My husband, Manraj, and I could never find an exercise routine that we could do together. Manraj was a badminton player whereas I was a swimmer. We did a few things together, like hiking, once in a while, but we could not do these as regularly as we would like. We tried going to the gym together but soon lost the motivation.
After I joined Alkalign, I knew this was something different. Every instructor is very knowledgeable, and each of them has different strengths. Every class is unique. Overall, it feels very personal and not commercial. I eventually convinced Manraj to join me for one class. Since then, it has become “our thing.” Manraj was hesitant initially, but all the instructors constantly made sure his posture and technique were correct. We began to encourage each other during and after class. In no time, we both felt stronger and active.
Every time we go to class after work, it is not a drag or chore. Rather, it is something we look forward to after a long day as a boost. I am proud of myself after each class, especially knowing that I am now able to do some of the exercises that I never thought I could do!
We are moving to San Diego soon, and the only thing we are sad about leaving in Irvine is our Alkalign. We hope one day we will join Alkalign in San Diego!
As a mommy of two adorable wild children (Brooklyn 3 and Dash 2), my life seemed pretty busy, and by the end of the day, I felt exhausted to pick myself up and workout anywhere, even with the help of my husband. However, I started realizing that I needed to take action and work on my mind and body because my kids are getting faster and I’m running of breath!
It had been a very long time since I attended a class/gym to nourish my mind and body since giving birth to back-to-back babies. Then one day I came across a pretty little blue sign in my neighborhoods shopping center in Irvine and felt like it was a sign! I registered for my first Alkalign class, and I was so pleased at how welcomed I felt from the beginning and how dedicated the instructors and Kate are with their students. Now, I had never taken barre, but I took a few dance classes in college and was familiar with some of the terms that are used, but I was still nervous because I did not know what to expect. After taking my first class, I was beyond thrilled.
Kate and her staff are WONDERFUL and so MOTIVATIONAL! No matter how intense the workout, they always make you feel powerful and say just what you need to hold that plank a little longer and squeeze that ball a little tighter! It has been one month since I started my Alkalign journey, and my body and mind feel magnificent. My mama pouch (as I like to call it) is disappearing, and I can feel my abdominal muscles. It’s been a great start, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come.
Thank you, Kate and staff, for being incredibly dedicated and making me feel that anything is possible.
On a whim, on my birthday, I tried a free intro class at Alkalign and was taken with the joy and energy of the instructors. It was the middle of winter in Michigan, and I needed a new project. Immediately, I found the classes fun, varied, and well-paced. I started regularly taking classes. I love how the instructors share their knowledge and give individualized tips for improvement. My strength has been building week after week, but most importantly, I have been thrilled with how my improved sense of body awareness and alignment has transformed my communication with my horse and improved my riding.
In my first few classes at Alkalign, I could see that I was uneven in my strength and flexibility. I was amazed how this unevenness mirrored my horses’ weaknesses. I tried all of the classes, and each one—Align, Cardio, and Recharge—has helped me in a different way to build strength, find balance, and release tension in various muscles. The supportive and encouraging environment keeps me motivated to continue cross-training.
Although I still have a long way to go to meet my equestrian goals, with my increased flexibility and core strength, I can now ride in a more balanced, even position, which helps to support my horse as we learn more challenging movements in our sport of dressage.
Once a week last summer, the Alkalign studio in Irvine was filled with men learning about alignment and body awareness and improving their fitness through Alkalign’s signature functional fitness formats. But these were not regular clients.
Studio owner Kate Biber was working with elite athletes trying out for a Southern California semi-pro soccer team. The team’s coach had her train his players to improve their body control and agility — key skills required in soccer. He also wanted to improve his team’s game fitness and recovery time. Kate’s training was also meant to evaluate the players in a new way and assist in the team’s selection process. She began their training with a Cardio Align class to assess the players’ fitness and to understand what education was required.
