Lucy Sykes on “Fitness Junkie,” Kicking Ambien, and Backup Dancing

by Kristen Heinzinger

Lucy Sykes Rellie

Lucy Sykes is back with another snarky fictional tell-all, this time taking on the fitness and wellness craze with returning co-author Jo Piazza in “Fitness Junkie.” While celebrating her new book—your ultimate beach-read this summer—at Longchamp Soho, the Brit went unfiltered when talking about her research, the workout she’ll never do, and how she found herself quickly becoming (gasp!) a fitness junkie.

When did the idea for “Fitness Junkie” hit you?
It was a couple of years ago. As I’d walk around New York City, everywhere I went, including school drop-off, breakfast, even lunch, everyone was wearing athleisure, but designer. It was a trend that was taking over. It’s become the new coffee. It was celebrity chefs a few years ago, and now it’s celebrity instructors. All of that together, it kind of crushed me. I thought, why not do a novel?

What kind of fitness junkie are you?
I love Bari Studio and I love Flybarre! I love the music and the community of people there. When you find something you enjoy, that’s half of it. Tracy Anderson—I wish I could dance like her, but I am never going to be a backup dancer and I have to own it.

Is there a workout you absolutely will not do?
Naked Nipple Yoga…forget it! There is no way.

What was it like working with Jo this time around?
She had just moved to San Francisco with her fiancé, and we really wrote the book over email. I would write her when I had an experience, if I been on a trip or on holiday. Then she would write me questions. She is such a brilliant journalist, she could turn it all around and make it fun, but keep the energy and voice.

How many parallels are there between the worlds of your first book “The Knockoff” and “Fitness Junkie”?
So many, it’s bizarre. It’s being called “The Devil Wears Prada” of the wellness world. To be honest, it is. Is there much going on beneath the surface? Not really. You see what you get! [The wellness world] is so dreamy. Gwyneth Paltrow is a dreamy person to me—I can’t believe she’s real!

How many personal anecdotes went into the book?
A lot! I did have the moment where the girl on the beach who was wearing a girl power necklace said to me, ‘Your legs are great, but the rolls…you could really trim those off.’ It was one of those moments where I could have gotten really depressed and sat in my hotel room, or think, Wow, what great inspiration. It went in the book.

How else did you do your research?
I did a lot of Instagramming and I went to a lot of the classes. Lots of my very good friends were already fitness junkies, so I started hanging out more with them. I lost 11 pounds! Three of those were muscle that I put on. In the beginning, I couldn’t lift up one pound, now I lift up three pounds! The coolest thing is I was addicted to Ambien, and I haven’t taken it in six weeks. I was an Ambien junkie, now I’m a melatonin junkie!

Photography: BFA.com

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