“How can you rise a little more today?” our trainer Anthony asked as four of us got ready for our last treadmill sprint of the day. Our class was only a third of the way through. We still had to rotate through two more stations of high intensity intervals. I knew I needed energy for the rest and still, I put everything I had into that sprint. Between the perfectly timed beat drops and constant encouragement from Anthony, it was remarkably easy to get through the rest. The class was part of the second half of a Rise & Thrive event, which had primed us to dominate this workout.
I’m not exaggerating, and you can check my fitness wearable. I pushed harder and dug deeper than in any previous workout, and I’m used to challenging myself in the gym. The difference was my mentality. Rise by We, the new wellness concept from the We Company, and Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington’s brainchild, spun off of her book by the same name, teamed up on a day-long event that challenged around 30 of us to carve out a real and permanent spot for radical wellness in our lives. One of the core messages was something we talk a lot about here at DIRT Mag: identifying and correcting the stories you tell yourself about who you are and your limitations.
The event, held at Rise by We in FiDi, got as close to a 360 degree wellness experience as a one-day event can. Billed as “an immersive experience to unlock your greatest potential,” the event is by far the best investment I’ve ever made in myself. Although the first one is over, the two companies are planning for a second. Here’s what you can expect from a Rise & Thrive event and exactly why you need to set a Google alert for the next one, now.
What to expect from Rise & Thrive: The schedule and speakers
Most of the details about Rise & Thrive were a mystery headed in. There was a schedule posted online, but it didn’t make it clear what time the event ended. It also hinted at great talks, but withheld specifics. Maybe that’s because this was the first day-long event hosted by the two companies. I did know enough going in to know that I needed to attend this event, and that it was going to address a wide range of wellness topics. But as excited as I was, it didn’t even come close to estimating how wonderful this event would be.
We were ushered upstairs to the 30th floor where, overlooking where the East and Hudson River meet, we sat down in the trendy but warm WeWork space. The first half of the session was two talks, divided by a catered lunch. The speakers, Joey Hubbard, director of trainings at Thrive Global, and Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of Wake Up to The Joy of You and sister of Arianna Huffington, were compelling, engaging, and approachable. They’re both accomplished and knowledgeable speakers. You’re going to want to take notes whenever they start talking — luckily, Rise & Thrive provided notebooks and pens. I found myself not only writing down notes from the presentation materials but also jotting down powerful phrases that slipped out of each of them as if they were passing thoughts.
After the second seminar, we broke into groups based on the workout class we had selected online beforehand. We were taken downstairs to the Rise by We space by our class instructors and shown into locker rooms straight from a fitness enthusiast’s dream. Once we were changed, we started the second half of the event, which included the fitness class and a session in their “superspa.” When we wrapped things up around 5:15, I was exhausted but exhilarated, more in touch with myself than I have been in months, and planning to hit workout classes the next week with friends I made during the sessions.
What to expect from Rise & Thrive: The food
The first session of the day was scheduled to start at 10am, and I knew there was a workout component, so I ate a moderately sized, balanced breakfast before I left home. That wasn’t necessary, as the space was set up with two types of breakfast parfait, coffee, and water. I passed on the parfaits, which were oatmeal and chia seed pudding, but was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of alt-milks available for my caffeine. Although I didn’t try one, the parfaits seemed to be a hit with the other attendants.
After the first seminar, we were ushered a couple doors down into a Black Fox location on the same floor where a catered lunch had been set out. The food was mostly vegetarian, but there were a couple plant-based options that had limited amounts of fish and shrimp included. I enjoyed the couscous salad that came mixed with tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and smoked trout. Since this was a wellness event it also came topped with avocado. Though I worried a little about my protein intake heading into the workout, the meal was flavorful, filling but light enough heading into exercise.
After a workout and one of the classes in the spa, fresh juices and fruits, as well as some light snacks like chips, were set out for us. (Yes, I said spa classes. We’ll get to that later.) There was also plenty of water and fresh spa water infused with fresh fruit available throughout the sessions.
What to expect from Rise & Thrive: The gym and spa classes
Rise by We offers three different workout classes: Flight (the high intensity intervals class I took), Fight (think boxing), and Flow (yoga). (Rise by We also features Turf, a semi-private personal training program.) Our class preview lasted 35 minutes, a fraction of the typical 50 minute session, but Anthony put us through our paces in that time. As everyone came back together from the three classes, there was nothing but positive feedback about each experience.
Tired but accomplished, we were funneled into the Superspa. Every Rise by We membership comes with access to the spa. And though you’re free to enjoy the hot/cold treatments and saunas by yourself, they also offer classes with their Sauna Masters (yep, that’s a thing). Rise & Thrive let us try both: a stretch session in the wet sauna and a guided relaxation experience through the dry sauna with essential oils. Each session ended with a trip through the cold shower (though you can replicate this with a Scottish shower at home if you don’t have access to a sauna).
Is Rise & Thrive worth the cost?
Each ticket for Rise & Thrive costs $299, but as I mentioned before, it’s the best investment I’ve ever made in myself. The attendance for this past session was capped at 40 people, though there will still tickets available the morning of the event. That means no sitting in an auditorium with 300 other people. You actually get to know the like minded people who are there with you, seeking out personal development.
The event itself was challenging and engaging, and I came home wanting to tell everyone I know about it. But the experience doesn’t actually end when the day does. Rise & Thrive gives you access to daily Thrive content about neuroplasticity and behavior change to continue prioritizing wellness. You also get a full month of unlimited access to Rise by We, including access to the Superspa, which is worth $200. We also got a free one week pass to give to a friend so we could hit Rise by We classes together.
The biggest value
But the biggest value of the event was by far the people. You’ll interact all day long with people who are driven to better themselves, invest in themselves, and thrive. Agapi spent time between sessions chatting with all of us, and even came back during the spa session to talk more and snap some pictures with participants. The Thrive Global and Rise by We staff were beyond welcoming and warm. And, yes, you are one of those people. Rise & Thrive will connect you to you again: your goals, your fears, and your uncanny ability to surprise yourself.