As a child I was never sporty. I always joke that my activities felt like preparation for a 19th century marriage – dancing, music lessons, literature (add in some pianoforte lessons and I would have been ready for a suitor!)
Dance was the perfect fit for a young girl who didn’t have the love for sports like soccer or volleyball. I’m so grateful to have taken ballet lessons for the discipline, grace and poise. Ballet involves an incredible amount of strength and grit, but the performance is pure beauty.
I discovered group fitness in high school and joined in classes religiously all through university. I loved that it felt like dance and was an opportunity to work out with others in a fun and supportive environment. In university, fitness classes got me out of my books (English/History major!) and into how my body felt.
I certified as a fitness instructor when I started my first (and current!) professional library job. It gave me the confidence to speak in front of groups of students with ease and gave me that balance between mental and physical work.
My classes were a mix of high intensity step/cardio and strength with a heavy emphasis on high impact, sweaty workouts. So. Much. Fun!
But it was not until my third pregnancy that I trained in and fell in love with barre. At first the aesthetic appealed to me; I loved the look of blush-coloured wrap sweaters and messy buns 🙂. It was also a perfect fit, based on my years of dance training. The positions came easy and the moves were familiar. It was also a discipline that was manageable during pregnancy.
Beyond the aesthetics and fit, what I realized was that this was a form of movement that made me feel GOOD and one that I could do forever. As I get older, I’m more aware of the importance of recovery and the reality that gruelling workouts are not always effective or sustainable.
Barre has also been the only workout that has truly transformed my body. I have never had the core and upper body strength that I now have prior to teaching barre. It is a workout that is deceiving in its graceful movements; the most common feedback I receive after a class is that a member didn’t realize how challenging the class would be!
When I certified in Balletone in 2020, I found the perfect complement to barre class. Balletone is a cardio class that uses dance-inspired movements to raise the heart rate, build mobility, and improve balance. It’s a low-impact cardio class that makes you feel like you are training at the National Ballet, even if you’ve never danced before!
My fitness philosophy is:
• exercise should make the rest of your life feel better
• balance strength with softness, grit with grace 💗
• the benefits of movement go FAR beyond aesthetics – confidence, happiness And cognitive benefits are among exercise’s many gifts!💐
I’ve changed a lot since my early days as a fitness instructor when I felt that the tougher and sweatier the workout, the better. I’ve learned to be kinder to my body and more in tune with what participants may be looking for in a class. I’ve also discovered the importance of sharing with students the benefits of a more balanced approach to exercise and health. We model healthy behaviours for our fitness participants. I prefer to talk just as much about the mental and social benefits of fitness vs just the physical.
I would love to hear your philosophy on fitness and if it has changed over time, if you would like to share in the comments!