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New Class Schedule for NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2015

WINTER, HERE WE GO.  In Michigan, November and December provide unique health challenges.  Just when our schedules seem to ramp up because of holidays, school schedules, and end-of-the-year work demands, the sunlight available to us as an energy source is decreasing more each day and the temperatures are steadily dropping.  This makes many of us eat more “comfort” foods, avoid getting outside for what little light there is, and curl our postures forward to wrap our warmth inside.  THIS YEAR,  I invite you to make the most of it by committing to a fitness program for the darkest 8 weeks.  You’ll roll into winter feeling strong, supple, and supported!  Classes will run from November 9 through January 9, with the extra week for holiday makeup.

All classes are taught at a moderate intensity, with options for increasing or decreasing effort/output and modifications provided.   All equipment is provided for you, however many folks like to bring their own mats.  Class sizes are small (no more than 6 students) to allow for personal coaching and assistance. 


Full-Body Cardio/Sculpt

Circuit and Interval Training, Monday night 6-7 p.m. and Friday morning 8-9 a.m.

This class will utilize a variety of strength-building equipment and modalities with regular cardio intervals to boost the strength of not only your skeletal muscles but your cardiorespiratory system as well.  Interval training pulls up the intensity briefly and allows for short rest periods which increase your body’s metabolism by training it to pull from multiple energy sources as well as by building more lean tissue.  We will use the TRX and other suspension tools, handweights, physio-balls, resistance bands, ballet barre, ab wheel, and more.  FUN!

Wake Up Your Spine

Classic Mat Pilates, Tuesday  6-7 a.m.

Core strength makes all the difference in how you feel in your body each day, as well as determining your alignment and agility.   Start your day off with these classes and you’ll feel better all day. This class will be the Classic Pilates Mat series.  I personally vouch for this program as the mainstay of my fitness regime for the last 9 years – I love it because it addresses every inch of my body through the avenue of the core.  By the end of the session you will know the routine that can keep your spine healthy for a lifetime!

Clever Core Conditioning, Thursday 6-7 a.m.

This class will be a combination of key Pilates-type engagement and top-choice core exercises incorporating toys like resistance bands, physio-balls, slant board, suspension tools, and an occasional ab wheel thrown in.  You will experience core musculature you never knew you had!

NEW! City Circuit

Fresh-Air Cardio Circuit, Wednesday morning 8-9 a.m.

Do you need more cardio?  More fresh air?  More sunlight?  How about more FUN? Inspired by the Playground Circuit class we love in the warmer months, this series will give us the benefits of exercising in the great outdoors on the safe (non-icy) heated streets of our own downtown Kalamazoo!  We’ll meet in the greenspace on the Kalamazoo Mall to the east of the Radisson and the Museum each week by the Wheel of History sculpture (see picture below) and do an invigorating combination of cardiovascular and strength work with a creative variety that will change the way you see public space and its potential use for building a culture of health in any community!

Saturday Stretch Special

Flexibility and Alignment Conditioning, Saturday morning 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Saturday’s class will take your entire body through a moderate-intensity series of stretches designed to promote greater overall mobility and health by targeting common muscle imbalances, postural misalignments, and favorite tight spots.  We will explore and increase the range-of-motion in all the major joint systems, using a variety of well-researched stretching techniques.  Class members are invited and encouraged to make requests to address pressing stretching needs (e.g. “Can we do something for the bottom of my foot?  I think my plantar fasciitis is coming back.” To which the trainer replies, “YES!”)  You’ll feel GOOD after this class; your body might even start to crave it after a while.  Conveniently timed and located for a trip to the Bank Street Farmer’s Market before or after to get your healthy fruits and veggies to feed your healthy body.


Each 8-week class costs $80; however if you want to get even more fit and choose multiple classes, you’ll receive not only the benefit of increased buffness but also a nice discount:

1 class per week x 8 weeks:  $80

2 classes per week x 8 weeks:  $145 (save 10%!)

3 classes per week x 8 weeks:  $204 (save 15%!!)

Unlimited classes x 8 weeks:  $220 (BEST DEAL)

Payment can be made by credit card, PayPal, cash or check.  Payment arrangements available.





For Clients: New Link for Easier Booking!


