WCW: Holly Rilinger
Standing at 5″4, this week’s #WCW is living proof that if you follow your passion and work hard, you can achieve anything. We met Holly at her innovative HIIT and meditation class, LIFTED, and were hooked by her unique story and kick-ass attitude. Formerly a professional basketball player, Holly has since made a name for herself in the fitness industry through her Nike training events, fully-booked Flywheel classes, and role on Bravo’s Workout NY- and now she’s spreading good vibes in her LIFTED class at Bandier’s Studio B. We got the chance to sit down to chat with Holly, and we can’t wait for you hear what she had to say.
You’ve obviously always been athletic. How did you transition from your background in professional basketball into the fitness scene? Did you always want to be a trainer?
It was actually a tough transition for me. What might seem like a very natural transition wasn’t easy. I had a hard time going from a player to a coach. While I had a tremendous training background, the training was always about me, not others. The only reason I started training was because it was the most accessible career after basketball. The turning point for me was when I took my first indoor cycling class. It was that moment that I realized in that room, I could feel like a point guard again.
How did you first come up with the idea for LIFTED?
A few years ago, I started meditating and noticed a big difference in my day to day life. I was able to deal with the waves of life so much easier. I’m also a big fan of resistance training and know how it can change your body. In any given day, we have a limited amount of time to devote to our fitness and wellness so I thought, what if I could combine the two? That’s how LIFTED was born.
Can you briefly explain the class to those who have never heard of it?
Every class starts with five minutes of guided meditation. This helps create some distance between us and our day. The next thirty minutes are filled with movements like push-ups, squats, and lunges, all sequenced to the rhythm of the music. When we move to the music, it almost becomes a moving meditation. It’s also easier to move mindfully. Halfway through the class, we sit for a second five-minute meditation, and then the class finishes with ten minutes of training and Savasana.
What advice would you give to a beginner looking to get into fitness?
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” This quote applies to so much in life when we are beginners. Anything new can be intimidating and overwhelming, so it’s important to start small. Look at the week ahead of you and find two classes you want to take. Go in with an open mind and then use that momentum to propel you into the next week. Something I often say in my classes is “don’t worry about what the person next to you is doing. No one is looking at you.” Do the best you can and try not to be intimidated. No one is judging you.
You’ve been a master instructor at Flywheel for the past six years. As indoor cycling has become increasingly popular, what’s one specific thing you want people to get out of your class? Why do you think spinning has become so “trendy”?
What I love most about indoor cycling is that you have the ability to get a great workout while getting a little lost. Indoor cycling can become somewhat of a moving meditation. It’s therapeutic. When you can stimulate your mind, body, and spirit, you’re doing something really special and productive. I think this is a major reason why spinning has become so popular. You can walk away sweaty and clear-headed. I feel like it changes my brain chemistry!
We also loved watching you on Bravo’s Workout NY. What’s one thing you learned from being on TV?
What an adventure that was. It already seems like ages ago. I learned very quickly that it’s important to deal with things head on, with honesty and with character. When there’s a camera rolling, you can’t take things back. It’s important to take a deep breath and say what you mean and mean what you say. I have a hard time with conflict, and the show forced me to handle conflict. I’m grateful for that.
Who is a strong woman who inspires you?
Hillary Clinton. Let’s face it: she is the first woman to run for president. That’s such a huge accomplishment and inspiration to women and girls everywhere. I especially appreciated how she handled herself in the face of defeat. It’s easy to have character when you’re winning, but how you behave when you lose truly shows who you are.
What’s your healthy living philosophy?
I’m a huge believer in the mind-body-spirit connection. If we train one area and not the other, we will always remain imbalanced. You can have a perfect body and feel very empty and unfulfilled, or even sad. The thoughts we think can interfere with our ability to have a better body. If we train in ways that incite passion and joy, we can elevate our spirit on a daily basis. It makes sense to take care of ourselves in ways that touch on all three parts: mind, body, and spirit. You can read about this in my book LIFTED that comes out in June of next year!
You’ve taught so many different types of fitness, and we’re all about mixing up our routines. What’s your workout of choice right now?
I have to tell you, recently I’ve gone back to the basics. I’ve been enjoying running and simple old fashioned weight training. Truth be told, if I could have it my way, my primary workout would be surfing. I spent Thanksgiving in Costa Rica!
What does your typical morning routine look like?
As soon as I wake up, I meditate for ten minutes, make coffee, and then take a quick look at my playlist and get my 3-4 workout outfits together. So basically, I calm my mind, wake up my body, and get my tunes and fashion in gear.
What’s on your playlist right now?
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I can be really shy and love to have quiet nights. I think people assume that because I have so much energy in my classes that I must be very outgoing and social. It comes in waves for me. can certainly be both of those things, but there are just as many days where I’m quiet and very much to myself. I can also be a big diva when it comes my manis and pedis.