Notable Neighbors: Emma Lovewell
Celebrating the Journey of Wellness
Martha’s Vineyard native and star Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell shares inspiration on how to make progress, not perfection.
What could we possibly have in common with new author and globally renowned Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell—whose accomplishments include instructing a fitness class (make that two classes) that have been taken over one million times, appearing in a Super Bowl commercial, dancing on tour with The Rolling Stones and Snoop Dogg, being a sponsored Under Armour athlete, and a brand ambassador for major brands like Hydrant, Panasonic and Arhaus? She even threw out the first pitch at a recent Red Sox game (nailed it, natch). At first glance, it would appear the likely answer would be, “Not much.” But as it turns out, the wellness icon has experienced things many of us have, from relationship and health struggles to profound loss and questioning her path; in Live Learn Love Well she chronicles these moments in relatable, heartfelt stories, weaving in life lessons along the way. Relatable too, because after all, she was born and raised just a short ferry ride away, on Martha’s Vineyard.
Growing up on island helped form so much of who she is today, even if at the time, she didn’t always embrace it. The chapter on gardening is especially reflective; she writes, “Why can’t we be like all the other families and just buy everything we need at a real store?” Lovewell’s mother, a professional gardener and artist is Taiwanese, and her father, a writer and photographer for the Vineyard Gazette, is Caucasian. Being frugal was a way of life and gardening wasn’t just a hobby; it was a necessity. Looking back at her upbringing she says, “the island taught me so much about who I am today. It is the place that ignited the fire for my passions like gardening, traveling, fitness etc. It also gave me this intimate sense of community, that I think is really unique to the island. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.”
One experience, she remembers from Edgartown Elementary, is a fun one. “I was a really shy kid growing up, but I can vividly remember blasting Mariah Carey’s ‘Emotions’ in my living room and becoming a completely different person. As soon as I was eligible, I signed up for the Edgartown Elementary School lip sync contest and won! I know it seems like a silly memory that some might be embarrassed by, but I really credit lip syncing to giving me my voice and confidence that I have today.”
Today her voice gives confidence to hundreds, even thousands, with each class she teaches via the Peloton platform. Her rides and strength training workouts are challenging, for sure, but she combines fitness milestones with positive messages and provides inspiration to push forward. Her followers on Instagram number over 600 thousand and are along not just for the (bike) ride but to support her in her endeavors and adventures and return the positivity. Her account often documents the close bond she shares with fellow instructors and while social media can often be misleading, what we see between Lovewell and her coworkers is genuine. She says, “I am so grateful for the community that Peloton has built. All of the instructors are genuinely so supportive and uplifting of one another. Whether it’s to help cheer someone up or help cheer them on, we are there for each other and I’m so glad it’s worked out that way—I really lucked out.” Cody Rigsby, an instructor and Dancing With The Stars finalist, recently moderated Lovewell’s first book event in New York City.
In Live Learn Love Well, a predominant theme (and subtitle of the book) is ‘progress, not perfection’. “We will never truly find happiness in seeking this idea of perfection, because we are running after something that will always elude us, because it doesn’t exist. It’s important to enjoy the process and find joy in the journey,” she opines. Lovewell credits movement with helping her through difficult moments and that moving becomes a part of our healing process, leaving us with a more positive mindset afterward. “Something I’ve always said and still live by to this day is that you have to workout because you love your body—not because you hate it. Just by continuously saying those words to myself, it made me change the way I think about working out. Instead of seeing it as a daunting chore, think of it as a chance to reconnect with your body and giving it the attention and care it deserves. How to accomplish that is different for everyone—a five-minute walk outside or ten minutes of stretching, whatever your version is, dedicate that time to yourself and I guarantee you’ll be glad that you did.”
When she finds herself back on the Vineyard, you will likely find her enjoying the beach. “I love getting a full beach-day in with friends. I’m not much of a 1-2 hour beach day person, if I have the time, I’m more of a 6-8 hours kind of person! I also try to fit in a sail with my Dad on his catboat.” She adds, “There are a lot of things I miss about the Vineyard, like family and friends, but one thing I miss is the unlimited access to the beach. No matter what time of year it is, I find myself always wanting to go when I’m there.”
If you follow her on Instagram you’ll swoon seeing her travels (an amazing trip to Italy, most recently) and her Peloton pals having fun, but what you’ll also see are the regular, everyday things that nourish her and bring her joy. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she tends to a very extensive garden and she shares two cats, Kimchi and Rhody, with her partner, Dave. She loves cooking and home improvement projects. “All of those things allow me to be creative and really just recharge my battery,” she notes.
Reflecting on the defining life experiences growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, she offers this bit of advice, “When you’re young I think it can feel isolating at times, but it is such a special place and provided me with such a unique upbringing that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Really embrace the island and enjoy the time on it. Now, I look back on my childhood and I’m so lucky to have been raised on the island and to this day, I go back and visit my parents and friends as much as I can.”
On her various platforms, and in Live Learn Love Well, Lovewell’s prevailing message is that we should find joy in our small, day-to-day wins; that we are capable of growth through the uncomfortable moments and that the greatest value and benefit truly comes from progress, not perfection.
Find recipes, her latest home and garden projects and travels on livelearnlovewell.com. Her book can also be found there or check with your local independent book seller. Emma Lovewell will be hosting a book event at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown on July 25th and tickets can be purchased at mvconcertseries.com.
Leslie Hatton is the assistant editor at Cape Cod Life Publications.