About Nelvina: "Nelvina specializes in cardiovascular conditioning, boot camp, cross training and general fitness. She’s an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America ® certified group fitness instructor and also certified in Turbo Kick. She enjoys cooking and traveling and strives to provide reinforcement and individual attention as a group instructor. She believes exercise is essential to healthy living and emotional and physical well-being."
Nelvina was kind enough to answer our questions for the latest installment of our featured fitness instructor series.
How did you become a boot camp instructor? Tell us about your certification.
Years ago, while taking a class at a gym, a manager asked if I would be interested in teaching classes. My initial response was no, but later I decided to go for it and that is how I became a fitness instructor. My main motivation to become an instructor came from my desire to share with at least one person some of the benefits that physical fitness has offered me. I have been a fitness enthusiast since my early twenties when simple fitness routines like walks helped me when I had cancer. When I recovered I amped up my routines and made fitness a part of my life. For several years I have been incorporating a variety of exercises in my classes, but boot camp and running have been my passion and go-to exercise activity whenever I feel stressed, sluggish or just in need of some nice fresh air. Physical fitness is a very personal journey. For me it has to be challenging, motivating and enjoyable. I am now an AFFAA group exercise certified instructor and hold a Master’s in Public Health.
What do you see as the biggest fitness benefits of your Boot Camp classes?
The greatest benefit of my Boot Camp class is its potential for quicker fitness results, since it incorporates interval/circuit training conditioning types of exercise. I incorporate cardio, weights, and Pilates exercise movements to ensure an integrated physical workout. Because physical fitness is a personal journey, my classes greatest benefit is the lack of judgment, the sense of camaraderie, coaching and availability of having someone teach how to do a variety of exercise movements correctly.
What are the essential elements of a good Boot Camp class?
My philosophy is to always remember to be empathetic and instill camaraderie, variety and motivation in my boot camp classes. It’s also important for me to relate to my students and provide motivating music that contributes to a fun experience.
What is the biggest mistake you see participants make in class?
The biggest mistake I notice is not hydrating before and after classes and not taking advantage of recovery time during the designated recovery period. Being late for class is another mistake in that classes are short and the start of the class is when important information is shared. So when you’re late, you miss out on the full benefits of the class.
Please offer advice for someone considering taking your class. Any first class tips?
Remember to hydrate before and during class and come with a can-do mentality. Push yourself, but don’t ignore pain. If it doesn’t feel right then something is wrong. Keep moving throughout class (walking or jogging in place are better than taking mini-breaks where you sit or stand around since movement can help prevents muscle soreness). Lastly, keep smiling and give yourself kudos for taking care of yourself.
Do you have a favorite article of exercise gear? What is it?
My sneakers! And my music.
Train with Nelvina at Pies Fitness Yoga in Alexandria, Va. on Thursday evenings.