Q&A with Julia Malacoff, SHAPE Magazine Senior Fashion Editor
Senior Fashion Editor at SHAPE Magazine, a CrossFit lover, and one of the most stylish gals we know: Julia Malacoff talks to us about her fitness journey, staying organized (and sane), and endless guilty pleasures.
Important questions first: What's your #1 most used emoji?
That’s a tough one because I really love emojis, probably too much. I actually had to ask my boyfriend to tell me which one I use the most, and he said it’s a tie between double hearts (so much love!) and the tongue out emoji, which I use to signify a positive reaction to food (this happens a lot).
Where do you call home?
Right now, Williamsburg, Brooklyn!
Health and fitness are obviously integral parts of your life. Have you always been passionate about them? What first inspired you to get involved in the fitness industry?
I was not athletic as a kid. Really, not even a little bit. I was the picked-last-for-team-sports type and dreaded having to run “the mile” every year in gym class. But I discovered yoga in college as an effective way to deal with stress, and that really was the gateway into the fitness world for me. Once I moved to New York and started working at a magazine, I needed something a little more intense to deal with everyday stress, so I started going to spin classes, pilates, and eventually CrossFit. When I had the opportunity to join SHAPE’s team, I was so excited because it was a chance to blend my two major passions: fashion and fitness.
How would you describe your overall approach to health and fitness, and how did you discover what works best for you?
I try not to be too intense about anything, and also try not to force myself to abstain from things I really want. It’s taken me a really long time to learn that eating healthy most of the time makes me feel better than depriving myself of things I like to eat. I’ve also found that just the act of working out makes me appreciate my body for the awesome things it can do rather than just how it looks.
What health-minded activities do you do outside of working out?
I’m really into meditation, which I know is a “hot” thing right now, but it deserves to be. I usually just use an app on my phone for guided meditations, but sometimes I visit studios like MNDFL for a longer session. It really helps me focus throughout the day and makes a huge impact on how I deal with challenges that come up.
Do you have a favorite workout? How about a workout move that you absolutely despise?
It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite workout because I really like doing pretty much everything (except running, but I try to do that once a week), but right now 305 Fitness is my go-to. I love the fun and positive vibe there, and I always get an amazing workout. I’m totally not a dancer but it’s fun to pretend that I’m good at it once I learn the routines. I’ve also been loving NW Method lately––Nicole is really inspiring and her workout is super fun. The hour literally flies by. I like to complement more cardio-focused workouts like dance with ones that incorporate a lot of weight training, like CrossFit. My least favorite workout move is a barbell thruster. If you don’t know what that is, be thankful.
How do you keep yourself from falling into a workout rut? Any tips or tricks you'd recommend?
I do try to mix it up a lot with different types of workouts so I don’t get bored. One thing I struggle with is getting worn out, so every once in awhile I’ll just take a week off from going to any kind of class. I’ll still try to stay active, but making the decision to take a break makes me feel refreshed and then excited to get back at it the following week.
What are some of your go-to workout tunes?
I don’t care that much about what music I listen to as long as it’s LOUD. If I’m working out on my own I usually use Spotify’s pre-made workout playlists––they’re really good!
We know your industry and job can likely get pretty hectic—how do you stay balanced and organized in your personal life and your work life?
I set reminders in my phone and work calendar, and that pretty much keeps me on track. Starting out as fashion assistant taught me to be EXTREMELY organized, so now it comes naturally, although it definitely didn’t at first. Needing to know where every single clothing sample is in a closet filled with hundreds of them trains you to be seriously on top of your sh*t. Also, handwritten to-do lists are the best. There’s something SO satisfying about physically crossing off all your tasks.
Does this chick know how to accessorize or what?!
We're all human. What's your guilty pleasure?
I’m extra-human because I have so many… Rotting my brain with Netflix, eating mac n’ cheese at Pies n’ Thighs, buying beauty products I don’t need, expensive candles that I also don’t need… I could go on forever.
Who would win in a bar fight: tacos or ice cream?
Ice cream! I’ll always pick dessert.
It's Friday night. Where are you?
Likely out to dinner with my friends, or on the couch recovering from a tough workout. On Fridays at SHAPE we do #shapesquad workouts together, which are so fun because we get the chance to hang out outside the office and also get a new, cool workout in.
You absolutely can’t leave the house without….
What would you say is the most important lesson fitness has taught you?
I’ve gotten a lot more mentally tough since I started working out, especially since starting CrossFit a few years ago. When you hit a PR you never thought you’d get to or do your first pull up, you get a huge confidence boost knowing that you achieved something you weren’t sure you could. I try to apply that determination to other areas of my life, and rather than focusing on the fear I experience when I try to do something that I know will be hard, I focus on the amazing feeling I know I’ll have when I reach my goal. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that it’s good to put yourself in situations where you know you’ll be uncomfortable (within reason, of course), because you’ll come out on the other end stronger, and I think that’s in large part due to my experience with fitness. I know this is so cheesy but I actually truly believe it, so please don’t make fun of me.
Finally, if you had to pick just one... Which is your favorite Terez print?
I’m obsessed with the Marble print. It’s the perfect mix of statement and sophisticated.
Keep up with Julia on Instagram: @jmalacoff.
Photos by Alex Barz: @alexbarz.