FitFighter Steelhose

Workout Like a Firefighter with the FitFighter Steelhose

As a volunteer firefighter in Long Island, New York, Sarah Apgar was looking for a way to help her department train for live fires. An Iraq War veteran and a fitness professional, Apgar invented the Steelhose to mimic a fire hose filled with water using pieces of a fire hose filled with steel and stitched with resistance grommets. While the FitFighter fitness program was originally created to help firefighters train with the Steelhose, programs are now available for everyone.

"FitFighter began in a Long Island firehouse to better prepare firefighters for their job," says Apgar on the FitFighter website. "Now, we bring that same strength, stamina, and spirit of service to you, whether you're a soldier, CEO, athlete, parent, pro, or all the above."

The Steelhose is a versatile tool that does the work of a dumbbell, sandbag, medicine ball, and sledgehammer in one, giving you all the benefits of your favorite gym equipment in one easy-to-store tool that comes in a variety of weights. The weighted hose allows for a variety of moves including lifting, swinging, dragging, and tossing so that you are working on strength, flexibility, and range of motion in each workout. The Steelhoses are made right here in the United States with real firehose and steel.

Not only does FitFighter improve your fundamental movements like core and rotation, power and conditioning, and grip strength, but it also builds readiness methodology like physical preparation and mental fortitude to help you be your best all-around.

"Our Vision is to make you demonstrably stronger and more ready: for your everyday demands, to assist those in need and to better handle anything else that may cross your path," explains the FitFighter website.

FitFighter is available through an iOS training app and features live and on-demand workouts. Users can create their perfect workout by making a playlist of short exercises to keep the workout fresh.

A portion of sales benefits the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation, supporting wounded warriors, fallen first responders, and their families. Apgar also provides at-cost equipment to FDNY firefighters who need to train at home AND she is also working to keep high school and college athletes in top shape until sports can resume safely.

Check out Steelhose starter kits and membership options at  FitFighter will also be airing on Shark Tank on November 13 at 8 pm.

While the FitFighter fitness program was originally created to help firefighters train with the Steelhose, programs are available for everyone.

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Get Up and Dance with Miami Local Jaana Kunitz

Jaana Kunitz, Miami-local and former professional Latin Ballroom Dancer, is the Creative Director of Body FX, founded in 2016.

The positive physical and mental impacts of dance have been known for years. Body FX channels that in an on-demand fitness workout program that invites you to dance your way into staying in shape from the comfort of your own home.

Jaana Kunitz, Miami-local and former professional Latin Ballroom Dancer, is the Creative Director of Body FX. Kunitz founded Body FX with her husband James in 2016 after retiring from competitive dancing. The Kunitz' wanted to stay active through movement and Body FX was born.

Body FX offers fitness videos, as well as daily email coaching, nutritional support, monthly challenges, and an active Facebook group. One of the most popular Body FX programs, Figure 8, is a dance cardio workout that draws from Kunitz's expertise in Latin ballroom. The program utilizes basic foot patterns of Latin dances such as Salsa, Samba, Paso Doble, and the Rumba.

JNL Fusion, a HIIT focused program aimed at gaining strength, and 6-Minute Body, a time-efficient workout using short bursts of work, are two other programs that are part of Body FX. All of the programs aim to boost your mood while helping you get results. The Body FX subscription allows members to find a balance between the three programs to make the most of your fitness journey.

Kunitz's favorite part about Body FX is the community Body FX has created.

"To date, our private Facebook group has over 140K members! The online community connects Body FX members from all over the world encouraging members to share their triumphs, road bumps, and help motivate and champion others’ success," said Kunitz. "What’s even more special is how our global community has come together in support of one another over during this unprecedented time. With the pandemic-related social distancing measures, many were feeling extreme loneliness and little, to no motivation."

In the future, Kunitz hopes to have her own studio in Miami for in-person classes. For now, join her workouts on the Body FX App or with on-demand access at


Get Sweaty with Sweaty Girl and Support Breast Cancer Awareness

Karla Perez, Founder of Sweaty Girl Apparel, designed her line of activewear to help women look their best while working out.

Sweat is sexy and Karla Perez, Founder of Sweaty Girl Apparel agrees. Her line of activewear, based right here in South Florida, is designed to help women look their best while working out and doing something healthy for themselves.

Beyond the activewear, which we’ll delve into in a bit, Karla Perez, set out to create an activewear collection to meet the demands of her active lifestyle, that she felt wasn’t being met on the market. She was looking for stylish activewear that was functional for all fitness types and sports.

“Most of the cute clothes just didn’t provide the support needed for the high-intensity workouts I was doing. Oftentimes, I would do a CrossFit class and then cool down with Yoga. Well, I don’t have to tell you what kind of outfit is appropriate for both types of classes," said Perez. "So, out of my frustration with the quality, price, and functionality of the clothes I was buying, Sweaty Girl was born!”

However, in 2018, everything came to a halt when she was diagnosed with bi-lateral breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment and has been cancer-free since 2019. And Sweaty Girl is also thriving.

Sweaty Girl is inspired by the vibrant colors and scene of Miami and brings a dose of bright, bold, and colorful fabrics and designs. One of the most favored features of the collection is the combination of compression fabrics from Columbia and Brazil. They provide just enough to hold you in, yet are soft enough for all-day wear. The line includes tops (sports bras, tanks, tees), bottoms (leggings, capri, shorts) and accessories (hats, towels, face masks) and more.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Karla and Sweaty Girl will be donating a portion of proceeds from the month of October (so hurry up and shop!) to breast cancer awareness charities.  

We’ve included some of our favorite styles for working out and athleisure, however, you can browse or follow on Instagram (@sweatygirl_kp) to find yours.


Twerkout with Miami Native Simone Sobers, Creator of Boss Chick Dance Workout

What started in 2013 as a small class in Miami has since grown into a global program with more than 300 certified instructors in over 35 different cities.

Simone Sobers invites you to discover your inner-Beyonce during the Boss Chick Dance Workout.

The Boss Chick Dance Workout (BCDW) combines hip-hop, dancehall, soca, and Afrobeats choreography with signature twerk steps, cardio, and core strength-training for a full-body workout that is meant to empower and boost body confidence in women. What started in 2013 as a small class in Miami has since grown into a global program with more than 300 certified instructors in over 35 different cities.

Sobers created BCDW after recognizing a lack of black female leaders and inclusive environments in the wellness industry. She had already taken her passion for fitness to the next level and obtained her personal training certification from the American Council on Exercise. It only made sense to include her passion for dance.

"I started looking towards forms of fitness that would allow me to incorporate my love of dance. It was around this time that I also started researching health issues that typically affect black women, like heart disease and diabetes, and made the connection that these women weren't participating as much in group fitness classes," said Sobers.

Sobers' strong dance background includes training in classical ballet with Alvin Ailey and studying at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. From teaching dance to aspiring young girls to choreographing music videos for famous artists like J Balvin, Sobers always knew she was born to dance.

"In the second year of BCDW's existence, our participants started referring to my workouts as 'twerkouts' and the learn-to-twerk component was added, which really helped solidify our brand identity as being the first global twerk fitness brand with roots right here in Miami," said Sobers.

