Everything’s Bigger in Texas

Erin O’Leary Stewart is a Texan sweetheart, a total foodie, dancer and fitness fanatic. Stewart opens up her kitchen to Page 38 and talks with us about her studio, future plans and life in Houston.

Why and when did you enter the fitness industry?

Dance and movement have always been my passion. I started teaching dance classes in high school and after receiving my BFA in dance performance and moving to New York to pursue my career, I continued to find teaching jobs to make ends meet. Starting with a dance fitness class that I created, Pilates, and then at Physique 57. It was a natural progression for me from the dance performance world to the fitness world. The studio has always been my home away from home. We were all dancers in the industry in New York. You can never stop learning about the body and the mind so after years of studies and personal experience in movement I wanted to teach others. 

Tell us more about Define, Define Foods and life in Houston.

Was founded by my business partner, Henry Richardson, in 2009. I came across his studio while still living in New York, immediately took a liking to his creation and joined the team about two years ago upon moving to Houston. We offer three core classes: DEFINE body is a perfect balance of strength, length and flexibility, combining elements of yoga, Pilates and core strengthening at the ballet barre. DEFINE revolution is our take on indoor cycling. It is a 45-minute rhythm-based ride with elements from our body class making it a full body workout. Our DEFINE mind class focuses on gaining flexibility, muscle relaxation and calming the mind using rolling techniques and a weighted ball. All three classes are great compliments to one another. Clients do take back-to-back body/rev/mind to feel completely rejuvenated and fully balanced.

DEFINE Foods is food education program where we offer engaging instruction and food demonstration with a focus on the preparation of delicious sustainable, and seasonal food. Our message is about nourishment for your needs. Finding your balanced nutrition through natural, whole foods is personal. It’s a progressive way of thinking about the fad diet and fitness routines. Instead we educate about a grounded lifestyle by teaching how to cook with beneficial ingredients that are essential to truly being your best self, mentally and physically.

Life in Houston has been pleasantly surprising! There is so much opportunity and growth here, a lot is happening right now in the city as a whole. There is so much diversity and culture it truly shows in the restaurant and art scenes. Being a part of Houston during this growth period has been a cool experience and I know it is only getting better.

Can you share another health trend you’re excited about or one that you’d like to see happen?

Well Brussel sprouts have definitely made their comeback going mainstream as the new kale right now! They’re on every menu whether Asian inspired fried with miso and shiso or Italian-stalian shaved raw with hazelnut and pecorino. Farm-to-table local and seasonal cuisine is only going to get bigger. I hope to see less diets, like Paleo, and more of a simple focus on nourishment and whole foods. Yes, it’s ok to eat grains! Juice cleanses will be hot for a while and sustainable movement, like our non-impact classes at DEFINE, are not going anywhere. 

Can you list some rituals that get you through the day?

I am a big juicer. A green juice a day keeps you alkaline. I always end my day with a piece of dark chocolate and ginger tea. Calming before you hit the hay.

What’s your signature look?

Simple layers, neutrals, black with a pop of color. I am inspired by effortless chic with a bit of edge. Form-fitting and elegant, Lorna Jane is comfortable and the lines are flattering on every body type.

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