Inspirational Interview with Guest, Chicago Fitness Instructor Lauren Zerante

“The Curve Confessions by Kenzie is a movement inspiring women to find happiness in ourselves, no matter our size or shape; rock the skin we’re in with confidence; openly discuss body image issues we see in the world; and create a safe space where we all feel accepted.”

I can speak to the fact that fitness is a way to find happiness and confidence in ourselves, and that’s not just for our physical appearance, but for our overall emotional well being, inner strength, etc.

Lauren Zerante is someone who helped me find my love for fitness again and is an inspiring instructor and fitness connoisseur in Chicago. She also happens to be my best friend of over a decade. Read our interview to get inspired and learn more about her side hustle and motivation (if you get to the end you can find a way to try her classes, too)!

CC: Thanks for joining me Lauren! So let’s cut to the chase, when did you become a group fitness instructor and why? 
Lauren: Thanks for having me! I received my yoga sculpt certification from CorePower Yoga in April of 2015. I had been going and taking class religiously after graduating and moving back home, and one day I thought about taking the plunge and doing teacher training. I had been looking to fill the void my college volleyball career provided and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I love being around people, leading groups, and it’s no surprise that I love working out. Fast forward a few years later and I found myself wanting to focus on studying more forms of exercise, specifically HIIT- high intensity interval training, outside of the yoga studio. I decided to get my NASM personal training certification and later pursue group fitness at Equinox. I started teaching classes there in April of 2018.
CC: Amazing, obviously I love your classes 🙂 Can you tell my readers where/when you teach?
Lauren: Yes! Here they are.
Corepower Yoga Sculpt schedule: Monday mornings at CPY Old Town 5:45 am, Thursday evenings 5:45 pm at CPY River North
Equinox: Saturday METCON3 11:45 am at Equinox Lincoln Park
CC: I hope some readers can make it to your classes! Can you tell us what motivates you, and what is your biggest piece of advice to others looking for motivation?
Lauren: It sounds kind of cliche but, myself. I am a super competitive person but I’ve found that I get the most gratitude when I see myself improving in things over time vs doing ‘better’ than someone else. I like to run and usually run 1-2 half marathons a year. My biggest motivation for those is doing everything I can to beat my last race time or learn something new in the training process. My biggest piece of advice would be to find something that you truly enjoy. Motivation will always lack if you view something as a chore. In today’s fitness world there are sooo many studios and different ways to stay active. My advice would be to explore all those options until you find something that clicks.
CC: I can definitely vouch for that and totally agree. Tell us, why is fitness so important to you, and when/why did it become that way?
Lauren: It’s the best ‘me time’ that I’ve been able to find. When I’m working out, no matter what the workout is (alone or in a class) I’m able to completely disconnect from what’s going on in my life and my (usually) long to do list. Teaching group fitness is just as important for me because it’s a way to connect with others on a really unique and special level. Seeing people come back each week and put in the work, transform their mind and body, and do things they didn’t think they could do in the past has been extremely rewarding. I know that for a lot of people, that one hour in their day is as special for them as it is for me so it’s definitely a big deal to be leading that time.

CC: Absolutely agree girlfriend. Random question for my readers; what would your ideal way to spend a day look like?

Lauren: I love working out with friends, so my ideal day would be either teaching a class with friends in it or taking one with them! Catching up after over coffee/dinner/drinks is always an added plus. Now that it’s warm out in Chicago my ideal day would be hanging out on some kind of roof top/patio or taking a walk along the lake. And my ideal day would probably end with ice cream… duh.

CC: Sounds like a fun day hehe. How do you recommend others get into fitness or a side hustle, based on your own experience?

Lauren: Community is the biggest thing that comes to mind when answering this question. The Chicago fitness community is pretty unbelievable, and I know a lot of other cities have similar dynamics. Take classes, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to fellow classmates or instructors. Research fitness events- there are tons. ASweatLife is a great resource and way to meet people who have a passion for fitness as well as check out the many studios around the nation.

CC: That’s great advice. Who inspires you?
Lauren: Oohh this is tough. I have a lot of ‘favorite’ instructors in the Chicago area the list would be very long. One of my favorite ‘insta inspirations’ is @rksolidnyc. She’s a former Barry’s Bootcamp/current Peloton instructor and I find her approach to fitness to be authentic, dedicated, and relatable. I also enjoy following @ashwilking, a Nike Trainer and Rumble boxer trainer in NYC. She’s a total bada** and I absolutely loved taking her class in person at Rumble in NYC recently.
CC: Inspo to the max, I’m following now! So on the topic of body image… Do you encourage all shapes and sizes to take your classes?
Lauren: Absolutely. All shapes and sizes, all ages, and all fitness backgrounds. Modifications are always an option in my class and I will never force someone to do something they are a) not comfortable with or b) have physical limitations doing. One of the most common things I hear from people prior to doing my class or really any workout class is “I’m not good at x”, whether that be yoga, running, lifting. Group fitness classes aren’t about being “good” or “bad” at something. And in my classes, being “good” at yoga sculpt or “good” at HIIT will never be a thing. It’s about showing up, being around others, and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. I say this a lot in my classes but you have to “trust me and trust yourself”.

Thanks for the inspiring interview, Lauren!

Readers: if you want to try Lauren’s class, DM her on Instagram at @lzerante. You won’t regret it!

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