For our first ever Fitness Alley Spotlight, we're showcasing Olivia Young, one of the incredible the women that's defining NoHo's health and wellness scene. She's the founder of Box + Flow and LIVYOUNG and all about balance, whether it's backends and burgers or boxing and beer, the best things in life come from hard work and plenty of play. We sat down with Olivia to learn more about Box + Flow, the difference between living and existence, her favorite things about the NoHo neighborhood, and more.
Can you tell us a little about your background and your journey to creating Box + Flow?
I moved to NYC after college to go to Culinary School at French Culinary institute in the hopes of getting into food writing. Following, I interned at Food + Wine Magazine before going in house for Chef Michael White + the Altamarea Group. After a year, I took all his PR in house and left as Brand Director 7 years later. Throughout all this time, from age 15 I was practicing yoga and I started boxing at age 20. Boxing gives me strength and confidence and yoga forces me to slow down to feel, and I wanted to create something to give back the feeling I was getting every day. I realized, that feeling - strong + soft, was channelled via boxing + yoga. Enter Box + Flow. It wasn’t that simple though. I had no experience running my own business or teaching a class. But when I stopped resisting my desire to create, I found a great space on Bond Street and opened 2 months later.
What is the LIVYOUNG Mindset and how do you integrate it into the Box + Flow experience?
LIVYOUNG is life - living, not existing. But to livyoung (to love yourself), you have to workhard -- put in the effort to find the ease, much like box + flow (fight + flow, effort + ease) to find balance within. The workhard / effort is physical, mental, spiritual. It is how you fuel your life instead of fill your time -- with food, work, people -- how you speak to yourself, how you speak to others, it all matters. Box + flow is the physical iteration of that. It is an intense class, to force you to be present with your body and your breath, to feel what you feel and let go of what doesn’t serve you so that you can liv rather than exist -- take on resistance with ease and flow thru the fight of everyday challenges.
For the folks who don't know, can you describe a workout at Box + Flow?
50 minutes nonstop. Warm up to shake off get your mind set. Shadowboxing with light weights to learn the tools you need. 9 rounds of heavy bag work set to the rhythm of the music - so that you can dance thru rather than fight thru, 15 minute flow to let it all go and bring you back to balance.
I love the idea behind Box + Flow. Pairing the gritty, even exhausting experience of boxing, letting it all out on the bag with the mental and physical recharge of yoga-- it's an incredibleidea, but not one that you see that often in the fitness world. How did you develop the methodology of Box + Flow? Thru my own experience. Years of boxing + yoga, everyday to channel my inner best. My strength and softness. I wanted to create the experience that I was experiencing, to evoke the feeling I was feeling. The struggle and celebration, the workhard + livyoung. You feel all of that at box + flow if you allow yourself to let go.
How does studio culture differ from other gyms at Box + Flow? Authentic, grit, intense, all love. We’re selling connection. But to connect to others you must connect to yourself first.
As the fitness industry has grown, there's really been an explosion of concepts in fitness and in some ways it's easier than ever to find something unique. Where do you think industry has room to grow and improve? There will always be room for more. I think the more authentic the product, the people, the more authentic the customer. Connection is a two way street. Real sees real. Some people don’t want to work out - just want to pencil it in, say they did it to check it off and get through it. But that mentality is probably how they approach the rest of their life. I want people to grow, to flow, to stop fighting themselves, and learn to fly.
As the owner of a studio, you're quite literally changing people's lives. What's the most rewarding part of owning Box + Flow? See above. We are giving the gift of promoting people being exactly who they are. To put in the effort, to get to know yourself, to grow yourself, to love yourself. It is hard work to learn you and even more work to learn to love you. But if you don’t love you - who will. This is a practice, that takes patience, everyday. When we stop fighting ourselves, everything starts to flow. That inner balance the knowing that everything you need is inside. That is my reward. I see the change in people. I see the opening of people. I see people hold on and let go.
Besides fitness, what other wellness practices are in your routine? Cooking! I cook a lot. Sleeping. Celebrating. Wellness is a state of being. It is everything you do - including how you speak to yourself. LIVYOUNG to me is a double entendre, the true meaning is Love Yourself. Workhard to Love Yourself, to Livyoung.
Why locate your studio in NoHo? How does being here help your business? It's sexy, it's cool, it's central, my space is a bit off the beaten path, like a private club. I like it.
What's your favorite thing about the neighborhood? Do you have any other favorite NoHo businesses?
I love the location, the people, the ease in access, the restaurants, the fitness community, the bars and restaurants. ATLA, Lafayette, Honeybrains, the Wren, Reformation, Tom + Jerrys!