Giving Yourself Permission to be FIT

Body-Love “AHA” Moment: I think many of us are waiting for others to give us PERMISSION to love our bodies – but we don’t need that permission, really, and how much healthier and happier we’d all be if we didn’t wait for it. Here’s why I think this: at my daughter’s soccer tournament this weekend, I’d say 75-85% of all the parents in attendance were wearing exercise clothing of some kind. Everywhere I turned I saw fashion designed to be sweat upon. The bodies in those clothes, however, were sitting still in chairs, pretty much immobile for two whole days, even though there was basically nothing anyone had to do, even though we were in an athletic environment anyway, mostly in grassy fields, perfect for stretching or walking or doing balancing moves, anything. ( I actually find my mind is able to focus on the game even more when my body is able to let out its tension through movement; I enjoy it much more than if I have to sit still. ) My thought is that, because most of these folks are wearing exercise clothes, they actually WANT to feel more fit, and although there is unwritten social permission to wear the clothing, folks feel less comfortable actually MOVING. But why? Why are we embarrassed about taking care of ourselves? JUST DO IT. That Nike slogan doesn’t just apply to super-sweaty wanna-be pro athletes, it applies to all of us! We all deserve to live the healthiest, strongest lives possible. The biggest restriction most folks mention regarding fitness is lack of time, but sometimes we have plenty of time but don’t feel we have permission (and not only sporting events; think airports, long lines, beaches, parks, holidays)….So next time you are wearing your comfy, stylish fitness clothing, I invite you to USE IT. Get your money’s worth. Give yourself permission. At the end of the day, your body will thank you! ( If you want ideas, I’ve got plenty of moves on my YouTube channel. Here’s one to get you started: )

Interview with Kyle Norris and Michigan Radio

Click this link to read or listen to Laura’s interview with Kyle on February 4, 2015.

3-minute Kitchen Training

As a trainer, I do get a lot of exercise in my workday.  Still, as a busy modern person I can find it challenging to set aside a lot of time to get my own fitness goals addressed.  I’ll bet you are quite busy, too, and that maybe some days you completely skip intentional exercise because you don’t think the short time you have is enough.  My point in making this video is that if you know your body and can safely work up to the edges of your physical thresholds, you can get a whole lot of work done in a very short time and, with body-weight exercise such as these, most anywhere.  The exercises featured in this film are an example of the ways I personally make sure to challenge my body to become stronger even when life is eating away my time.  Every minute is precious, so make the most of what you’ve got – invest in yourself!  If you aren’t sure how to make the most of your time, space, and especially your body, I’d love to help.  Call me for a consultation.  -Laura



Weight, Weight, Don’t Tell Me

How much do pounds matter? How about BMI? Well, according to the BMI chart, this green woman is on the edge of overweight. What do you think?
Don’t let your doctor bully you and please don’t let your self-esteem rise and fall with the numbers on the scale. BEING HEALTHY AND ABLE TO MOVE is the key!
Photo: How much do pounds matter?  How about BMI?  Well, according to the BMI chart, this green woman is on the edge of overweight.  What do you think?  
Don't let your doctor bully you and please don't let your self-esteem rise and fall with the numbers on the scale.  BEING HEALTHY AND ABLE TO MOVE is the key!

(a few days later…)  More on BMI, pounds, etc – I trained for a body-building show once (only once); didn’t go through with it because, well, the diet to make me more “ripped” ended up ripping my health apart. 2 weeks before I was to go into the show, my body fat measured an almost-dead 5% and I could neither do simple math nor find another emotion besides despondent. FUNNY THING IS, I GAINED WEIGHT IN THE PROCESS. So, with a sickly, dangerously low amount of body fat, my weight actually climbed up higher than it had been when my body fat was much, much higher. Good thing I didn’t listen to the scale, or I’d probably be dead. Another body builder I knew at the time, a man who ended up winning the show with an equally unhealthy and low body fat measure, went in to a local college to have them do all his vitals pre-show, and they told him that according to the BMI chart, which is a simple height to weight ratio, he was morbidly obese! So, here is the lesson, illustrated here in a couple of ways: FOCUS ON HEALTH, NOT NUMBERS! It matters not one tiny bit what you actually weigh. Are you healthy? In a conversation recently with a couple of men, on of them I believe thought he was flattering me by saying he ‘liked women of (x) weight and no more..,’ a weight he was assuming I matched. I surprised him – not with the left hook you’re thinking, although that really should have happened, too – by telling him “I weigh about 20# more than that.” His eyes bugged out of his head, because he’s been just as brainwashed as all of us. LET IT GO TODAY! Declare your independence from the dictatorship of your scale and LET YOUR BODY BE THE AUTHORITY.


anorexic dysmorphia
“I HATE MIRRORS!” Wow, if only I had a dime for every time I hear that as a trainer. If I had even a penny for every time I said it myself – before really working on it with self-loving intention – I think I could buy Facebook. Today, I’m not so destructively self-obsessed, and it feels soooooo much better. I no longer avoid walking past store windows or buying clothes I need to try on. I can actually watch myself exercise and monitor my own form. Can you relate to the hangup I had? Would you like to be free of that monkey?From childhood, most of us are conditioned to use mirrors to critique ourselves – to notice when our hair needs brushing or our face has dirt on it, which is sometimes important. Many of us, however, take this objective assessment too far, harshly doling out self-criticism born of DYSMORPHIA, a warped sense of body-image that can lead to eating disorders and depression, ultimately working AGAINST your health plan! To feel better – and to be more accurate – about your body, learn to BE OBJECTIVE. This definitely takes practice, but it can be done. You’re breaking a very strong pattern, after all, so you’ll have to replace that negative inner voice with another one. Start by treating yourself like your own best friend; find something to appreciate, rather than criticize, EVERY TIME YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR. Give yourself some compliments. It may take a while to deconstruct years of self-criticism, but the end result will be a HEALTHIER, HAPPIER YOU. No, I’m not suggesting that you ignore the spinach in your teeth, but as you clean it out, how about giving yourself a big smile and appreciating the beauty of that?

