Le Sweat Retreat: Asbury Park, NJ

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To me getting away signifies taking more than a few steps back from the responsibilities, from the stresses and absolute rush of daily life. It's about allowing your mind and body to simmer, to quiet down to recover while at the same time sprinkling that recess with some movement because we’re all aware by now of studies which prove on how physical activity reduces stress.

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That time should always be used for us to gain some insight, some purpose, some clarity. While it's normal to think one would need time alone to figure all this life stuff out, you'd be surprise to discover how much more effective rejuvenating yourself could be when that time is spent with people you share interest with. It’s become more common now than ever to admit you’ve befriended someone via Instagram and have chosen in taking the next step to solidify a potential friendship by meeting in person. It’s what we do now.

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This is exactly what Le Retreat is all about. A "new-new escape". As founder Charlee Atkins puts it, “We’ll sweat our way through each day! Our retreats bring modern day adults together and combine fitness, relaxation, and fun in a 5-day adventure. You’ll enjoy foreign locations, beautiful beaches, cultural cities, challenge workouts, delicious food, and, above all, wonderful company.”

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I recently had the opportunity to shoot Le Sweats most recently retreat at Asbury Park, NJ. This was my first time shooting anything like this but I immediately understood why anyone would want to or should at least once in their life take part in one of these experiences. People come because the idea of it speaks to who they want to be.

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The Asbury Hotel, where everyone lodged was this beautiful trendy hotel in a restored 1950s redbrick building, separated by a 4-minute walk from the Asbury Park boardwalk. Absolutely stunning hotel.

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I’ve known of Charlee based on following her on Instagram as she’s rapidly grown her company Le Sweat from the ground up while still being a Senior Instructor at SoulCycle. Charlee is a “movement and mobility specialist and a certified strength and conditioning coach with the NSCA.” She’s a huge “advocate for a non-sedentary lifestyle” and to top it all off, as if her expertise weren’t enough, she’s hilarious AF and isn’t at all reserved in putting herself out there to show you that people in the fitness industry have their insecurities as well.

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To me transparency gives power away. Who would you rather have? An instructor the shows you what’s inside or the one that shrouds everything in mystery? Think about which one you’re more likely to gain inspiration from. Which one are you more likely to allow to push you more? It’s natural to look up to people but when that leaders chooses to step-down from the podium we envision them on, you’re likely to support, follow and cheer for their success and that’s exactly the community that came together at Le Retreat.

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I had a blast photographing the camaraderie among everyone and it’s certainly inspire me to incorporate an experience like this into my life!