Intern McKayla interviewed Alyson Luckett Barksdale, barre instructor for nearly three years and newlywed from Clinton, Mississippi.
Q: You have an impressive background in exercise science and dance! Why did you find that athenafit barre was the best workout for your lifestyle?
A: As an exercise science major, I was always trying to find the best workout to maintain my dancer body. I knew from my studies, that certain exercises, while awesome at targeting the muscle, became hard on my joints that had been worn down from over 14 years of dancing. I had heard whispers of the barre technique and was very intrigued by it. After graduating in 2012, I worked down the strip from athenafit’s first location. During athenafit’s opening week Wendy came down to our office inviting us to the studio. My sister and I attended class that very night and were immediately hooked. The low intensity, yet very demanding workout, targeted all the muscles my body forgot I had. It was like no other workout I had ever experienced.
Q: Why did you decide to make athenafit your home?
A: athenafit stood out for many reasons. First of all, I am passionate about the mission of athenafit, the organization. We are all goddessess and warriors in our daily lives, and like the Greek Athena, we strive to balance our strength, wisdom, and creativity. Most gyms you attend are intimidating when you enter and it makes you feel self-conscience and judged. At athenafit, there is no judgement or intimidation. It is a warm and welcoming atmosphere for any age interested. The low-intensity workout is unlike any other out there. The isometrics that are used in athenafit really focus on the “forgotten” muscles in the body and strengthens as well as lengthens the muscles, giving you that desired toned muscular feel, without appearing bulky. I feel very blessed to have been with athenafit since the very beginning and can’t wait to see it continue to grow.
Q: Congratulations on your recent marriage! You two make an absolutely beautiful couple! How have you been able to balance newlywed duties and barre since getting married?
A: Well thank you very much! My husband is a pilot in the military, and between both full time jobs, teaching and flying, we stay pretty busy...but that is our life. The studio is as much my passion as it is his. We support one another 110% on the things we love, and I love athenafit like it is my own business. Lance understands and he drives me to be the best warrior I can be for the studio.
Q: Being that it is a big part of your life, did you find that athenafit played a key role in maintaining the desired body shape for your wedding/honeymoon?
A: Yes! It gave me the long, lean muscle tone I have been desiring for our big day. I really focused hard on leaning my body out instead of bulking it up and athenafit helped me achieve just that.
Q: Your husband has attended our couples class correct? How did he feel after experiencing the barre burn?
A: He has attended two of our couple’s classes so far! The first experience was a real eye opener for him. He grew up playing soccer and has always been very athletic, so he thought this was going to be a very “girly” workout. His first thigh thinner (the chair) immediately had him second guessing what he got himself into.
Q: Speaking of that barre burn, what is your favorite athenafit exercise? And how do you feel after completing a class?
A: Seat work for sure. I always feel accomplished and shaky. I never leave the studio unless my whole body is shaking.
Q: You have been an instructor at athenafit for almost three years. I hear that you love to focus on form. Do you have any advice on how to improve form a the barre?
A: Yes, focus on good form is vital. Let’s use seat work as an example. By keeping our back alignment in neutral or a slight C-curve, our navel pulled into our spine, and our weight shifted into our midline, we enable not only our glutes to lift and sculpt, but also our core to gain strength, which helps prevent injuries. We should never have a swayed back in any workout routine. If we keep our focus on these tips, our form improves in every class
Q: Just a fun question, but what have you found to be your most recent guilty pleasure?
A: Cake and wine. Together. In the bathtub. Don’t judge me.