Holly Perkins is the 45 year old founder of Holly Perkins Fitness, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, author of Lift to Get Lean, leader of Women’s Strength Nation, and Promax and New Balance ambassador (phew…are you keeping up?). The Los Angeles based fitness professional is an alumni of Pennsylvania State University (B.S. Exercise Physiology) who was lucky enough to land her dream job at a preventative medicine center with a focus on fitness in New York City straight out of college. Fast forward several years and honing in on what actually worked, both for herself and for countless clients (a strategic strength, cardio, and nutrition plan backed by science), and she found herself about 2,500 miles away in California, living her best life as a celebrity fitness trainer and as the founder of her own fitness empire. As a trusted influencer in the women’s fitness space, Holly’s unique “brand,” which is heavily rooted in science, immediately caught the eye of editors at media outlets like Women’s Health, SELF and Redbook, executives at brands like Promax, New Balance and Westin Resorts and Hotels, and fans across the nation. And for good reason! Her track record of changing bodies and lives spans 20+ years. Her approach to fitness is refreshing (yes, you can eat carbs!), achievable (yes, you can have abs!), and best of all, sustainable for a lifetime. Holly is a natural born hustler (#alldayerrday), crazy intuitive, down to Earth, and a wealth of knowledge in more arenas than we can even begin to count. Plus she’s about one of the most real people we’ve ever met (can we get an amen to that?!). From sharing the moment she felt like she hit a groove in her career and the character trait vital to success in her line of work to her favorite hashtag (it’s a good one!), we’ve charged Holly with 20 of our favorite questions.
1. What was your first job out of college?
My first job out of college was my DREAM job! I was coming out with a science-based degree in fitness. At the time, there weren’t many real jobs that required my skill set. Thankfully, La Palestra Centre for Preventative Medicine had just opened in New York City and they needed someone with my exact qualifications. It is a truly unique fitness-focused center that unites medical screenings into a system that proves fitness can radically change your health and longevity.
2. When you were in college, what did you think you’d be doing today?
In college my mentor said that if I wanted a career in fitness, I should be prepared to be broke. He also said that if I planned to work with people, I should probably get a psychology degree instead of exercise physiology! I had absolutely no idea how I was going to navigate the world, or what kind of “job” I would find. All I knew is that I was obsessed with health and fitness, and that it would be my life in some form or another.
3. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of career advice I received was to under promise and over deliver. While Joseph Campbell didn’t hand down his “career advice” directly to me, I have always been particularly inspired by “following my bliss.” I know, without a doubt, that the reason I have an incredible career today is because I always trudged on because I was deeply passionate about health and fitness. I followed my bliss and it paid off.
4. Can you recall the moment you felt like you hit a groove in your career?
I received a call one day from a colleague at Exercise TV. At the time, they had a partnership with New Balance and were producing exercise videos. I had worked with Exercise TV for a while and knew them well. My friend called to say that New Balance had just selected me as their one-and-only Fitness Ambassador. I said: “Oh great; what do they want me to do for them for free?” because I had grown so used to being asked to do things for free. Turns out, the gig was legit and I would actually be compensated with real money! I said to myself: “Ahhhh, finally….I’ve finally arrived…”
5. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
Each day begins with a cup of very strong Japanese green tea and a meditation/prayer practice. I find that my days are near bliss when I start them this way.
6. What’s one thing you do daily to stay organized?
I keep my office, house and desk super organized. An orderly environment tends to instill peace and calm inside of me. Feeling organized on the outside seems to translate into organized work. I also keep many hand-written lists.
7. How do you sign off emails?
8. What’s the one character trait that’s vital for success in what you do?
I believe that optimism and positivity is really important in health and fitness. It’s so easy for people to feel defeated in regards to their health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness level. I’ve always believed that being a cheerleader inspires people. I’m truly enthusiastic about what I do; and I believe that makes for a great trait in working with people.
9. Can you share a career goal for 2017?
My next big career goal is to finish my second book and have it be a NYT Bestseller. Lofty goals…I know.
10. What’s your favorite magazine?
Oh gosh! That’s so hard! I love all of the women’s fitness magazines!!! If I HAD to choose one it would be Women’s Health. They are truly committed to reporting fact-based stories and speaking the truth always.
11. Do you have a can’t-live-without beauty product?
I cannot live without eye cream. I have super dry, crêpe-y eyes and see a huge difference when I’m religious with my eye cream!
12. What’s your go-to cocktail?
I love a good gimlet. But I’ll always be partial to IPA’s.
13. Do you have a wardrobe staple?
New Balance sneakers. For sure.
14. Do you have a spirit animal?
Beyoncé is my spirit animal.
15. Do you collect anything?
I collect people. I truly love people and find myself with friends who are all so different. I love how unique each person is, and find the nuances of personality so fun.
16. How do you stay healthy?
I stay healthy with eating well and yoga. I stay fit with strength training and strategic cardio!
17. What’s the best hashtag of all time?
#SmokeShow!!!!! I guess some people haven’t seen this one, but I love it! To me it represents the smokin’ hot babe inside of each of us. Even if I don’t look like a #SmokeShow, I like the feeing of being one.
18. What’s your decorating style?
I have conflicting styles and sometimes they work together. I’m drawn to Indian and Balinese décor, and anything from Z Gallerie. Total conflict. My bedroom is a bit Z Gallerie and my living room is mostly Eastern cultures.
19. What do you eat for breakfast most days?
Gahhhhhhh, my Protein Perfect Breakfast Cake!!!! I just perfected a banana chocolate chip version that is my favorite!!!! It’s the perfect balance of protein, healthy carbs, and fat. Gluten free, sugar free and deeeeelish.
20. If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Shades of orange! Anything that feels like fire. Love.