TSC: Who are you? Name? Age? Where do you live? Married/kids? Occupation?
PF: This brings me back to A/S/L from the AOL instant messaging days - 26/female/NYC - ha! My name is Paige Festa (yup, my last name means 'party'). I'm the Owner and Designer of Thirteen Fit Apparel, a wheel instructor at Flywheel Sports, a gym rat and fitness addict, and burger enthusiast. No husband, no kids, no pets... my brand is my baby *so cheesy*
I come from the world of luxury fashion; I used to develop and design women's evening wear full-time but as my passion shifted towards graphic design and fitness, I took a leap of faith (actually, I've taken a few leaps since). A lot has happened since then, but fast-forward and here I am! Thirteen Fit has it's own line of ladies and gents graphic-tees but that's not all! We also do custom design, technical design, logo design... basically, anything that involves graphic design along with custom vinyl decals/stickers.
TSC: When did fitness first become a part of your life? Have you always been an athlete? Did you start working out as an adult? Did you workout earlier in life and start up again? If so, what and why?
PF: Yikes, I was definitely NOT an athlete. When I was little, I tried basketball (but spent the season on the bench) and spent a few years playing softball. I grew up participating in the winter guard and color guard of my school (for those of you wondering, it's basically tossing flags, rifles, and sabres). I was active, sure, but not fit and certainly not healthy. I went through phases where I'd hop on the elliptical for 20 minutes, do 7 crunches, and drink SlimFast shakes for lunch in attempts to lose weight. Throughout college, I tried to workout but it didn't become a part of my lifestyle until the tail end, my last semester of my senior year.
I was actually on vacation with my cousin in Florida; she told me to bring sneakers. So day one, we went out to the park for a run. It was an extremely disappointing experience but a reality check. I couldn't run 1/8 mile straight on the 2 mile trail we were on. I. WAS. DYING. I decided that by the last day of our week-long trip, I WOULD run 2 miles without stopping... and I did. Very. Slowly. And so it began.
TSC: What is your current workout routine? How many days a week/hours a day do you workout? What types of workouts do you do? All one type or switch it up?
PF: My routine can be kind of irregular but I try to keep as consistent as I can. Being a cycling instructor, I end up working out somewhere between 2-4x a day--and just 1x if the stars align. I cycle almost every day, 1-3x (I just started taking one day off because my legs need the recovery BIG time). When I'm not on the bike, I work on my strength and conditioning. I try to get to the gym 5-6x a week but it depends on how many classes I'm teaching so sometimes it's more like 3x. Some people may call it "CrossFit" but I just like to do it all. I lift weights, sometimes very heavy ones. I do cardio. I challenge myself, work hard and sweat a lot. Squats and deadlifts are my favorite lifts but I try to work on my weaknesses even though, frankly, it sucks. It's important to me to get my strength training in. I get called crazy (and I'm ok with it, I am) for working out so much but when I'm on the bike teaching, my job is to give the rider a workout, not myself (although I absolutely love it); when I go to the gym, that's for me. That's my time.
Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours a day, and only 7 days a week so I can't fit EVERYTHING in that I'd like to do, like yoga. I go through phases and always feel the benefits but it's not my priority.
TSC: How do your prioritize fitness and wellness in your (busy) life?
PF: It's not too hard since it's my job! I schedule the gym as a priority and as a part of my job (it's always on my calendar). Here's why: 1. The gym keeps me sane. If I didn't lift, I wouldn't be good at anything else and I'd be horrible company because I'd go insane. 2. The gym keeps me strong and well-rounded so I am able to do my job without burning out or falling off the bike. 3. It's where I meet the members of such an AWESOME fitness community. They're my friends *aka #fitfam* and loyal clients -- and those relationships carry more meaning than I can put into words; I'd be nothing without 'em! (Perfect example: I met Sam from The Sweat Chronicles at the gym!)
As far as wellness, in order to keep my energy up and my body properly fueled/recovered, I have to eat right. So just like the gym, meal prep/cooking/grocery shopping are a part of my schedule without exception. Hydration is HUGE so I'm constantly sipping h2o; you'll often catch me walking around with a 3L jug of water to hold myself accountable for the 200oz+ I need to drink a day. I also dabble in ROMWOD to keep all things moving right (but I need to be better with it... THIS is the part I find I easily push to the side when I'm swamped).
TSC: Why is working out/fitness important to you and your lifestyle?
PF: I feel my answer to #4 goes right along with this one! BUT in addition to that, practice what you preach, right? Thirteen Fit Apparel is ALL about a fit lifestyle, though it's not exclusively a fitness brand. It's about achieving your Ultimate Self (more about the concept on the website *wink, wink*), both in and out of the gym. To me, that's being fit and doing what you love.
TSC: What other aspects of healthy living do your incorporate in your life? Wellness? Sleep routines? Meal prep? Favorite healthy places to eat out/recipes readers should try?
PF: I mostly covered this - food, water, weights, cardio, mobility.
As much as we love to talk about all the things we are fabulous at, I'll share the things I that I know I need to improve on. I don't sleep enough. I eat things that I don't always believe in (health wise, I don't like grains and processed foods but I eat them anyways). I don't stretch enough. I drink too much caffeine. I work too much. I don't prioritize my social life. I stress myself out. And although I know how important self-love is, I struggle with it. But hey, if I were perfect, what would I have to strive for?! GOALS!
Healthy places to eat out: Dig Inn on the UES! My friend took me recently and I'm obsessed.
TSC: If you could share one thing with readers of The Sweat Chronicles what would it be?
PF: If you've ever had any hesitation to jump into the gym, a new workout, or anything outside of your comfort zone - JUST DO IT. I find that so many people I meet put off working out because they're intimidated. I know, I've been there 100%. I used to LITERALLY lose sleep because of anxiety knowing that the next morning, I'd be going to the gym and that I'd be the weakest one there. I was terrified. But here's the cool thing: we all started somewhere. We've all had our first gym session or our first spin class (or whatever fitness you 're looking to do). No one is judging you--and if they are, they better check themselves. Chances are, anyone you meet will be welcoming and want to encourage you. Get uncomfortable.