Breaking the common stigmas associated with twerking and celebrating the dance’s roots in the rich African culture, BCDW is designed to be an inclusive environment and safe space for women from all walks of life. Classes are for ladies only and include Twerk 101, an instructional technique class recommended for newbies that focuses on learning the 15 signature twerk steps, and Twerkography, a choreography dance cardio class that focuses on learning and performing a twerk combination.

"Boss Chick Dance Workout classes are designed to be accessible to all women, regardless of age or body type. Movements are concentrated on the hips - an area of the body where women store the most stress, tension, and negative energy - resulting in an emotional release that's just as powerful for our mental health as the workout's cardio and strength components are for our physical health," said Sobers. "One of my favorite things about our community is that we've created a safe space for women to connect with other like-minded women, to push and empower each other and provide ongoing moral support."

You can now also take classes on-demand and via live stream. The unlimited plan has a 7-day free trial and after that, it is $19.99 per month.

To learn more about the Boss Chick Dance Workouts or for more information on training to become a certified instructor, check out You can also find their Instagram at @bosschickdanceworkout.

Photo by Matt Pendleton for Matt Pendleton Photography

6 Local Trainers Share Their Thoughts on Teaching Virtually

We asked 6 local trainers what it's like to teach virtually, what they like and do not like about the new format, and if they will continue to teach online.

Since 2020 brought group fitness and personal training online, we asked 6 local trainers what it is like to teach virtually, what they like and do not like about the new format, and if they will continue to teach online even as things start to reopen.

How do you prepare for class?

Tarah Timothee, co-owner and trainer at Revolve Fitness: "[Now] there's a live class taking place at the same time. [Before] the online experience was a bit more intense since the entire audience was virtual. We experimented with various platforms from FaceTime to Zoom and settled on Google Meet because of the sound quality.

Rilde Leon, trainer at Equinox and Echelon: "Preparing for a virtual class is really not so different than preparing for a physical, in-person class. Honestly, the biggest change may be in how much more exercise I actually do myself. Because the energy of the room is much more reliant on the instructor, rather than the room full of people, I've definitely stepped up my game in terms of my own workout intensity. It's also much harder to motivate a group that you can't see or interact with the way you would in person. Preparing classes and playlists that I am really passionate about coaching through has been a big help."

What do you like about it?

Cadizsh Norford, trainer and founder of Mind Muscle Motivation: "I like virtual training versus in-person training because it provides more convenience as far as location and time. It also allows me to showcase, share my experience, and assist those on a national/international level."

Nicole Hoskens, solidcore coach and personal trainer: "I started sharing workouts because I saw people's mood take a hit and there was minimal human connection during quarantine. By posting free, 30 minute workouts, I'm able to help improve people's mood, find creative ways to challenge people physically, and create a small virtual community. These classes have been my silver lining in 2020. I'm able to reach more people than I would in a studio and it has been so much fun to connect with strangers and people I haven't spoken to in a while."

What do you not like about it?

Rick Chavez, kettlebell specialist, and trainer at Anatomy: "I don't like that we all aren't together in the same place doing the class. The energy that comes from being in a room full of people, all moving together while the music blasts, hearts pumping, sweat dripping - I miss that."

Jessica Marcarelli, Miami yoga, and barre instructor: "One of the biggest challenges is the overwhelming options! It's hard to find a platform that is both profitable for the teacher and easily accessible for your students. There are so many class options out there, many of which are free, it's a lot of competition, and people have different preferences. Teaching virtually also loses the hands-on individual attention that you get from an in-person experience and that's one thing I miss the most. I think it's hard for students to get the most out of a class without the teacher able to offer corrections, modifications, and most importantly, hold students accountable to the work which could in turn impact their results."

What is your most valuable tool for online classes?

Aryan Rashed, Owner and CEO of TREMBLE: "The ring light is the best thing!"

Timothee: "[We use a] tripod, phone, portable speaker propped up on yoga blocks, and a Bluetooth microphone."

Hoskens: "Before last week I would have said my ring light tripod, which is very helpful. But my new favorite tool which I recommend to everyone using an iPhone to record is the Xenvo Pro Lens Kit. Prior to their new wide lens, I had to turn my camera horizontally when I was on the mat, and vertically when I was jumping. Now with the widescreen lens, I'm able to keep my phone recording horizontally which creates a more cohesive visual for participants."

RELATED 8 Ways You Can Improve Your Virtual Class Experience

How has it changed how you teach?

Chavez: "In most cases when teaching virtually, you can't see what the people taking class are doing and if they are doing it correctly. It's changed the way I teach by forcing me to get better with my verbal instruction and visual cues."

Leon: "The way I teach has definitely changed with the shift to virtual coaching. I've had to learn how to provide an even more engaging experience because naturally many of us struggle more to self-motivate on our own than we do in a physical group setting. The classes themselves also need to be more inclusive in a sense particularly with respect to movement options and terminology. In-person, it's easy to help each person adjust and modify moves as needed. But virtually, you have to assume everyone out there needs a unique type of assistance and ensure your programming is inclusive of every fitness level. So the biggest challenge has been making sure that everyone gets the same personalized feel even without knowing who's watching or how they're performing. But it's certainly made me a better instructor in the process."

Will you keep doing it?

Norford: "Yes I will continue to provide virtual training and classes even once things become more 'normal' because ever since taking things virtually, the opportunities have been endless and feedback has been amazing! Going virtually allows you to go past where you currently reside and build a community that's infinite which is really inspiring."

Marcarelli: "I will keep doing it! I love that I've been able to reconnect with old students and grow our community across the country and even internationally. At the end of the day, I want to provide my students with options outside of the classroom because even when things reopen we know that life gets in the way. One thing I've taken away from this experience is how resilient we are and with health top of mind I want to offer ways for people to stay healthy no matter what - no excuses!"

Rashed: "Yes, I am continuing to do this for our adaptive fitness program for people with disabilities. This is an amazing way for people living with paralysis to be able to workout without having to get over to a gym, particularly during a time where people with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable."


How One Olympic Hopeful Prepares for the Ice in Sunny South Florida

The training must go on for those like local Floridian Jared Firestone with their eyes set on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Despite the Summer Olympics being postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19, the training must go on for those preparing for next summer’s rescheduled Games, as well as those with their eyes set on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. One local South Floridian is doing just that.

Hollywood native Jared Firestone has been an athlete all his life. He was a star sprinter in both high school and college, winning the District 2A-15 title in 2008 while at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, before heading to Tulane University to continue his career until he graduated in 2012.

In 2014, having retired from competitive sports and during his first year of law school, Jared suffered a mini-stroke. It was during that time he discovered the sport of skeleton while watching the Winter Olympics from his hospital bed. During his two-month recovery, doctors weren’t sure if Jared would ever be able to exercise at all, let alone play sports competitively. It was then that Jared vowed if he was cleared, he would get back to his love for athletics and compete at a high level. After two anxiety-filled months, doctors told Jared he could finally resume physical activity.

Firestone went on to attend Team USA’s Bobsled/Skeleton combine event where athletes are required to test their skills.  In 2015, Jared was invited to Lake Placid’s Sliding School in New York and by 2016 was sliding competitively.  For three seasons he was part of Team USA’s Developmental Program, until 2019 when he decided to fulfill a life-long dream of representing Israel at the Olympics. Once he successfully attained his Israeli citizenship, Jared officially joined the Israel Skeleton National Team.

