Not only is she a personal trainer. She already excelled in gymnastics and dance at a young age, and now juggles being a mother, a 9-to-5 job and launching her own sportswear label. Oh, and she’s teaching the Booty Building and DanceLicious class every week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We interviewed Michaela to find out how she manages to do all of that, and still keep working out fun.
So, let’s begin with your background. How did you get into sports?
My parents enrolled me in gymnastics when I was 4, which was really the start of a long road. I took that as far as professional gymnastics and became very fanatic until I discovered dance. That really became my thing and paved the way for studying both tourism and sports.
How would you define the classes that you teach at The Brick?
Everything starts with fun. The technical part is very important, but I really want the ambiance to be positive when you’re building a better you. And it’s something you have to learn to like – which in itself is a bigger goal than to perfectly execute an exercise.
At the moment you teach Booty Building and DanceLicious, right?
Yes, although the DanceLicious will start next week and will be on every Wednesday from 7:30 – 8:30 pm. I’m not currently teaching that as of yet, but Dancelious is a dance class with steps that are taught to reach a higher cardio level. At this class, we’re dancing to afro-latino music with some flamenco influences here and there. This lesson has a kind of therapeutic effect for both myself and the dancers; people come to enjoy the music and express themselves through dance and above all to have fun. The aim is mainly to move as much as possible and less to properly implement the steps. We’ve been missing a dance-inspired class on the roster for quite some time, which is why The Brick asked me to develop one (due to my background). That one is going to be a lot of fun.
What I like about the Booty Building is that it focuses on shaping and strengthening the gluteal muscles – without the classical attribute to those classes, where you’re lying on your back. I reinvent classical exercises such as squats, lunges, hip thrusts and monster walk and turn them into original combination exercises, which then includes the glute band a lot. The latter provides extra stimulation of the gluteal muscles.
I also focus on core; the basis of everything! Because this is a more technical lesson than Dancelious, it’s also really important to focus on the technical correct execution of the exercises to prevent joint injury. But it should still be fun!
Do you feel like something’s missing from the sports industry, especially in terms of your own experiences?
What I miss in the sports world as of now is a screening of what people are good at. I am very grateful that I started playing sports from an early age, but there’s a stereotype: girls attend gymnastics classes, just like most boys have to like football. And this because we just don’t know any better. I am therefore convinced that many young people have missed their calling in a certain sport.
The majority of top athletes accidentally ended up in the right sport. And thus there are a huge number of athletes who do not even realize that they too may have a lot of talent for other sports. For example, it wasn’t until my bachelor’s studies that I realized I’m great at team sports – unfortunately much too late to ever grow in that.
That is why I think it would be a gap in the market if there were dedicated companies for athletes where a team of experts could identify the talents you have and which of them match your ambition.
What we ask a lot of people that also do personal training is what makes a trainer unique. How would you identify yourself as a personal trainer?
I can really adapt well to different personalities and try to understand them. That – in combination with making it fun first – is one of the most important things for my students. And they tell me that as well. There’s a psychological layer. I find it very important to help people become better physically, but mental growth is something that’s often overlooked.
My position in life at the moment is also very important as to how I motivate people. I’m a mother with a daughter of 3 years old. Beyond that, I train and have a fulltime job. You cannot not show up without a valid excuse, and those grow thin when you’re a single mother. But it also motivates my students; it shows them that everything is truly possible.
And in 10 years? Where will we find you?
My kid will be older, so I’ll have a bit more time – and hopefully, everything will become a bit less overwhelming and better organized. But it’s not about taking it down a notch; just more efficient use of my time and more things running at once without it become clutter.
I’ve just started to develop my own merchandising and that’s coming in next week. The prototypes are already looking very good. Once the website is online, I can continue to evolve it – hopefully into a complete line of sportswear. I’m consciously trying to think of a concept that I could take all over the world – even warmer and more exotic locations – so perhaps that is where you’ll find me in the next 10 years!