Confession: I dread the gym. Although I love the feeling I get after a great workout, something about repeating the same boring exercises over and over while surrounded by sweaty men just doesn’t do it for me. For this reason, I’m always on the lookout for alternative ways to get off the couch and feel good about my body. For a while I was a fairly competent jogger, but pounding the pavement can get old pretty quickly- and it can be tough on your body, especially in the summer heat. As a result, I’ve fallen into the trap of skipping out on exercise altogether. But after talking to Danielle Cuccio, the LA-based founder of health and fitness company Cuccio Somatology, I’m feeling inspired to quit whining and sign up for a yoga class (my first one in years, admittedly). After all, if Danielle can run a business, teach, blog, and maintain her own healthy lifestyle- what’s my excuse?

Check out Danielle’s story, as well as her thoughts on wellness, self-promotion, eating healthy food on a budget, and much more!

 

Danielle 1

Photo Credit: Carolina Tumpal

ANON: What inspired you to enter your field? Were there any obstacles you faced along the way that made you doubt your choice?

Danielle Cuccio: My parents are in the beauty industry, and I naturally always said I’d go into the family business. I took an interest in skin care when I experienced hormonal acne in high school. I remember not wanting to go to school because I didn’t want to show my face! What an awful feeling! I wanted to help people achieve beautiful skin and to feel good about themselves overall. I graduated from UCLA and went straight to beauty school to get my Esthetician License. I worked as an Esthetician for about a year until I found that beautiful skin wasn’t the result of a quick fix but something much deeper. My clients’ diets, sleep patterns, exercise routines, and daily thoughts all had to do with their overall beauty and health.

I danced my entire life and was becoming a Yoga Booty Ballet instructor while working as an Esthetician. I had to take a certain amount of yoga classes in order to become certified. I hated yoga… however, something happened right around my third or fourth class. It felt good. Really good. I loved how I felt overall after a class. I was relaxed, I felt like I got my workout in, and I felt more in tune with my body and my emotions. Everyone in my yoga classes seemed to be so nice, eating healthy, had beautiful skin… it was obvious that yoga played a role in this!

So naturally, I became a yoga instructor. I automatically started teaching twice a week, then before I knew it, I was teaching five days a week with 10 private clients. I would drive to my clients’ homes, meet them at a park, or have them come to my private studio. My clients were achieving something much greater than my facial clients were. They were happier, healthier, calmer, and more at peace after a session…Quite priceless if you ask me!

This was the answer to beautiful skin. This was my passion. I started Cuccio Somatology. Somatology being the study of the body and assisting others in a healthy lifestyle through yoga, nutrition, and overall health tips. I love my job every day and when I look back at my journey, know it’s where I’m meant to be. I am reminded after every single yoga class or session as well, my clients thank me with a big smile and that means everything to me.

 

A: You used your blog, The Beauty Blender, to make a name for yourself in your industry. How did you promote and grow your blog in the early stages?

DC: The Beauty Blender started as a place for me just to write down any product, food, or workout I was researching. I always had something new on my mind, so I thought – a BLOG! I then started getting friends, family, and people I didn’t even know start messaging me, asking me questions, and relying on me to answer their health, nutrition, and beauty questions. That’s when I knew I couldn’t stop! I started cross promoting with blogger friends and companies I took interest in. I also continued to think about what I was interested in – thinking that others would be interested too. And they were!

 

A: How do you find the time to both run your own business and maintain your personal health and wellness? And what motivates you to stick to a fitness regimen and healthy diet?

DC: It’s definitely difficult at times, but I always make time for it all! Any time I can squeeze in to write a blog post in between clients, classes, and meetings, I am writing away! I try to blog almost every day to stay close with my readers, but there are definitely some days I think I don’t have the time! I definitely have a lot going on, but it’s during those times, when I need to maintain my personal health and wellness even more. Any time I feel like I’m in the middle of a crazy hectic week, I make sure to meditate. Meditation has done wonders for my busy life…It brings me to a much calmer, clearer, and happier place amidst it all.

I am very in tune with my body, so whenever I eat something heavier or go too long without a workout or moving my body, I feel it! I instantly make time to find a class to attend or roll out my yoga mat at home to get in my practice. I always feel so much better, and that’s what keeps me coming back for more…No matter what I have going on… My dogs also love when I practice from home. My Instagram (@daniellecuccio) has a bunch of my at home yoga practice clips on it! My dogs are ridiculous! Haha.

 

Danielle 3

Photo Credit: Carolina Tumpal

A: Any guilty food pleasures? :)

DC: YES! Ice cream!!! If you read my blog, you will see my many ice cream adventures to Sweet Rose Creamery, my favorite ice cream shop in LA!

 

A: In both work and life, what inspires you?

DC: Music is huge! I make a new playlist for almost every single yoga class I teach. Depending on my mood that day, my music will depict that. I also love inspirational quotes. They drive me on days I need a push or a little more inspiration to get going. I love Tut.com for inspirational quotes that are sent to me every morning via e-mail.

 

A: When we work out we’re often just concerned with looking good in a bathing suit or working off a big meal- not cultivating overall well-being. Why is it important to take a holistic approach to fitness?

DC: It’s important to cultivate overall well-being because yes, you can look fab in a bathing suit, but it doesn’t matter what others think if you don’t feel it on the inside. You have to feel healthy, vibrant, energetic, beautiful, and vibrant from the inside, and that will radiate no matter what. Our food, sleep patterns, thoughts, exercise routine all play into this, and it has to be kept up with consistently… every single day (with a few cheats here and there!).

 

A: People in Los Angeles, where you’re based, have a reputation for being very concerned with health, fitness, and spirituality. Do you feel like the community you’re based in has affected your interests and the growth of your business? Would you ever consider setting up shop elsewhere?

DC: Having being born and raised here in LA, I definitely think I was influenced, but I do think that I would be doing this if I lived anywhere else. I don’t know what else I would do! The beauty about my job is that I can have clients in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Vermont… Really anywhere! I love that my job has no limits, but yes, LA is perfect for it.

 

Danielle 2

Photo Credit: Brandon Hunt

A: Many of our readers are students who aren’t in a position to spend a lot of money on health and fitness. Do you have any suggestions for maintaining a healthy lifestyle on a budget?

DC: While starting my business, I was just blogging and sometimes making $12 per facial while working as an Esthetician, so I understand how workouts and fitness classes could seem very expensive! I mean, with today’s SoulCycle classes being $30 each – I hear you!

I always looked for the community yoga classes at $10 per class. I also would go to Trader Joe’s and local farmer’s markets to get my week of groceries. MEAL PLAN! Plan your meals beforehand and maybe invite a friend over for dinner instead of going out. It’s much cheaper! Apple Cider Vinegar has been a big one for me, and I think it only costs $8 for the larger sized bottle.

 

A: Any other info you want to share?

DC: I am currently working on my e-book, and a huge part of my book is living a healthy balanced life…. ICE CREAM INCLUDED! :) I also just released my first yoga DVD for those of you not in LA! This year should be a good year as I start to expand my brand, Cuccio Somatology, to skincare, supplements, and other yoga and health related products!

 

More information about Danielle and Cuccio Somatology can be found on her website. You can also check out her blog, The Beauty Blender.