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Motherhood, Self-Care and Being an Instructor

At Alkalign we are fortunate to have a diverse set of instructors who bring their real, raw and human experiences to our studio. Our instructors range from college students to empty nesters to professionals to moms of little ones. We pride ourselves on community and our instructors are a key part of what makes it so great. If you’ve ever wondered if you can make teaching a part of your life, keep reading. We are so happy that Emily Travis of our Grand Rapids, MI studio is sharing her story with us. If you are interested in being an instructor, please contact us! We’d love to set up a meeting to see if we are a good fit.

 

 

My name is Emily and I am an instructor at our Alkalign Grand Rapids location in Ada Village.  My husband and I are both West Michigan transplants and have fallen in love with the area, settling down with our daughter Madison, and our old boxer pup, Burton. We spend a lot of our time ‘up north’ and are truly Mitten mainstays! A few fun facts about me…I am a VERY passionate college football fan, I have two Bachelor degrees in Sports Medicine-Exercise Science & Nursing and I love a good thunderstorm.

 

When the opportunity to be an instructor came up, I wasn’t sure if I had the time to commit to teaching. I had been a loyal client since the day the Ada studio opened in 2017 while pregnant in my second trimester with Madison. I was passionate about the practice and knew from my own body how much healthier and stronger I felt (pregnant or not). I went back to work for 3 months as a nurse after Madison’s birth, but decided that stepping away from nursing for a while was the best decision for my family and I. This decision opened the door for me to seriously consider being an instructor at Alkalign. Becoming an instructor gave me the ability to continue to have a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s a  professional outlet for me as an Exercise Science/Nurse junkie, it helps me in my own Alkalign practice and I can still focus on being “Mom.” Most importantly, being an instructor helps me maintain “Me.”

 

Some days I miss the impact I had on people as a nurse – helping people and being the best part of their day. Alkalign allows me to keep that feeling, but in a manageable way so that I can still be an important presence at home for Madison.  Being an instructor and mom fits our lives!  As an added bonus, it has helped me be more present when I am taking class. I’ve noticed as a mom that having true mind-body connection and focusing on myself for 45 minutes to an hour is so important. I am so much more present in my practice now than I was before becoming an instructor.

 

When I teach or attend class during the day, it’s nice to have the ability to bring Madie with me. Our playroom and staff are caring and attentive. It allows Madie to grow up with an awareness that self-care and exercise are vital to overall good health and that helping other people be the best versions of themselves has a far-reaching positive impact. I hope she looks back at her Mom one day and understands that I made the best decisions for myself and our family and she can too.

 

My advice for anyone with children who is considering teaching is to look in the mirror and realize that you truly are capable of things you might not think you are. Alkalign is a family, a great team to be a part of, and we all support each other. Some of the best parts of my day are in our studio in Ada. Madison cracks me up when she helps put my weights away after class — She watches everything, soaks it all in and by taking care of myself and others, I am teaching her to do the same someday.

 

Interested in learning more about joining Team Alkalign? Click the link below!

Become the Best Trained Fitness Instructor in 10 Weeks

Testimonial: 5 Years, 100 Alkalign Classes

Thank you to Lizzie, Katherine, Cathy, Pauline, Erin, and the entire team for creating a place where I felt like I could really fit in. I never played a sport and had no athletic experience of any kind. Aside from a year with a personal trainer getting ready for Half Dome in 2011, I had little formal exercise instruction. I have tendonitis and am pre-carpal tunnel, so I have issues with making sure exercises are safe. I also have perfectionist disordered thinking, so I want to give up when I fail (yes, therapy).

 

Alkalign was the first group workout that I felt I could actually do. They’re super focused on form and offer lots of modification options, so I learned safe ways to exercise without pissing off my elbows and wrists. I learned  “less is more” – do the best form with whatever movement that results in, and maybe it’s very little movement, or maybe no weights – and that’s ok!  During class, they’re constantly checking my form and cueing me to check myself. Some of the teachers and regular class attendees are ripped AF for inspiration!

 

Alkalign took in my non-exercising self,  my pregnant self (there are often pregnant, even very pregnant, women in class), and my postpartum post C-section self. After all my life stages, they also took in my working way too much self for several rounds! Each time I fell off the Alkalign wagon (because life happens), I came back in a different phase in my life, with a different body and Alkalign was always the right place.

