Everyday Icons: The Fitness Expert

Need an excuse to visit the gym? Read how exercise changed the life of Lisa Hirsch in our fitness expert interview.

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Confession: when we hear the word fitness, we sometimes run away kicking and screaming. Images of smelly gyms and mirrored walls and machines, machines, machines are enough to make us break out into a cold sweat. But this was before we met Lisa Hirsch, founder of The Studio (MDR) in Venice Beach. A former top notch music executive battling an epilepsy disorder, fitness changed her life, quite literally. Proof that it's never too late to swap out your stress for a pair of sneakers...

You're living with epilepsy. Can you tell us how this hurdle affects your daily life?

To be honest, in the beginning, when I first heard “You have epilepsy,” my reaction was denial. Then it sunk in that something was wrong with my brain. Initially, my driver’s license was taken away temporarily. I embarked on a determined path to research this condition and learned that epilepsy is a condition and not a death sentence. I learned that I could outsmart it by taking my medication the same time each day, living a very healthy lifestyle, getting sleep and aiming for a life as stress free as possible. I learned that epilepsy does not define who I am on a daily basis, or ever, for that matter.

You worked as a successful executive in the music industry - a fast life indeed! Was there a specific moment where you felt the need to slow down, regroup and reassess your life's trajectory? Can you talk a bit about this time in your life?

My life in Music and Entertainment was an incredible ride but, when it started to become more of a chore than fun for me, I knew it was time to stop and reassess my life and make a conscientious decision to do what I truly wanted to do. I became my job and I began to have no time for Lisa. Yes, I was blessed to work with the most incredible talent throughout my career and I am beyond thankful for that. I have countless, incredible memories that still make me smile, but you have to know when it is time to leave the party graciously - with your head held high - when you are still at the top of your game. I came to the realization that what I really wanted to do was work for myself.

Fitness seems intimidating to most, but it's really just a matter of making wellness a priority. What are some easy, foolproof ways we can take baby steps to take better care of ourselves?

I suggest that people need to make an honest, conscious assessment of where they are in life and ask the question " is this really where I want to be?" Once an individual wants to take better control of their life and their destiny, then the first step is to internalize the determination to live your life to the best of your ability. This can be achieved by taking control of your body, your mind and your attitude. Once you do that, then it's important to concentrate on eating healthier and making fitness fun. Fitness should never be a chore. If stepping inside your gym turns your stomach into knots and you dread going, then you are in the wrong place! You owe it to yourself to test out different fitness programs and find a workout that you enjoy.

All of us, our clients, trainers and myself, are genuinely excited to take a class at The Studio (MDR). We have succeeded in building a fun-filled and supportive community atmosphere. And, the best part - the classes actually work! Concentrate on finding something that causes curiosity and excitement (even a workout DVD) and you will achieve your goals a lot faster than you realize. Remember, what you put in your mouth and how much you eat is just as important, if not more, than exercise.

Each of us is in control of who we are and who we want to be.

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

The only way I can run this studio, take care of all of our clients and think of opening other studios, is by taking care of me first. I concentrate on maintaining the strength of my inner core and creating time to jump into class 3 times a week and when escape is possible, I take a spin or yoga class 1-2 times a week, as well. I am also learning to put the phone down, cease texting and make the time for a significant other and friends. To simply be 'more present’ is a very important goal for me to accomplish this year.

What are a few everyday items you wouldn't want to live without?

My Beyond Yoga workout clothing, iPhone, my Brussels Griffons (even though they aren’t items, they are pretty great companions!), lip gloss, Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen, water bottle.

What's the best advice you've ever followed?

My entire life I was inspired by my incredible grandmother, who was the closest and most special person to me. She passed away but her teachings and her graceful principles continue to shape my life on a daily basis. My mother is also a major, positive influence on me. Both of these phenomenal women taught me that poise, grace and elegance cannot be bought - they must come from within.

Clementine Daily's mission is simple: to help modern women embrace a sweeter everyday. How do you fit within that mission?

I realize that my life’s goal is to help people feel good about themselves, no matter who they are or where they are from. My motto is that if you concentrate on feeling meaningful and beautiful on the inside, then that positive feeling will transmit itself to your exterior, creating a more radiant, glowing self. I believe in concentrating on achieving a feeling of safety, and security, health and happiness. If I can enable that to happen on a daily basis at The Studio (MDR), one beautiful client at a time, then my life will be truly complete and fulfilled.

p.s. Want to hear from another Venice darling? Meet Amy McGee, the film PR powerhouse.