This month Kalumi chats with Vanessa Packer- founder of ModelFIT. Vanessa talks all things health and fitness, sharing her pro tips on how to stay healthy and glowing on the go as well as her pre-wedding beauty regime! With a background in holistic nutrition and a strong passion for fitness, we'll take all the advice this babe has to offer!
Photo courtesy of Bandier
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in New York City - a real city kid from the start. It was amazing, I'm very fortunate. I have very cool, interesting parents that afforded me a really full life, even as a little kid I traveled and had the opportunity to see a lot. The city was different then, grittier and dangerous, exciting and multicultural, not as safe and polished as it is now. They always encouraged me to be strong and independent, I started zig zagging around the city alone as early as 11! Sometimes I miss the grittier version.
Baby Vanessa in NYC
We love your blog ‘Bonberi’, What got you started in blogging? What are some topics that are most inspiring to you?
I started bonberi with my dear friend Nicole about a year before I started modelFIT. In the last year I've focused more on growing modelFIT and Nicole has taken over the reigns of running bonberi, it's become a bit more of a personal site for her, which is beautiful. When we started we just wanted to create an accessible platform for people to learn about the different modalities of being healthy, without being dogmatic. I think the backbone of the site has always been the recipes, they're the best of any healthy site in my opinion. Nicole continues to develop them and is always updating the site and social with new ones.
I think for each person it's important to find the right combination that helps you to feel your best. For myself, it's a combination of exercise, clean eating (alkaline and properly combined) and self care rituals such as infrared sauna and colonics. Throughout our time running bonberi, we were always inspired by the people we interviewed and what worked for them - what new and interesting habit or ritual did they have that made them feel their best. I didn't necessarily love blogging, but I loved meeting inspiring people and hearing their story. It still insprires me.
What inspired your passion for health and fitness? How did you transition from being a fashion stylist to studying holistic nutrition?
I thought about my life moving forward, what I wanted it to be about and defined by. I needed to find my passion, and I knew fashion wasn't it. Once I started my holistic nutrition degree, there was no turning back and I knew that was what I wanted to focus on. Being active has always been an important part of my life, a release of tension and a regulator of mood and balance. The marriage of mindful exercise and mindful nutrition was what my original concept for modelFIT, and it's still our mission to bring that mindfulness, that balance into people's lives.
How did you come up with the concept behind modelFIT? It’s such a unique (and fun!) approach to group exercise!
As I mentioned, it came from a desire to teach people about mindful eating and mindful movement. I had found success with that in my own life, so the drive was really to teach and educate more people about that way of approaching health. A dynamic and grounding and sustainable approach, it's not driven by fads or trends, it's intuitive.
Owning ModelFit studios between New York and L.A, we know you’re traveling a lot! How do you stay fit and healthy on the go?
Yes I do travel a lot! Especially that cross-country flight. There's a few things I abide by that keep me healthy, so I don't skip a beat. A healthy workout routine, with both studios I can take class whenever I'm in either city, but when I'm on the go I use the modelFIT online streaming! It's so convenient and easy, plus I don't need equipment and I can access it from anywhere - my phone, iPad, or computer. That's been a game changer for when I travel to other cities. On travel days I always wear compression tights, and drink a lot of water preferably with slices of lemon. This keeps me from getting plane bloat. I also try to eat light before the flight. So smoothies, juices, salads, fruit are all good, I avoid heavy starches. Once I'm off the plane I'll have a proper meal, of course. My reason for eating this way is so I don't mess up my digestion. I notice if I eat too much before the flight, my digestion get's thrown off with the travel. I also travel with probiotics, magnesium, Wellness Formula and daily women's vitamins to keep my system on track. Oh and I always has Kalumi bar in my bag just in case - lemon is my favorite!
How does a badass business women like yourself juggle work and play? Do you have some tips on how to live a balanced life while building an empire? Any challenges you have faced?
I think a key to staying balanced is figuring out what you need to feel good. Is it a hot bath? is it a sweat? a face mask? strict diet? Everyone is different. Travel is challenging, managing stress is challenging, taking a break is challenging! Challenges are good though, and practice makes perfect. Finding balance is a practice.
What are your feel good hobbies?
modelFIT, cooking healthy meals at home, hot baths and face masks, infrared sauna, gravity colonics, monthly facials, sleeping in - an under ratted one, but a major feel good habit to get into.
There are many people who don’t see the benefits of eating adequately to fuel their body and get the best results from their workout, and we know you emphasize this a lot. Do you notice a big difference when you eat nutritiously to supplement your workout?
Mindful exercise and mindful nutrition - I can't emphasize how important these habits are. They are sustainable long-lasting habits that will stick with you throughout your life. They are not mutually exclusive. I notice a tremendous difference when I'm aligned in my sleep, exercise, and eating habits. It makes me feel most me, and that's me at my best.
Congratulations on getting married recently! (You looked STUNNING by the way) Tell us what you did to prepare for your big day! (foods, special workouts, skin care routines etc?)
THANK YOU!!!! Well, fortunately I own a fitness company so I worked out everyday at modelFIT, naturally. The only day I didn't was on my actual wedding day, I let myself sleep so I would be able to dance the night away - successfully we did, the part didn't end until close to 5am!
I didn't drink alcohol for three weeks leading up to the big day, and I tried to get a lot of sleep and savor every moment. In terms of eating, I have good eating habits, but I was a little more strict that usual leading up to the day. About two to three weeks before I cut out all sugar, including fruit, and all dairy, which I don't eat much of anyway, but I notice even a little bit makes a big difference in my skin radiance. I did a lot of face masks, and got a facial about a week before. I just tried to enjoy it though, I love a little pampering, and the art of taking good care of yourself. It felt really nice to be so kind to myself, and I really got into the beauty of it all.
Lastly, If you could suggest one piece of advice for someone looking to lead a healthier lifestyle, what would it be?
Start with one goal, don't try to overhaul your whole life in one go. You want to set yourself up for success. Try to find the kindness and the beauty in it, whatever you choose it shouldn't feel like a burden or a chore. Then once you feel like you've accomplished it, you can add on another goal. Remember it's a practice, some days are harder than others, but as long as you can find your path again, you're in good shape.
Thanks for all of your amazing advice Vanessa!
Be sure to follow ModelFIT for exclusive updates and #fitspo. If you're also a busy babe on the go (aren't we all?), be sure to check out ModelFIT's live streaming option! Be sure to get yourself some Kalumi BEAUTYfood for those busy/travel days where it's hard to find a healthy meal. Click here to shop Vanessa's fav Kalumi BEAUTYfood flavor Lemon Love and glow from within!