“It was really interesting to me that these top athletes didn’t know what they had, bodywise,” Kate says. “I spent a lot of time training alignment of feet, knees, hips and spine for them to find their best position. I wanted to help them understand that they’re in charge. It’s not simply momentum, which is what they were used to depending on to perform. Their mentality was: Just run faster!”
Kate observed the players in practices to identify areas where her expertise could be helpful. One of the things she noticed was that everyone looked at the ground when they ran, whether going for the ball or not, and, subsequently, their shoulders were significantly rounded. So she worked on posture and form and guided them to understand the bigger picture through strengthening the whole body and bringing more focus to their core stability and strength.
“I tried to empower them to be aware of the relationship of the abdominals and the legs,” Kate says. “You can’t run unless you have a strong core and know how to use it.”
Kate also noticed the players running with what she calls “kipper feet.” They ran with their legs in a turned-out position so the inner edges of the feet would be in the position to receive the ball. Positioning feet forward and knees over toes provides more power, which helps players run faster and change direction more easily. So Kate helped reset their ready stance: feet forward; abdominals engaged; strong, tall posture; and chin parallel to the ground.
At first, the players were skeptical of Kate’s methods.
“I could tell that they didn’t really think it was going to work,” Kate says. “So I said: ‘I know this works. I know I’m the only girl among 30 guys, but this is going to work!’”
And the players were surprised when low-impact training did work. They were used to shuttle runs and burpees and cranking out push-ups with terrible form. They didn’t realize that training doesn’t have to impact the joints to be effective.
“It’s not harder; it’s better and smarter,” Kate says. “That’s what I kept telling them. There’s no point in doing anything unless you position the body correctly. Just doing it and sweating is not enough.”
After a few weeks, Kate focused the training on the functional movements of soccer players. They move in all planes, so the Cardio Align class was ideal because the format balances symmetric/asymmetric movement in all planes of motion with exercises such as lunges, pendulums, and single-leg squats.
“Those workouts were so much fun,” Kate says. “These guys would be yelling at me to be done, and I would say: ‘If you want it, work harder!’ The players progressed above and beyond what I expected. I worked so hard to motivate them and give them attention to detail they had never seen before. And those who were selected for the team were the ones who used everything I gave them to their advantage. I definitely grew as a teacher having this experience.”
The players also learned that more running is not the solution to better fitness. Some players were running 10 miles a day in addition to training at Alkalign, and Kate and their coach had to beg them not to run beyond what was needed in games and practices.
“I would say, ‘Please don’t run. You’re just wearing everything out!’’’ Kate says.
When the players stopped the extra running and continued to put in a lot of effort in Kate’s training, they started to be able to do more and move better. Some of them lost weight, which improved their speed, and they reported sleeping better, standing taller and being free of aches and pains.
“Every class was totally kicking their butts,” Kate says. “Once I started to see them strengthen, I changed some of the exercises and brought them away from the barre as there’s no barre on the field! For example, we moved between a wide-turned-out position and a traditional lunge, which means pivoting on both feet, a very functional movement for soccer players. Lateral explosion comes from this as well — moving from the center line to the lateral side really quickly and having the confidence that your body is going where you want it to, without getting injured all the time.”
As the training progressed, Kate began to include more stretching and Recharge in her classes and was once again surprised that most of the players didn’t expect that they needed to look after their bodies or tune them up in any way. In conjunction with the team’s chiropractor, Kate also worked with the players on getting to areas of tension in their bodies so they could know their limitations and help prevent injuries.
Some of the players had existing injuries, but they showed up to every session. Kate worked one on one with these players to give advice on ways to work around their injuries and to teach them modifications to assist in recovery and continue to build strength. Kate says many of their foot and knee issues resolved over time because of the gluteus medius strengthening they did in her workouts. The players also had fewer instances of strain/tear to the groin, the No. 1 injury in soccer, because Alkalign’s back-body strengthening provided support to prevent this issue.