 

Now that I’m moving, I’m going to be hunting people willing and worthy of opening an Alkalign franchise in the East Bay area so that I can keep taking classes there.

 

Thank you, Alkalign.

Diana Maltzer

 

Click Here to Learn More About Franchising

Testimonial: Why I Alkalign

After umpteen years of pounding the pavement and flirting with every new exercise trend – and having just received a “gnarly MRI” on my knee – the stars aligned and Elise Fiechtner brought Alkalign to Ada, Michigan. I quickly learned that “low impact” doesn’t mean “low challenge.” Alkalign workouts kick my butt! They work every single fiber in my body and awaken my core and muscle groups that I’d unknowingly ignored for decades. I now understand proper alignment and functional movement and have learned how to recover through Recharge (rolling). Beyond all the health benefits, I’ve become part of this uber-supportive, humble, fun, come-as-you-are community.

 

The movement/practice both feeds my body and quiets my mind. I’ve entered my 60’s with new-found health and gusto, and I credit Alkalign. I Alkalign so I can do everything else in my life.

 

Being active outside in nature is everything to me. It’s my happy, healing, and creative place. I’m hiking long distances with zero knee pain. My dogs, Obie and Emmie, love our adventures at Seidman Park and along the Lake Michigan shoreline and dunes. I can tackle my favorite mountain bike course with joy and relative ease. I call Riley Trails “extreme for seniors” but it thrills me to no end to fly through the forest and handle nature’s obstacles as they come. I catch myself smiling when I’m biking 🙂

 

With the knee diagnosis, I’d wondered whether I’d ever ski again – but on a recent trip to Montana, I not only skied for five days, but I received the ultimate compliment from my ski coach son, Peter. “You’ve never skied better, Mom!” Last year I took up Paddleboarding. Talk about recruiting your core!

 

Most important of all…I’m able to be an active Nana to sweet “Oh Henry,” who’s almost three. He’s also a nature lover and, like his dad was as a toddler, he’s loaded with energy and eager for everything. There’s so darn much to discover. I’m up for his cries of “One more time” and “Let’s do it again.” Put a price on that! Henry’s new brother will arrive in August. I can’t wait.

 

Grateful,

Marti

Announcing Alkalign Unplugged!

Alkalign founder and owner Erin Paruszewski and Master Instructor Cathy Purnell join forces as newbie podcasters to have conversations on health and wellness in their brand new podcast called “Alkalign Unplugged.”

 

As a lifelong athlete, Erin is passionate about health and wellness and Cathy is one of Alkalign’s  Master Instructors. Cathy and Erin were inspired to start a podcast by the amazing clients they interact with each day. “We have so many wonderful men and women with a wide range of talents, experiences, and careers, we thought it would be fun to get to know our community and share that with listeners,” says Erin. Between Cathy’s secret desire to be a talk show host and the duo’s gift of gab, Alkalign Unplugged was born.

 

“People should tune into our podcast to learn something new about a whole host of topics they will find relatable and, ideally, entertaining!” says Cathy. The show’s focus is on health and wellness topics that are relatable to everyone. Cathy and Erin’s style is authentic and will feature a wide range of topics including mental health, nutrition, stress management, injury prevention, mindfulness and much more.

 

Alkalign Unplugged is more than just another fitness podcast. It’s an opportunity to connect with life stories that engage us on a real, raw and human level. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or PodBean.

 

 

3 Reasons Alkalign is Good For Your Mental Health

“In case of emergency, air masks will drop from the ceiling. Please put your own mask on before helping others.” We’ve all heard this on airplanes and perhaps half-heartedly pay attention to those safety instructions before taking off, but there’s validity in that phrase…..both on a plane and in life. The message is clear: take care of yourself first so that you can help others. Unfortunately, we don’t always do that and our own self-care is not prioritized.

 

At Alkalign, we put the mind/body connection at the forefront of our practice. Here are 3 reasons why you should commit to your overall health and join us in our studio on a regular basis.

 

1. Physical Activity Improves Your Mood. If we sound like a broken record telling you what you already know, that’s probably because many people don’t make physical activity a priority in their self-care practice. So here’s your reminder! Exercise helps your body produce endorphins, aka the body’s natural ‘feel good’ hormones. The simple act of devoting an hour a day can de-stress and focus you, improving your overall mental health. Simply put….exercise feels good from the inside out.

