At home work outs were never more popular than in 2020. We all got moving in our living rooms and home offices…or took some much needed time off on the couch. But those times are slowly changing, and fitness studios are re-opening across the country, including in Chicago. But whether you’re getting back into the in-studio fitness game, or still sweating it out at home, now is the perfect time to freshen up your work out and try something new! I gave the new P.volve studio in the West Loop a try last week and WOO, let me tell you, it kicked my butt in the best way!
It was so nice to try a different style of work out, and when I learned that P.volve was launched by a team of amazing women, it made me love the brand even more. Women gotta support each other after all! Julie Cartwright was one of the four women founders of P.volve back in 2017 and since then has helped grow the company to more than 75 employees! She puts the focus for their work outs on creating moves that will help our bodies in our every day lives, and make us all feel GOOD. And that’s something I can certainly get behind ? I got the full low-down on this new-to-me work out so I can make the most of upcoming classes and movement opportunities…
Tell us the advice would you give to your younger self…
I would definitely tell my younger self not to worry about what other people thought of me. I spent so much time trying to please others or be a version of myself that I thought others wanted to see. I have always had strong vision for what I wanted. When I was younger though, I didn’t always have the confidence to boldly go after it or convince myself that I deserved a seat at the right table.
After having kids, I had to really prioritize my time and be more focused on where I was putting my time and energy. And that’s when I started to see the shift – I started pushing for what I wanted, vocally and I understood my worth. And I also became wonderfully strong at saying “no” when it was the right time to do so.
How did you first get into the world of health and wellness?
I’ve actually spent almost my entire career in the fitness space. My first job out of college was working for a media company. After a few short years in, one of my mentors who ran the fitness division at my company left unexpectedly. I saw that has a huge opportunity to add the fitness division to my responsibilities and I marched into the president’s office and asked to be given a chance to run it (likely well before I was ready). He said yes, and the rest was history.
No matter how many times I got promoted or what other divisions were added to my plate, I was unwilling to let fitness get moved to anyone else – even if it created more work for me. I knew what I wanted and didn’t compromise on it and today I am president of a fitness company so I guess you can say it has come full circle!
How did your earlier roles lead you to P.volve?
Fitness is a small world – everyone knows each other. By holding onto fitness for 13 years at my prior company, I was introduced to the founders of P.volve in January 2017 – and that started a year of discovery and an unexpected side hustle that led to me becoming President of P.volve in January 2018.
How do you want people to feel when they leave your classes?
I want people to feel good. It is as simple as that. That means a lot of different things to people (as we have heard from our thousands of members) – energized, pain free, strong, tightened, empowered, connected, grounded. These are all things that I feel when coming out of a P.volve class! Our method focuses on enabling you to work with your body, not against it, and you really gain a whole new level of awareness on how your body should move and perform.
It is unlike anything I have ever done and it has changed my body but also my mindset on how I look at my body and how I want to treat it.
You have both online and in-person classes. How does the experience differ between the two?
I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. I love that our studio in-person memberships include unlimited online and live virtual classes. The bottom line is that today’s customer demands the convenience of fitness the way they want to experience and what works for their lifestyle. So, if you want to come into class for a bit more accountability and experience a stronger sense of community – you can. But if you want to stay home and watch an on-demand workout that fits into your schedule, you are able to.
I personally LOVE our Live Virtual Studio classes! They are a two-way zoom so the instructor really holds you accountable, you can see the community working out with you and get the instruction you need to master your form. It is our most popular format of classes for our customers, so we definitely have something for everyone.
In what ways can people take your classes and use them in other work outs/their daily lives?
The benefits of P.volve are so incredible. Not only does in transform your body, but it has additional benefits beyond traditional fitness formats. The method can also help to reduce everyday pain (we are actually in some clinical research studies on back pain now) and allow you to perform better in the things you love – whether walking, to sports to sex. Yes, sex ? We focus on educating the customer to better understand their biomechanics through dynamic joint movements that activate whole muscle groups. So you can use what you learn in your daily life.
What does your overall daily schedule look like now?
A daily schedule, what’s that? Kidding! I work at a fitness startup, so it’s exceptionally unpredictable and fast paced. Prior to Covid, I was traveling to New York City every week from Monday-Thursday and juggling motherhood and my life in Chicago. I was very structured and used to take classes every day in our NYC studio, work all day out of our offices and go back to our apartment and continue the grind until later that evening. But that schedule was grueling.
Since March of 2020, my schedule dramatically shifted and I became fully virtual like the rest of the world. I can’t tell you that it was easy. While the time at home with my family was a blessing, I found that I had even less balance being at home and was starting work earlier and earlier and ending later and later. It took a bit of a toll on me physically as well, but I set up a plan with some of the other leaders on the team for accountability. We committed to doing three Virtual Studio classes together at 6am. Knowing that they were in that class waiting on me gave me the motivation to show up every day.
I then felt energized and was able to still get my kids off for e-learning and start meetings with my Starbucks in hand. I am usually working until around 7pm at night. I have a great partner so my husband typically makes the dinner and we try and commit to a family dinner most nights.
Especially now, how can we all make time for self-care?
The biggest struggle for me is what I think most women struggle with – focus. My day used to consist of back-to-back meetings. But I had to take a step back from that and realize that I wasn’t devoting enough time to strategy work and giving myself time to get through my emails and get back to my team. I make a conscious effort to use my calendar as a smart tool instead of just a meeting notification system. I started booking my workouts, blocking off time for emails and even a few stretches or a short walk when the weather permits.
I am also trying to make time to network with other women, something I never gave myself permission or time to do. I recently became a member of Chief – a private network designed specifically for senior women leaders – to really build out my network and also help other women drive their careers forward. It has been exceptionally rewarding and made a huge impact on my life.
What is the best part of your job?
Without a doubt, the impact that we are making on our customer’s lives is so rewarding but also empowering. We read messages daily of people’s triumphs and how much the method has changed their lives – both with physical and mental transformations. We are obsessed and celebrate these wins as a company but it’s what gets me up in the morning and moving!
And the toughest?
I think it’s knowing all the potential that we have and organizing a plan around it in a global pandemic. We have had to learn to work remotely, deal with unforeseen team stress and really show up for our customers in a way that works for them. Although this is the toughest part of the job – it is also very rewarding to figure it out together and keep moving forward. I know we will come out of this time stronger than ever but seeing people struggle this past year has been one of the most challenging situations I have faced in my career.
Tell us some of your favorite female-run businesses to support!
I love Equilibria. The co-founders’ stories and their commitment to women’s health really resonated with me. You can feel their passion in what they do! I also love their products and that they are Chicago-based too! Additionally, I’m a big fan of slip, the sleep mask company. And finally, I am so inspired by Glossier. They know their audience and know how to market to them. They have created such a seamless customer experience that keeps them top of mind in that overly saturated space.
What’s the advice you would give to someone looking to grow their business in the new year?
Stay driven and keep moving forward. You can’t take your foot off the accelerator for a minute in the new digital world. The market and customer expectations can change on a dime and you have to stay in front of understanding what your customer wants and how you can give it to them in a way that no other company can. Data should be at the heart of your decisions (with a little side of gut). But be fierce in your drive and exceptional in your execution.
Ready to get moving? P.volve in the West Loop is offering a free first week of classes right now so there’s no time like the present! Let’s go!