“Most of the guys were between 20 and 30, and at that age, their plan is to just to keep going and muscle it out,” Kate says. “And that’s fine if you’re in good health and don’t have any issues. But if you do, you have to be more thoughtful about it. Part of body awareness is knowing when to scale it back a little bit. So they got to know their limitations, especially when we rolled on the therapy balls. Recharge was a really eye-opening experience for them.”
It was after a month of Alkalign training that the team selected their players. According to Kate, the guys who “mastered” the alignment principles and were the most body aware were those who ended up making the team.
“I went to their games and saw these guys improve even beyond what they thought they were capable of,” Kate says. “They ran so fast!”
The coach was really happy with the results. It was easier for him to select players for the team and to identify who should play what position. Alkalign training showed which players were ready and able to perform and yielded information on who was physically best suited to perform some movements versus others.
Says Kate: “I was pretty sure my training was going to get them where they wanted to go, but I wasn’t 100 percent as I don’t know anything about soccer! But this experience really proved that you can transfer what we do in the studio to anything. If you put in the work at Alkalign, you get results whatever the sport.”
Eight year ago, during my second trimester of pregnancy (with my first child), I discovered Alkalign (then Dailey Method). I had no idea how much this community would transform my life, health, and training routine. As a retired competitive triathlete and overworked tech employee, I needed something that focused on overall wellness, mobility, and flexibility — and also fit into my increasingly schedule-challenged life. Alkalign was the answer.
Like many women, I encountered increasing aches and pains from cycling, running, playing tennis, carrying babies, grabbing groceries, and sitting at a desk. Alkalign has helped me to overcome any pain or issue I have encountered. The instructors are amazing, knowledgeable, friendly, and super helpful. I also find the music inspiring. Gentle yet also challenging, Alkalign delivers amazing results. It has changed my body and simply makes me happy!
Regardless of whether you are athletic, pregnant, have never exercised a day in your life, hate to sweat, or don’t own workout clothes, just try it! There isn’t a better place to be. Eight years later, I’m still hooked.
Thank you, Erin, for following your dream; thank you to the instructors and childcare staff; and thank you to the fabulous people I see each week in my classes for pushing me and encouraging me every day!
I have been active all my life and especially love swimming, running, downhill skiing, hiking and taking group fitness classes. However, years of distance running, skiing wipeouts and a serious bike accident have taken a toll, causing osteoarthritis throughout my entire body and disc issues in my back.
I decided to try Alkalign in April 2017 on the recommendation of friends. Today, I have totally embraced the concept and really enjoy this new fitness community. Alkalign classes allow for a lot more personal attention than other classes. I never knew I needed this kind of attention as much as I really do! The focus on proper body alignment and form has been amazing. The instructors are very knowledgeable in helping me modify exercises to accommodate all of my limitations without losing the burn.
The low-impact nature of the practice has given me a whole new view of challenging my body. I am finding muscles and engagement in totally new ways, even after years of exercise! At Alkalign, there are so many modifications that work for my body so I can actually do the entire workout and really build the kind of strength and stability my body needs.
I also really enjoy the challenge of the mind–body focus. This has been such a nice reset for me because I realized how mindlessly I had moved for so long. Maintaining proper body alignment to find full muscle engagement has really turned into optimal results in my body. I have gained more muscle tone and strength in the last 8 months than I have in the last 25 years of traditional and rigorous strength training!
I feel obliged to share my excellent experience at Alkalign–Irvine. I’ve been coming regularly for over half a year now and am still surprised every time about how good a workout I get, in an hour or less. The owner, Kate, is an absolute gem who makes the effort to remember your name from day one and to talk to you in depth about your health needs and how to make your fitness journey your own. Her upbeat personality always lights up your day and pushes you to work harder.
All the instructors at Alkalign are professional, knowledgeable, and approachable. They also always respect how you feel and where your body wants to be. I grew up a dancer and have done aerial, spinning, boxing, and TRX on a regular basis. I have to say that Alkalign is definitely the best workout I’ve tried so far! Alkalign’s focus on maintaining alignment, learning about your body, and prioritizing yourself is a mindful philosophy that I absolutely live by.
