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VIDA Fitness Instructor of the Month: Katie Mason Brown

VIDA Fitness Instructor of the Month: Katie Mason Brown

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 5:46am
VIDA Fitness Instructor of the Month: Katie Mason Brown

VIDA Fitness Instructor of the Month: Katie Mason Brown.

About Katie: Katie is an attorney and former coffee shop owner now pursuing her passion as a fitness instructor (certified through NASM and AFAA).  She loves working at Vida and living and enjoying outdoor life in downtown DC with her two sons."

Katie was kind enough to answer questions for a new series featuring fitness instructors from the Washington DC based VIDA fitness. 

1. What inspired you to become a fitness class instructor?
A couple years ago, my life life changed dramatically.  I got divorced and had to leave the business I had helped to start with my ex.  My gym (Vida) became my sanctuary.  Exercising and being in such a supportive environment helped me through one of the toughest experiences of my life.  I decided to make the most of new circumstances and took simple advice that's so often given, but not always easy to follow: I turned my passion into my profession.  Previously, I had been a preschool teacher, an attorney and a coffee shop owner.  While there were great things about each of those jobs, I can now honestly say I love what I do every day!  I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work in the fitness industry.  I derive enormous satisfaction from helping my clients feel and look better.  Sometimes people tell me the hour they spend in my class is the favorite part of their day. It's a great feeling to hear that I make a difference in people's lives.  

2. Tell us about the classes you teach at VIDA.
I teach two different kinds of strength and conditioning classes.  One, called Rx, requires heavy weights and is designed to tone or build new muscle, depending on how much weight you use, and increase your strength. The other, called Vida Body, involves resistance training using your own body weight and/or light weights, combined with high intensity interval cardiovascular training.  This class will really get your heart rate up, burn calories, and can help you increase your metabolism.  No matter what has happened during the day, I alway leave this class in a good mood.  Alternating between these two classes gives the right balance between strength and cardiovascular training.  I also teach Pilates classes, both mat and and reformer.  In these classes I focus heavily on strengthening your core which involves inner and outer thigh muscles, gluteal muscles (that's your derrière), all your abdominal muscles and your lower back muscles.  When I added Pilates to my life, I saw a huge improvement in my movement and in the mirror. The more Pilates I do, the better I feel.  So I love to share this with others.

3. In a previous blog post, you mentioned that you particularly enjoy Pilates Reformer. What draws you to the Reformer?
The reformer is an incredible machine.  Joseph Pilates was brilliant!  With it's springs and straps, the reformer provides both resistance and assistance to your body.  It's sliding carriage creates an unstable but safe environment that makes you work harder and allows you to go deeper into any exercise or stretch than you could on the mat.  The possibilities for both cardio and resistance training on the reformer are endless.  I learn something new — even just a new aspect to a familiar exercise – almost every time I get on it.  This constant learning keeps my training routine exciting and challenging, both for me and those I teach.  

4. What makes a class with you unique?
Every instructor has a different style and there is no one style that is universally better than another; the trick is to find one that works for you.  Some people like to train under a stern drill instructor trainer.  If you like that, great!  My style is softer.  I try to motivate people with encouragement.  I'm also very focused on correct form and safety.  It's not just because I am a mom (and lawyer). It's because I want you to get the most out of the exercise and not get hurt.  I often ask my regular class members to give the cues (directions) for a familiar exercise.  I do this for a few reasons: 1) I want to know what they are hearing and learning, so I know if what I am saying is getting across to people; 2) sometimes a class member will give a cue in a slightly different way that might inspire people  to think about the movement in a new way; and 3) sometimes it's just nice to hear from someone else!  Also, occasionally, I have little contests.  Usually, these aren't about competing with respect to exercise.  I expect everyone to give me their best.  Rather I might ask a fun trivia question, like which artist inspired Notorious B.I.G. to write his song "Juicy"?  If you gave me: James Mtume and knew his song "Juicy Fruit", you might win a protein bar or pack of sugar free gum. 

5. How do you recover after a tough workout?
Water, stretching and more water.  No protein drinks for me.  I prefer real food.  

6. What is your favorite article of exercise gear?
Hands down, my Nike Vomeros running shoes!  I have occasionally strayed and experimented with other shoes, but I always come back to my Vomeros.  Some people like variety, and that's okay.  I'm loyal by nature and when I find something that works, I stick with it.  By the way, I don't get paid by Nike to plug their products.  These shoes just happen to be the perfect fit for my workouts.  

7. What is your favorite Washington DC area place for a healthy meal?
Teaism is my favorite. I love this place!  There are lots of healthy choices made fresh and quickly.  I have to be honest, I can't resist their Salty Oat cookies.  Isn't one of the benefits of working out that you can indulge a little?!   

8. What is your favorite outdoor Washington DC area activity?
I love to go running on the National Mall.  This winter was a bit tough.  There were a few days when it was just too cold and I had to use the treadmill.  I'm also really excited that it's almost time to go paddle boarding on the Potomac. This is a new passion of mine. It's super fun and just happens to be great for your core.  Everyone I know who's tried it, loves it. 

9. What do you like most and least about working in the fitness industry?
I feel bad when I see people get discouraged or lose ground on the progress they have made, because they can't maintain a consistent exercise program. Washington is filled with exceptionally busy people with demanding jobs.  So it going to happen that, for various reasons, each week you can't make it to the gym when you planned to do so.  But if  you do not make it a priority, well, the rest of your life will take over, and it gets harder and harder to get back to good health.  I can't text each of you at 5:30 am, or 5:30 pm, to suggest you come to my class (although I do remind a few people who have asked me to do so). But what I love, love, love is when I get to help someone transform into a healthier person.  I am so happy and satisfied when I have helped someone reach his or her fitness goals, whether that is losing weight, toning up, or just feeling stronger and better.  When I was thinking about whether I could, or should, really make a go at this business, I thought back to when I was an attorney sitting in an office all day, or a new mother, and how much my friends and I talked and thought about getting in shape.  It was something about which we all worried.  Now I get to help people not stress about that but do something about it everyday.  I am a lucky woman!

10. When/where can folks come take a class with you?  
I teach at two Vida locations: the Verizon Center and the City Vista site.  I'm available for private lessons anytime I'm not teaching a class.  

Here's my weekly class schedule:   
I teach Vida Body at City Vista on Mondays at 7:15 pm and Fridays at 6:45 pm.  
I teach Rx at City Vista on Mondays at noon and Saturdays at 9:00 am, and at Verizon on Tuesdays at 6:30 am and Fridays at noon.
I teach mat Pilates at Verizon on Thursdays at 5:30 pm and Fridays at 6:30 am and at City Vista Fridays at 5:45 pm and Saturdays at 10:00 am.
I teach group reformer sessions at City Vista on Mondays at 6:00 pm, Tuesdays at 7:00 pm, and Saturdays at 11:00 amand at Verizon on Wednesdays at noon and 6:30 pm.

Train with Katie at VIDA's Verizon Center and City Vista locations.