Guest Editor: Natalie Yco


Natalie Yco trained and instructed some of Hollywood’s elite celebrities. She is an award winning group fitness instructor for Equinox. She was awarded ‘Top Group Fitness Instructor’ of Southern California for 2012 by Equinox Fitness Clubs and Spa. In 2016, Natalie won program of the year for Best Butt Ever, a class she created exclusively for the Equinox Brand. Her media and television appearances include: Shape Magazine, InStyle, Self, Seventeen, Luxury, Haute Living, Chalkboard, C Magazine, ABC News, Kcal9, VH1 and the E network and more.

Natalie’s exercise routines became more intense and diverse, and she needed clothing that could keep up. Exercising can be a challenging thing, and looking cool and stylish while involved in the task shouldn’t have to be. After 25 years as a celebrity personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Natalie Yco grew tired of having to compromise fit and performance for style and comfort. She desperately needed a wardrobe that would fit her dynamic, ever-changing lifestyle. After a longtime dream of creating her own brand of activewear, she decided to make her dream a reality.

Natalie spent nearly three years designing garments, researching the latest materials, and tailoring the perfect pieces that perform in the gym. The idea was to have the versatility to transition seamlessly into everyday life, and comfortable, appropriate clothing would provide the bridge for this. “I have jumped, kicked, and squatted in too many different brands, but I work out too hard to then put on a pair of leggings that slide down my butt”, says Natalie. She was ready to introduce her product to a world of women who were in need of this type of clothing. In Rachel Chavez, Natalie would find the perfect partner in bringing their combined ideas to fruition.

Instagram: @natalieyco

You know I’m not a big Instagram user but thank God I was paying attention and started following you and then just DM you… did you believe it was me when you got it?
Must say that I definitely checked to be sure! Haha! I have been a fan of yours for so long, so when I realized it was really you that followed and reached out to me, I was beyond elated. Meeting you in person has made me an even bigger fan. You’re not only beautiful, you’re funny, down to earth and of course intelligent and a joy to work with.

I was going to spend several months in LA last year and needed help as I’m a firm believer New Year resolutions start before New Year so you can be in the flow already… what’s your take on New Year resolutions?
I do believe that if creating a resolution is what someone needs to get motivated then that’s a great start. But I find that when it comes to your health/fitness, it shouldn’t take one day per year to remind you that it’s time to get serious. Instead I think people should make a year long plan or dedication. It sounds crazy but give yourself a loose schedule to stick to for the whole year so that if you fall off the wagon you have another 364 days to get back on track instead of feeling guilty and giving up. Even if you commit to just 3 hours a week in the gym, you can divvy it up according to how busy your week is and still meet your goal. Holding yourself accountable is crucial not just on New Years Day.

Since I had foot surgery and have been “not active” for almost 2 years I needed a specialized boot camp…tell me how where you able to navigate my age (62yrs), disability (foot surgery), and ego/vanity (which probably was a plus to get me motivated)?
Well I don’t think it’s much of a task when you have someone as physically strong and mentally tough as you are. You never complain and you are always willing to try something new. As an almost 50 year old woman that has been physically active all of my life, I don’t use age as a hinderance and I don’t allow any of my clients or students to use it as an excuse or crutch. Clearly, our bodies change as we get older, BUT I find that as women age they tend to be more motivated and resilient. Perhaps that motivation comes from extrinsic sources, which is fine if that’s what gets you encouraged. However, I find that with most mature women it’s intrinsic. Feeling good is as important as looking good.

What is your advice for someone who is just starting? What should they be doing? Reality vs Myths?
My advice for someone just getting started is to find something that you will adhere to. Everyone is different when it comes to what motivates them. I love strength training because it makes me feel strong and powerful. I love martial arts because it makes me feel like a badass! But, for others it may be dancing, Pilates, running a 5k or marathon. Just find what makes you want to keep pushing.

What people should do is get moving no matter what type of exercise they choose to do. However, I always suggest that they incorporate some form of strength training. As a trainer, what frustrates me the most is a woman’s fear she will become bulky by lifting moderate or heavy weights. It’s a myth!!!! Women don’t produce enough testosterone to add significant amounts of muscle mass quickly or easily.

Plus, there are so many benefits to incorporating resistance training to your routine. It promotes fat loss, helps maintain healthy bone mass and prevents age-related muscle loss, which certainly happens. And when it does, your metabolism slows down and trying to lose weight can become a major challenge.

Like you I’m a firm believer in nutrition… If i want to jump start my Nutrition for Jan 2018 can you give me your fool proof Daily Meal suggestion… breakfast/snacks/lunch/dinner. Any cheat days…. and what would be in my cheat meal?
Proper nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle which is a term I prefer to use other than diet due to negative connotations. In reality, it’s truly about making lifestyle changes for the long term.

I’m not a nutritionist, so any info I give is purely suggestive and from my own experience and knowledge. There is no cookie cutter one size fits all meal plan that applies to each individual. One person may thrive on a vegan diet where another may prefer paleo. It’s really about what that person can stick to and what makes them feel good. I do have one day per week to enjoy splurging on my favorite things. For me it’s sweets! For others it’s savory. At this point in my life, I prefer to allow myself to indulge in foods I don’t typically eat during the week. For some, this isn’t a good option, until they get a bit further along in their fitness journey. However, if you choose to have one day per week, I recommend to have one cheat meal rather than making it an entire cheat day to avoid sabotaging all the hard work you did leading up to that point.

How did you get into training?
When I was growing up, I battled asthma. I wanted to participate in organized sports. I attempted many times to try out for a team sport, but once we started the drills I had difficulty breathing. One day when I was 19 years old, I was taken to a Gold’s gym in San Jose, ca. and was introduced to the weight room. I was immediately hooked. A few years later I joined a tae kwon do studio and completely fell in love. The combination of these two methods helped me get off of my inhaler and to make the decision to somehow revolve my life around health/fitness. From there, great opportunities came my way and I realized I found my calling as a group fitness instructor and trainer.

How did you get involved with Fabletics? Working out isn’t about looking cute? Who said that… fool? Hell yeah!!! and now you have made us looking cute while sweating and grunting…Tell us more about you’re workout gear NatalieYco?
For many years I have represented other brands. I definitely appreciated receiving free gear and being promoted on their sites. However, I was helping promote someone else’s dream and not my own. I still have sketches and notes of my own vision board from 10 years ago of how I would develop my own brand. 5 years ago, I grew tired of talking about it and not making it my reality. I started the process and failed. Then 3 years ago, I started again. This time, I was fortunate to have a client turned friend and (now) business partner that wanted to work with me to finally make my dreams come true. It’s very hard and I know we have a lot more to learn, but I am truly excited about the future of YCO Active. My vision has always been to create styles that go beyond the gym and help a woman stand out. Each style is named after a strong woman from history. I wanted to celebrate the value women have always added to this world and the strength of our irrepressibility.

Which pieces are your faves and why?
I have a few favorite pieces, but if I must choose one, I would say it’s the Lagertha hoodie. It’s one of our stand out pieces that was one of my first ideas. It has a roomy hood, zippers on the elbows to boost your badass levels and a draped open back that can be layered over another T shirt or tank if showing a bare back isn’t your style.

What do you do when you’re not working out?
When I’m not working out I enjoy a hot bath with epsom salt and a lot of bubbles LOL. I always need some type of recovery so massages or anything with a relaxing aspect, I’m in there like activewear.

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