I’m not a fan of big-box gym and corporate yoga places that make you feel small and like just another customer paying for the membership. Alkalign is a place where you get to customize your fitness journey and get a full-body workout that’s never the same every time you come to class, not to mention the intimacy and personal connection that you’ll be sure to experience from day one.
I highly recommend Alkalign to anyone looking for a safe, mindful, and kick-ass workout. I cannot say enough good things about it!
Marlene Thompson completed her Alkalign Instructor Training in November 2017 and began teaching in the Grand Rapids studio. Here are her thoughts on the process.
What training was like
It was intense, overwhelming, fun and so interesting. I felt a bit like a deer in the headlights at first, but I learned very quickly to trust the process and my mentors and not to stress the small things. It will all come together, even though in the beginning it may seem so far out of reach. Also, keep in mind that you get out of it what you put into it. If you put the time in and stay up to date on the lessons, you will always feel prepared for each teach back. You may not LOVE all your teach backs (I recall a couple that I didn’t feel good about), but do the work and you’ll be OK. 🙂
What she learned about herself
I learned that even I can have patience! I never considered myself a patient person, but I learned through the training process that I have to be patient and kind to myself. I have to be patient learning the practice (still learning, always learning) and mastering the details I struggle with in teaching.
I have also learned that getting up at 4:30 a.m. to teach a 6 a.m. class isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I actually like it and have just started to attend the 6 a.m. classes that I’m not teaching!
How teaching for Alkalign has changed her life
It has improved my health and overall quality of life. I went from a Creative Director job — sitting in a chair for 40+ hours a week with eyes on a monitor and bad posture, rushing, stressing and never having any time to breath — to Alkalign, where moving, breathing, practicing good posture and releasing stress is all part of the job. Plus, I’ve found a great balance with teaching and starting my new freelance design studio. I’m still repairing the physical damage caused by such a stressful and unhealthy situation, but it gets better every day. My family appreciates it, too.
We all have a story and a life journey we are on. I see so many different kinds of people with different challenges and triumphs. As an instructor, I feel so privileged to be part of those journeys. A workout may not seem like much, but to many who walk in the door, it’s the best part of their day. I feel honored to be part of that.
I first came to Alkalign when my daughter was 3 months old. I had done Pilates and used to be a dancer, and I had heard from a friend that there was childcare. I knew that with a newborn I needed some time for myself — at least an hour a day!
The front desk person showed me the Playroom, told me staff could feed my daughter and that they would call me if she cried. As a first-time mom, I was nervous about leaving her. But I knew I needed that time, and it was the best decision I ever made.
Even though my daughter wasn’t sleeping through the night yet and I was sleep-deprived, I felt like that time for myself gave me tons of energy. If I was stressed or moody, I would feel so much better and more human after taking class. I usually went to class Monday-Friday, and my daughter came with me every day. I became so disciplined because it was so good for me. I didn’t want to miss out on that time for myself. And I’m planning to do the same with this baby.
Everyone at Alkalign is so loving and caring. They knew my daughter right away, and since we’re not from the area and don’t have family around, having a support system at least at Alkalign really helped us. Having friendly faces smile at you and ask how your baby’s doing and knowing that you have time for yourself at least once a day make a great difference.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I exercised until I was 10 weeks, when I was put on bed rest. It was super hard for me because I’m used to being very active. And exercise is a way of relieving stress, and I feel like it is therapy for me. I sleep better; I’m in a better mood. That’s why I’m so consistent with my exercise. I just feel it is really good for me. So bed rest was hard.
With this baby, I have been able to keep my workout routine basically like I had it up until the last month. I feel like I’ve slept much better with this baby, and my circulation is better because of the stretching. And even if things come up that stress me out, every day stress, I can manage much better because of exercising.
