Meet Liz Barnet, booty-kicking NYC fitness instructor who's working out for a cause

This week, SweatStyle caught up with booty-kicking NYC fitness instructor, Liz Barnet, who started out in the world of branding and advertising before following her true passion: encouraging others stay happy and healthy by helping them find their fitness groove. We don’t know about you, but Liz’s “progress not perfection” fitness philosophy got us feeling pretty inspired.

As if she wasn’t busy enough keeping big city sweat lovers across NYC fit, over the next few weeks, Liz is hosting “BootyCamp” classes to raise money for colon cancer in honor of her father. Read on for more tips from Liz on healthy lifestyles, fitness fashion (all hail compression capris!), and info on how to support her quest to kick colon cancer in the booty. (We’ll give you a hint: 100% of proceeds from her upcoming BootyCamp classes go to the Colon Cancer Alliance.)

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in health and fitness?

When I was a student at Boston College, I took advantage of an opportunity to become certified in group fitness and Pilates. I went to the gym anyway (pretty much since I “retired” from basketball in high school), and I thought it would be a fun way to make extra money. Then after graduating with a degree in English and communications, I decided to “live the dream” shared by so many uncertain college grads, and stumbled my way into a branding and advertising career in Manhattan. I worked directly for the very accomplished CEO of a well-known agency… who happened to be voted one of the worst bosses in NYC! In the meantime, I tried to continue teaching fitness classes on the side, but my demanding job often prevented me from doing so.

The experience was both incredibly challenging and enlightening, and opened my eyes to what I'm really passionate about: health and fitness. My father was a doctor and my mother is a nurse, and I’ve always appreciated their desire to holistically treat their patients’ bodies, as well as minds and spirits. But it occurred to me that so many illnesses could perhaps be prevented or mitigated by better lifestyle choices, and that I could apply my passion to help others much like my parents did in their practice.

Q: What’s your fitness philosophy?

I realize not everyone is as excited about the latest exercise trend, or maybe doesn’t have the time to spend all morning at the farmers’ market hand-picking produce. My specialty is making the quest for better fitness, food, health and wellness approachable, actionable, sustainable, and most of all, enjoyable. I firmly believe that in order to see the benefits of all of your hard work, it can’t really feel like hard work, at least not all the time.

Q: What do you do to get moving when you’re feeling unmotivated?

I love taking a high-energy group fitness class with great music and lots of sweat. There’s something very cathartic about working hard, and feeling all the stress melt away as you move your body. A great pair of workout pants also doesn’t hurt!

Q: What piece of workout gear can you not live without?

My-go to piece of workout gear is definitely a high-waist pair of compression capris - I don’t know how I ever lived without them! Whether I’m down-dogging in hot yoga, pedaling away on a spin bike or burpee-ing my heart out, I feel comfortable and supported - and don’t have to worry about constantly tugging at my waist band.

Q: What’s on your workout gear wishlist right now?

I’m loving the trend of stealthily open-backed tanks. Although crop tops are super cute, they’re not for me, and a peek-a-boo top allows me to move comfortably, get some ventilation, and show off my colorful array of sports bras! 

Q: What’s the most inspiring success story from someone you worked with?

Honestly, more than any physical transformation, I’m inspired by stories of people finding their fitness groove to help overcome some sort of challenge or stressful situation. I have one client that went through an unexpected and abrupt divorce who found strength and destressing in sweating it out. Another client felt totally overwhelmed by what she thought she should be doing, and so she jumped aimlessly from one workout to another without any results, and frankly not enjoying the process very much. She also got into a bad habit of scheduling workout classes so she would be “forced” into going, but would end up late canceling and losing her money’s worth. When I told her to just find something she enjoyed regardless of how many calories it burned, she settled on Pilates and yoga, and actually looks forward to her sessions instead of cancelling at the last minute.

Q: What’s your favorite fitness/wellness quote/mantra?

Progress not perfection. I have it on the corner of my laptop monitor as a daily reminder that taking little steps is what adds up to big results.

Q: What’s your latest fitness project?

My father, Dr. Lawrence F. Barnet, passed away as a result of colon cancer in April 2015. He was diagnosed in November of 2013, and as a family, we participated in the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Undy 500 5k run/walk July of 2014. Although my dad couldn’t walk the entire race, he did cross the finish line with us!

Last summer, “The Barnet Booty Brigade” walked in his honor, and as a team, we raised over $14,000 to benefit colon cancer research! This was an incredible accomplishment, as we raised the second most amount as a team nationwide, and I couldn’t be more proud that it was in my father’s honor.

Q: How can we support this amazing cause?

As a part of my fundraising efforts, I am once again hosting a series of 45 minute “BootyCamp” workouts that are meant to kick your butt - quite literally!

My parents' dedication to their lives' work and patients has been an impactful example to me, and has certainly influenced my career path and appreciation for helping others. (But my way just involves push-ups and planks!) To see participants smile and sweat their way through a challenging (but fun!) workout filled me with such gratitude, for what I am blessed to do every day, and for the amazing example my father set for our family.

Each BootyCamp has individual sign-up and information; each $50 donation will 100% go toward the Colon Cancer Alliance efforts, which include everything from screenings and treatments to finding a cure. I look forward to making our contribution this year, and walking as a family in the Undy500 Run/Walk down the Jersey shore.

If you’d like to participate in an upcoming BootyCamp, please sign up via the links below. If you cannot attend but you like to contribute, please visit the official Barnet Booty Brigade fundraising page. Thank you for your support!

Uplift Studios BootyCamp, Monday July 11th at 7:30pm

Studio B x Bandier BootyCamp, Friday August 19th at 6pm

SLT BootyCamp to be scheduled! 

Feeling inspired by Liz? Want to look stylish for your next booty-busting fitness class? Use the code LBarnet20 to get 20% off on your first or next SweatStyle!



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