If I had a dream situation of bringing together two people on Fit for Broadway to share their heart, inspiration, advice, talent, and wisdom about health and fitness in the performing world, it would be these two. My little blogger heart is bursting and overflowing with gratitude for Eden Espinosa and Rodrick Covington of Core Rhythm Fitness. The stars aligned for this feature to come together and it’s bursting with gems for you guys to take with you on your Fit for Broadway journey.
Okay, let’s start with beauty, Eden– a person so full of strength and light, who has been an overwhelming inspiration in my life over the past few years. Eden was my acting and audition coach at about the same time I started Fit for Broadway. We were both going through quite a bit of transition at the time but the unwavering strength I always felt from her stuck with me. Lessons for auditions turned into lessons for life- full of tears, joy, frustration, love, and everything in between. Eden opened her heart in sessions to show how vulnerability can be full of strength– scary, yes but even more so, empowering. Most of my interactions with Eden leave me googly-eyed in awe of her balance between being completely full of grace and an absolute powerhouse. Rodrick, Rodrick, Rodrick…Where do I start! My first day with CRF, I mistakenly thought I signed up for Pilates and little did I know, CRF shred was underway (a take you to your limit kind of workout). Rodrick started the class with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and inspirational words that could have lit you on fire! From there, the rest of the class was a complete blur of the kind of workout dreams are made of. Transformative fitness– you walk in one person and you walk out someone completely different. Rodrick understands that fitness is about the whole person. If only it was as easy as fixing the list we make for what we want to change about our physical bodies. Rodrick is about leaning in to whatever you want to change physically and finding out what THAT’S about on a deeper level, emotionally and mentally. CRF is designed for the performer and artist because Rodrick understands being Fit for Broadway is about whole-hearted self-acceptance- mind, body, and soul. (also, you may remember CRF from THIS feature!)
I invite you to soak up every drop of inspiration from this two-part feature from two individuals who are mind, body, & spirit examples of what it takes to be FIT FOR BROADWAY! Enjoy sweet friends!!
Q: Ok, first of all, CRF is MADE for performers. I know you train a wide range of industries but it feels like the perfect mind body workout for performers. With performance as your background, Rodrick, what’s the creation story behind CRF?
A: Love the question- CRF was actually discovered when I was in my 3rd year of Acting at SUNY PURCHASE CONSERVATORY. Instead of teaching actors how to dance, our dance teacher Tanya taught us Mat Pilates. I hated it. It was way too hard and felt too heady and confusing for me. She kept telling me to scoop and find my pelvic floor. I was like, Uhh, scoop what? And find who??? But, by the end of the year it became one of my favorite classes. Then, when I did FOSSE out of school, the Pilates I learned became apart of my WARM UP for the show. Then, when I was in the Lion King on Broadway 45 min before half hour I would lead an ab warm up. And guess what that warm up was? Pilates. Boom! When I moved to LA for a show, a friend of mine who was heading back to NYC to do a replacement track in The Lion King asked me if I would sub for her at the REFORM PILATES. The only Pilates I had taught was fellow actors in shows. But she said they would certify me for FREE because they really needed another instructor etc. Teaching at the Reform changed my life. From there, I learned how to teach the Pilates Method on all the Pilates Apparatus. It was a blast. First, being the only black male teaching pilates that I even knew at the time. So, when I would walk in the studio and all my little white house wives would come and see me, they would say, “I’m here for Pilates!” I would be like Yes, you’ve come to the right place, lets get it innnn!” The look on their faces would be hysterical everytime!
Second, teaching all my fellow performers made my job much more fun and engaging. After that, I went on to teach at STUDIO SOMA, a premier pilates studio where Madonna and so many other celebs would frequent. There I met my now Pilates Mentor Thalia Thomas who taught me how to engage the mind into the pilates session. Studio Soma became my second home and where I learned to infuse my performing into teaching. Then after, I was certified as a personal trainer at Studio TRAIN. There I infused Pilates into my personal training where the CORE was the epitus of the workout session. Shortly after, I studied Nutrition and was certified, I then discovered that effective Nutrition requires the spirit to be empowered to actually change the relationship to food with clients. Some people call it life coaching. Others call it Empowerment. We just call it CORE RHYTHM FITNESS! And that’s how the CRF method began by shredding the body, engaging the mind, and empowering the spirit!Q: The CRF method dives into the mind, body, spirit connection which I love! Why is that important to your mission with CRF?