Modifying positions and exercises in class while pregnant has been pretty easy. All the instructors are helpful and check to make sure I am doing OK. Basically, I’ve had to modify the abdominal exercises, which became harder and harder. And some of the seat work when you can’t go on your belly. I don’t feel left out from class at all. The class is very flexible in that you can modify for any kind of condition at any point.
Since I’m having a C-section, my doctor said I could come back in 8 weeks or so. I’m hoping since I’ve stayed active all the way till the end it will help me recover faster from the pregnancy. I also noticed with my daughter that my abdominal muscles got stretched and opened up a little bit, and I feel like all the ab exercises I did at Alkalign helped close them down again. I eventually regained my original body, well, kind of! And I am hoping for that again.
I’m going to miss the studio. But I’ll be back once I’m feeling better — and sleeping better!
P.S. My son was born Dec. 27, and my recovery has been amazing! Compared to my previous C-section, this one has been a breeze. The doctor even told me that they had trouble opening me up because my core was so tight. I guess that’s thanks to all the seated seat. I truly believe taking class all the way to the end has helped a ton. Hopefully this means I will be able to be back in class sooner than I think!
The Alkalign studio in Ada, Michigan, (near Grand Rapids) has been open for nine months. It’s the first studio outside of California, but owner Elise Fiechtner and her team have proven that Alkalign’s brand of high-quality, effective workouts within a welcoming community resonate as much in the The Mitten as in The Golden State. Here’s what three Michigan clients have to say.
I am definitely in debt to Alkalign for all the amazing results and changes I’ve experienced from being there for 4 months! The staff is great, and the inspiring environment is unreal. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been working on my own at home or at the gym trying to get to the physical shape that I’m in now without injury or having to work through hip and back pain. My hips have ALWAYS been out of line, and for the first time I’m as aligned as ever without going to a chiropractor!
Alkalign is exercise with physical therapy aspects, which is the best combination ever! I’m stronger than I’ve EVER been and am finally seeing changes and great results. And bonus: I don’t struggle with any hip pain. Alkalign provides instruction and the mindset to listen to your body and to work carefully through exercise in proper alignment to reduce injury or discomfort. I’m most appreciative of the staff who are so welcoming and also willing to help clients with any injuries. They care enough to see how you’re doing and guide you with stretches and solutions to your problems. You can’t get that kind of care and attention anywhere else. These ladies are the best, and I’m so grateful for all the help, instruction, and motivation that they provide me every time I’m there! —Julie K.
I am 18 years old and graduated from high school this past May. I wanted to work out and get in better shape so I decided to join my mom at Alkalign this summer before I left for college. I loved Alkalign! I felt like it trained my body for life outside of class. I felt stronger and better about my body. I loved the instructors; they got to know me personally and cared about me. They were encouraging and pushed me when I wanted to stop. After going to Alkalign, I feel different about working out and about my body. I’d encourage everyone, especially young people, to try it. —Meredith S.
I started doing Alkalign this fall. Sixteen years ago while I was pregnant with my third child, I experienced a bulging disc in my lower back in between the lumbar vertebrae L4 and L5. I had a shift in my spine for many months. After the baby was born, I got back to normal through physical therapy and continued to be fairly active. As I got older, I didn’t continue to do as much strength training, and eventually my lower back began to cause me pain again. For the last two years, I have been doing physical therapy a couple times a week and gotten three cortisone injections. The injections did alleviate some of the pain, but I was still limited in what I was able to do and had a lot of pain if I sat for long periods of time.
Through a friend’s recommendation, I decided to try Alkalign. I have stuck to a fairly regular routine of taking class three times a week. Every time I leave class, my whole body, but in particular my back, feels strong and supported. I have very little pain, and if I do experience any, I know exactly how to alleviate it. I cancelled my appointment for the last injection and have stopped going to physical therapy. I now consider my three times a week at Alkalign my own physical therapy. It has made a big difference for me, and I hope to continue the practice indefinitely!
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