(Photo by Megan Weaver)
Happy New Year!
It has been a while again since the last post. I apologize to the last fit spots. I started a new job, started grad school, and therefore my features suffered. I decided to take some time off with DallasFitSpot to focus on areas that needed more attention in my life. I’m starting back up slowly to share some of the Fit Spots that were featured in the fall. I’ll share their quotes and what I enjoyed about each place. DallasFitSpot is still something I do on the side for fun to connect members of a community still with fitness professionals in the DFW metroplex. I’m looking forward to the new places I’ll try and people I’ll meet for the 2018 year. I’ll still be at a slow pace as it is necessary for a good work/life balance. You’ll see posts as I have time and hopefully will find something to fit your fitness needs. If anything, I hope you can be encouraged by those who are a part of the DallasFitSpot family. Enjoy. 🙂
(Photo by Megan Weaver)
Introducing Martha Palacios-Fit With Martha- Zumba
Martha is a proud Salvadoran-Costa Rican-Dallasite Zumba instructor with a lot of energy and great dance moves. Her classes will make you smile and leave you wanting for more. Below is her story that will make you fall in love with who she is:
Martha: I admit it never occurred to me I would be part of the fitness world. Becoming an instructor or trainer looked like the type of physically demanding job I would never dream of pursuing. I didn’t play sports in school or wasn’t known for my athletic ability. One day, I even fainted after running a mile outdoors in high school. I became more active after college, but then I was too busy working to truly be in shape.
Despite my struggles to stay active, there’s something I’ve always known I like doing—and that I can do a lot of—and that’s dancing. After taking my first Zumba class in 2014, I fell in love with the music, the moves, the instructor’s energy, and with my level of happiness every time I finished a class. It was addictive!
After discovering my love for Zumba, there were two additional circumstances that motivated me to transition out of a 10-year communications career to pursue a career in fitness: suffering from chronic low-back pain and my dad’s struggles with heart disease throughout his life.
My low-back pain manifested itself for the first time after a particular busy time at work. What I thought would last a couple of days became a chronic condition with the passing of the weeks. Discovering where the pain came from was a long and frustrating process that included misguided medical advise, unnecessary painkillers, MRIs, intense Internet searching, lots of patience and some tears.
After switching doctors and undergoing physical therapy, I finally understood that my sedentary job and the lack of a balanced exercise routine were at the source of the problem. I had muscle imbalances and a weak core musculature that weren’t supporting my lower back appropriately. It was hard to believe how sitting too much was negatively impacting my body so much.
The first-person experience and knowledge I gained through my struggle with low-back pain really opened my eyes to the importance of exercising for health rather than looks. That was a big “aha” moment for me.
In addition to this experience, I witnessed how my dad struggled with heart disease and hypertension since he was in his thirties. While my dad was a very wise man, he grew up poor in El Salvador, lived there during a civil war, and didn’t have the tools and resources to eat a balanced diet. It was not until he developed diabetes and subsequently suffered a heart attack that he changed his behavior.
In fact, my dad greatly improved his diet and exercise habits throughout the years, and inspired our family to live healthier lives. He really helped me appreciate health on a new level. He’s the one who taught me to eat more veggies than meat, believe in the health benefits of garlic, consume chia seeds way before people started talking about chia pudding, and stay far, far away from refined sugar.
Sadly, the early onset of diabetes along with heart disease complications shortened his life significantly. My dad passed days before Christmas in 2014. Not being able to see him enjoying life with us is definitely the most painful thing to think about.
My dad’s bravery, wisdom and hard work to live the best life he could for himself and his family, despite the many complications he suffered from diabetes and cardiac conditions, inspired me to pursue a new path geared towards helping people live healthier, longer, happier lives; especially those who don’t have easy access to exercise opportunities and nutrition resources.
Once I decided I was going to pursue a career in health and fitness, my second step was to decide where to start. I already had the license to teach Zumba® classes, but I wanted to obtain a fitness credential to confidently deliver the most memorable movement experiences I could possibly lead.
In late 2016, I obtained the Group Fitness Instructor Certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Because I didn’t have an exercise science background, I did not rush my study. While it took me six months to cover all the material, it felt right to study for something I wanted so badly. I was fascinated every time I learned something new about how the body works. I developed this newfound respect towards the wonderful machine that is our body, and I wanted to share it with everybody else.
Once I obtained the ACE certification, I was able to call myself a professional group fitness instructor, and that’s what I’ve been doing consistently since March 2017.
Martha’s class focuses on group fitness because her ultimate goal is for her students to develop a positive association with exercise that stays with them after class is over and motivates them to stick to their goals. She carefully selects the appropriate music with the rhythm and moves to keep you wanting more. Not only are her moves transferable to the dance floor, but her energy engages you to connect in ways you didn’t know were possible.
(Photo by Megan Weaver)
Martha is an absolute gem. Anyone would be blessed to meet her and take her class. If you’re skeptical about Zumba, give her class a try. You never know, you too may fall in love with it as well.
Wednesday 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Mary Kay Inc.