 

2. Community & Human Connection Are Essential for Happiness. In our digital world, the need for human connection is more important than ever. Our studio is full of upbeat music, positive energy and Alkalign buddies that help you feel more connected in an increasingly disconnected world. You will also find camaraderie, accountability, support and motivation to move beyond your workout plateaus by positioning yourself next to a friend who pushes you!

 

3. We Invest in the WHOLE You. Alkalign provides the tools to help you change your life. We are built on the belief that balance is the foundation for life. Balance is what keeps us grounded and what challenges us to push our limits. Whether your life has become unbalanced or you just need a little alignment in your life, Alkalign aims to care for the whole you.

 

Ready to commit to your self-care routing? Check out your local Alkalign studio for the schedule!

Self Care is the New Health Care

As I reflect upon the past year, I would never have dreamed that I would do one Alkalign class, yet a year later I’m at almost 200 classes! I never considered myself an “excerisey” person, and definitely not a barre class person. No way. Not me. I tried a barre class years ago and I was so sore for so long that I never wanted to go back.

 

A year ago, struggling with insomnia and joint pain from hypermobility was my normal, and it was exhausting. I knew this was not the life I was meant to live. It was time for me to focus on my health and time for me to find help.

 

On Valentine’s Day in 2018, I tried my first Alkalign class as a ‘love note’ to myself. My very first Alkalign class was a 101 class with Danielle. I was pleasantly surprised that the class practices the exact exercises I was instructed from my physical therapist to do daily but NEVER did them.  Using a block between my feet reminded me to think about my gait. My Alkalign instructor helped me recognize that my shoulders, my neck, my knees, all my body needed to be in alignment. I described the class as “group PT”, and YES I would be back.

 

Eventually, I graduated from 101 to Align and I even was brave enough to try Cardio! I was hooked on feeling healthy, I was falling asleep easier and waking up without SI pain.

 

I am overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness. I have had the longest stretch of pain-free days in many years. The sharp, stabbing, fire pain of my SI (sacroiliac joint) has subsided. Alkalign has taught me life lessons in a supportive community with genuinely caring instructors. The most important thing for me, which I constantly repeat to everyone I meet, is “self-care is the new health care.” How true it is.

 

I’ve learned that taking care of myself helps me live pain-free and my feelings have trickled down to my relationship with my family. Here’s to 300 classes! Thank you Alkalign.

 

Sarah Wong – Alkalign Client

Testimonial: ALKALIGN Stands For…

Every challenge we host in our studios brings out the best in us all! We are happy to end our March Madness Buddy Challenge with this amazing testimonial from one of our Los Altos studio clients, Kristen Stothard. She shared with us what ALKALIGN stands for and we couldn’t say it better than this!

 

A: Awareness. I now pay attention to everyday movements like bending over, turning around, reaching back, picking up, and more. I realize now that doing these things while aligned properly makes a difference in how I feel at the end of the day.

 

L: Love group exercise classes! I was never one to go to the gym to workout. I had a perception in my head on what it looked like and it didn’t appeal to me. Boy, was I wrong! The community aspect at Alkalign is just as important as the exercise itself.

 

K: Keeping it real. The classes at Alkalign work for everyone. It doesn’t matter your age group, your levels of fitness if you are a new mother or a grandmother – the class is designed to fit my needs wherever I am that day.

 

A: Attitude is key! Rather than dreading the time I carve out for myself and my body I’ve discovered how to appreciate it and embrace it. This change in my attitude has made a huge difference in my personal fitness.

 

L: Listen to my body. After hitting 45 I realized my body is telling me a lot! Alkalign is teaching me to listen to those muscles and work to make them leaner and stronger, to stretch and roll consistently, and to pay attention to my balance and alignment.

 

I: Instructors rock! Oh my goodness. If it wasn’t for the amazing instructors at Alkalign I would never make it. Having them there to correct, adjust, and push me is so important. Hanging out with them after class is even better. 🙂

 

G: Get it done! Rather than look for an excuse to get out of class I look for a reason to get there and get it done. I feel better afterward and have never regretted taking the time out of my day for Alkalign.

