Where do you teach?
Carolina Yoga (Mondays at 6 PM) & VIBE5 (Wednesdays at 4:30 PM)

What’s your favorite quote or mantra you can’t live without?
My own personal mantra is “go where the love is.” Many times in life I have found myself pushing too hard for things that, at the end of the day, really weren’t the best for me. Whether it is in my professional life, personal relationships, or yoga teaching, I constantly challenge myself to follow the love, the good vibes, and the excitement. If I do that, I know I am bound to end up surrounded by who and what brings the most light into my life…and who doesn’t want more of that?!

Is there any fitness/health related product or brand you can not live without?
I am an avid fan of Athleta’s leggings. If you see me wearing leggings, I promise you they are from Athleta. The fit is amazing, and I never have to worry about them slipping around or being see-through when I am teaching or taking a class. Their Salutation Capri and Elation Capri are my favorites!

How would you describe your philosophy about being fit and healthy?
As cliché as it sounds, I adamantly believe that being fit and healthy is rooted in balance and persistence. It takes patience and kindness, too. I have been known to go to a 75-minute hot yoga class and get ice cream on the same day! More balance, less deprivation. More persistence, stronger determination. More patience, greater forgiveness. More kindness, less negative self-talk.

Who or what gives you the most inspiration?
I’m inspired by my younger sister – she is my best friend and “person” (shout out to the Grey’s Anatomy fans out there!) and is living out her dream playing “Sylvia” on the “Finding Neverland” musical tour starting in October 2018. I’m inspired by my boyfriend – he is constantly working towards his creative dream and pushing me towards mine. I’m inspired by my yoga community and friends – they provide infinite support and encouragement and a lot of fun along the way. I’ve met people inside of the yoga studio that I know will be lifelong friends.

You’re living your most perfect day- what does this look like?
On my perfect day, I am sleeping in, waking up to waffles and coffee, spending time with my loved ones, taking a yoga class, being outdoors, reading a good book, baking cookies or some other sweet treat, and petting as many dogs as possible.

Now what’s your actual typical day look like?
My typical day is rather uneventful! I’m attempting to get up and going around 6:45 AM (I’m the worst at getting myself out of bed in the mornings), off to my full-time job by 8:15 AM, working until roughly 5 PM and then I’m either off to teach yoga or taking a fitness class or going for a run. Then it’s shower, dinner, and some downtime before bed. I make it a priority to try and spend time with friends during the week, as well as give myself time to prep and work on my sequences and/or playlists for classes. Rinse and repeat!

What makes you laugh, smile, and be joyful?
I’m at my happiest when I am with others who I’m comfortable enough to be silly with. Letting that guard down and having them play along with me brings out my favorite version of myself.

What do you love about SweatNET?
SweatNET is a community of unique individuals all working towards a common goal – organic human connection through fitness and healthy living. Going to exercise classes can be extremely expensive, but SweatNET is making amazing strides to give its members great discounts on classes and food. I love that this is a multi-tier platform that allows people within Charlotte to connect at a level of their choosing and still walk away with amazing resources and information, which is breaking down barriers on what can be an intimidating first step towards health and wellness.

Where can everyone expect to see you? Gym / Studio / Park? How do they connect with you?
You can find me at most any yoga studio in the Charlotte area. I’m all about a hot power flow class! I supplement my yoga with running (not very well, but, we are working on it) as well as cycle classes at CycleBar Midtown. Connect with me in a class and say hi or find me on Instagram (@_ruth_gibbs_! I love meeting new people and having deep philosophical conversations over coffee.

What pitfalls, mistakes, or fads would you advise to newbies starting out in fitness to avoid?
One pitfall/mistake that I witness quite often is when people use fitness as a reward or a punishment. They go for a run BECAUSE OF the doughnuts they ate yesterday, or on the other end, they eat doughnuts BECAUSE THEY WENT for a run. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not 100% void of doing this myself and know it’s a horrible mindset to have when I do! Fitness or working out should be something that you do completely void of any reason other than to keep your current and future body healthy and strong. When you start manipulating the motivation to be driven by something external to your honest desire for health, it is bound to come back to bite you and will most likely fail.

Besides your regular workout, what kicks your ass the hardest when you do it?
Although I’m trying hard to make it a regular workout, running is really kicking my ass lately. I can come up with a million excuses external to myself as to why I’m not good at it or enjoy it, but, running is a real challenge for me. With running I feel both mentally and physically out of my element. It has never been a workout of choice, and I get antsy in my body very quickly. My mind starts racing with some severe negative self-talk rather quickly, too. I’m currently trying to apply some yoga philosophy to my running, and allow my body to fluctuate in its daily capacity. Hopefully soon I can actually say “oh yeah, running is ok”, which is step up from what I have to say about it now, believe me!

Do you ever feel like quitting or lose your motivation? What do you do to fix it?
I lose my motivation and feel like quitting between 1 and 100 times a week. The smallest, silliest things can start the voices in my head telling me it should give up. Being healthy and active is one thing, but then add being an instructor on top of that? There are a million reasons I could convince myself to walk away from it all. Even though it is ridiculously easy to lose focus, I find it just as easy to find a reason to lift myself up and rein it back in. There are so many people around me that give me motivation. My family, friends, and boyfriend always have my back. I also am my own reason to keep going; I’ve made such amazing strides within my own fitness journey, and I’ve reached milestones and had achievements I never thought I would be able to. The best motivation for me is to prove the voices in my head wrong…and everyone loves a good revenge story.

What is ANYTHING that everyone should try at least once?
Bake a cake from complete, 100% scratch. No boxes and nothing pre-made, even the icing. Talk about a test of patience!

Give us a non-traditional fitness tip.
If you want to get started, just get up and move. The first steps do not have to be big, grand fitness gestures. So many people I know get caught up in their heads thinking that if it’s not a 5K run or an intense cycle class, it doesn’t count. Go on a walk during lunch. Grab a bike and take a nice long ride after dinner. Find a 20-minute cardio workout video that you can do before you hop in the shower. Any and all movement counts when you are starting out!

What is your biggest vice?
My biggest vice is absolutely peanut butter. I eat way too much of it and put it on everything…or I dig a spoon into the jar and have at it.

What is your spirit animal and why?
My spirit animal would have to be a wolf! They are deeply connected with their intuition and instincts, make deep emotional attachments, and have a strong sense of loyalty.

Photos by Ben Wittbrodt