Jessica Marcarelli

Jessica Marcarelli

Jessica Marcarelli is a dedicated health and fitness professional who is passionate about helping others make movement a part of life. Jessica is the Director of Corporate Health Initiatives at the Downtown Miami YMCA where she oversees the fitness program and teaches a variety of group fitness classes. She is active in the Miami fitness community where you can find her jumping into classes around town, checking out the latest STAY FIT 305 events, or planning ones of her own!

Downtown Miami YMCA
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March Madness: 4 Mistakes to Avoid While Getting Your Game Back

This post is powered by the Downtown Miami YMCA

While sports leagues took a backseat for much of 2020, the training never stopped for some athletes. Robert Green-Carter, founder of DARCHorse Basketball Training and the Downtown Miami YMCA’s very own Basketball Skills Instructor, stayed busy throughout the pandemic. He spent a lot of time working one-on-one with his clients around Miami, but he recognizes not everyone had this option available. As gyms start to reopen, adult sports resume and March Madness is on your mind, here are Robert’s four potential mistakes to avoid while getting back in the game:

1. Doing Too Much Too Fast - A common mistake among people returning to activity after an extended layoff is trying to do too much too fast. Understanding that you won’t get it all back in one session, one week or possibly even one month goes a long way in ensuring you avoid an injury that could put you on hiatus once again.

2. Train With A Purpose - Many people get caught up in the trendy new exercise/drill they see on instagram when this actually may be counter productive to your own specific goals. If you’re an athlete competing in a sport that requires speed perhaps it may not be best to incorporate specific activities that will slow you down. A basketball player’s program should look much different from a bodybuilder’s. Train like an athlete to move like one.

3. Not Focusing - The importance of being focused and detail oriented can’t be over stated. One of my favorite stories is about NBA star Jayson Tatum who began training when he was 13 years old and for the entire first month of his training he only did jab steps without taking a SINGLE SHOT. That tremendous focus and attention to detail paid off immensely as he is one of the most polished players in the entire league. Master one thing and then move onto the next. That’s what separates the good from great.

4. Not staying the course - Perhaps the most important thing in any training program and life in general is understanding that success isn’t linear. You’ll have days where you feel and perform great and others where it’s the polar opposite. The sooner you come to the realization that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, the more likely it is that you’ll ultimately stay on track to reach the goals you set for yourself. Don’t give up!

If you need more direction in your training, schedule some time at the Downtown Miami Y! You can come for open gym time, train with Robert one-on-one, or join his small group skills clinics to refine your game. Skills clinics take place every Tuesday nights at 6:30pm and Saturday morning at 11:15am. Each session focuses on a specific functional training movement. You’ll practice developing the new skill and then apply it into real game scenarios. Call 305.779.9622 for more information.

Robert Green-Carter, founder of DARCHorse Basketball Training and the Downtown Miami YMCA’s very own Basketball Skills Instructor shares four potential mistakes to avoid while getting back into shape.

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Anatomy 1 Hotel

8 Wellness Focus Areas For Next Level Goal Setting

This post is powered by the Downtown Miami YMCA

Last year, we were forced to face physical and mental health challenges like never before. As the global pandemic began to impact every aspect of daily life, the majority of regular wellness routines went out the window. Now, we’re finding ourselves in a new year and facing similar circumstances but with a new attitude. If you are resolved to prioritizing your health and wellness in 2021, you’re not alone. According to Allainz Life annual New Year’s Resolution Study, 57% of Americans also have health and wellness as their top area of focus.

So how do you put it into action? Living a healthy lifestyle can sound like a big undertaking and achieving total wellness can seem unattainable. The truth is there’s no picture perfect conclusion. Choosing to prioritize your health and wellness means you’re embarking on an ongoing, active process of seeking out a balanced lifestyle that’s personal and individual.

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. It goes beyond the physical health like nutrition, exercise, and weight management and includes both mental and spiritual health, too. It’s multidimensional and dynamic, so if general wellness feels overwhelming start by breaking it down into smaller brackets and focus on making decisions that will work together to enhance your life as a whole.

Some examples of wellness dimensions according to the National Institutes of Health include:

  • Physical – taking care of your body for optimal health and functioning now and in the future
  • Intellectual – expanding knowledge and skills, maintaining curiosity about learning
  • Emotional – understanding and managing your feelings, values, and attitudes
  • Social – maintaining healthy relationships, contributing to your community
  • Spiritual – finding purpose, value, and meaning in your life
  • Vocational – participating in work that is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle
  • Financial – managing your resources, preparing for short-term and long-term needs
  • Environmental –understanding how global and personal surroundings affect your well-being

Making healthy choices in your life doesn’t need to have an all or nothing approach. Don’t worry about being perfect. Acknowledge the areas of your life you want to improve and start paying attention to the choices you make. Take control of your actions and you’ll improve the quality of your life.

Looking for inspiration to get started? The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, dedicates February 1st to March 31st as Miami Health & Wellness Months under the GMCVB Miami Temptations Program. They partner with local business to offer special promotions that keep the community engaged and tourists entertained. You can find tempting offers on health and wellness activities from biking to beach cabanas, massages to manicures, pool lounging to rooftop yoga – all with health and safety guidelines in place.