The Israeli Olympic Bobsled & Skeleton Federation was established in 2004 and had its first Olympian compete in 2018.  David Greaves, President of Bobsleigh Skeleton Israel feels they have built a strong team of highly-competitive and committed athletes going into the 2022 Olympic games and hope to continue the tradition. Much like the unexpected and now all-too-familiar Jamaican bobsled team “Cool Runnings”, Israel’s bobsled athletes refer themselves as the “Frozen Chosen”. 

During the 2019/2020 season, Jared broke multiple Israeli Team records and had impressive finishes in the International Skeleton Rankings, finishing 76th in the world, second amongst rookie sliders competing on the international level. He earned the nickname “The Jewish Jet” from other athletes competing on tour with him.

Skeleton, perhaps considered the lesser-known among its more famous counterparts, bobsled, and luge, is an exhilarating sport requiring a combination of strength and speed to push the sled as fast as possible before launching onto it, and split-second decision making and precision in navigating the rest of the mile-long track head-first. Sliders experience up to 5Gs of force and reach speeds of up to 85mph with no built-in steering mechanism or brakes and their chins just centimeters off the ice. So how does a skeleton athlete from Florida prepare for competition for a winter sport during the offseason?

By April, once the ice has melted, most skeleton athletes spend their summer training improving their push-start. This training involves a combination of sprints, weight lifting, and plyometrics. During the week, Jared’s schedule consists of sprint work two to three times a week at a local track, followed by weight lifting later in the day. Typically the best athletes in this sport are good sprinters with a background in Track & Field, hence Firestone’s easy transition from the track to the ice. 

As far as improving their ability to drive the sled, many athletes like Jared get creative and incorporate mental training as part of their regimen. Jared spends hours each week memorizing new tracks, watching footage from old races, and visualizing sliding down the track, taking the “I can do it with my eyes closed” reference literally. However, in a sport like skeleton, not everything goes as visualized. At 85 mph, one must be ready to make quick decisions, while also remaining calm and focused. To improve these skills, Jared works with Nicholas Davenport of Mind.Body.1 in Deerfield Beach. Davenport is a cognitive training coach who utilizes integrative methods involving physical and mental exercises in order to achieve optimal high performance.

In November, Jared will be traveling to Lake Placid, New York, host of the 1980 Olympics, to begin his winter training on the ice. You can follow his journey to Beijing 2022 at


Tapping Into the Flow State: Pushing Beyond Self-Limitation with Mike Rosenfeld

Mike Rosenfeld is a Peak Performance mental strength Coach and Breathwork Therapist who works with high-performance athletes, artists, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

We’ve all had those days where your heart and head are just not into it. Whether you’re working, exercising, competitively training, or just living the day-to-day, the struggle to achieve or maintain focus seems impossible, especially during these difficult times. Even the greatest athletes have made known their battles and the methods they’ve used to overcome and take their drive, competitiveness, and performance to the next level.

One such person, who works with some of the world’s top athletes in helping them tap into what scientists call the flow state, shares his methods. Mike Rosenfeld is a Peak Performance mental strength Coach and Breathwork Therapist who works with high-performance athletes, artists, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies providing them with effective tools and strategies essential to achieve high-level success.

Earlier this year, Rosenfeld was featured as a high-performance expert alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Marshall Falk, and Mike Ditka in ​Beyond the Game​, a documentary benefitting athlete education and establishing a legacy of well-being and financial literacy in the sports world. Other accolades include a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey radio show where he was interviewed by Maya Angelou, Lifetime Network’s The Balance Act, and recognition as a “Revolutionary Change Maker” by Miami’s Sustanatopia, an award given to young social entrepreneurs working to create a positive impact locally and globally.

So what is a Flow State? It is an optimal state of consciousness when we feel our best, think our best, and perform our best.  For many years, we’ve seen elite athletes switch to a higher gear and take over a game. We’ve seen executives able to think, speak, and negotiate with ease and grace.  What occurs in the mind and body that allows one to rise to the next level? Science now confirms it as Transient Hypofrontality (THF), the temporary down-regulation of the prefrontal cortex. THF causes the inner critic and the voice of doubt to be silenced, allowing other parts and functions to take over.

Rosenfeld's personalized method, founded on Positive Psychology, Neuroscience, and the Psychology of Flow States uses four channels to connect you to your strongest self and help you develop a razor-sharp, calm focus where confidence is overwhelmed with certainty and the body and mind effortlessly adapt to any situation making everything around you stronger.

How does one access Flow State?  According to Rosenfeld, Flow can only be possible when internal and external conditions are met. He explains there are four channels to access Flow State: (1) the Five Senses, (2) Thoughts and Perspectives, (3) Environment and social conditions, and (4) Vagal flow alignment.

There are 4 distinct phases in Flow State:

1. Flow Build-up Phase

  • Train hard and push limits
  • Leads to stress
  • Releases cortisol

2. Flow Gain Phase

  • Takes the mind off the problem
  • Relaxes the brain so the subconscious takes over
  • Alpha levels around 8-12 hertz
  • State of energized calm

3. Flow Peak Phase

  • Super-human experience
  • Creativity takes over
  • Feels like you can do anything
  • Alpha Theta order at 7-8 hertz
  • Between the conscious and subconscious mind

4. Flow Transition Phase

  • Flow of the afterglow
  • Flow state cannot be forced
  • You wouldn’t know you were in flow if you intensely remained in that state all the time

Rosenfeld is currently working with boxings’ super welterweight world champion, Jeison Rosario. Rosario’s main focus is building every part of his game: technique, strategy, physical prowess, and mindset, which is where Rosenfeld steps in. As Rosario prepares to unify the world championship on September 26th against Jermell Charlo, they are working together to ensure all aspects of his training are aligned.

To learn more about the methods of achieving the Flow State, visit:

Christa Gurka

Op-Ed: Confessions of a Miami Studio Owner During COVID-19

Christa Gurka, Owner of Pilates in the Grove, shares her experiences navigating COVID-19 as a small business owner.

To call these last several months unprecedented would be the understatement of the year. I never in my wildest dreams thought that phrases such as quarantine, social distancing, or flattening the curve would become part of our everyday vernacular. Nor did I imagine that I would be forced to close my business for an entire quarter with only a moment's notice. 

So many have been affected by this pandemic. Parents have had to learn to homeschool, teens have forfeited their senior year athletics and graduations, millions have lost their jobs, thousands have lost their lives and there is still no real end in sight. 

As the owner of Pilates in the Grove, a multi-location service-based business, I completely believe it is all of our responsibility to do our part to flatten the curve and do what we can to slow the spread of this virus. I along with countless others made the difficult decision to close both of my studios on March 17th and pivoted quickly to online classes and telemedicine in less than a week. To be honest...I believed this would last no more than two weeks at the time. Boy was I wrong!

We would all be in for a rude awakening. 

We went from competing with only a handful of other high-quality boutique fitness establishments in our area to competing with millions of people offering free workouts online in a matter of a few short days. And I get it ... people didn’t know what to do or where to turn. It was like the hunger games out there ... we were all just trying to survive. 

