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Sweatworking
Sarah Siciliano with her Sweat-working crew at SoulCycle (Photo Credit: Evan Sung for the New York Times)

New Yorkers have been wooing clients and forging business relationships in yoga classes and locker rooms for more than a minute, but after the New York Times introduced the term “sweatworking” to the public at the end of last year, the concept entered the serious spotlight.

And at the center of it all was Sarah Siciliano, an advertising production executive who has turned sweat-working into a branded business. Siciliano now has a website and a group of clients who work out with her two or more times a week. They spin, stretch, and make business deals.

We checked in with the Sweat-working maven for her thoughts on why you should occasionally trade business beers for a boot camp class, if you’re not already a pro:

1. It breaks down barriers. Sure, cocktails can lighten the mood a little, but working hard while sweat drips down your face next to someone is a much more intense bonding experience. At a recent Sweat-working session at SoulCycle, where Siciliano hosts most of her classes, two clients grinned and high-fived each other after a difficult song. Plus, “a lot of the networking happens in the locker room,” says Siciliano. What’s more intimate than sales talk over the shower stall wall?

2. You know the kind of person you’re going to be working with. If someone is willing to meet you for a kick-butt workout at 8 a.m., it’s a good sign that they’re going to be someone you want to do business with, says Siciliano. “They’re accountable,” she explains, and that most likely spills over into their professional manner.

3. Your quality of life is improved. If you’re a sweat-worker, you’re essentially making working out part of your job, which means it will be easier to fit it in, it’s a business expense (and a small one for your boss compared to taking a client to dinner), and you’ll have more energy (instead of a hangover) the next day. —Lisa Elaine Held