Take Pride Tuesday: Smile -- It's Contagious

Have you ever experienced a streak of bad luck and not known what to do about it? Whether a bad day, bad week, or even worse a terrible year, we always have the opportunity to come out stronger than ever when we're able to re-evaluate the true meaning of our happiness and focusing our positive energy on those plans.

Meet Joanna Lazaridis. Born and raised in Astoria, Joanna is an aspiring architect student about to enter her fourth year at Pratt Institute. A student passionate about sustainable architecture, Joanna seeks to reduce the negative ecological impact of buildings through the use of sustainable construction materials and enhanced efficiency. Besides architecture, Joanna loves greek dancing and enjoying delicious food with great company.


Before college, Joanna trained as a dancer at the Alvin Ailey school, among other notable dance programs throughout the city. While Joanna enjoyed the self-expression of dance, she often struggled with the pressures of body image. That psychological struggle to look a certain way throughout her high school years was combined with dance training for 2-3 hours a day in addition to working out at the gym at least 2-3 times a week. This physical overexertion and waves of extreme dieting only fed her negative body image and left her hating dance and her own self-image. 


Once in college, all her focus and energy went into her school work, which required long hours of class work, design and studying. The academic routine became draining and left her no time for healthy and positive self-care, which only increased her insecurities. At this point, she felt like she couldn’t look in the mirror and smile at herself. 

Finding herself at a low point, Joanna finally decided it was time for a change—it was time to focus on herself and learn to smile. She took all the negativity that surrounded her and threw it all away. She gave up unhealthy habits and began to focus on her health and nutrition and in time was able to train again. 

When she initially saw Iron Lion’s page and got to take a quick look at the facility, she was attracted to its boutique space and the fact that kettlebells took over a majority of training. When Joanna trains, she wants her entire body and mind in it, which is what Iron Lion provided. Because of Iron Lion, she can go to the gym, leave the world behind and just focus on completing her program and improving herself.


When she began at Iron Lion, her goal was to get strong. Being able to have a weekly program laid out for her with a trainer always watching her and helping her through the routines has helped to motivate her to achieve her goals and become more comfortable with what she’s working on. Her favorite part about Iron Lion is how tight-knit and positive the community is. It’s like having a second family. Because of the environment, the support and the training, she feels so much stronger physically and mentally. After a few months of this kind of self-care and healthy lifestyle, she’s begun to look in the mirror and smile.

How unique is it that you get to find someone who actually feels better after they have completed a training session?  Well not in Joanna’s case! If you are interested in feeling better both physically and emotionally, then come on in and meet the community everyone is talking about at Iron Lion.  

Smile, Sweat, and be the happier you!