FP Escapes: DogPound’s Dara Hart Bares Her Soul

Dara’s love for fitness and health is palpable, eager to shares all she knows. She is a true testament to DogPound’s core beliefs, and had this self-proclaimed yogi for life (me) back into high intensity workouts in less than a week.

When it comes to working out, I prefer the slow lane. I say this only because I think I’ve taken enough high intensity workouts to fill a lifetime. I played collegiate volleyball where I trained, practiced, weight-lifted, and conditioned five, sometimes six, days a week. It was sincerely strenuous. After I graduated I thought I’d never go back to high intensity training. I hit my limit and was ecstatic to be a yogi forever.

But that was before I met Dara Hart. Dara is the founding trainer, and heart and soul, of New York it-gym, DogPound, and trains some of the world’s top models, athletes, and New Yorkers, guiding them through personalized hardcore workouts. But DogPound isn’t just about celebrity, quick fixes and hard bodies. “DogPound is more than a gym, it’s a community. Our supportive and enthusiastic approach helps to surpass health and fitness goals! Our core pillars are teamwork, positivity, passion, authenticity, and giving back,” states Dara.

I met Dara on the most recent Escapes trip to Thailand, where she guided us through our daily movement classes. We lunged, ran, burpee-d, and boxed on beautiful Thai beaches, surrounded by massive cliffs and teal water. Dara led us through the HIIT workouts with grace, power, and passion, and continuously inspired us to push harder. Her love for fitness and health is palpable and she eagerly shares her knowledge with others. She is a true testament to DogPound’s core beliefs, and had this self-proclaimed yogi for life (me) back into high intensity workouts in less than a week. Dara has a beautiful, experienced outlook on life, and we are excited to have her share her thoughts on health, strength, and happiness with us. Check it out below.


What drove or inspired you to become a trainer?

I love to move — it’s what we are built to do. I was a professional performer, singer, dancer and actor but I became obsessed with fitness and the booming boutique industry. I immersed myself in all things fitness, then health and wellness. I realized I had a responsibility to help others.

You have an incredible talent for training women. What makes training females so special?

Women are creative and powerful beings. I want to do everything I can to continue to inspire, motivate and empower all women.

How do you personally stay inspired? 

I continue to train with others, take classes, workshops and certifications to continue to improve, learn and grow. I follow a daily meditative practice and do my best to stay honest and true to myself and my personal needs. 

Most rewarding part about your job? Most challenging?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing clients reach their goals, with their lives, bodies and even their outlook becoming more positive, happier and healthier. For me, the most challenging part is that I have a tendency to feel emotionally or physically depleted from hours of working, service or even speaking. 

Do you find there is a connection between physical, mental, and emotional health?

Absolutely. Everything is connected! The challenge lies in trying to maintain balance between it all.

Any advice for women who are having a hard time staying motivated?

Write down your goals.

Remind yourself of them daily, post them on your fridge, say them out loud, keep them close to you.

Create the space for you.  

Add the time in your schedule, commit to it. Make it a part of your routine.

Surround yourself with support. 

Surround yourself in love for yourself, and with people who believe in you, can support you, uplift you or help give you tools to reach your goals.


This is the hardest but most important one. Remember that every challenge is a lesson and an opportunity to grow. 

Define strength.

“Be like water.”

Your philosophy on health and happiness?


Something most people don’t know about you?

I am also a singer… I love sci-fi.. and I secretly want to be an astronaut. 

When do you feel the most free?

When I am traveling, when I am moving my body, or experiencing myself without judgement. 

Thank you Dara! We will catch up with you soon.


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Loved this interview. Dara is so inspiring. I hope I’ll be as strong as her one day! ❤️

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

5 years ago

Love this!

5 years ago

I’m sorry, but “yogi for life” is confusing. Does that mean you had given up on working out? I hope no one ever gives up the idea of staying healthy.

Stopped by as a guest a few weeks back and was blown away by the solid sense of community throughout the gym.

Everything about this place top notch. It took a bit to get used to the blaring music, but once I was in my zone it was perfect.