LUCY SYKES AND YOUR EDITOR, CLAUDIA LEBENTHAL, GETTING OUR SWEAT ON AT FLYBARRE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MAGGIE MANN
Fitness Junkie is an irresistibly fun novel set in the fitness landscape of NYC, that takes a hysterical look at our body obsessed culture. Written by fashion veteran Lucy Sykes, and award winning journalist Jo Piazza, bestselling authors of The Knockoff, the book tells the story of Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, whose fat-phobic business partner gives her an ultimatum to lose weight or lose her job.
On a mission to drop 30 lbs. fast, Janey throws herself into the boutique fitness scene: sweating it out at “Soarbarre”, primal screaming at “The Workout”, and going topless at “Nipple Yoga”. Though the comparison to many popular workouts may seem obvious, Lucy Sykes swears the similarities are purely coincidental. Nevertheless, the spoof leaves readers speculating about who’s really who, and makes Fitness Junkie a page-turning romp through the crazy landscape of our weight consumed society.
We caught up with Sykes at an “Abs & Arms” class at FlyBarre, her go-to workout of choice, for a special Fitness Junkie class. Wearing Fitness Junkie tees made for the occasion, we sweated together through this fast-paced, body-sculpting barre class that incorporated weights, resistance bands, and core balls. After class, with Sykes rushing to the next stop on her promotional tour, we jumped in a taxi and found the nearest brownstone steps to chat about her inspiration for Fitness Junkie.
STYLE OF SPORT: What was the inspiration for Fitness Junkie?
Lucy Sykes: The inspiration for Fitness Junkie was not wellness, actually, it was fashion. And it was the lack of fashion. Everywhere I went, whether it be drop-off, lunch, brunch, everyone was wearing “athleisure”. They weren’t wearing real clothes anymore. But it went to the next level. I’d drop my son off at school and all the girls were wearing amazing outfits, like they’d just come out of Bandier, and looking like J.Lo backup dancers.
SOS: So it wasn’t the workouts themselves?
LS: No, it was the clothes. It was really just walking the streets of New York and seeing a massive trend of girls wearing incredible fitness wear. All the models were doing it and I thought how fun it would be as a novel. It was really inspired by the streets of New York.
SOS: You really nail the boutique fitness scene in New York!
LS: I went to a lot of them. I went to Y7 hot yoga. I never went to nipple yoga.
SOS: Is that real??
LS: We made it up, but apparently it exists. I did Soul Cycle and I fell off the bike. That wasn’t too much fun. It’s a lot of people’s thing, and I think they’re brilliant, but it’s just not mine.
LS: That is what’s incredible about the classes, but it’s double-edge sword. They’re expensive. Not everyone can afford them.
SOS: So it attracts a certain personality.
LS: Not even personality — certain wallets! What’s in your wallet is what’s allowing you to go in there or not. I’m lucky that I can right now, and FlyBarre just did it for me.
SOS: What do you like about it?
LS: It’s basically intense ballet, with a lot of repetitive moves and a ton of weights, and I have the rhythm to do it. I found my niche. I do “Abs & Arms”, which I love and we just did, but I also do FlyBarre Power, and regular FlyBarre, so it’s 3 different kinds of classes.
SOS: There are such obvious references in the book. I do want to ask who’s who. To me, clearly “The Workout” is “The Class”.
LS: Un-un… I’ve never been.
SOS: Well you have channeled it perfectly! Sara Strong (minus the illegal activities!) is not Taryn Toomey?
LS: I’ve met Taryn once, and on purpose during the whole creativity process of this book I did not want to meet her. I’m really impressed with what she’s doing, but there are a lot of skinny, blond, prissy wellness experts around NYC and especially on Instagram.
LS: Of course, I’d hear a story from a mom about Tracy Anderson, but I don’t know her either. Gwyneth I know.
SOS: Who to me, with her wellness blog, is “Kate Wells”?
LS: A little bit.
SOS: “Soarbarre”… FlyBarre?
LS: Flybarre, but they’re too normal there. The really funny things we made up because it’s a novel and you make things up. It’s not real life. Nobody really does these things in real life.
SOS: They’re pretty close! What about the clay diet?
LS: I mean my best friend did the clay, but she’s like, “Lucy, I don’t do it everyday. It’s like once or twice a year before fashion shows.”
SOS: Are there other workouts you like?
Bari I love, which is the cute trampolines and the music. I love jumping on trampolines, but I don’t like cycling. I also don’t like people screaming at me. I get enough of that in New York just trying to get a taxi. But actually I’m a big walker. I walk New York. I walk the beaches in the Hamptons. I walk everywhere, because that’s where I get inspired — walking the streets of New York.
SOS: And that’s where you got your inspiration for Fitness Junkie, which we absolutely loved! Thanks Lucy!