Find Your Fitness Tribe With T.Collective

Author: Kristen McCloud / Photos: Carmen Chan
07.02 / MB Series

If you're looking for a way to revamp your workout routine and fitness network, look no further than T.Collective. The innovative workout, designed by Thea Hughes, combines dance and strength training for an exciting workout and a chance to surround yourself with other like-minded women committed to fitness. We chatted with Thea about the process of creating T.Collective and her must-haves for a great workout. Check it out below!

Can you describe T.Collective for those who may not be familiar with it?
T.Collective is part workout and part social club — it combines strength and self-empowerment with a chance to break bread with likeminded women. Since power is equal parts physical and mental, I wanted to design a workout that made you stronger holistically. The natural result was a class where you could let your guard down, have an intense workout, vibe out to good music and be in good company with great women.

T.Collective aims to change the conversation about women in fitness. How so?
It’s about starting a human conversation. Brands struggle to speak to women from a sports and culture perspective because they can’t help but focus on the differences between women and men. It’s something that our society has been doing for decades — designating women to specific roles, and valuing certain “feminine” traits over others. We’re still marginalized and/or sexualized instead of being seen as humans first and foremost. Brand messaging like “I can” or “stretch your limits” are so off base. Of course, I CAN, and what "limits" are you referring to?

T.Collective is my expression of change. By getting a group of women together from all backgrounds, physical abilities, and cultural perspectives to be better in one moment, one day, one workout, and one connection at a time. By supporting one another, by being active voices in the conversation, we can determine what the narrative is.

When and why did you start your fitness journey? What are some struggles you've faced?
I feel like I’m starting every day. That’s the beauty of surrounding yourself with driven, encouraging people  — you never feel like you’ve arrived and so you’re always evolving.

I started T.Collective though because I wanted a type of workout that I couldn’t find. It wasn’t until later that I realized a part of that was the social / energy aspect. At the end of the day I do this because I love it, but always hope that people will love it as much as I do (*hint, hint, come take a class).

What tips do you have for other women struggling with their own physical fitness?
That’s a question of willpower and goal setting. I hear women say “I’m not strong” more often than I’d like to admit. Usually, the “strong" that they’re referring to is a standard that’s been presented to us; a physical representation. If you set out to consistently improve, that’s when the magic happens. Set goals, track your progress, check in with yourself, and celebrate the accomplishments.

"By supporting one another, by being active voices in the conversation, we can determine what the narrative is."

What's your golden rule when it comes to working out?
Show up. Haha

What are your favorite pre/post workout snacks?
If you’re not trying to know all about my digestive system, you can read the next sentence and stop:

Definitely, learn what works, and interests you most, from both a Western (calories, recovery, fat, protein, etc.) and Eastern (energy, mindfulness, breath, etc.) perspective.

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve learned what works best for me considering digestion, workout schedule and type of exercises performed. I usually workout around 6:30 am each day, so I have one glass of lemon water first thing, then one small glass of water with AmazingGrass Green Superfood Energy (sometimes with Vega Energizer depending on the workout). Post workout I have another glass of water, and I prefer not to eat until about midday. To recover and refuel instead, I usually have: a shot of espresso + almond milk + clean protein powder + BCAA (unflavored) mixed.

How about gym bag essentials?
Lifting gloves, mini resistance bands, superbands, a jump rope, Beats Powerbeats headphones, and Balm Dotcom.

Where is the future of T.Collective going? Any plans to expand?
I guess we’ll see. More classes and chopping it up with more women. So long as the conversations are positive and progressive, that’s movement to me!

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
A constant pursuit of supporting, encouraging and collaborating with women.

Who's your MISSBISH?
Myself. I know that’s a bit narcissistic, but, you need to be your own biggest fan, your own best support system, your own therapist, and your own coach because no one is going to do it for you. That, and I make sure to surround myself with women who inspire and fuel my drive. It’s the perfect recipe.

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