But channeling my inner Katniss, I felt that I didn’t have the luxury to merely survive. I run a business that not only has goals but commitments. I have responsibilities to myself and my family. I have team members who rely on me for their livelihood. And that requires financial solvency.

In a 2016 study on Pilates in America, 60% of studio owners said they earned less than $50,000 net annually. Studies also show that less than 50% of all boutique fitness studios are even profitable. It has become my mission to help other business owners (specifically women) learn how to operate a more profitable business. 

Much like the restaurant industry, the fitness industry is highly competitive and operates on very very low margins. Customers are always looking for discounts and sales. Enter ClassPass, Groupon, and GymPass. These third-party aggregators trim margins to almost negligible for business owners. 

RELATED This Miami Gym Owner is Lobbying Congress to Include Fitness in a Coronavirus Bailout

Meanwhile, many fail to realize that in order to provide all of the things that come with a high-quality experience including ample free parking, clean and updated retail locations, state of the art equipment, and the high-quality staff, there is usually a high cost. The costs of commercial space (especially in large cities like Miami), property taxes, software, equipment, and quality labor are not cheap. 

So if even on a good year most fitness businesses are barely scraping by imagine what happens after a mandated shut down from a global pandemic.  

Businesses were forced to shut down overnight ... however, someone failed to relay this information to our landlords or vendors. Rent payments continued to be required as did software costs, utilities, and most other things that go hand in hand with running a business. All while our revenue grinded to a halt in a matter of hours. 

Then came the requests for refunds, freezes, stop payments and more. 

As business owners we were faced with the difficult choice to either terminate their entire team or innovate our offerings, I chose to keep as much of my team intact as possible. I pleaded my case to clients asking for continued support if they found it was possible. And so many of our clients stepped up big. Our community supported us. And my team came together big time to work through these unforeseen times. 

RELATED A Silver Lining in Fitness: A Miami Gym Owner’s Journey Through COVID-19

Fast forward four months. Four long arduous months. Months of applying for loans, negotiating with landlords, restructuring contracts, whittling down expenses, oh ... and homeschooling two teens. 

We are finally given the green light to re-open. By now we have sunk additional money into all of the new measures required to re-open. Updated HVAC units, additional cleaning supplies and services, PPE for staff and clients, new tech to support our virtual platforms, and the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, and did I forget to mention we can only open at 50% or less capacity?

So while costs are up and capacity is down and you have already exhausted all of your government assistance you buckle down and strategize how to be able to ride this out as long as possible. How do you keep your community engaged and your team paid? 

I fight hard to stay the course ... to keep pushing and pivoting and getting creative. Trying to make clients and staff feel as comfortable as possible. Trying as hard as possible not to increase prices or make too many internal changes. But at the end of the day, my rent and payroll do not get paid with well wishes and good intentions (believe me I have tried)  

I speak with dozens of studio owners every day who are closing their doors. And I wonder for those of us that do make it out of this what will the next 12 -24 months will look like. 

RELATED Gym Owners Form Miami Wellness Coalition to Speak with Unified Voice

Thankfully pre-COVID business was good. I was in the top 30% of businesses that ran a profitable ship, understood projections and planning, and jumped on government assistance right out of the gate. I let our clients know right from the beginning that we needed support in order to have our doors open when this was over. I was open and honest with my team that we needed to do everything possible to remain financially solvent so we all had jobs to come back to. 

With each and every month that passes, we see less and less attendance in our virtual classes. We get more and more requests for membership freezes and cancellations while at the same time receiving countless “best wishes”, “we are pulling for you” and “can’t wait to be back when this is over”. People are getting tired and bored.

So here comes the tough love part. In order for businesses like mine to still be here when COVID is all over we need more than well wishes. We need support.

And now is not the time for business owners to be shy about asking for it.

If you want to know how to ensure that your favorite locally-owned small boutique fitness business remains open here are some things you can do to help.

Get your butt to class! Most studios are extremely safe places to be right now. We have taken cleaning protocols and physical distancing very seriously. Studios are required to operate at a limited capacity and will keep you safe from the time you arrive to the time you leave.

Sharing is Caring! Feeling great after a class? Loved your private session? Share it on social, and tag us! Tell all of your friends about our online and virtual services ... Post a pic or tell your friends how great it is in the studio. We are not too proud to beg!!!

Pay full price. Now is not the time to bargain shop. Most fitness studios are hanging on by a thread and barely breaking even if at all. Asking for a discount or promotional offer is only adding fuel to the fire. Also, remember you are now getting an even better value with fewer people in each class. In most cases, you are actually being offered a more premium personalized service than before (at the business's expense).

Exercise is BEST right now. It has been shown that being healthy and physically fit is one of the best defenses against this virus. Moving your body and improving your cardiovascular health is critical now more than ever. 

Be Understanding. If you don’t like a schedule change or that you can no longer shower, or that you have to wear a mask, understand that there was likely a reason for it. Ask questions, or better yet ask how you can help. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone - including the front desk staff and studio owners who are on the receiving end of dozens of complaints, requests, and emails.

In the end, most small businesses are doing our absolute best just to keep our heads above water. While most of us are not looking for charity or hand outs we want you to know that we love what we do. We are passionate about our community and want more than anything to be here when we are on the other side of this. 

We are in this together, whether we like it or not so let’s make the most of it and do our best to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever!


Gym Owners Form Miami Wellness Coalition to Speak with Unified Voice

Gym owners organize the Miami-Dade County Wellness Coalition designed to represent the interests of the areas fitness industry.

Back in May, a pool of Miami gym owners, alongside other area health and wellness professionals, dubbed the "Working Wellness Group" by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, met with Gimenez to advise on the reopening of the local fitness industry. Through a series of meetings and calls with the Mayor that have spanned the last few months, the Group realized they were more or less reacting to predetermined decisions vs advising on possible best practices on how to reopen their businesses while simultaneously prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Understanding that they would be more effective if they collaborated and worked the calls and agenda with a unified voice, a subset of owners formed the Miami-Dade County Wellness Coalition to do just that.

"It's pretty simple," said Christa Gurka, Owner of Pilates in the Grove and organizer of the Coalition. "If we speak together with a unified voice, we can be more effective in our communication with local officials."

RELATED Behind the Scenes: The Miami Gym Owners Pushing the County to Reopen

Gurka is not one to sit on the sidelines. To her, this is part of the bigger picture for the fitness industry as a whole, where she is working with a country-wide coalition that is lobbying Congress to include the fitness industry in economic relief stimulus.

RELATED This Miami Gym Owner is Lobbying Congress to Include Fitness in a Coronavirus Bailout

“It’s the right thing to do,” commented Gurka on her work lobbying Congress. “The fitness industry has been completely overlooked in all of this, and we are an essential part of the communities we serve. We help define community. We bring residents together every day under our roofs. And something needs to be done to help keep these businesses alive.”

But back in Miami-Dade, Gurka and other members of the Miami-Dade County Wellness Coalition want to make sure their voice is heard and know they aren't being passed over. Case in point, the County has already flagged $35 million for a grant program to help the hospitality industry. That money comes from the $474 million Miami-Dade received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act, which must be used by December 30, 2020.

