When you think of a camp, what associations come to mind? For me, I think of children playing in the woods, staying in log cabins, making friendship bracelets, and singing songs by the campfire. However, after my conversation with Jennifer Azzarreli, co-founder of CAMP fitness studio in Santa Monica, I have a new understanding of what camp can be. At CAMP, discipline and hard work are combined with fun and play.
Azzarreli and her co-founder Jamie Lanza created CAMP with inclusivity, authenticity, sustainability and community in mind, and CAMP’s fun and supportive environment is like no other. CAMP’s class schedule is robust, offering classes all day, 7-days a week, which is ideal for busy, on-the-go parents with hectic schedules. CAMP offers four core class types; Circuit, which are HIIT classes, Sculpt, which includes high-intensity, low-impact movements in a heated environment, Yoga, and Stations, which are strength and conditioning-focused classes featuring “stations” with different types of workouts. CAMP is the perfect spot for those looking for a fitness studio that has it all.
I spoke with Azzarelli about CAMP’s origin story, her experience as a sous-chef, her parenting journey and more.
Please tell us a little about your fitness studio CAMP. How did it begin? What is your mission/vision?
CAMP actually grew into this really beautiful thing that is so much more than a fitness/yoga studio. It started as Jamie’s brain child, when we got together we brought it to fruition. Our community is so special, we have some people who’ve been guests since the beginning, guests who met their husband and wives, and who’ve become best friends. It’s a strong community, really special. Our mission is to create happier and healthier adults. We’ve had over 18,000 humans to the door to date, which is pretty cool. Our goal is to hit 10 million visits in the next ten years, and we want to do that through campuses of fitness and yoga classes. Jamie originally had the idea of a multi-campus concept and we originally wanted multiple franchises, but we decided to create our own concept. CAMP was originally three studios in Tampa Florida, and the L.A. location has stations, yoga, sculpt and circuit.
Where are you from originally? How did your roots impact who you are?
I’m originally from Miami Beach, and my father is an immigrant from Cuba. I think that watching him and my mother work so hard for the American dream really inspired me to work hard and go for my dreams, and it had an impact on my drive, determination and tenacity to keep it going.
Did you have a mentor growing up? What role did that person play in your life and
I did, her name is Ellen Yin. I worked as a sous chef at Fork restaurant. It was really important for me to work for a female entrepreneur, and I sought them out in the Philadelphia area. She inspired me to open a to-go spot next to her restaurant, Fork Etc. She was a female in a male dominated industry, and I learned a lot. Fitness is also male dominated, and I handle the construction as well, which is also a male dominated field. She is an incredible mentor and is an inspiration. She continues to make an impact in both Philadelphia and New York. She is really about female empowerment and encouraging one another. I think sometimes females in business can be a little dog-eat-dog, not to generalize, so it’s cool to see someone who’s been so successful bring together female entrepreneurs to work together and encourage each other. This has also impacted my relationship with Jamie, since we’re both strong females as well, through honoring each other’s strengths and gifts.
Best life advice you received growing up?
[Laughs] I mean, I think the best life advice was from my dad, to not waste calories on sugary drinks, which I still follow today. Other than that, I would say to be true to myself. At the end of the day, it’s my life and my decisions, and it’s important to make an authentic decision, not worrying about what others think, to really be true to myself.
How has parenthood changed you?
What hasn’t changed? I think it’s changed me seriously in every possible way. I think being a mom has been the greatest challenge in life, and has brought me the most joy. Children are the ultimate teachers, and the maturity and strength from raising humans while building a brand has been incredibly challenging and rewarding. My oldest son in 3rd grade wrote about an inspirational person in his class, and he wrote about me and CAMP. Balancing parenthood and a business is a balancing act, and sometimes you feel like you’re failing, but to see the impact on him makes it worth it; to share that with him is inspiring and means a lot.
When not working, where will we find you?
I’m either with my children, my family, or I’m taking a class at CAMP, or just adventuring around L.A. I have an adventurous spirit, not just in L.A. but around the world. I love to be in nature and backpacking, and I don’t really sit still very often.
What would you tell your middle school self?
Not to take life so seriously.
Best life advice you received growing up? Best advice on parenting you’ve received?
Just to remember how young your children are. To add context to that, the advice was given unsolicited, and it resonated with me, and what’s interesting is when I look back at pictures of my kids, that lady was right. There’s so much hustle and bustle, and it’s so easy to expect a lot from kids, but stepping back and realizing they’re little humans exploring and learning was so helpful to me. I’ve seen it to be true when looking at pictures and thinking wow, they’re so young and xyz. Just remembering as a parent that they are young and there’s so much child in them, which is a really beautiful thing.
What are some of your favorite spots and activities in and around L.A.?
Going down to the boardwalk on Will Rogers State Beach, rollerblading, jogging, walking, and hand rolls at KazuNori in Santa Monica.