Olivia Young left the restaurant business with no particular experience in the business of health and wellness. But in 2017 she founded the rather artistically named box + flow in New York’s Noho; and her unique fitness philosophy combining yoga, cardio boxing, mental focus and fierce determination made it an immediate sensation.
Three years later, her mini-empire has expanded to include a second studio in Soho. She is currently sheltering with family in Florida, but took the time out to pen some thoughts on how our loved ones can offer a sense of grounding during this worrying coronavirus crisis—and also offered five tips for staying healthy while we are quarantining.
Love in the Time of Corona
I’ve never been so single and cared any less. Until yesterday. Saturday night and I was about to go stir crazy. I even posted a past photo of myself in lingerie drinking whiskey – wishful thinking while I sauntered thru my parents’ house in boys underwear, cracked open a Kentucky Bourbon Stout, had some braised cabbage (recipe below), and phoned a friend. I refuse to wear pants, a running family joke, now a reality. Whenever I visit my childhood home in South Florida, my three brothers mock me, ‘Olivia this is a pants on zone.
Nope! Not in the time of corona! I wish they were here to mock me, but they’re keeping social distance and they, like me, don’t live home anymore. So quarantine life is me, mom + dad for the longest staycation since moving to New York 10 years ago. I haven’t visited home for more than four days at a time since high school ,and currently, I’m pushing 15. Truth? It’s kinda nice. I have space, sunshine, a big kitchen, and all their attention. I can’t wait to get back to ‘my life’, but I’ll miss this when I’m gone.
I arrived to Florida two weeks ago with a carry-on bag, two businesses and 25 employees. Both studios are now closed: an emotional rollercoaster for all involved, but I flow through the fight and choose love, always. I’ve switched my perspective to make magic out of monotony, as I find nuance in everyday routine, and embrace new routine, even in my impermanent setting. I’m going to bed later, working more, censoring myself less on social media, moving my body differently, trying new things nutritionally, and breaking old habits. I’m choosing to use this time for creation rather than condition, as I create more connection, albeit digital, with my box + flow community. I’m keeping hope alive. The world is testing us all, so why not take it a step further, and test myself more? I have no rules in the time of corona.
Who knew ‘living home’ could be kinda fun? I’m basically an only child, nesting with empty nesters. My new routine isn’t dissimilar to NYC, my days just begin at 6am instead of 4am, with less anxiety. My restlessness stems from my entrepreneur dad, whose slippers slide thru our wide hallways by 6am. It’s time to rise. He and I collect in the kitchen for coffee, sometimes we chat, sometimes we don’t. My mom summons him for her morning brew and even if I offer, my request is denied. Coffee delivery is his duty. The nesters drink it in darkness together.
Shortly thereafter, my mom scoots to the kitchen. She fries my father eggs while simultaneously singing to the dogs. My dad saunters thru the halls on his cellphone, speaking too loudly to my younger brothers, his employees. The robed king conducts business, always—but is never too regal to serve my mom her morning coffee. Love in the time of corona. He devours breakfast post-shower before she shoves him off to work, the smell of fresh toast and browned butter permeates the air long after he’s gone. The house is quiet, until my mom starts singing, again.
I get up to move as I always do—shake it off + let it go 3 to 8 miles as per my body’s request, my warmup before I teach box + flow live. My mom is my production manager, sound engineer, cheer committee, and cleanup crew. The iPad is hoisted on a high chair, protected from the sun by a dog carrier, and sound streamed thru a portable speaker. After class, I work in the sun for hours. I’ve never been forced to be so resourceful, worked harder, or enjoyed it more. My Momager is also my companion. Our only daily outing is procuring provisions for dinner. If I’m extra restless, I’ll run to the store to meet her.
I get so much joy cooking for others, something I don’t often do living solo in NYC. I prep dinner while she dog walks, fully equipped with a stroller, in case her pups get tired. And when she’s not tending to everyone, she takes care of herself: Peloton, swims laps, baking cakes or cleaning out the pantry while singing Hamilton, until interrupted by my dad’s constant calls. She always ensures there’s a snack awaiting his return and that he gets a bit of exercise in before dinner. He works hard. So does she. I guess we all do and #liveyoung (celebrate) too. I pop open wine while we watch the evening news before dinner, and braise cabbage as she bakes key lime pie.
My mom is precise and focused, follows directions, rules, recipes and wears pants. That’s where we differ. I break rules, take risks, and hate pants. She likes direction. I prefer to get lost, creating my experience in the kitchen and otherwise. But she keeps me grounded. My mom and dad both do. What a gift to be surrounded by so much love, resilience and ease. And a gift, I am fully embracing. My mindset is more open and my schedule is less rigid: 8pm bedtime has been replaced by 8pm dinner. We always eat together.
I’m going to miss that when I leave. The simple things like spending time with my parents. Something I’ve never actually done until now. Ah love in the time of corona. I’ve never been so single and cared any less. I just hope that when this all blows over, we all value love, connection and life even more. I will. I am. The simplicity of a hug, dinner with friends, spending time with family. Touch. Eye contact. Intimacy! Lots of sex—no doubt. But maybe it will actually mean something. Live in the time of corona. Life my parents love. Untraditional no doubt, but it stands the test of time, and always starts with a cup of coffee.
For at-home workout tips, choose creativity over condition. Use what you have! Make Magic Out of Monotony.
Olivia Young’s Five Fitness Tips for Staying Healthy While Sheltering-In
1. In lieu of hand weights, workout with soup cans, wine bottles, beer bottles, or even water gallon jugs if you are looking for something a bit heavier
2. Heavy lifting? Lift the couch. Do squats holding text books. Anything goes!
3. Do dips using the coffee table to work your triceps.
4. Use paper plates or hand towels as sliders for ab resistant exercises.
5. Pack a duffle bag, and push it from wall to wall in your at-home gym area, like you are pushing a weighted sled using your abs, legs, arms, and core.