Getting in a workout is hard, even for fitness fanatics. But it’s made a lot easier when you have a group of awesome women to do it with. And if your sweat-buddies become lifelong friends? Even better.
That’s what Noa Ries, the founder of chic activewear brand Vie Active, realized, when she started a women’s hiking group in Sydney, Australia, as a means of forging female fitness bonds (AKA a fitness posse) two years back. And when she moved to Los Angeles last year, she took that philosophy with her and created one on the West Coast, as well, which now includes wellness leaders like Studio MDR owner Lisa Hirsch and conditioning specialist Holly Perkins.
“Previously I worked at a different fashion company, and I noticed a lot of the women could be really catty and often feel threatened by women of strength,” Ries explains. “With Vie, I want it to be a very community-centric brand, so I have to practice what we preach. I feel an incredible sisterhood developing with the hiking group, and it allows people to connect on an emotional level.”
Ries meets with her hiking crew on the last Saturday of each month, and she really values the time for strengthening friendships (which, as many of us can attest to, can otherwise fall to the wayside if you don’t put something in your calendar). Get her tips for forming your own group, below. —Jamie McKillop
1. See who’s sweating alongside you
Chances are, if you keep going back to your favorite class with your favorite instructor at the same time, you’ll start to become familiar with certain faces. “Don’t be shy,” Ries says. “Strike up a conversation about leggings or how much you love your trainer.” Pretty soon you’ll be fitness besties.
2. Start the fire
Send out an email to about 20 or 30 women that you know are interested in wellness and encourage them to bring any of their own friends. “Choose a recurring date, like the last Saturday of every month, with where and when you’re meeting,” she explains. “A hike is best because it’s very neutral, even if people have different fitness tastes, and it’s open to every fitness level.” (Plus, unlike a studio class with music blasting, you’ll be able to gab freely.)
3. It doesn’t have to be all about wellness
Go ahead, make your favorite wine bar the end destination. “This usually happens organically with a group of women,” Ries says. “Life’s all about balance, and it makes it a little more social.”
4. Be consistent
Keep planning an excursion each month, even if the number of attendees varies every time. “Everyone is so busy, sometimes you might have more or less people,” she says. “But everyone needs to know it’s consistent and they’ll come back.”
5. Connect afterwards
So you might not have formed a fitness posse for the Instagram “likes” it might produce… but that doesn’t mean you should avoid social media. “Everyone will have each other’s email addresses from the chain, but consider [creating] a hashtag so you can see everyone’s photos from the hike and follow each other,” Ries suggests. Vie’s is #sisterhoodofthespandexpants. We dare you to beat that.
Want to be a more inspiring woman to others around you? Get these tips from “I Am That Girl” author Alexis Jones…
For more information, visit vieactivewear.com
(Opener Photo: Noa Ries. From left: Studio MDR owner Lisa Hirsch, wellness and fashion consultant Marlene Marchewka, Vie Active founder Noa Ries, strength and conditioning specialist Holly Perkins, health and fitness lover Lindsey Burness, and dancer and choreographer Katrina Amato.)