 

N: New things my body can do. It never fails that during class I realize something my body can do that it couldn’t before. Hold the position longer, squat a little deeper, point a little straighter, etc. etc. It’s because of this that I keep coming back for more.

Everyday is a ‘Full Body’ Day

Your body is a system of systems that work together to help you functionally move in everyday life as well as perform better in every activity you engage in. Why would you treat your body as separate parts on your workout days? We’ve all heard the infamous line from friends, family, and coworkers: “It’s leg day.” We’ve listened to it so much we fail to question why people isolate their body parts in their workouts. We assume that’s how strengthening should happen because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to believe.

 

Alkalign believes your workout should work your whole body, every time. Your body is smart and dynamic…isn’t it time you start treating it like it is? Your mind isn’t separate from your body, your legs and arms don’t work in isolation without your core. Mindful movement combined with paying attention in class is not only great for your body, but also for your mind and mental health.

 

For most of us, most of the time, total-body training that incorporates functional training is the best thing for your body. Workouts (like the kind at Alkalign) that rely on combination strength-training moves, stretching and mobility that engages your mind and muscle groups all at once with are the best way to get what you want out of your fitness routine and overall wellness for long-term.

 

Whether you are an endurance athlete looking to up your game, have an injury that has sidelined you from exercise, and you want to get back into it, or a regular Joe/Jane who just wants to feel better in your body, we have a workout that’s perfect for you.

 

Whole body. Whole person. Whole life.

Podcast Alert! Improve Your Functional Movement
Erin Paruszewski interviewed by Drew Taddia on Exploring Mind and Body.

Alkalign Founder Erin Jennings Paruszewski was recently featured on Drew Taddia‘s podcast, Exploring Mind and Body. In the episode, Improve Your Functional Movement, Erin talks about what Alkalign is and why everybody needs mobility and functional strength training.

Drew Taddia travelled the world as a professional baseball athlete for 10 years before following his entrepreneurial spirit started his health and fitness business. Seeking a larger platform to reach more people and help change their lives for the better, he started sharing his information on radio and podcasts. Find Drew Taddia’s show iTunes, on his website or on Facebook.

Why We Ride: Cycle For Survival

Every February we gather and ride to raise money via Cycle for Survival, a a rare cancer research fundraiser that supports Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We ride because we have been touched by cancer, or because someone we love has, or because we see 1.7 million people in the United States diagnosed with cancer and 50% of those people are suffering from a rare type of cancer and feel called to action.

Everyone has a story about how cancer has effected their lives. Here are just a few of ours:

Lizzie:

Just over 3 years ago, I did the hardest thing I had done to date – I wrote a eulogy for my best friend of 30 years.  I started with “what” she was; mother of 3, lawyer-turned-owner of 2 successful businesses, a great dancer. None of that captured who she really was and how her unforgettable charisma left an impression on everyone she met. None of this ever came easy to her and she fought for the things she accomplished with ferocity, dignity and grace. She fought Lymphoma the same way. I continue to fight in her memory through Cycle for Survival.

Lori & Joshua:

My nephew, Josh, who I rode for the last 3 times had testicular cancer that traveled to his lungs. We recently found out that he has throat cancer and had surgery over Christmas. It’s WAY MORE PERSONAL NOW MORE THAN EVER!!!

Lauren:

“I found out about Cycle for Survival from my amazing instructors Lizzie & Pauline at Alkalign three years ago. My mom had just lost her 15 month battle to a very rare liver/bile duct cancer a few months prior so Cycle for Survival hit very close to home. It’s hard to put into words the emotions and feelings I felt after that first ride with Cycle for Survival, but the energy in the room was unbelievable, it was contagious! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never rode a spin bike before, (I certainly hadn’t!),  everyone is there with the same goal, to come together and raise money and awareness for rare cancer research!

What I also love is that not only are you riding alongside with your own teammates, but with a room full of other amazing, inspirational riders, who too have been affected in some way or another and want to make a difference.

I truly can not say enough about this incredible event! This will be my third year riding with Alkalign C4S stars, and I ride in memory of  my mom, and all those who have battled or are currently battling this terrible disease.

You can support this amazing cause by donating online. Help us beat last year’s fundraising total of $27,000! Live Present. Pay It Forward. Team Alkalign.