RELATED NYC Gyms File Class-Action Against State After Being Removed From Phase 4

Gurka and others are just starting to meet. If local gym owners want to join the coalition, email Christa Gurka at

Dani Dellarco

Op-Ed: Pride is So Much More Than My Sexual Orientation

Pride, to me, is so much more than my sexual orientation. To me, Pride is about having the confidence and acceptance of loving yourself.

Pride, to me, is so much more than my sexual orientation. To me, Pride is about having the confidence and acceptance of loving yourself. Pride is about owning who you are, living as authentically as you can. Whether you are an ally or a member of the LGBTQ community, we can all have pride for who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we intend to go. I truly believe that love should know no gender. I love my partner not because she is a woman, but for the person she is. I love her for her character because she is strong, kind, genuine, and authentic.

The question I get most is, “How did you know?” I think as a kid, I always kind of knew.

As a kid, I preferred shopping in the boy’s section rather than the girl’s section. I had crushes on female celebrities while my peers crushed on male celebrities. In high school, I started to get teased for my more masculine style. I would tiptoe into the men’s section of J. Crew hoping my peers wouldn’t see me. I spent much of my high school years trying to blend in.

It wasn’t until college that I made the decision to come out. Although I had this idea from a young age that I was more attracted to women, I had grown up going to catholic school and learned that being gay was wrong. Going to college, gave me that exposure to the LGBTQ community and the strength to realize there was nothing wrong with being gay. I figured I had two options: fight the feeling that makes me truly feel like me, or just accept and love myself for who I am.

I remember that I had made the decision to come out to my parents on a trip home during fall break. I was nervous, as I knew my dad was religious so I was very unsure how he would react to the news. My coming out was easy, and I fully acknowledge this is not the case for many members of the LGBTQ community. My parents were incredibly supportive and continue to be supportive of the relationship my partner and I have.

Today, I am proud to be a member of the LGBTQ community. My partner and I are both fitness instructors and strive to provide an inclusive environment for people to work out. To this day, I still shop in the men’s section, I embrace the things that make me who I am. I am grateful for the Miami fitness community that has embraced me and accepted me for who I am.

Taylor Walker|Taylor Walker|Taylor Walker

Heavy and Heartbroken, Yet Hopeful: My Journey as a Biracial Woman

Fitness professional Taylor Walker shares her journey as a biracial woman in America.

Picture this; an 11 year-old-biracial girl dates a white boy for 9-months in middle school. She sees nothing wrong with it because her mommy is white and her daddy is black and they teach love, acceptance, and appreciation for all cultures. When he abruptly breaks up with her, she does what any middle school child in 1997 would do; she has her BFF call him while she waits anxiously on the other phone. When the words, “I don’t want black children ring in her ears," her life is forever changed. The blood rushes from her body, and she begins to question everything she has ever known. If you are wondering, that her, is me.

Taylor Walker

The me today is a biracial mother who runs a successful wellness blog and trains clients from all different ages, races and backgrounds. The me today, get’s to waitlist Barry’s classes and inspire people to be their best and most confident selves. The me today is proud, powerful, and comfortable in her brown skin, but the me today also carries hurt. Deep wounds that re-open with every Black Death being filmed, with news stories of a woman in Central Park using her white privilege and scare tactics in an attempt to ruin a black man’s existence. The wounds re-open when I see the people of color that make up my world hurting, sad, and crying out in pain. What starts as a trickling stream of hurt, turns into a river and that river becomes an ocean; an ocean of hurt that people of color in America have been enduring for hundreds of years.

If you are a person of color in America, you live a different life.

I myself understand that I experience a level of privilege as a biracial woman. My brothers have been called racial slurs and have been stopped and frisked on multiple occasions without probable cause and without any regard for who they really were/are: fathers, successful businessmen, and All-American Athletes.

How? How is the one word on repeat in my mind right now? How is this real life? How are black men and women still losing lives by police brutality? How are we still living in a time where we are constantly judged by our skin color and not by the content of our character? It is all so dark, but within that darkness there is light. What I am witnessing in my feed, in my DM’s and through the constant barrage of texts and calls is that for many Americans, regardless of their skin color, enough is finally enough! What we are seeing play out before us is decades of hurt and anger and cries for change. Although the world feels so broken right now, we are witnessing something many of us have never seen before in our lifetime. Solidarity and support for the black community. Black, white, yellow, or brown, we are all trying to navigate this pain as a community, understand our part and working to find our voices in the process.

Taylor Walker

So friends, if you want to see the change, you must be the change. Even if you are not fighting this fight on the front lines of protests, I urge you to start to build your bridges. Ask your friends and co-workers of color how to be allies. Inquire, read, show up, and make your black counterparts feel equal, seen, and know that every gesture counts. If you take my class or follow me on social - @taylorwalkerfit, let’s have the tough conversations. I always hope to make my clients feel and experience things they never thought possible. As a trainer and woman of color in the most colorful city in the world, my wish is to help you build the strength to be the change.

Friends, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have HOPE. I recently watched a sermon from Miami Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. He spoke of HOPE. He said hope stands for: HOLD ON, PAIN ENDS. So friends, I am holding on, and I am asking you to keep holding on until the pain ends and the wounds heal for all Americans. Keep showing up for the people of color in your life, keep reaching out, look each other in eye, and above all else … choose LOVE.

Christa Gurka|Christa Gurka

This Miami Gym Owner is Lobbying Congress to Include Fitness in a Coronavirus Bailout

Christa Gurka, Owner of Pilates in the Grove, is lobbying Congress to include the fitness industry in a Coronavirus relief bailout.

Christa Gurka has never been one to sit on the sidelines and react. Her entire career has been built on taking action, doing the right thing, and teaching others how they can apply her learnings. So as COVID-19 continues to decimate the economy, resulting in a 13.3% unemployment rate with over 20.1 million people unemployed, Gurka knew she needed to act. Not on behalf of her own interests as the owner of the wildly popular Pilates in the Grove, but on behalf of the entire fitness industry.

“We were very fortunate at Pilates in the Grove. Taking our offering online was already in the works as part of our 2020 goals,” said Gurka. “But I know other gyms in the area and across the country are not in the same position. We are small business owners that employ amazing people that impact the residents in the neighborhoods we serve. I had to do something.”

And something she did. Gurka is part of the $1 Million mastermind group within Boutique Fitness Solutions, an organization dedicated to helping boutique fitness studios thrive. After her appearance on a local Miami TV segment, Gurka’s group reached out asking if she would help work on legislation that Congress would consider turning into a bill in the House.

“Essentially, the bill was started to provide economic relief for restaurants, but it makes sense for the fitness industry as well,” explained Gurka. “At a very-high level, it would cover a percentage of the difference in losses between a studios 2020 revenues versus their 2019 revenues.”

Gurka and the lobbying group have a long road ahead of them, with little chance of success, but that’s not stopping her from trying.

“It’s the right thing to do,” commented Gurka. “The fitness industry has been completely overlooked in all of this, and we are an essential part of the communities we serve. We help define community. We bring residents together every day under our roofs. And something needs to be done to help keep these businesses alive.”

miami gym owners|Brickell

Behind the Scenes: The Miami Gym Owners Pushing the County to Reopen

These Miami gym owners are working with Miami-Dade County to advise the county on how best to reopen Miami gyms.

