Our ongoing battle against one of the deadliest pandemics the world has ever known has caused a ripple effect in countless creative communities the world over. With that said, more and more individuals within these larger social groups are tapping into alternate realms as a way to satisfy other artistic curiosities; Layla Luciano being one such individual. With over 20 years of martial arts training under her belt (that’s black in case you were wondering), Layla has thrived as one of NYC’s most in-demand personal trainers, however, is constantly fleshing out ways to expand upon her creative footprint. “In quarantine, I also started studying holistic health and herbalism in order to learn how to heal myself and others,” Layla explains to us. This new chapter has brought on a more comprehensive approach to healing and has taught her a valuable lesson on striking a balance between mental and emotional, social and spiritual.
Recognize her yet? Layla’s laundry list of accomplishments—while primarily active in the fitness space—does go on to include a stint on Bravo’s Work Out New York. The premise of the show revolved around a group of fitness professionals who at times waged war on each other in efforts to land some of the city’s top clients. Layla’s reality, in many ways, mirrors her time on Work Out New York, although in a far more public manner than what she is accustom to. From the very moment Layla Luciano threw her hat into the Big Apple’s highly-competitive fitness scene, her stock was destined for greatness; evidenced primarily through her commitments at such high-profile institutions like Barry’s Bootcamp and SLT.
Layla Luciano has proven adept at utilizing her natural gifts to inform a style of teaching that resonates within her client community. Throughout the various pitstops along the way—think Barry’s Bootcamp, SLT, Lifetime Athletic and The Sweat Shed—the gifted athlete formalized specific programs that addressed the respective needs of varying body types. Along with then partner and fellow Work Out New York alum, Jay Centeno, Layla opened up her very own studio named PACT PARK. A hybridized mix that combines elements of boxing with MMA strike training, PACTPACT—Proprioceptive Aerobic Cross Training—set a keen focus on mobility, balance, control and coordination, using body weight to maximize form, speed and power.
Strength training has long remained a fabric of Layla’s foundational DNA; even prior to ever lacing up her sneakers as a top tier fitness instructor. Dating as far back as the tender age of 12, she prioritized helping others through the simple act of teaching. “I was always an active kid and have always felt like I could express myself best through movement. I also loved to teach as a kid. When I’d do my homework I would have all of my stuffed animals listen to me as I wrote on a whiteboard. I also started co-teaching karate classes when I was 12. In college I was student teaching during a two year college teaching program at New York City elementary schools. A hiring freeze made it impossible to find a teaching job, so I began creating and teaching karate, fitness, and Latin dance curriculum at summer school and after school programs. When I started to see a few fitness studios pop up in my neighborhood, it was my time to shine!”
At the end of the day, Layla’s main mission is to help individuals reach their desired fitness goals in a way that best makes sense for them. Depending on the specific needs of the individual and/or group, the star trainer is accustom to building specific routines that can be followed in an easy, streamlined manner. “Knowing that I am helping people to be able to feel better through the benefits of exercise; I love when my clients they tell me that they feel better physically and mentally. When a client tells me ‘I have more mobility now at 45 than I ever have had’ or ‘Wow Layla, my stomach is so toned, it’s completely flat!’ or ‘I feel stronger than ever’ or any other win they achieve for themselves,” Layla explains when asked about what drives her to do what she does. Never one to rest on her laurels, she is continuously pushing the boundaries of health and fitness beyond what most others deem conventional. “I’m working on a fitness app with programs and workouts that you can do at home mid-May. I’ll also be hosting outdoor classes in NYC in May,” she adds in reference to what she is working on next.
Layla’s journey from a young martial arts prodigy to one of New York’s most eclectic fitness trainers is embodied through the her new capsule collection. My “Legendary Soul” capsule collection grew out of a need for a more balanced approach to my training and my lifestyle. After an injury, I realized I needed to focus on not just getting my strength back but improving my movement quality. I created an at home strength and mobility program for myself to get my legs back to their strength and increase my flexibility and range of motion,” she explains. As far as artistic influence is concerned, the trainer’s new holistic approach to healing can be viewed at as the collection’s core design tenet. “The colors and designs are inspired by herbs, flowers and nature. This is contrasted with some elements of bold and strong through the fonts and/or patterns,” Layla claims, adding “Inspiration is always around you, you may just have to look at things differently. Recently I’ve been drawing my inspiration from nature (looking deeper into nature has even led me to studying herbal and completing a 4 month training in herbal medicine).”
Be sure to drop by store.urbancoolab.com to shop the Layla Luciano x urbancoolab “Legendary Soul” capsule collection.