Meet Ariane Hundt…
Clinical nutritionist, entrepreneur, athlete, avid sea-swimmer, mother, wife, fitness expert and coach; Ariane is an ocean full of knowledge and someone we’ve been looking forward to talking to for a while.
We spoke about everything from her journey in the fitness industry to what sparked a love for cold water swimming, which will hopefully give some of you looking to start dipping the motivation to do so - and for those who already do, the nod to your own journey with cold water euphoria.
For 20 years you’ve been working in the fitness and nutrition industry - how did you find yourself on this journey?
From early on I was fascinated by the mind-body connection. I studied hypnosis at the age of 12, read self-help books as teenager and spent years studying for degrees in nutrition and psychology. I was always curious about the many ways in which we can optimise our health, performance and mind.
I started working as a trainer part-time in my 20s. At the age of 30 I decided to quit my corporate pharmaceutical job to start my own training business in New York, a workout called ‘Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp’. As the name says, it was a super intense HIIT workout on the Brooklyn Bridge. It took off like a wildfire and was featured by media outlets worldwide. I was lucky enough to run that business for 10 years.
Over the years my work evolved from teaching fitness classes to consulting with clients one-on-one and offering online fitness and nutrition transformation programs, as well as teaching corporate workshops and leading fitness retreats in tropical locations.
What do you love most about the work you do?
What I love most about my work is seeing people go from out of shape, depressed, unhealthy and hopeless to taking charge of their lives, feeling inspired to pursue their goals, improve their relationships and become better versions of themselves by the power of self care. It sounds so cliche’, but I’ve seen mind-blowing transformations that would leave anyone speechless and endlessly inspired. And, it all just started with one small consistent change.
How did your journey with cold water swimming begin and what does it look like now?
I’m no a stranger to cold water, having done many triathlons, but swimming in cold water just for the sake of being uncomfortable is a new thing!
I try to go for a dip on Portmarnock Beach twice a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. My dog comes with me and waits at the shore for me. I love the atmosphere at the beach. There are always others swimming. Sometimes there’s loud music on the weekends and a real cool party vibe of excitement and accomplishment. The community is so welcoming and cheerful, I always feel a big lift in my energy and mood afterwards. And, I love the feeling of having made the time for myself. It propels me to do more for myself.
Your husband gifted you your Robie for Christmas (love this!), can you tell me a bit about the backstory here and how this gift has helped your swimming since?
We moved to Ireland 1.5 years ago from New York to raise our boys in a more traditional and balanced way. We live in Malahide, which is a little village on the Irish Sea. From day one I’ve been intrigued seeing people of all ages going for swims in the coldest months of the year. I had been watching from afar for so long and always said I wanted to give it a go. Sure enough, Xmas rolls around and my husband gifts me this super cozy Robie Robe with the words: “Now you don’t have an excuse anymore not to do it.”
I went in that day, along with hundreds of others who make the Xmas day swim a big tradition in Ireland. It was the start of something I wanted to become part of my routine.
I have built up to 10 minutes in the water over the past few months and knowing there’s a cozy robe waiting for me at the end, makes the cold water more tolerable. I throw on the robe and can undress my wet stuff underneath easily. It keeps me warm and comfortable, while I drink my hot tea to warm up.
In one of your philosophies, you talk about the mind and how healthy habits can last a lifetime - do you think ocean swims are game changers? And do you recommend them to your clients?
I believe anything that gets you out of your comfort zone and out of auto-pilot is an opportunity for growth. We only change when we are uncomfortable. Discomfort makes us dig deep and look for new ways to move through challenges.
I’ve been a big fan and promoter of cold showers for many years. My clients hear me talk about cold therapy and sauna sessions all the time. My mom has been taking cold showers for at least 40 years!
My love affair with ocean dips only started at Xmas this past year, so it’s been short, yet powerful in my personal journey. It’s allowed me to tackle uncomfortable emotions I’ve been dragging around with me. I believe that when you can do cold dips, you can do other hard things and look at them with clarity.
Do you find that your cold water swimming and regular dips help with your work? What key benefits have you witnessed?
I noticed the biggest change soon after starting the dips in the winter, I felt such a high afterwards. I started to tackle things on my business goal list I hadn’t gone after. The sense of accomplishment I feel from swimming in the cold water transfers over laterally to work.
I realised I had been putting off taking action - not just trying to swim in the cold water - and once I started cold dips, I became proactive again. It’s been a surprisingly powerful experience. Had I known what it would do for me, I wouldn’t have waited so long to try it.
You can keep up with Ariane over on her instagram @theslimandstrongprogramme for everything fitness, health and happiness related!