It started in early March, when a group of CrossFit box owners that dubbed themselves the “Stronger Together” group, created an alliance to share best practices and ideas during the crisis.

“At first it was just about a dozen or so CrossFit gyms that decided to put differences and competition aside, and figure out how to navigate this situation,” said Guido Trinidad, founder of the popular, Peak360 CrossFit in South Miami, and a leader in the South Florida CrossFit community.

RELATED Savvy Miami Gym Owners Are Finding Ways to Drive Revenue During Coronavirus, and Members are Loving It

Organized by Mike Osuna, founder of Train8Nine, and another individual responsible for ushering in the popularity of CrossFit in South Florida via the I Am CrossFit chain, the group quickly evolved into something more as the days and weeks passed.

“We started to meet every week and discuss how to manage reopening,” said Jessica Bergman, owner of Downtown Strength and Conditioning. “But we realized the fitness industry wasn’t being addressed in the reopening plans, it was being left behind.”

RELATED A Silver Lining in Fitness: A Miami Gym Owner’s Journey Through COVID-19

The group at this point had expanded beyond the CrossFit community to include gym owners of all modalities. Through contacts, the group was able to land two separate Zoom calls with Miami Mayor, Francis Suarez.

“Mayor Suarez was really open and transparent with us,” said Trinidad. “He hopped on two different Zoom calls with us really late at night to give us advice and insight into what was happening. He’s a big fitness enthusiast, and his advice was key to helping us move forward.”

Next came Governor Desantis’s announcement on May 15th, announcing gyms in Florida were allowed to reopen at the discretion of local municipalities. But the Stronger Together group, along with Miami-Dade gyms owners, were left wondering when it was their turn.

Realizing gyms could be left behind without action, the group, through another series of contacts, was able to get in contact with the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos Gimenez. They learned a “working wellness” group was being formed to advise on the reopening of local gyms. On May 22nd, the group had its first call with Mayor Gimenez and addressed their concerns.

“We developed some guidelines and proposals for the county to consider to help expedite the discussion and decision making for when gyms can reopen,” said Omar Luna, City of Miami Springs Recreational Director and owner of Springs Athletics in Miami Springs. “We didn’t want to waste anytime.”

On their second call with the County, the group was told that June 8th should be the target reopening date, with Mayor Gimenez mentioning that during his May 29th Virtual Townhall.

“It’s time for gyms to open,” said Bergman. “They need to be given the chance to resume operations safely and responsibly with guidelines just like every other business in the area.”

RELATED 4 Ways COVID-19 Will Change the Fitness Industry

As gyms owners across the county expect to hear good news this week, one lesson can be learned – collaboration not competition is the key to long term survival and success in the new age of fitness.


Learn to Belly Dance, Get Fit, and Have Fun with Helen Blondel

Helen Blondel aims to unveil the mystique of belly dancing while empowering women and girls to feel great about their body with her new online dance course.

Helen Blondel aims to unveil the mystique of belly dancing while empowering women and girls to feel great about their body with her new online dance course.

Blondel recently launched BellyPOP, an online course designed to teach the fundamentals of the ancient art of belly dancing in the safety and comfort of your own home.

Blondel has over 15 years of experience as a dancer and teacher and has won multiple awards.

“I’m really excited about the launch of BellyPOP," explains Blondel. “The focus of this course is to introduce people to the essentials of this incredible art form, while at the same time liberating them from hangups about their body. BellyPOP is designed for women and girls of all ages, no matter what their shape or ability."

The course is focused on teaching newcomers the foundations of belly dancing, and the classes are divided up into easy segments, with each module focusing on an essential pillar of belly dancing skills. Blondel is available to answer any questions from her students with an easy to understand approach and a friendly one-on-one style.

With most people confined to their homes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the perfect time to try something new, while remaining socially distant.

“People can’t really go out and attend a dance studio these days," says Blondel. “That’s what makes BellyPOP so great. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or binging on Netflix, you can learn something new that’s going to help you stay in shape, release endorphins and give you more confidence about your body, all in the safety of your living room."

For more information on classes, check out BellyPOP at


3 South Florida Gym Owners Share Life During the Quarantine

I got to catch up with three South Florida gym owners to find out how quarantine has affected them and what is keeping them sane.

The gym industry was one of the hardest hit when South Florida cities began to announce business closures in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. One thing we’re learning as this situation unravels is that gyms are not just a place to lift weights, they are a source of connection, community and escape from daily stressors. Gym owners all across the state are working to move their offerings online and continue to cultivate the kind of community that their clients crave.

I got to catch up with three South Florida gym owners to find out how quarantine has affected them and what is keeping them sane. My conversations with these owners were overwhelmingly positive, with underlying themes to the effect of, we’ll get through this, we’ve got to keep moving, we’ve got to keep connecting.

Troy Valls of Move. Lift. Live (

Move. Lift. Live is currently offering several free classes per day.

How are things going for you in quarantine?

Oddly, pretty good. We’re in ‘take it day by day’ mode and at the moment we’re good. Time will tell. We took a decision early on to start sunsetting the gym business. We felt like ‘this is going to happen anyway, so let’s just rip the bandaid off now’ and we jumped on it. We started asking questions like: How can we be proactive? How do we adapt? How do we exist? What does this virtual world look like?

What are you up to now?

Before we closed, we opened up the doors for our members to sign out equipment. We are offering a full schedule of workouts 3 times a day, including yoga, mobility, and a discussion group. The discussions include about 10 people, we pick a topic and dig into it. We recognized that people are still feeling really anxious and we feel that for the most part, the antidote is people being able to connect with each other.

How is your community?

Our community has been amazing. Everyone is asking ‘what can we do? ‘They’ve also been expressing worry that their connection will go away. We’re really pushing to maintain a sense of community. When you boil it down fitness is really about healing. People look to fitness and health as remedies, to help them feel better. Fitness increases longevity, mental clarity, strength, courage, and mental resilience. Now we’re just trying to create that in a virtual space.

How was the shift into digital for you?

The shift into digital was pretty seamless for us because we were ahead of it. We recognize that physical connection is irreplaceable, so we’re going above and beyond with our digital offerings making sure people still feel that they have human connection in a meaningful way.

How are you feeling?

Everybody knows that when you step out of your comfort zone that is where you truly find growth and magic. Right now we’re being forced into things we’re not comfortable with. As the community pulls together, the more we support each other, the more we can help people find their true gifts so that they can prevail and come through this.

And what about the business?

As long as we’re still standing, we’re asking ‘what is the most we can do to help?'

Jamie Maitland of The Office (@theoffice954)

The Office is offering free classes at @theoffice954

What are you up to these days?

We have been streaming live mini-workouts outs along with some spin classes. I want our community to feel like they are still able to connect with us on a personal level, so all of the workouts have been real, not perfect, just the way it is.

How is your community doing?

My community is super inspiring, everyone is coming together, even the studios are coming together. People do miss their outing to the gym, though. The workout community is an escape and I love being that for people, but things always change and we just have to move forward.

How are you personally handling the situation?

