Get enough sleep: Turning off the phone, shutting off Netflix, and actually resting has been so huge for me.
2. Take time to smell the roses: Literally allowing myself 30 minutes of non-work a day from 6–6:30 p.m. is so important. Sitting outdoors or taking a walk on the beach is the best mental break and physical rejuvenation I can do for myself.
3. Nutrition is key: Remember to eat well and fuel your body right! Imagine if you posted everything you ate in a day on your Instagram. What would your feed look like? Would it have posts of nutrient-dense foods? You want to eat healthy, so you can be the best version of you!
4. Exercise: 30 to 40 mins of movement every day is the single most important thing you can do for your mind and body.
5. Be good to yourself: Self-care is so important! Do what will make you feel good.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would start Self-care Saturdays where you take 60 mins on Saturday to do what’s good for you!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Be fair: This applies to yourself and others. I often put myself last, and that never works. There is no I in team, but all teams need a strong leader.
2. Listen to your gut: It doesn’t lie. The moment I smell a problem, I try very hard to get in front of it.
3. Get it in Writing: Always understand the value of business contracts and understand that we hope for the best, plan for the worst, and when in doubt refer to your contract.
4. Actions speak louder than words: Act in the way you wish others to treat you and your business.
5. It’s not personal, it’s business: Business decisions are not personal. Try to make them with compassion while understanding the reasons behind them.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is extremely important, especially right now. We are all in a heightened state of stress and being able to think clearly and create a positive environment helps to silence the chaos. Surrounding ourselves with positivity and love is so important and creating a safe place to be is extremely important as well.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!