Dear Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp Fans!
I’ve decided to let go of a dream.
I founded the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp in 2008, after I had quit my job in the pharmaceutical industry. I wanted to improve people’s health, not push medications on them. I had hit rock-bottom and needed change in a big way. I was at a point in my life where the pain of staying in place was greater than my fear of change and failure. I ended a dead-end relationship and went back to grad school, while training clients full-time. I learned to be honest with myself and finally pursue my passion for fitness and nutrition.
The first few weeks without a structured job and regular income were a little bit anxiety provoking. There was nobody paying for my health insurance and regular salary. However, the lack of structure was something that I thrived on. I felt so excited that my future was entirely up to me (not that it hadn’t been before, but I hadn’t felt so badass before). For the first time in my life, I felt free to try myself out. I wanted to see how much I had in me.
I had played with the idea of creating a boot camp workout for New Yorkers on the Brooklyn Bridge for close to a year before I quit my job. The Brooklyn Bridge had always been my favorite place from which I could gain perspective of the city and my life. When I introduced the idea to friends and clients the response wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but instead i heard words such as ‘interesting’, and “that’s different…”, but the undertone sounded more like “weird idea – how’s that ever going to work…”. However, other people’s opinions weren’t as strong as my intuition pushing me to pursue it regardless. I gave a private client a workout on the bridge to introduce her to my idea and ask for her take. She was enthusiastic and beat at the same time.
To start the boot camp, I invested $1,000 to have a website built and to subscribe to an online class booking service. I was ready to kick it off in April 2008. I put 3 classes per week on the schedule and excitedly started to spread the word via email to friends and clients. I was incredibly nervous and excited before my first class. I waited at the bottom of the bridge and 6.30am rolled around. 6.35…. 6.45 – not a single person showed up. I was disappointed, sure. But, it’s New York and people have unforeseen issues with transportation, child care, work schedules.
I didn’t give up right then and there. To the second class, two people showed up. Within 2 months, my weekend morning classes on the Brooklyn Bridge were already filling up with 15 people each. Within 2 months I hired my first trainer to teach for me – the client I had taken across the Brooklyn Bridge in a trial workout! She had decided to become a personal trainer and so I hired her on the spot. Within 4 months, I had 8 weekly classes on the schedule and the word of mouth grew fast. Participants told their friends and coworkers about the workout and they then would tell their friends.
Not long after the first few classes, I received a call from a producer for Fox News, who wanted to send his reporter to our class to broadcast from the workout. You can imagine the excitement I felt. The support, encouragement and outside validation I felt gave me the feeling that I had done the right thing to quit my job, end my relationship and leave behind the Ariane that was slightly fearful of the unknown. Since 2008, Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp has been featured by more than 250 media outlets, ranging from the New York Times, Shape Magazine, Self Magazine, Women’s Health, NBC, ABC, CBS News and local TV channels to International features ranging from German to Japanese TV and newspaper outlets.
When the New York Times reporter called me to ask if she could attend one of my classes, I felt as if I was dreaming. All these media inquiries came without me even reaching out to anyone.
The selling point? The media loved the story behind Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp. Work your butt off on an iconic landmark that the entire World knows. The media outlets in Germany also picked up the story, but mostly for the story of a German woman living the American Dream in New York. Since I had left Germany at the age of 21 to pursue my life in the States, I had suddenly become the woman who ‘had made it’.
However, what they didn’t like to tell was that New York is a hard-working city and I worked 18 hours most days to create BBBC, develop it, and build it up.
In 2010 I decided to produce a workout DVD since the requests from overseas were increasing. People had heard about our workout and wanted to do join in, but without getting on a plane to New York. The production took a good year and was the most time-consuming project I have ever worked on.
The highlights of our 9 years were many, but the biggest highlights were and are still today our clients. They have always ranged from those who got their health back and lost loads of weight, to those that trained towards impressive events, such as marathons, triathlons and Ironman. What’s very special is the energy of our community we have created that has allowed like-minded people to come together to achieve their goals, and the many many opportunities we’ve had along the way to help make people healthier, fitter and happier and create countless friendships in the process.
So, here I am, telling you that I will no longer be offering Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp classes on the Brooklyn Bridge or in Central Park. I’m letting go of my dream because while it was an amazing run, the truth is there are other dreams I want to pursue because BBBC ruled my life for many years.
I’m in the business of helping my clients realize their dreams of health, fitness and success and I want to and have to walk the talk. And, to be honest with you, the fitness industry has changed so much in recent years. I don’t want to offer ‘just a workout’ when I know that what my clients need is education, motivation, an understanding of their own potential, so I will focus my time and energy on continuing my Slim & Strong programs, my fitness retreats and on my private Nutrition Coaching Practice that has been growing into a full-time job.
Trust me, I’ve struggled with this decision for more than a year and the option was to sell it or have someone else run it, but neither panned out the way I had envisioned. I struggled with simply shutting it down because a big part of who I am was attached to the business and I was afraid of who I would be without it. But, unless one door closes, another one can’t open and I’m really excited to see what’s behind the next door.
I want to thank you for having been part of our journey with your openness and enthusiasm for what we offered over the past few years. It’s been a wild ride.
As a very next step I’m excited to announce that I’m launching an online Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp Instructor Training Program in April. This comprehensive program allows trainers to get an in-depth understanding of program creation, along with business advice on starting their own boot camp in the US and in Germany. Please feel free to share with your friends who may be interested.
I look forward to seeing you for indoor classes, workshops and my retreats!