I’m ready to take on anything that you throw at me on a deeper level. I’m still waking up every day and able to do what I love to do every day, so I’m grateful for that. Perspective and mindset will get us through this. I’m trying not to overthink and am doing my best, it’s one of the four agreements. You have to learn to surf and flow. Things ebb and flow, that’s life, it’s a jungle.

What’s your favorite home workout rn?

Butchering my accessory muscles. Short workouts, but killer. Like doing 1,000 donkey kicks.

Kamps - Ari and Sam Karl (@kampsfit)

Kamps is offering free daily classes through Kamps Live

What are you up to these days?

We’re live-streaming classes on Zoom for free. We’re also raising money for Feeding America, which helps fund food banks across the country. These organizations are feeding the children who are usually fed in public school, it’s so important right now.

How was the shift to digital?

We have been extra cautious watching this materialize, so we closed early on. We didn’t want to be part of the problem. Because we closed early, we had some time to prepare and took an organized approach.

We’ve never done digital, so we face challenges every day. We’re still working on sound and image quality, and interaction. It’s been constantly evolving since we’ve been online, but our digital community is growing - we now have people tuning in to our workouts from all over the globe, it’s inspiring to see.

How is your community doing?

We have a good base of clientele that we see every day and we’re still feeling a sense of community through our free classes. Everyone seems to be doing okay, and we are doing our best to keep everyone in good physical and mental shape throughout this crisis.

What is your favorite workout rn?

All of our trainers bring an exciting and unique aspect to the workout. Elena’s boxing classes are incredible!

If you’re looking for ways to support your favorite gym or trainer right now, check out these 9 Ways to Support your Local Gym and Trainer.

Marc Megna

5 People Who Forever Changed the Miami Fitness Scene in the Last Decade

Check out our list of fitness professionals who have made a lasting imprint on the Miami fitness community.

During the last tenyears, South Florida has seen unprecedented growth in the health, wellness, andfitness industries.

Hundreds of new businesses have opened their doors to the thousands of fitness fanatics that live across the tri-county area.

But South Florida, and Miami in particular, hasn’t always been the fitness mecca that it is today. Sure, rollerblading along Ocean Drive and pick-up beach volleyball games have existed. But the premier fitness facilities, precise business models, and top-tier talent, all found their way to the Magic City shores this past decade.

So, who are thetrendsetters responsible for changing the Miami fitness community this pastdecade? Check out our list below of fitness professionals who have made alasting imprint on the 305.

Frankie Ruiz

Frankie Ruiz –Founder, Miami Marathon

You can’t mention the Miami running community without mentioning Frankie Ruiz. The OG. Ruiz founded the Miami Marathon back in 2003, that jumpstarted the South Florida running community. But it wasn't until 2009, when Ruiz founded the first of several organized Run Clubs, did the run culture blossom into what it is today.

“I realized that Miami was lacking this sort of running 2.0 community,” said Ruiz. “I wanted to bring it out of the ’70s and ’80s into today, with the Miami Marathon being the catalyst. Our first Run Club at Mr. R Sports on Lincoln Road disrupted everything.”

Ten years later, Ruiz and co. lead Run Clubs in South Beach, Brickell, Doral, Weston, Coral Gables, West Kendall, Homestead, and Kendall.

Myk Likhov, Founder of Modern ŌM and The 7

Myk Likhov – Founder, Green Monkey Yoga and Modern ŌM

It’s impossible totell the history of the Miami yoga community without Myk Likhov, and his GreenMonkey studios.

In 2008, Likhov opened the first Green Monkey studio in South Miami, using a few guiding principles: community, culture, and accessibility.

“No yoga studio or brand was talking to the mainstream at the time,” said Likhov. “Our treehouses (studios) were fun, playful, and inclusive. It was fun, it wasn’t just yoga.”

Over the next decade,Green Monkey opened several new locations across town. Before Likhov’s exitfrom the company, Green Monkey reached unheralded heights that studios in SouthFlorida are still chasing and trying to replicate.

"At one point, Green Monkey had more new students in a month, than other studios combined had total,” said Likhov.

Manning Sumner

Manning Sumner –Founder, Legacy Fit

Known for theirheart-pumping workouts, Legacy Fit is one of the most popular gyms in South Florida.Their open-air Wynwood location is an experience unto itself, and one of our must-try South Florida HIIT and bootcamp workouts in2020.

The Legacy Fit “No Days Off” mantra is a globally recognized motivational phrase that started right here by Manning Sumner in the 305 during 2008.

“Fitness isn’t a trend - it’s a lifestyle,” says Sumner. “It’s not six weeks to a six-pack. From the moment I opened the gym, I wanted it to be more than a space. It's a movement. ‘No Days Off’ is about not taking a day off on yourself. It’s part of your routine instead of punishment.”

That lightning in a bottle has spread like wildfire with Legacy Fit locations in Summerville, SC, Coral Gables, Doral, and Kendall, with Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale coming in 2020.

Sumner’s legacy (no pun intended) on the South Florida fitness community is unquestioned. Gym operators attempt to emulate not only the community and culture that Legacy Fit has created but their delivery method – less frills, more sweat.

Janet Jones

Janet Jones – Founder,Vixen Workout

In 2012, at the age of 30, Janet Jones foundherself moving back into her mother’s house with a child after being laid offfrom her previous job.

“I was at rock bottom,” explained Jones, who is not one tostay down for long.

From this personal struggle, the Vixen Workout was born,along with the greatest lesson of her life, “I’m not afraid to lose it allbecause I know I’ll start over and kill it again,” said Jones.

As a former dancer, Jones wanted to create a place for women - mother, daughter, sister, CEO – to just dance. Vixen Workout changed the dance fitness category here in Miami and proved that women empowerment concepts can survive as a business model.

Now with communities across the country, and featured on the Today Show, in the New York Times, and dozens of other media outlets, Vixen Workouts are changing the lives of women everywhere.

Marc Megna

Marc Megna – Co-Founder,Anatomy

In 2014, former NFLplayer Marc Megna noticed a void in the South Florida fitness community.

“Lots of people had a nice gym or nice spa/sanctuary, but not both,” said Megna. “So having a nice gym and nice recovery was important - at the time, nobody was doing it at that level with great group fitness classes.”

Along with hispartner Chris Paciello, Anatomy in Sunset Harbour was born. Now with locationsin Midtown Miami, 1 Hotel South Beach, and Coconut Grove coming in 2020, Anatomyis arguably the pinnacle of fitness training in South Florida. Anatomy made ourlist of must-trySouth Florida gyms in 2020.

From top tier trainer talent to a massive membership base, Anatomy is constantly pushing the envelope on what it means to deliver great service and results, in an upscale, elevated environment.

“The most importantperson isn't us, it’s the other person - service is important when guests walkin the door,” says Megna.


What It Takes to Win the Miami Marathon. The Winners Tell All

STAY FIT 305 connected with a few of the elite winners from the full and half Miami marathons to find out what it took to come in first place.

This year’s Life Time Miami Marathon was a sold-out event with 18,493 registered runners. Something of a local rite of passage, over 8,000 of these runners were South Florida residents. While people of many abilities, ages, genders, and nationalities ran the races, it takes something special to be the first man or woman over the finish line. 

