LET'S BE REAL: A candid conversation with Rebecca Peress, CEO + Founder of Swapples

We’re so excited to launch our new (hopefully) weekly series, Let’s Be Real: A Candid Conversation. We’ll use this space to highlight the incredible women who inspire us, and to share their advice and insights. Empowered women empower women, and we’re so proud to be a part of such a supportive community.

Our first feature is Rebecca Peress, better known as Swapples, or Swap Kween.

Introduce yourself! What do you want people to know about you and what you do?!

Well, my birth certificate calls me Rebecca so I’ll introduce myself as such, though I’ll also respond to any of the 7 nicknames I have….including “Swapples”

What does living a balanced lifestyle mean to you?

Sleep, diet, exercise, mindfulness. It’s all important. 8 hours of sleep a night, a whole-foods diet 80% of the time, exercise daily and knowing when to take a break and chill out.

What's your fitness routine?

Yoga sucks (sorry), it’s too slow. I need to SWEAT. I’ll do just about anything that leaves be breathless, most of the time rotating between kickboxing, HiiT, srength-training, cycling, and BBG.

What does eating mindfully mean to you?

Being conscious of the decision that you’re making when you choose something to eat, know why you are making that decision, and make that decision for a reason; for the benefit of your physical and mental health (i.e. do I truly want this cookie, or am I just reaching for it because I’m stressed? vs. just thinking that the cookie looks great, and eating one)

What do you drink in a normal day? (coffee, tea, water, juice, energy drinks etc) 

Water and TONS of club soda. I don’t drink caffeine, I’ve tried forcing myself to like tea for 26 years and it hasn’t worked, I loathe energy drinks and juice has way too much sugar for me. 

How do you cope with stress?

Chocolate and cardio.

What are your favorite cities? Why?

Can I just say anywhere BUT New York? (Hehe) I really like Philly because parts of it are very town-like, and have heard great things about Austin, which I’ve been dying to visit.

I wish the person clearly HATING the elliptical would admit it and find something they really loved doing, instead of just exercising mindlessly because they know it’s ‘good for them.’

What do you wish people were more open or real about when it comes to fitness, living a balanced lifestyle or the drinking culture?

I wish they were honest about what they like and don’t like. I wish the person clearly HATING the elliptical would admit it and find something they really loved doing, instead of just exercising mindlessly because they know it’s ‘good for them.’ I wish entrepreneurs would stop bragging about the hours of sleep they didn’t get, and got the 8 hours of sleep their body is crying for. I wish those that drink in a group setting only because “everyone else is doing it” would just pick up a glass of water and cheers with that instead.

How do you seek out community? 

Like-mindedness. To me, it’s not necessarily about finding people that do the same things that you do. It’s about finding people that believe the same things that you do.

What's the hardest part of maintaining a work life balance?

Honestly… nothing. From the very start of my business, I told myself that work was work and business was business. Instilling that culture in the very beginning has allowed me to get real fulfillment out of the last 3 years of my life, even while hustling to grow a company by myself. This means that I stop answering emails after 5:30, I do NOT work on the weekends (unless it’s a special event or demo), I take weekend trips, and I don’t think about work when I’m spending time with friends or family.

What’s the hardest part of adulthood? 

Having to be entirely responsible for your future. When you’re a kid, it’s easy. If you have it good, you go to school and do math problems while your parents go to work. You come home and hang with friends while your parents make you dinner. You go on trips or vacations, while your parents plan it, drive there, and pay for everything. You virtually have no real responsibilities, all you have to do is show up. When you’re an adult, that is GONE. You’re on your own, and the decisions you make on a daily basis have real impact on your life. Do you go get a 9 to 5 job, or risk everything you have to start a company of your own? Do you wake up with a bowl of cereal every morning or do you make yourself a proper meal? Every decision affects the next one, and the next one, and the next one, and there is no guidebook.

What would you tell yourself 10 years ago? 

Pssssst. Ditch the loser boyfriend, he doesn’t deserve you. You’re kickass. And you’ll be kickass 10 years from now, too, in case you were wondering.

Do you live by any mottos or mantras?

“There is a perfect diet for every body, but there is no perfect diet for everybody.”

How do you stay motivated, both at work and in your active life? 

All about the goal-setting baby! Usually once a quarter, I sit down and set physical, mental, relationship, friendship, and career goals for myself.

What advice do you have for people who want to make changes in their diets or fitness plans? Or for people who aren't happy with their status quo? 

If you want to change your diet, you have to want it. You, nobody else. Unless you get to that point with yourself, it’ll be hard to accomplish your goals because you’ll constantly be performing actions that deep down, your heart and mind don’t agree with. Once you want it, it will be easier to accomplish. Start small. Don’t go cold turkey. Transition from pancakes to oatmeal, then from oatmeal to eggs and sweet potatoes. From chips to whole-grain crackers, then the crackers to an apple and peanut butter. One step at a time.

How do you turn around a bad day? Any tips/tricks? 

First I call a friend. Then I make my favorite meal. Then I have some dark chocolate and then I go on a 3-hr Netflix binge. Works like a charm.

I make time daily for: my incredible partner, Alex.