Peloton's Emma Lovewell Talks Plant-Based Eating And Partnering With Kite Hill – Exclusive Interview

Health and wellness have always been a top priority for Emma Lovewell because she's a lifelong athlete. She started her career as a professional dancer. After that, Emma became a fitness model, a personal trainer, and a full-time fitness instructor. She taught a variety of movement programs including strength training, cycling, and Pilates.

She's since become a full-time Peloton instructor with a massive following. Her classes are regularly attended by thousands of cyclists all over the world. She also runs a wildly popular blog, Live Learn Lovewell, where she writes about movement, beauty, travel, and food. Her own journey to find a way to nourish her body encouraged her to explore and eventually create delicious, healthy recipes, which she frequently posts on her blog. Now, she's partnering with plant-based food brand Kite Hill to create some new recipes that make adding more plant-based foods to your diet super easy.

In this exclusive interview with Health Digest, Emma dishes about being a Peloton instructor and partnering with Kite Hill. Plus, she shares how she incorporates plant-based foods into her daily diet.

Finding Peloton

How did you get started with Peloton?

In 2012, I was hired as a fitness model for a Peloton commercial. I think it was a Peloton Kickstarter campaign. And I did the job, I met John Foley, the CEO, and his wife, and their very small team. They were amazing to work with.

We stayed friends. I went on to teach cycling and Pilates and strength at other places, and then after watching Peloton's success, for four years or so, I reached out to the CEO directly and I said, "Remember me? The girl from the commercial? Just seeing if there are any job opportunities" and he was like, "Yes, come right in" and that's just how I auditioned. That's just how I got into it and met everybody — and that was about four and a half years ago.

What made you decide to become a Peloton instructor?

Yeah, so I was teaching fitness at a bunch of different places and, actually, some of the instructors were friends of mine. So, I knew Cody Rigsby, I knew Jess King, Ally Love, Hannah Corbin. I knew them all from the dance world because we were all dancers together. So, they started before I did. So, I was kind of watching their success and really just got to ask them  — do you like it? Do you like working here? Is this a good opportunity? Are you happy?

So that obviously is very helpful when you can have a friend recommend a place of employment. But, I also just knew I loved teaching [classes]. I loved inspiring people. I loved moving my body to music and knowing that I could, instead of just inspiring 50 people in a room, that I could start teaching to thousands and thousands of people, and now tens of thousands of people at a time, was just really exciting.

But I did start at a time where there were a thousand people in my class, 2,000 — my premier ride was so exciting — and now there are like 5,000 people live in a class, on just a regular day. So, it's changed a lot just knowing that there are hundreds of thousands. We have almost 7 million members now, so it's grown quite a bit since I've started.

The power of Peloton

What makes Peloton different from other types of movement programs?

Well, we offer so many different modalities. We have cycling. We have tread. We have strength. We have meditation. We have yoga. We have dance-cardio. We have Pilates. We have boxing. I probably missed some in there. But we have ... oh, we have barre!

We have so many things for different people to try, so that's really exciting because I think it's really important to find something that you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it, then you're not going to do it. So, I think, try all the different types of modalities, all the different types of classes, and find something that you really like.

What strategies do you use to keep your students engaged and motivated during your classes?

I think about what I would want to hear if I was working out in a room with an instructor. So, I often say the things that I need to hear.

I know when I'm climbing a hill, I don't want somebody to just stand there and yell at me. I want to know that they're working hard too. So, I make sure that I am working hard when I'm climbing and you're climbing and we are climbing together. How I can speak authentically is really just paying attention to what I need in those moments too and then just trying to speak to that.

The playlists are a big deal for the overall feel of the class, right? How did you come up with your playlist?

Creating playlists is one of my favorite parts of the job. I was a professional dancer for a long time. I was a DJ for a little bit. I grew up playing piano for 10 years, so music is a huge part of my life. My dad's a musician. I love music.

I think of playlists as a soundtrack. So, if this is a movie with a beginning, middle, and end, there's a climax, there are some intense parts, there are some recovery parts. I try to make my playlists match the feel of the efforts we are doing or the amount of work you're putting in. It really has become an artform to me of trying to craft the perfect playlist.

What's your favorite thing about being a Peloton instructor?

I love being able to help people, and a lot of people at the same time. The amount of messages that I get, the stories, are really inspiring. They inspire me to be better, to try harder, to dream bigger because I love hearing people who have at one time doubted themselves and their capability, their strength, their power. I love hearing those stories and just seeing people reach new levels within themselves with their confidence, with their strength, all of that.

Partnering with Kite Hill to promote plant-based foods

You've recently partnered with Kite Hill, one of the leading brands for plant-based foods, for their Gateway to Good project. What led to that partnership?

I've been eating Kite Hill for a few years now and I love their products, so when they reached out about this campaign, I knew it just made sense.

A lot of people in the new year are setting new goals for themselves and a popular goal is to add more plant-based foods into their diet. So, we created this campaign to help you and your friends support each other in your new year goals.

Whether your goal is to add more plant-based food into your diet or if it's a fitness goal or a lifestyle goal, we want to see how you are supporting each other. If you post on social media using #GatewayToGood, then we will select a few winners to win a box full of my favorite wellness items along with a year's supply of Kite Hill yogurt. So, we really just want to support you and your friends [in] supporting each other in your goals.

One of the ways you've prioritized your wellness is by incorporating more plant-based foods. What inspired that switch?

I love paying attention to how I feel after I eat and I think that that's very personal for everybody. Everybody has a different story with their body and their diet and their habits, but for me, I just like having the option of having plant-based foods. It makes me feel good internally and know that I'm doing good for the planet when I eat plant-based.

What are some of the benefits you've experienced since adding more plant-based foods into your diet?

I am not dairy-free, but I do notice that eating a lot of dairy can add to inflammation, more phlegm, like if you're sick and you have a runny nose. If I'm sick and I have a runny nose, I will take out dairy because I know that that actually makes it worse. So those are just some small things, but I just feel better if I have plant-based foods.

Plant-based foods and easy recipes

Adding more plant-based items to their regular diet can be intimidating for some people. What tips do you have for getting started?

Start small, and may I suggest the Kite Hill Ravioli because they taste amazing — and you would never know that they're dairy-free. I think it's just being open-minded to trying new things and trying new foods. We are so lucky that we live in an age where we have so many options.

How do you incorporate more plant-based foods into your daily meals and snacks?

Here's a good example of what I eat in the morning: I love a smoothie in the morning with a banana, frozen berries, some Kite Hill yogurt, almond milk, some spinach and blend it all together. It's a great way to get in your vegetables and your plant-based foods and you wouldn't even know.

I think just having the options — so, if you fill your fridge with delicious things that you feel good about eating, then you will reach for it when you open the fridge.

I love having Kite Hill yogurts as a good snack in the fridge, and their spreadable cheeses, those are great options, and so easy to eat as a snack.

What are some easy swaps people can make when they want to add more plant-based foods into their diet?

Kite Hill Yogurt is a really easy swap for regular yogurt. It tastes great — still has that really great, creamy texture. It has live cultures in it so it tastes very similar.

What kind of recipes can folks look forward to from this partnership with Kite Hill?

We have two exciting recipes coming. One is an overnight oats recipe, which is super easy. The second is a little bit out of my comfort zone, maybe a lot of people's comfort zones, but it's a savory grain bowl, a savory yogurt dish. It's exciting and equally delicious!

For the next month, keep an eye out on Kite Hill's website and social media channels for details on the giveaway, delicious plant-based recipes and tips from Emma Lovewell on how to inspire your friends and loved ones to open their Gateway to Good this year!