Since my transformation, during which I lost 135 pounds, fitness has become an important part of my life. So, as often as I can, I want to bring to you a bit of the motivation that drove me.
My friend Heather McCann recently started a company called Valley Sweat Life, which is a resource for fitness information in the Central Valley.
With her blessing, I will bring to you here on FresYes.com some amazing stories and explorations of our fitness community. And I encourage you to check out Heather’s site and follow Valley Sweat Life on Facebook and Instagram!
[The following was posted on Valley Sweat Life on April 16, 2018 and has been edited for clarity and formatting.]
First Take: High Fitness
When I was a kid, my mom dragged me to her aerobics class. I sat on the side and stared at the women bouncing around in funny outfits. There were a few of us sitting there, watching our moms move. We looked at each other and shrugged, then got back to coloring while the “woo-hoo”s abounded.
My memory has faded with time, but I’m fairly certain that my first High Fitness experience was exactly the same as my mother’s aerobics. High Fitness is described as “aerobic interval training choreographed with basic fitness moves.”
I take my friend Sommer along with me because I’m mildly entrenched in the dance fitness world and I need “first take” eyes. Sommer is skeptical about the High Fitness frenzy here in the Central Valley and I’m not sure she’s pumped for this. We try a class at V-Force Elite Gymnastics with about 10 women by instructor Amy Litman.
High Fitness has spread like wild fire across the Central Valley since instructors Jen Stout and Janessa Parker taught the first class here in 2016. The format was created by two fitness instructors out of Utah and Canada who wanted an intense, fun, and easy-to-follow workout put to familiar music.
It is familiar music! I know every song and I want to dance to them all. Sommer is dancing too. This is a good sign.
“It took me four months to come. I wanted someone to go with me and sometimes I still stand in the back,” says Desirae Prado. “But, I don’t sweat like this anywhere else … now I’ll be in the car dancing when the songs come on. The hubs is looking at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ ’”
Every class follows a flow. We warm up then build into higher-intensity songs, sometimes giving our heart rate a break with toning squats or arm movements. The bell curve continues until we reach the “cardio push,” a set of high-intensity songs meant to be the most challenging part of class. We ride the bell curve down the backside with another toner and a cool down. BAM!
“There’s multiple times and locations that we can catch a class, so it’s convenient. I sometimes meet my girlfriends that I grew up with and we have accountability to each other.” says Mia Eichhorn.
There are a few things I’ve noticed about this group. First, they really like each other. Studies have shown that people who work out with a partner or a group are more likely to continue their exercise routine. Maybe High Fitness is a gateway workout, a way to suck people into living a healthier life without them knowing they’re working for it. Sommer and I decide after class that we are all for a gateway workout.
Second, they “woo-hoo” A LOT. Sometimes the woo-hoo is even a part of the choreography. I woo-hoo shamelessly and I’m pretty sure I catch Sommer screaming out a few, too.
Finally, it’s fun! We are not pushing the hard stuff. We are not building muscle with heavy weights or mind strength through a long run. But, we are moving. We are laughing and sweating and smiling.
“I’ve never danced before and I feel like I’m dancing but my endurance has improved. My cardio is better, I feel stronger, and I feel like I’m getting more slender,” says Amy Heasley.
There are over 20 High Fitness instructors in the Central Valley that often run their own businesses. Many of them rent space from a dance studio, karate class, or school. There are some class times and locations posted on the High Fitness website here. We found it easiest to search Instagram. If you need help finding the right class, send us a message here and we’ll set you up.
“I’ve taken one to two classes per week since December and my endurance has improved significantly,” says Amber Von Flue. “When you first come to class you may feel a little awkward and out of place, but I never watch anybody else. Even if you feel ridiculous, no one is paying attention.”
Bring water and a towel, wear high support tennis shoes, and warm up your woo-hoos. Most classes you do not need to sign up for in advance and the first time is free. After that, it’s around $6 per class depending on your instructor.
I love where I live, and I also love what I do. I'm lucky to be able to work in a profession in which I get to build relationships; one that has me meeting new people each and every day and helping them to build new lives in my beloved city. I'm lucky enough to work in a profession in which I can marry cutting-edge technologies and marketing techniques to good, old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work. I am lucky enough to work in a profession that allows me to work as an advocate for my clients; to use every tool at my disposal to get a job done well for them, and with as little stress and expense as possible.
I love my city. I love my job. One inspires my excellence for the other.
Fresno? I say FresYES