athenafit barre studio

Baby Barre Love: Staff Spotlight on Instructor Kaylee

athenaLIFEMcKayla DenningComment

This Valentine's Day we want to focus on a very special kind of love, the love of a mother.  Intern McKayla sat down with instructor Kaylee and asked her a few questions...

Q: Wow! You are a mother of two young boys and a third baby on the way?  How do you balance all of that with being a barre instructor at athenafit in Starkville?

A: Yes, we are very excited about baby #3!  Being a mom is the greatest gift and responsibility. They are my number one priority and I always want them to know that. It is easy to balance for me because I teach the T/TH 6am when they are still sleeping and then either a late afternoon class or a weekend class when my husband is home from work. Colton, my husband, is super supportive of me taking time for myself and investing in other people in a variety of ways, so he is the main reason I have been able to balance all of my cherished responsibilities.

Q: Wow! Congratulations on expecting another baby! What is it like to do barre as an expecting mother?

A: Barre really is the perfect exercise for pregnant women. There are so many modifications, adjustments and ways to make it "your own" and take it at each individual's own pace. It is low impact, and that is really important when you're pregnant. Everything seems like it is growing and expanding within the body, and it becomes easier to injure oneself, so having an exercise that is able to be modified and grow with you is really important. Luckily for me athenafit has so many modifications for pregnant women to protect them and their baby!

Q: Where did your athenafit journey begin and what drew you to initially try barre?

A: I attended one of the first ever Starkville classes in July 2015. It was actually your first time, McKayla, to teach! As a young girl, I found a passion for tennis. I missed being out on that court and was looking for an outlet. I needed to find a way to exercise and care for my body that was fun, motivating and could be done around my kids' schedule. athenafit was all of those things.

Q: How does athenafit differ from other studios/gyms you have visited?

A: What I love most about athenafit, and what I hope my clients feel when they walk into my classes, is that this is a place for everyone.  If you were a competitive dancer, softball player or never played a sport in your life, you have a spot here. I deeply desire people to feel welcome and loved and not intimidated, like many people feel in a workout environment.  I hope the 50 minutes in my class can be a break/relief/positive time of a client’s day.

Q: What is your favorite athenafit exercise?

A: I love doing the seat on the mat exercises, specifically when using the round tube over your knees.  I also like the S-sit against the wall.  You can feel the work right away and it is easy to recognize and teach.

Q: How have you made adjustments to exercises such as the S-sit to ensure a healthy pregnancy?

A: Since I am just now finishing up my first trimester, I haven't had to make too many adjustments yet.  One thing that is common in early pregnancy is shortness of breath and I have definitely experienced that this pregnancy.  Your blood volume is doubling and getting ready for baby.  I have tried to take it easy when I get out of breath by taking a short pause during cardio thighs or doing a few less reps during abs. Later on during pregnancy, it is important to not put pressure on your stomach and I will do the athena fly on my knees instead of laying flat.  Additionally, I will add extra hand support on the mat during ab work and maybe drop to my knees during the plank to support the back and tummy. 

Q: Very good points. How do you feel after the 50 minute athenafit workout?

A: I feel proud of myself for taking those 50 minutes to care for my body.  I am continually reminded that I was given this one body to care for. I want to be present and healthy for my kiddos.  I want to be able to scoop them up easily without my back hurting, or to carry them through the store when they are tired of walking.  

Q: What would be one piece of advice you would give to expecting women who are interested in trying barre?

A: Just try it!  I will be totally honest...during my last pregnancy (about three years ago), I was SO lazy.  I ate too many desserts and laid around a little too much.  I did not realize how weak I was until after Collins was born.  I had super bad lower back pain because my abs were non existent.  My core had grown so weak and my body was worn down from carrying and birthing a big baby.  I found it frustrating to lose the baby weight and to exercise because I just felt so behind.  I do not want to make those mistakes this pregnancy.  Strengthening my core and pelvic floor muscles now will aid in my delivery and postpartum experience. Also, give yourself lots of grace!  Somedays I have been nauseous and barely made it through class and other days I have felt so strong and been able to push myself.  Each trimester and day of pregnancy can be totally different. Take it at your pace and determine what works for your body and baby!

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

A: Well in this season of life, being asleep before 10pm is the greatest gift ever.  My husband and I enjoy going through different seasons of shows and watching them in bed before we go to sleep.  Right now we're working our way through Parenthood (emotional!). So I guess you could say my guilty pleasure is watching that with my husband with a decaf coffee and being asleep by 10. 

“athenafit has made me so much stronger.  My endurance has improved greatly, and with two toddlers clinging onto me all day and another baby on the way, I need some endurance!”