Meet Rachael Kester, Blogger behind the Sweat and Repeat and the wildly popular Instagram page SweatandRepeatLA.
Sweat and Repeat is the go to for all your fitness class reviews, food and fun in Los Angeles. I found Rachael on Instagram and have followed her sweat it out around Los Angeles and after Instagram stalking her for far too long, was fortunate to grab a seat at one of her meet and greet events. She hosted an awesomely delicious meal at sweetgreen with a group of followers and what I appreciate most is Rachael's natural ability to make you feel comfortable and instantly put you at ease. As someone who can be somewhat socially awkward that is a characteristic I admire.
Rachael is sharing her BEHIND the BRAND story of how unanswered questions led to the creation of Sweat and Repeat, brand partnerships, events and more!
Name & Role
Blogger behind Sweat and Repeat
What is Sweat and Repeat and what inspired you to start your blog?
Sweat and Repeat is a blog that gives honest reviews about fitness studios and events throughout Los Angeles. I started it after attending my first Flywheel class. I remember researching the studio online and reading all of the Yelp comments. Would there be water available? Did they have shoes for rent? What was the parking situation? I wanted one place where I could get all this information, so I created it!
What's typical day like for you at Sweat and Repeat?
I have a full time job in nonprofit so keeping up with Sweat and Repeat can be exhausting! After work I head straight to a fitness class. Once class is over, I immediately jot down notes about the studio, instructor, and how it went so I can later sit in front of my computer and type it all out. I’m always snapping pics after each workout, hike, and meal to make sure I can keep up with my Instagram account. Most of my pictures are taken seconds before they are posted so I’m constantly coming up with captions and good hashtags in my head so I can be ready!
How have you managed to grow Sweat and Repeat while having a full-time job?
It definitely requires a lot of late nights and weekend work. I post on my blog twice a week and if I’m feeling inspired that week I’ll occasionally reach out to a friend who has a fitness related story to tell. These posts go beyond the simple studio reviews are always fun for readers. Having a full time job sometimes hinders me from attending fun events around LA because many of them are during the workday, but I love my full time job and can’t see myself leaving even if blogging became something that I made money from. It’s also nice knowing that I don’t have to try to live off of blogging because I have a salary coming in.
What's your biggest success thus far?
Without a doubt my biggest success has been hosting my first Sweat and Repeat event to celebrate one year of blogging. I had companies like sweetgreen, Fitspot, ClassPass, Carbon38, FalaBar, Wtrmln Wtr, and Renew Juicery supply product as me and 25 fitfriends worked out on the gorgeous rooftop at SpeedplayLA. It was a blast to finally meet Sweat and Repeat supporters in real life and was the impetus for many events that have happened since at places like LIT Method, AIR, and SoulCycle. You can read about the event here: http://sweatandrepeat.com/2015/10/15/sweat-and-repeat-turns-one/
Conversely, your biggest failure?
I honestly started this journey without a clue as to what it was going to bring. For that reason, I don’t think I’ve had any failures! The only thing I can think of is that I have terrible facial recognition and sometimes can’t immediately recognize people who have been at my events. I swear I’m not trying to be rude—I want to say hello but my brain just forgets faces easily!!
Top three things you wish you knew when you first started
Faces make for better pictures. I used to post a lot of pictures of the studio but I now realize that people would much rather see a picture of me doing an exercise than a boring still of weights or the barre at a different angle.
You don’t have to say yes to free products every single time. I have a bag of stuff at home overflowing with free stuff. I used to say yes to everything. For example, someone asked to send me tea and I said yes…I HATE tea! And then, of course, they’re looking for a post about it or want info about how I liked it but it hasn’t moved from my living room floor. If you aren’t interested, say no!
Have a blogging schedule and stick to it. People want to know when to expect content from you. When I first started, I posted every single day. Writing quickly became a stress instead of bringing me happiness. I decided to post every single Tuesday and Thursday, which gives me plenty of time to plan my posts.
Top three tools/apps/technology you can't live without
Instagram—I’ve built my brand through Instagram and love posting pictures of myself working out. It’s also how I invite people to events and plan meet ups! I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and I love seeing how my style has evolved throughout my year and a half of experience.
Snapseed—Unfortunately I only discovered this app a few weeks ago! I used to only use the editing tools provided by Instagram but I love that Snapseed lets you change the exposure and saturation by using a brush on small parts of the picture. When I do flat lay pictures, the left hand side is always darker. This app let’s me lighten one side without touching the other.
Starbucks—I’m a sucker for coffee and basically live off of their iced lattes and oatmeal. I’s also obsessed with the reward program and love getting free drinks.
Who's your professional crush & why?
I look up to Payal Kadakia, founder of ClassPass, because she’s the ultimate girlboss. She built up a company that gives us all access to so many fitness classes for a reasonable price. Because of ClassPass, I was able to start my blog and meet so many friends along the way.
You started out as ClassPass Ambassador, what advice would you give to aspiring bloggers looking to get involved with an ambassador role?
Companies are looking for people who naturally use and talk about their brand. For example, the ClassPass Ambassador program didn’t even exist when I was using the hashtag on all of my posts and convincing all of my friends to join. When they developed the program, they looked for people who were already their biggest cheerleaders and reached out to see if I was interested in joining. I think it’s always best to genuinely love a company before working with them.
Sweat and Repeat has had great success in the past, so what can we expect for the rest of 2016?
I have some exciting partnerships in the works that I can’t really reveal yet but you can expect more Sweat and Repeat events around Los Angeles. I absolutely love bringing the fitness community together for fun workouts (that hopefully end with wine and/or free food) and I want to keep creating these experiences. Keep an eye out on my Instagram where I always post the invitations! Be quick though, they all fill up within an hour!
Extra credit: Who or what inspires you?
Definitely all of the people I interact with every day via social media. Although I’m pretty addicted to working out, sometimes I need some motivation. Using Instagram as a place to stay accountable to my fitness goals inspires me even when I want to sit on the couch to watch TV.
Are you a ClassPass or boutique class lover? Share in the comments below!