by Renée Marino
As performing artists, our vessels (minds, bodies and spirits) are our main tools in the creation of our art. Therefore, keeping those vessels strong and in balance is a necessity, and for me, my strongest intention for my fitness life. Pretty Woman is my fifth Broadway show, but when my journey with the show began last year, I quickly realized how different my life had become since last being a part of a Broadway company in 2013.
Back then I was a single gal, living in the heart of Midtown Manhattan just a block away from the show I was performing in every night. Besides paying my bills and being ready for that stage six days a week, my responsibilities were pretty minimal, leaving me with a lot of “me” time. In turn, working out at the gym for as long as I wanted and taking dance classes each week was a given. I didn’t even have to wake up earlier or sacrifice something else in my day to do those things, because the time was there for the taking. Now, five years later, I’m a happily married woman, who is a homeowner, with a dog, commuting over an hour and a half each way from New Jersey to the Big Apple.
As you can imagine, the responsibilities have increased and my excess time has decreased. So, without the luxury of that excess time, I had to find a way to still keep my vessel strong while balancing all of the other life elements. As a result, when I started commuting into the city for Pretty Woman, I decided that the only way to be effective in getting my body ready for the show was with short, sweet and to the point exercises. I started searching YouTube for 20 to 30-minute full body workouts and realized that I was feeling great after sweating for just that short amount of time.
I’ve always been someone who likes to multitask in my everyday life and in my workouts. So using these videos spawned me to find my own multitasker fitness moves that would not only raise the heart rate and work several body parts at once but do so in a short period. Once I began doing this, I couldn’t wait to share the moves because I knew that so many people struggle with the same issue of trying to find the time to work out amidst a full life.
At first, I was simply sharing the exercises that I was doing each day, and then while in tech rehearsal for Pretty Woman, I stayed with my dear friend Samantha Barks one night to lessen my commute time while working in our crazy schedule. The two of us headed down to the gym in her building, and she asked me to lead us both in a little workout. We decided to film one of the moves that I was guiding as we both agreed that so many others needed some inspiration just like we did. As we were about to post the video, we thought it was really important to use a hashtag that represented not only the show we are a part of, but how the moves made us feel from the inside out. This, my friends, is how #PrettyStrongWomen was born.
I want not only performers, but men and women of any career path to understand that you don’t have to spend tons of time at the gym to feel like you’re making a difference in your minds and bodies. Simply having the intention to do your best to keep your vessel strong and in balance is what’s most important. If today that means only one set of a #PrettyStrongWomen move, then that’s great. Maybe the next day you’ll have time to do an extra set of one of the moves, and if so, celebrate the sweat.
The response on Instagram has been extremely positive and hearing that my followers are feeling great using the moves motivates me to keep creating and sharing. With our busy schedules and hectic lives, time is something that we all wish we had more of. #PrettyStrongWomen moves allow us to feel a sense of accomplishment in finding moments for ourselves amongst the chaos. After all, we are all in the same struggle to find balance in our lives. This hashtag was created to let you know that you can still feel strong in spite of that struggle and help you understand that you’re not alone.