Included in the GMCVB Health & Wellness Months is a Free 3-Day Guest Pass at Downtown Miami YMCA with unlimited access to the gym, fitness center, and group exercise classes at no charge to you. Classes include indoor cycling, yoga, circuit training and more! Just call 305.779.9622 to grab this deal now through March 2021!

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.

Downtown Miami YMCA

5 Running Tips to Stay on Pace While Live Races are Still on Pause

This post is powered by the Downtown Miami YMCA

Hey runners, I see you. I know you are bummed that live running races have been canceled. If things weren't already stressful enough, you might be struggling with the motivation to stick with your training - ask Ally Robinson, founder of Something Runderful and the new Downtown Miami YMCA Running Coach. As an athlete, certified personal trainer, and running coach, she gets it.

“We thrive on goals and finish lines,” says Robinson, “I know it's frustrating, but you can switch your mindset to think how much more time you have to plan, prep, and train for your next race. Utilize this time to become the strongest, fastest, and best version of yourself so when the next live event comes around ... you'll be ready to crush it!”

Here’s Ally’s list of how to stay motivated and focused on your fitness while live races are on pause:

1. Run a virtual race - Live races might not be happening, but the Miami Marathon has gone virtual. So put on your running shoes, grab your Camelbak, and recruit a couple of close friends or family members to cheer you on as you conquer 26.2 miles (without the crowds of people).

2. Switch it up - Start to add different types of running workouts and drills to your weekly routine. Include intervals, fartleks, hill repeats, stair sprint, progression runs, long runs, and recovery runs. Broaden your running skills and make yourself a more rounded athlete.

3. Set a new PR (personal record) - Take this time to improve your speed. Focus on running your fastest 5k or 10k. Once live events can happen again, you'll be flying to the finish line.

4. Incorporate strength training - Adding just a couple of days of resistance or strength training will prevent injury, aid with weight loss, build lean muscle, and make you a stronger runner.

5. Join a running program – There’s nothing like having a coach to hold you accountable. Look for a run training program to keep you motivated on track toward your goals.

Looking for a program to join? The Downtown Miami YMCA is kicking off an all-levels, 8-week running program on January 23rd to help you get on the road to your best 5k. It will include socially-distanced, small group training along with a personalized training plan and one-on-one run coaching sessions. Open to YMCA members and non-members!

There are so many more benefits to running than just getting a medal at the end of a race. Exercise in general has been proven to boost your immune system, and there has been no better time to prioritize your health. So keep on running!

Live races may be paused but the Downtown Miami YMCA Running Coach, Ally Robinson, shares five ways you can stay motivated and focused.

Dry January

Ask Yourself This Question For Long-Term Success with Dry January

This post is powered by the Downtown Miami YMCA

In a 2021 world, the tried-and-true New Year’s resolutions seem to hit a little different. As you reflect on the past 365 days and look to an uncertain start to 2021, there’s no better time to decide what you’re ready to leave behind and how you want to move into the New Year. While some people took the COVID-19 quarantine as an opportunity to better their health, the stress, loss, anxiety and grief that affected us all didn’t always lead to the same result.

So, where do you start?

In a world full of quick fixes and fad diets, Jessica Santiago, Downtown Miami YMCA Healthy Lifestyle Specialist & Trainer, is far too familiar with these conversations. In addition to being a group exercise instructor, personal trainer, and wellness coach, Jessica has over 15 years of experience in the food and beverage hospitality industry. One resolution she has seen time and time again? Dry January.

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Dry January dates back to January 2013, Alcohol Change UK kicked off their first campaign with 4,000 participants. Fast forward seven years later, 100,000 participants signed up and 4 million took part in January 2020. The intent behind the campaign was created with the best of intentions, urging people to abstain from alcohol for a month to reset after the holidays. Although the big question of the matter is “can a month alcohol-free really make a difference long-term?”

“You might notice better sleep, an increase of energy, more money in your pocket, the list goes on, but in 31 days you will not improve your overall health outcome,” Santiago says. “With the likes of fad diets, cleanses, and detoxes you can’t expect to figure out what works best for your body if you aren’t educating yourself first to a healthy, balanced, mindful lifestyle.”

“My challenge for you, instead of going from all to nothing in a Dry January challenge, look at your current lifestyle,” says Santiago. She encourages you to ask yourself questions such as, “Do I have a healthy relationship with alcohol, my body, with food, my work/home life balance? What can I do to improve it?”

Jessica recommends to start by creating SMART goals for the next 30/60/90 days and even as far as six months and one year goals. “Once you experience your first few wins, the longevity of your health should outweigh any instant gratification because you know where you started, how hard you worked to get there. Building a strong foundation for a healthy, balanced lifestyle takes time, more than the month ofJanuary.”

Wellness doesn’t have to end after 30 days. Limiting your potential is the first mistake we make when evaluating our goals and taking on new challenges. Rewrite the conversation, see how far it takes you.

Need help setting SMART goals? Every new member at the Downtown Miami YMCA receives a complimentary Healthy Living Orientation to assess your current body composition and movement patterns to help you create a personalized pathway to lasting change.

For more information, visit

Dry January dates back to January 2013, Alcohol Change UK kicked off their first campaign with 4,000 participants. Fast forward seven years later, 100,000 participants signed up and 4 million took part in January 2020, and it could grow in 2021.