A: Mind, Body, Spirit connection is super important to us because we believe that we are all a spirit that live in a body and possess a soul. We believe that it is all connected. You can have the “body” but feel completely empty inside without any spiritual enlightenment and development. You can have the “spirit” but be unhealthy physically and not reflect what is happening on the inside. You can have the “mind” and be smart, but physically not reflect how your mind perceives you. Mind, Body, Spirit essentially is a person that is pressing into wholeness and creating balance by engaging all three. When you engage all three, then you experience Mind, Body, Spirit TRANSFORMATION that is a contiunal cycle of Breakthough.
A: We believe that Nutrition is 80% of Fitness. You can eat for your body type and literally change your body because whatever you put into your body, your body is going to respond. You can do fitness and and make progress, but you need both to create Transformation. We specilize in Tailored Nutrition for your body type from a Urinalysis and Custom workouts geared to Shred, Sculpt, define, and manifest the best you from the inside out. We do not subscribe to general diets or general big bang workouts. The more specific and tailored to the person the Nutrition and Fitness is, the more possibilities for creating astonishing results. Doing fitness without nutrition is like getting a porche without the engine. You need the engine to drive. You need Nutrition to fuel your body so that you can actually have the body you want, while also discovering a healthy relationship to food and people around you.
Q: Your top 3 fitness tips…
A: Top 3…
- TIP #1 In your workouts, always incorporate CORE. You can develop arms and legs all day, but without CORE, its a ship without a sail.
- #2- When working out always have water to refresh and replenish your body.
- #3- Anytime you are working on Chest, Triceps, or Biceps always have your elbows in to increase isolation thus definition. BOOM.
Q: What the best go-to healthy post-workout meal? (this is my self-indulgent question as I always leave your class feeling like I need to fuel properly in order to recover!)
A: Most healthy and common meal post-workout is PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT to repair and rebuild the muscle tissue you’ve just torn. Or a meal that is more Protein Heavy other than your lovely carbs that you love so much unless you’re putting on the weight.
Q: You mentioned that losing weight or “getting fit” is rarely the problem but that it’s actually more about self-acceptance…can you explain this more in depth?
A: Yes and Yes, it like ACTING. The art of Acting is not about “acting” at all. Its more about being AUTHENTIC in the given circumstances. If you believe it then it can be recieved. Same thing with getting fit. First accept where you are. Then you can figure out what is getting in your way from stopping you from going where you want to go. A large part of getting fit is being motivated to actually do it. Meisner says The foundation of acting is action- What are you doing! Same with getting fit- You’ve got to do it. You also must find what works for you. Accept who you are, where you are, so that you can be who you are destined to be and go where you have purpose.
Q: In the last year, I’ve turning into a complete Pilates nutcake! #obsessed Why is Pilates such a “core” part of CRF?
A: Pilates is the CORE part of CRF because we literally use the CORE part of Pilates and infuse it into every session so that the CORE is targeted and the Powerhouse is activated. The CORE primary muscles consist of the rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, transverse abdominis, iliocostalis, and multifidus. In order to activate these muscle groups, one must perform a variety of exercises that target the muscles efficiently. Pilates is the best hands down. No other exercises will build that CORE and ACTIVATE your Powerhouse like Pilates.Q: Inspirational quote to live by…
A: When you give your Body a YES. LIFE will Smile back at you and give you a YES!
Q: What’s your advice for someone who wants to be Fit for Broadway and is just starting their journey?
A: TAP into your Powerhouse and come get it in with CRF so that your dreams can manifest and the worry of being fit can be your past!
Q: Three words/phrases to describe CRF:
A: Top 3…
Q: Finish the hashtag…
A: CRF is…. #EVERYTHING!!!!
Q: Where can we find you teaching CRF? When’s the next “shred”? And how can we connect with you & CRF via social media?!
Q: Eden! You know I’m bursting about having you on the blog. 🙂 You have been such an inspiration for me in the last few years and for so many aspiring performers. First things first, how did you get involved with CRF?
A: Omg Jane you’re so sweet THANK YOU! I first met Rodrick Covington through Thalia Thomas at Studio Soma in LA. She used to come to the Pantages Theater once a week and offer a pilates mat class to the cast of Wicked LA. I then started taking pilates privately with her, and also took her group class, Soma Sculpt. She was Rodricks mentor and he was at the studio all the time. We then got reconnected through our mutual friends Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould who wrote the musical “Invisible Thread” (formerly Witness Uganda) and Rodrick had been a part of the cast for years. So our paths crossed again a few years ago in New York.
