Tuesday, March 1, 2016

#FitMomTalks: Gina Fay of DanceFIT Studio

I'm so excited to share a new feature on the blog with you! When I found out I was expecting my first baby this spring, I immediately turned to my mom friends for any and all wisdom they had to share. I realized I'm lucky to know so many moms in the fitness community who are kicking ass at their jobs, some even owning their own businesses, and figuring out how to be super moms as well.

I thought it would be fun (and hopefully inspiring!) to share their stories and any advice they have on the blog in a regular feature called "FitMoms." Our first FitMom is Gina Fay, business owner and mom of three, who I've known and admired for years. Here's what she had to share:
Tell us a little about yourself and your business: 
Hi! Lucie, thank you for asking me to be a part of this special blog series! I am Gina, the owner/founder of danceFIT Studio with locations in Brookline, Natick and a virtual fitness studio which I started 6 years ago.

A little bit about danceFIT, without turning this blog into a marketing piece, but my business is first and foremost a very special dance studio for children. We present classical ballet & technique in a friendly welcoming environment. Second, my Natick studio offers a variety of adult barre and fitness classes like pound, zumba, balletFIT, bootcamp, pilates with props, deep stretch and our very popular class hot barre (which you got to experience!) 6 years ago, I launched a virtual fitness studio from my living room. I taught from home and my clients stayed home. It seemed so strange at first, but the community grew and grew and grew, and now we offer 20+ group virtual fitness classes per week, and we have had clients from 5 countries and 23 states. I am also co-founder of bvirtualstudio in which I train other boutique barre, yoga and pilates studios how to “bvirtual.”

My hubby and I live in Wayland MA, a suburb west of Boston. We have three amazing children, Joey (6), Tommy (5) and Maggie (6 months). The boys love baseball, football, walkie talkies, ninjas, legos and playing outside. Maggie loves crinkly paper, peas, cuddling with daddy, stuffed animals and watching her crazy brothers.
photo courtesy of Gina Fay
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
I taught up until I went into labor, 3 days after my due date [with Maggie]. I kept a pretty full teaching schedule, but the last month teaching balletFIT cardio was just impossible. The amount of pas de chats, chasses and stamina needed for the class just wasn’t working with the big belly ;) I loved teaching pregnant, though....I even scheduled a virtual class on my due date called "labor inducing danceFIT," haha. I still couldn’t dance her out! I put myself back on the schedule 3 weeks after Maggie arrived. I think it was similar after the boys were born too. I started working out and dancing when my body felt ready; I couldn’t wait for the first workout, which was very humbling, ha. I started by teaching virtual classes and then finally was back in the studio at 6 weeks.
How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby?
I am actually trying to think back more than 6 years ago to my workout routines before kids- that feels forever ago! I taught 5+ classes a day, 7 days a week. Chris (my hubby) and I would spend our “free” time being active...walking around the city, running, and riding our bikes. Now our “free” time is collapsed on the couch, drinking coffee, meal prepping, grocery shopping, fun trips with the kids, sporting events and family walks. Thank goodness for our virtual studio which allows me to make dinner, nurse Maggie, tuck everyone in, teach class from my living room and then relax on the couch after.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Before kids, I would workout and dance to lose weight, flatten my tummy, get ready for summer, etc. Now I workout to de-stress, sweat and stretch. Growing a baby, having a baby and caring for a baby definitely changed the shape of my body. I can try tirelessly to get it back, or I can embrace the new shape & stretch marks and get as fit and strong as I can with the minimal time I have left for me at the end of the day. I treat my workouts as a “break” and really enjoy them. I love the feeling of being drenched in sweat from ballet jumps and sequences, my legs shaking like jello from an intense balletFIT class and my abs sore from pilates!
What is the biggest challenge you've found in running a business and being a mom?
This is such a good question because owning a business has actually been one of the best things about being a mom. I am able to make my own schedule to work around my kids schedules. The biggest challenge though is not being able to “turn work off.” I am trying to disconnect more and be more present at home, but there are so many things to think about when you own a business. I love when I can bring my kids to work. At DanceFIT, I host infant/ mom playdates, baby wearing balletFIT and kids dance and yoga nights for the boys and their friends! We have more fun events like this coming up.

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your kids (either one-on-one or as a family)?
We love water sports! Water skiing (which I am bad at, but love!), paddle boarding, swimming. We also love going on walks.

Thank you Gina!

More info about Gina and her studios - 
locations: 25 monmouth street, brookline ma 02446 | 721 worcester street, natick ma 01760
twitter: @dFITstudio
instagram: @dancefitstudio

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