We connected with a few of the elite winners from the full and half marathons to find out what it took to come in first and what, in their mind, makes the Miami Marathon a special international race. 

Full Marathon 1st Place Female  - Aydee Loayza Huaman, age 25, of Lima, Peru

Time: 2:46:54

Aydee Loayza Huaman is an established world-class trail runner and the first female athlete from South America to complete the 44K Trail Running World Championship race (she finished 9th in 2019). She also finished 4th in the 2019 Lima Half Marathon.

Q: What was the number one thing that helped you cross the finish line?

A: The strength, courage and faith in myself. I was also focused in [sic] my family and what this will mean for them too. I also thought about all of the Peruvians who trusted me and supported me to get to Miami: the Peru Runner's team and their ONG Chaki Wayra. I thought about my training and all of the effort I put into each of those training days…  and the passion I feel for running.

Q: What makes the Miami Marathon special?

A: The amount of people who participate, run for love, passion and for fun. I loved that I could run next to so many beautiful locations, next to the sea; with a bright sun on top of my head and happiness everywhere I went. I also think it is very important to highlight the races [sic] hydration system, everything they did was very good and organized, since [sic] the time I arrived in the morning to the time I got back to my recovery massages and had a nice meal.  

Half Marathon 1st Place Male Dominic Korir, age 26, of Kericho Kenya

Time: 1:03:52

Dominic Korir entered the 2020 Miami Half Marathon as the defending runner-up. After his 2nd place finish in Miami last year, Dominic went on to place 3rd in the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K and 4th in the B.A.A. Boston Half Marathon – among other races he ran in 2019.

Q: What was the number one thing that helped you cross the finish line?

A: Knowing the course. I ran it last year and this year was going to be mine. I owned it and came out as the winner.

Q: What makes the Miami Marathon special?

A: The organizers, the local community, the runners  and the energy that Miami brings out from everyone. I will be back again next year. 

Half Marathon 1st Place Female Beatie Deutsch, age 30, of Jerusalem, Israel

Time: 1:16:4 

Beatie is well known as the ‘Marathon Mother.‘ Less than three years after she started competitively running, Beatie Deutsch won the 2019 Tiberias Marathon, the 2019 Riga Half Marathon, the 2019 Tel Aviv Half Marathon and the Israeli Half Marathon Championships.

Q: What was the number one thing that helped you cross the finish line?

I was really motivated to win for my country, Israel and the Jewish community. Miami is a race that attracts a lot of Jews from all over and there are several big Jewish charities that have teams that run there. It was really important for me to be able to proudly represent Israel and what it means to be an Orthodox Jewish woman on the podium. It was my first time racing in the States and I felt a certain sense of responsibility to my community. 

Q: What makes the Miami Marathon special?

Miami was special for me because of the beautiful scenery, the large percentage of Jewish runners (I loved hearing Jewish music on the course), and the incredible atmosphere and organization!

We congratulate all of the winners of the 2020 Miami Marathon and Half Marathon as well as all of the participants who crushed their own personal goals. 

Nathalia Ferr||||||Brandon Brennan|Kellie Sikorski||||||||||||Michael Schaeffer||Kira Alvarado|||Jamie Maitland||Vanessa Villegas|Lindsay Gurry|Mike Verdugo

25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2020

We are so excited to announce our “25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2020” list. Scroll down to see if your favorite trainer made the list.

2020 is your year! And if you're ready to take on new challenges or work towards a familiar goal, one of these Miami fitness trainers can help you get there. We are so excited to announce our “25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2020” list. Scroll down to see if your favorite trainer made the list below, and check out our lists from the past.

*25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2019*
*25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2018*
*25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2017*
*25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2016*

Anthony Rhoades - @anthony.rhoades

Regine Santa Maria - @bodygoals_dbcfit

Regine Santa Maria

Ramses Principe - @mia_fitness

Christa DiPaolo - @christadipaolo

Derek Degrazio - @derekdegrazio

Nathalia Ferr - @nathalia.ferr

Nathalia Ferr

Myk Likhov - @myklikes

Myk Likhov

Sam Reynolds - @journeyforthesoul

Sam Reynolds

Joe Stempien - @joenodaysoff

Joe Stempien

Tiffany Levy - @tifftopia

Tiffany Levy

Sammi Stonish - @sammi_jay

Sammi Stonish

Brandon Brennan - @mr_getfit

Brandon Brennan

Kellie Sikorski - @kelliewfit

Kellie Sikorski

Valerie Senior - @valeriesenior

Valerie Senior

Michael Schaeffer - @michaelschaefferyoga

Michael Schaeffer

Kira Alvarado - @kirakulture

Kira Alvarado

Jamie Maitland - @jamiemaitland

Jamie Maitland

Astrid Roman - @astridromang

Troy Jason Valls - @troyjasonvalls

Jasmyn Russell - @atmashanti108

Sam Jackson - @samjackson12

Mike Verdugo - @bodytekmikey

Mike Verdugo

Vanessa Villegas - @vanessavvillegas

Vanessa Villegas

Lindsay Gurry - @fablinds

Renato Silva - @renatomarkus1977

Renato Silva
Derek Waddy|Derek Waddy

Get to Know lululemon South Florida Ambassador Derek Waddy

We caught up with Derek Waddy, lululemon South Florida ambassador, to hear about the Sweat Life, and what to expect during lululemon’s Superbowl workout.

The countdown to Superbowl weekend is on! Hear what Derek Waddy – lululemon South Florida ambassador – had to say about living the Sweat Life, and what we can expect during lululemon’s Training Camp workout on February 1st.

*RELATED Tickets: lululemon’s Training Camp Sweat – Super Bowl Weekend

Tell us about yourself - where are you from and how did you find your way to the 305?

I’m from Ft. Washington, Maryland. I came to Miami in 2015. I had the opportunity in Miami to continue my growth in the yoga and fitness industry through being developed as an instructor and leading teacher trainings both locally and nationally. 

Where do you teach? How long have you been an instructor? What is your specialty?

I teach at Greenmonkey Yoga studio, Anatomy, and I also have private clients that I work with weekly. 

Tell us about your experience as a lululemon ambassador. What is your favorite part?

Being a lululemon ambassador has been a great experience. It has encouraged me to take part in different activities that I wouldn’t have otherwise, most notably, running a half marathon. They have supported my studio classes and they have also worked with me in support of my nonprofit organization, AIM Miami. My favorite part about being an ambassador has been the people I’ve met and the relationships I've formed.

Derek Waddy

Tell us about AIM Miami? What is it? What is your role?

I’m the Co-Founder of AIM. AIM Miami is a nonprofit after school program. Currently, we are working with youth in the Miami Dade Public School system. We offer yoga, character development curriculum, and professional and vocational sessions. Our motivation is to help students make healthy lifestyle choices, manage daily stressors, and cultivate practical skills that help them accomplish their personal, academic, and professional goals. We’re excited about what 2020 will bring as we continue to grow and expand.

So tell us, what we can expect at the upcoming lululemon Training Camp workout?

You can expect a high energy event that will be lots of fun. Some of the top trainers in South Florida will be there leading the charge! The proceeds from the event will help AIM provide food, educational programming, and events that allow the youth we work with exposure to a variety of career opportunities.