A: How HASN’T my journey with CRF changed me is more like it. I had been on a journey of self discovery, healing, and rebuilding for about a year before I started working with CRF. In hindsight, that work I did was the foundation I needed before my relationship with CRF truly began. Because Rodrick and the CRF team are more than just about hot bodies, and losing weight, your heart and spirit really have to be ready and in a place of receiving, and willingness to change. It is about acceptance, it is about working from the inside out. I have never worked so hard, physically or emotionally than with CRF. There were MANY tears. Many grunts,and screams. Some sessions I just cried the entire time. I had a lot to let go of fear, doubt, self deprecating, even things I didn’t realize I was holding on to.
Q: CRF is incredibly supportive and helps address preconceived fears about health, fitness, and nutrition. What wisdom have you gained in combatting these fears?
A: I now know that I’m so much stronger and resilient than I ever gave myself credit for. I did things in workouts with CRF that I could NEVER do before. I surprised myself on a constant basis. I now have the tools to quiet that voice inside telling me that I can’t, or telling me to quit. I know that I can. I now believe that anything I want, is in my grasp. I can do it. It’s never too late. Dream, try, receive, achieve.Q: How have you found personal empowerment through health and fitness?
A: I never in a million years thought I would find personal growth, confidence, or empowerment through health and fitness. NEVER. But I have and it’s real and so exciting. In addition to working out with CRF, I also did their nutrition plan. I wasn’t going to at first because I had been Paleo for about a year and at the time I started up, I had just finished my second “Whole30”. I told Rodrick, “well I eat pretty clean, so I don’t think I’m going to do the nutrition.” He said “ That’s so great. I’m glad to hear you’re taking care of your body and being conscientious about what your put in your body. BUT if your body isn’t burning it for fuel, then it’s just storing it!” I really heard that when he said it. SO I went in on the nutrition and followed it like it was my JOB. Because his program is tailored to the individual, I am armed with the knowledge of what my body needs to function like a well oiled machine. You put premium gas in your sports car don’t you? So that’s how I look at the new narrative for how I eat. It’s really not “well this is my DIET and I’ll be thinner if I don’t eat all these things.” It’s more about “these foods fuel my body and help it function correctly, which in turn helps it burn fat.” PLUS I feel so much better. That’s the most empowering thing to me. That my thought process isn’t about “LOSING WEIGHT”. It’s about caring for my body and helping it in any way I can so it can continue to carry me through life in the best way possible.
A: I really love cottage cheese for an after workout snack. I either drizzle a little honey and sprinkle cinnamon on it, or cut up some cucumbers, drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle with dill and salt and pepper! YUM
Q: Quote to live by.. // or quote you’ve adopted during your time with CRF?
- “FEAR IS A LIAR”
- “Give your body a yes, and it will give you a YES”
- “CRF JOY”
- “You are enough”
Q: Your advice for aspiring performers who want to get Fit for Broadway (Mind, Body, Spirit)…
A: Mind, Body, Spirit…
- Mind– Get your mind right. Quiet down the voices and the noise that doesn’t serve you. Set your intentions up for success. BELIEVE and have faith.
- Body-Believe and have faith. Don’t even underestimate what this powerful machine can do for you.
- Spirit– Believe and have faith. Don’t do yourself the disservice of comparison. There is only ONE of you, and everything you do is special and unique. From pushups and burpees, to pirouettes and belting out a tune. Your path might not always look like what you thought, but it’s YOURS. Stay in your lane and wait for what’s yours. Be YOU! You are enough!
A: YES!!! We aren’t in the recording process yet. But I just raised my goal through Kickstarter for my second album and I’m so so excited. I’m ready to get back in the booth and let my heart come out to play. My first album process was great, but it was really difficult. I was in a different place than I am now. My journey with health and fitness has prepared me because I am really ready for anything. It has taught me to be consistent and always do your best to take care of yourself and you’ll be ready for anything. That relieves a lot of stress and pressure.
Q: Ok, where can we all buy the album!?!…how else can we connect with you?!
Updates on my second album to come…….release date will be in 2016.
I am on twitter, instagram, vine, and periscope @edenespinosa