In 2006, Eva Peña found herself divorced and confused. As a civil engineer in the Dominican Republic, she was familiar with building in its most literal sense, and it was time for her to build a new life. A self-proclaimed nerd, an obsession with studying nutrition and exercise took her from scrawny and lost to ultra-fit businesswoman at the helm of Wellness+ Studio — a chic new health center on the Upper East Side.
“The best thing that a mother can do is take care of herself” Peña tells Avenue, noting her children are her primary focus. For seven years, with the very same dedication she has for her kids, Peña tended to her clients’ every need, utilizing her extensive background in medicine, nutrition, exercise physiology, personal training, and physical therapy. Her clients connected with this energy. So much so that, when Wellness+ Studio opened eight months ago, there was no need to define or invent the target clientele — they already existed.
Wellness+ Studio is a Zen garden carved into the fortress that is the Gagosian building on Madison Avenue. Its primary focus is on the body — being healthy, making sure you look good, but also to ensuring its efficiency. Their philosophy is to treat the body as truly sacred, not just as a machine. As such, the studio isn’t trying to peddle customers with gimmicky drinks or false promises of fast results. Instead, it is a collaborative process between trainer and trainee to build the body to reach its full potential. Their holistic approach is guided by the four stones of their logo: Nutrition, Exercise, Recovery, and Rest. Though so many of us hinge on the first two pillars, Peña says it is the last two that are crucial for success. “We want you to cultivate yourself,” she explains. “[Whether that’s] finding the best version of you and the goals you want to achieve or just staying stable in your age.”
Post-workout, clients benefit from a form of physical therapy to ensure recovery. But “recovery” also includes massages, acupuncture, and soon a little Botox. “Skincare is the cherry on top,” says Peña of the future of wellness.