It’s a true pleasure when we get to interview friends. I’ve known Traci Copeland since we ran track together at Georgetown and I can truly say, she’s an inspiration both on and off the track. Traci is a fitness multi-hyphenate, Nike Master Trainer, and specializes in a cross section of disciplines including dance, yoga, running, HIIT, as well as personal and group training. It’s that eclectic mix that keeps us on our toes and motivated to jump, jog, and jam-out with her. Naturally, her personal style is inimitable, and she always manages to look cool even whilst doing hardcore things like complex choreo, never-ending planks, and gravity-defying handstands.
Things are a little different right now, we’re in an unprecedented time…how have you shifted your work as a trainer to accommodate this new normal?
There was moment when I was scared and worried—and I kind of still am. Luckily, I have a small group of clients that didn’t miss a beat. They wanted to continue training via Zoom. It felt great because I was able to keep a routine. It also felt weird teaching dance, yoga and HIIT classes in my living room. I also would do separate classes with friends just so I could see them or spend time with them. But keeping a schedule helped with creating some sense of a routine.
You have such a unique path and career trajectory. Can you tell us about how you got from A to Y(oga)?
A to Yoga / A to Training actually…I sort of fell into it. I met Tara Stiles when I was at a casting for a fitness modeling project. She taught yoga and I tried her Vinyasa class and loved it. I kept doing it like it was my religion. I chose to get certified through Strala Yoga and later group training, personal training, USA Track & Field Level 1 Run / Coaching, and I also started teaching dance. Before fitness, I was a hip hop/street jazz dancer dancing for artists like Jay Z (on tour), Beyoncé, Black-Eyed Peas, Music Soul Child, Wayne Wonder…etc. So my love and passion for dance has always been there. My love for movement has always been there as well.
We love how multi-disciplinary your approach to fitness is, running, yoga, dance…etc. How do you balance and integrate all of these things for yourself and your students / clients to keep them motivated and their bodies responding to the work?
I think of it as holistic training. I train people the way I want to be trained. Personally, I want to feel strong, be flexible, have a great level of endurance, be able to dance—basically I want working out to be fun. And I think people respond when they see that I’m having fun as well.
What are some of your go to fitness accessories and must haves for your workouts?
Depending on the workout, I’m typically always in big hoop earrings, a nameplate necklace, and most likely an Apple Watch. And if I’m running outside, typically I wear a red bandana around my head to keep my hair from getting in my face. And if I’m running outside in NYC, then I will wear an African print mask since it’s necessary for NYC.
We know that you just joined one of our favorite apps, The Sculpt Society, to teach yoga. How did that partnership come about?
I’ve known Megan (Roup) for 3-4 years. We used to teach at Project by Equinox together. I was teaching a dance choreography class and she was teaching her signature Sculpt Society class. She launched her workout app 6 months ago and was looking to add yoga to the mix. She reached out and asked me to teach, so we figured out a way to make it work during the pandemic in NYC.
What is your one piece of advice for all of us working out at home these days?
Try to keep a routine as much as possible. Stay on top of your weekly workouts, zoom happy hours, clean eating, and self-care.
Use this time to take a step back and prioritize what you want for your life. This pandemic will reveal relationships you want keep, and those you may not. It’s an isolating and strange time in the world, and we are all affected by it, we just have to find ways to continue and grow.
What are some of your daily particulars that you always put on (jewelry, accessories…etc.)?
Gold hoop earrings, nameplate Traci necklace, “T” Diamond Necklace from a client, and my favorite diamond band ring I bought in New Orleans
With summer on the horizon, what’s next for you?
What’s next is continuing to find ways to motivate/inspire people to move during this time. It will be a while before gyms open, etc. so I just want to be able to continue to work, grow, and challenge myself and I want my clients to do the same.