Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell was born into wellness, in a way — and we're not just talking about her almost-too-fitting last name. The 33-year-old grew up on the picturesque New England island of Martha's Vineyard, where her foundation of wellness began.
"My parents were hippies, and so I think they were into wellness even before wellness was a 'thing,'" she tells POPSUGAR. Her dad was a fisherman, and the family also gardened and grew a lot of their own food, so Lovewell was raised with a deep understanding of where food comes from and what she was eating. Lovewell's mom, a Buddhist, has been meditating since she "was in the womb" and also taught Emma the practice at a young age.
That's not to say that things weren't all homegrown kale all the time: "Don't get me wrong, we definitely had TV dinners every once in a while," she says.
What's more, even though her parents emphasized wellness values early on, exercise was never really in the picture — which makes it all the more interesting that that's where Lovewell's career took off. She was always active, playing soccer and lacrosse, swimming and lifeguarding, and when she was older, she went on to become a professional dancer and dance teacher in New York City. She started teaching fitness classes to supplement her dance work, which eventually led her to Peloton.
"I appreciate and love the well-roundedness of what wellness can mean," she says. "It's not just what you eat, but it's also what you do with your body. It's the way you think; it's your connection with the Earth. There are so many different things that go into living a well life. Movement was something that I didn't grow up focused on. So, I think maybe that's why I went in that direction, to learn more about that side of things."
In hindsight, Lovewell's professional dance career taught her a lot of lessons that resonate on the bike and in the fitness space in general. "There's so much discipline involved," she says. "When I was auditioning for gigs, I would hear 'no' like 98 percent of the time. It's so brutal, but you still keep showing up, you keep going to dance class. You have to. It creates this very resilient aspect of your personality . . . that type of discipline, I think I learned from athletics, honestly. It's that consistency and commitment; keep showing up, and you'll get better. There will always be somebody better than you in the room. But as long as you keep showing up, there might be something about you that is special, that stands out." And that something special might be what gets you that spot on stage, that seat in a board room, or, for Lovewell, that job on a Peloton bike.
Working in the dance industry also forged a strong mind-body connection for Lovewell, which helped set her up for success as a Peloton instructor. A knack for performing helps, too, when your job involves breaking a sweat while coaching literally thousands of people in real time through four different cameras. Whether you regularly take Lovewell's classes or those of any other Peloton instructor, it's easy to forget that these instructors were once beginners, too. "But they're learned skills; you're not born knowing how to do any of this stuff," Lovewell says. One important aspect of coaching Lovewell had to pick up on the fly? "Learning how to use my voice," she says. "I think it's because, as a dancer, you're just using your body . . . once I started teaching fitness classes, it was important to figure out what my message was, what I want to say, how then to say it while moving my body."
Lovewell did find her message — and it's a powerful one, at that. "I often ask people to notice how they feel now versus how they felt 30 minutes ago or 45 minutes ago, before class," she says. "There's such a big shift that can happen in just a short amount of time when you move your body and when you focus on the opportunity at hand. I want people to feel better. I want people to feel free. I want them to feel like there's a little more pep in their step and that they can take on hard things. Every day, you encounter difficult things, obstacles. But if you look at those as opportunities, you can shift the way that your mind interprets these challenges. I just want people to feel invincible."
Despite her success with Peloton, Lovewell still appreciates the "well-roundedness" of wellness, and as such, she has a lot more going on than just fitness coaching. She's been running a blog since before her Peloton days — called Live, Learn, Lovewell — where she writes about all parts of living a well life, from cooking and gardening to adventure travel and healthy cleaning. (For example, Lovewell recently partnered with 9 Elements, a line of vinegar-powered laundry and home-cleaning products.) She also creates content on YouTube, launched a jean line with the denim brand Sene, and taps into her past life as a DJ to curate epic playlists on Spotify. All of these things exercise her artistic side — something that doesn't always get showcased from leading '90s pop rides.
"My mom is an artist. My dad is a writer, photographer, a musician, so I grew up in a creative household," she says. "I feel like a lot of these outlets of creating content or working in fashion and creating a line of jeans, that all kind of fulfills that creative need that I have."
Though Lovewell appears to be a jack of all trades — and a master of them, too — it pays to remember that even the seemingly perfect Peloton instructors (just like everyone else you see in the public eye) are always working on themselves. For example, Lovewell's next goal? "I'm actually on the hunt for a new therapist. I'm a huge advocate for therapy, and I haven't had one in a couple of years," she says. In the end, she's after what we're all after, Lovewell says: "I believe that we're all striving for our mental, physical, spiritual well-being to be in harmony."