What brought you to Bellingham?

 That’s a really good question. Why would somebody from Tennessee come all the way to Bellingham?

Well, my husband Wes and I always wanted to come out West. I have a sister out here, and we felt excited to spend time with family that we hadn’t seen as much as we wanted. There was opportunity for adventure and the timing was just right, as my husband desired a career change. The idea of living out here and spending time with family excited us.

We came out last march in 2015. I had already been out here for my niece’s birth, but it was the first time that Wes had been here. And he fell in love with it just like I had. It’s funny because we came in March and I visited one other time, in November—not the most beautiful times. So this is actually the first summer that I have seen here.

Wow, you’re about to experience your first summer here? I am excited for you!

 Yeah. We are too!

The initial time frame for us to be out here was a year, maybe two max, and then we started Glow Fitness and realized we were going to be staying longer.

Where did the idea for this come from?

 I ran my own in-home personal training business in Nashville and I worked primarily with moms but I also worked with special demographics as well. I worked with a paraplegic client, a ninety-two year old client—I really enjoy those kinds of unique challenges. I also have extensive experience working in physical therapy. I have been doing that for the past ten to twelve years. I really enjoy that therapeutic form of exercise.

I worked closely with my mom, who is a midwife back in Nashville. We shared a lot of clients. I was interested in helping women become strong for their labor and delivery. And I don’t mean bicep curls, I am talking about things like pelvic floor health.

I had a lot of friends who were  having a lot of issues. There was immense postpartum depression and sleep deprivation. They couldn’t find a path to release some of that. I also just love the nurturing aspect of prenatal and postpartum fitness.

So my mom and I created some different exercises that help women prepare for labor and delivery. For example I do something called a contraction squat where I have women hold a squat for the length of a contraction—a minute, minute and a half, then two minutes. It helps them mentally and physically prepare for labor.

Even though you have an emphasis on prenatal and postpartum workouts, that’s not all you do.

 That’s right.

I just love working with women. With women and fitness you go so much deeper than just working out and eating right. Everybody gets the chance to have some sort of healthy life, whether that looks like going on a walk or meeting friends for a hike, or swimming.

I love working with women in general because fitness can tap into the deeper questions. “Why has this person gained forty pounds?” Maybe they were traumatized when they were younger and they want to hide from that.

I have train guys—I’ve trained athletes before and I can do that.  I love working with guys as well but it’s just completely different. I love helping women learn how to have a better relationship with food, and with exercise, and with their bodies.

I also taught these fitness classes at a yoga studio in Asheville. I created my own fitness classes for prenatal and postnatal women and women in general as well.

Now I get to have it all in one space. I don’t have to travel to all these different homes in addition to a studio.

You are relatively new to Bellingham. What is your favorite spot?

 I love Squalicum Beach. It’s dog-friendly, which is good for us.

We love all the breweries—Wander is probably our favorite.

And Fiamma Burger. I treat myself to that—by myself—once every few weeks.

Just a little ways out of town, we love the Cherry Point area, off Grandview. That’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. It’s really close to Point Whitehorn, and I go there a lot when the weather is nice.

I love Bellingham. There are so many good spots to discover.

What does Bellingham need?

Live music. We need more live music. And it doesn’t even need to be extremely good. Just available, accessible music that folks can enjoy and maybe dance to. That’s one thing I miss about Nashville is that any day of the week you can find live music in one of several dozen spots in town.

What is the most common misconception about running a fitness studio?

 That you workout all the time. That you’re incredibly fit.

I’m sure other people who run their own studio were able to find the time to work out regularly, but for me, it’s a challenge.

Do you get a good workout when you teach a class?

 Yeah. If I’ve already taught a couple classes in a day and I have a third scheduled, I’ll often just talk my way through it, and not do each move along the way. I’ll help folks get setup, demonstrate each move once, and coach from then on. But to conserve energy, I don’t do every move.

Some people expect me to be in the best shape of my life, but no. Too busy for that. Plus, I have a really bad knee. So I can only do so much anyway.

Open since June 1st?

Yes, a soft opening on June 1st and then Grand Opening on June 4th.

And classes every day of the week?

 Yes. We are in full swing. Just added new classes this weekend, actually. We offer 20 different classes each week.

Twice a week—Mondays and Wednesdays—we start at 6am, so we’re open for women who want to come in before work or school.

And we have a few evening classes too—at 5:15p and 7:00p. So lots of options.

And during the hours that we’re not running classes, I offer personal training here as well.

What advice would you give to the woman who has maybe not been working out for a period of months or years and wants to get back into shape. Which class would you point to as the best place for them to start?

 First of all if she walks in the door, I commend her for that. Especially for women, we can think of every reason why we should be doing something else. So if she’s here I want to give her a big hug and celebrate her making that step.

From there it depends completely on what she prefers. If she likes fun loud music and is kinda coordinated, I’d suggest the Kickboxing and Kettlebells Class. I modify everything. I make sure that I repeat often: if it’s too much, go down—less reps, less weight, no weight—whatever you need to do, just make it appropriate for you.

It just depends. If they want variety, then circuits class. If they want yoga and stretching—a calmer class—then they can come for that. Just whatever they want.

Some people hate one particular exercise like running or pushups, everybody has something they can’t stand. And I want to know what that is, so I can give them a good workout where they don’t have to do, or at least don’t have to do very much of it.

All ages, all fitness levels are welcome. Everything is modifiable. We want this to be a nurturing place for women to come as they are. It’s safe. It’s educational—where women can learn how to take responsibility for their bodies and their relationship with their bodies.

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