This dynamic mother and daughter duo has taken the fitness world by storm with their business, Hilliard Studio Method, and they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon! We were lucky enough to sit down and get the inside scoop on what a typical day looks like for Liz Hilliard and Clary Hilliard Gray, as well as how they stay motivated, what they allow themselves to splurge on and their best pieces of advice for fitness class beginners. We’re excited to introduce you to Liz and Clary, today’s FACES of Charlotte!
Tell us how Hilliard Studio Method got started.
Liz: The Method began in 2007 when Clary came to me looking to get in the best shape of her life for her wedding. Taking the challenge to heart, I used my previous Pilates training, science-based research and relentless trial and error to develop a workout that heeded amazing results for both of us. We began teaching The Method to group classes, I in Charlotte and Clary in Cambridge, Massachusetts, eager to see if the results would work on other women. After realizing that the physical results were unequivocal, and once Clary moved back to Charlotte, it was a no-brainer to begin the process of opening our own studio.
Walk us through what a typical day looks like for each of you.
Clary: Each morning starts early, fast and furiously getting the kiddos fed and out the door, and me off to the studio to take and teach class. I love spending my mornings at the studio interacting with clients and getting their feedback on that day’s class.
Liz: In the early morning I love to catch up on last night’s news while I drink my tea and smoothie before heading into the studio. The morning in the studio is loud, with the buzz of clients coming in and out and our bumping music. We love providing a very nurturing, open, social and welcoming atmosphere where clients can become friends and people feel comfortable to ask questions of us and our other amazing trainers. After we close for the afternoon we usually work with our executive team on the behind-the-scenes work — marketing, new workout moves, growth, events and more. If we aren’t off to a book signing or philanthropy event in the evenings, then it is usually just a quiet night at home with our husbands and the kids, which we cherish.
We’ve got to ask — what does a typical day of food consist of?
Clary: We always start our days off with a nutrient- and protein-filled breakfast of our HSM Signature Smoothie, which contains 27g of protein and 7 servings of greens and Vitamin C. Pairing the smoothie with a piece of fruit and matcha tea gets us ready for our day.
Lunch usually consists of a few big snacks ranging from a kombucha and a Think Thin bar from the studio to a lentil and kale salad.
What’s the biggest message you want clients to take away from HSM?
Liz: Be powerful! We want everyone who walks into the studio to realize that is takes power to make fitness and health a priority. It takes power to push your body to the place where it will change. It takes power to embrace your authentic self. That power already exists within each of us, but we are here to remind you that it is already there.
Liz, you recently published a book. Tell us how you made the decision to put Be Powerful into words.
Liz: Most of the book has been written for years. It has been written in the words I say during classes, in the lessons I have taught my daughter and my grandkids, and in the stories and conversations I have shared with our clients.
To be able to finally put it down into words on paper was a dream come true. With the growth and recognition of Hilliard Studio Method, I really wanted people all over the world to be able to read our story and be able to connect with the workout on a deeper level. In the studio we are able to interact with our clients daily, but the book allows us to connect with people anywhere and to help them realize the true mind-body connection and message behind The Method.
What positive impacts have you seen HSM have on clients?
Clary: The physical changes we see in our clients when they begin to regularly workout in the studio are always so amazing! However, the ones that still give us chills are when a client tells us about how class gave them the power to walk away from a bad relationship, how it made their pregnancy (and getting that post-baby body back) so much easier than past pregnancies, how their bone density scores have drastically improved, how they were able to change their unhealthy relationship with food into one that was healthy, yet manageable day to day, and most of all how The Method has not just changed their body, but also their mind. We never stop getting goosebumps when we hear these stories from our clients!
What’s the best thing someone can do for her body?
Liz: The best thing someone can do is to fuel her body properly with real food and to move every single day.
Any tricks to stay motivated?
Clary: Find a partner who has a passion as strong as yours! I have been working with my mom since I was a little girl, helping her at modeling shoots and fashion shows. Working together now is a dream and we believe our shared passion for this workout and sharing it with others is what has made Hilliard Studio Method so successful.
There are hard days where we may doubt ourselves or even the business, but in our relationship, we both feel independent and are incredibly respectful of each other. This allows us to bring our different strengths to the table and support each other in our weaknesses, pushing the business forward. Finding this partner can apply to your own business or even to just to your workout buddy — having someone else to keep you accountable and be a positive light can get you through almost anything.
Any advice for someone who may be anxious about starting a fitness class?
Clary: We would channel our inner Nike and tell them to just do it! We have clients ranging in age from 15 to 75, from those who have never worked out in their lives to Olympic swimmers and everything in between. Everyone already has this power in them, we are just here to prove it to you.
Liz: We would also tell them to take it at their own pace and level. In our Charlotte studio and on our online subscription service, we offer beginner and essential workouts that introduce new clients to The Method to get them started. Every class includes modifications for the tougher moves, however many clients are surprised as how quickly they are able to ditch the modifications once they are regularly coming to class or doing the videos.
What’s one meal you allow yourself to splurge on?
Liz: At the end of the day we love to unwind with a glass (or two) of red wine and fresh-popped popcorn. We live out the mantra of joie de vivre and believe that you need to enjoy life, laughter and good food, treating yourself to flavorful food that also nourishes your body.
Best piece of advice?
Clary: Take care of yourself first and the rest will fall into place.
Favorite beauty product?
Liz: Tazerac and sunscreen
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
Both in agreement: Travel, working out and great conversation with a glass of wine. (Clary also adds getting plenty of sleep!)
Thank you to Liz and Clary for taking the time out of their busy schedules to speak with us and give us a peek inside their lives.
Click here to see a Hilliard Studio Method class schedule. Also thank you to Piper Warlick of Piper Warlick Photography for the beautiful pictures.
Read about more inspiring women in Charlotte — check out our FACES archives here.