Halloween Special: Laura teaches SPLITS!

Loving Your Body – Give it 5 Minutes A Day

In our ‘Nip and Tuck’ society, we are strongly conditioned to criticize our bodies and to “correct” them, conforming to a variety of media-prescribed ideals.  With all of these messages about our inadequacy, it can be a challenge to maintain healthy and balanced attitudes about our bodies as functional vessels for our life adventures, which they are.

Who doesn’t want, deep inside, to really love themselves?   Who doesn’t want to feel content with their life and happy with their choices?   We all do.   But we don’t.

Most of us are waiting until we “get it right,” somehow.   ‘One day, when I ________________, then I’ll give myself a break and love myself, but right now, I don’t deserve it.   Not yet.”

We criticize our bodies, our lives, our friends and family, and our worlds.   We live in discontent, although our deepest Selves really just want to be happy.

Don’t wait until you are perfect to love You.  Love You Now.   It’s much easier than you think, and there’s no need to become perfect first.   It’s just a matter of practice, just like the negative thinking to which you are more accustomed.    You may be very practiced, polished even, at negative thinking.   You may do it at every possible occasion.   You can criticize yourself (and maybe others, too) at the drop of a hat.   Wouldn’t it be great if your optimistic, positive thoughts were as immediately available?

It is simply a matter of practicing the thoughts you want (name them for yourself) until they flow out as a natural response, effectively reconditioning your mind.   You can do it, and all it takes is commitment.   Try these three things, and watch yourself change:

  1. Body Appreciation Time.   Every day, spend 5 minutes just appreciating your body in some way.   You will practice thinking thoughts like, “I love my body.   It takes me through my life.   It is a good body, and no matter what, it is mine and I will take care of it today.”   These thoughts may seem awkward at first, especially if you aren’t used to thinking that way, but it will feel more and more natural as you practice.   Couple these loving thoughts with a short activity involving your body.   The activity could be just about anything that makes your body feel good (and appreciated).   It could be scrubbing yourself all over with your favorite salt scrub and saying to yourself, “I appreciate this arm (face, leg, breast, etc.).   It picks things up for me and hugs my loved ones.   I’m taking care of it today.”   It could be a stretching session in which you focus on the actions and feelings in your body with appreciation.   It could be that you just rest in a hammock or on the ground and float inside your body, noticing what you notice inside.   The activity does not matter, as long as it makes your body feel good, and it could change daily if you choose.   The important thing is to consciously form thoughts which are affirming and loving, and to return to these again and again, gradually replacing the old, worn-out thought-processes with shiny new ones.  You’ll feel better about yourself sooner than you believed was possible, and you didn’t have to become perfect.
  2. Treat Your Body Like Your Best Friend. Chances are, you are kind and giving toward your best friend.   You most likely give that one the benefit of the doubt and have their best interest in mind.   Your body has been with you for every single second of your entire life; it has never left you or betrayed you yet, even when you (your mind, your actions) have betrayed and hurt it.   Talk about loyalty!   Imagine the confusion inside each and every one of us when we habitually speak and think negatively about the one thing in our human lives that has been present each and every moment.   We naturally want to enjoy our lives, and this body-hating habit inhibits that enjoyment tremendously because of the confusion it creates.  To break away from negative self-talk and start loving your body today, just notice how you are thinking.  When you catch yourself speaking negatively to or about yourself, about your body, your life, your world, notice that.   Notice the words, the tone, the feeling.   Would you speak to your best friend that way?   If not, how would you speak to your best friend in the same circumstance?   If you find that you are being unreasonably hard or critical, turn it around.   Choose a thought that is more uplifting, more encouraging, more affirming.   It will take practice, but if you remember that your body has always been with you and always will be with you in this life, that it really is like a best, loyal friend, you will turn your thoughts around one by one.   Start with something small, a nagging negative thought that you are already questioning.   Tell it to get lost by repeating a counter-action thought until the nagging thought has lost power.   (Eg.:  Nagging thought – “My belly is so loose these days since I had the baby.   I hate it!”  Catch it.   Change it to something like:   “My belly is loose  – what a miracle that it housed a new, growing life!   It isn’t like it was before the baby, that’s true.   It has gone through a change because of what nature called it to do.   I accept and love it now because it is a part of me.   I will do what I can today to support it, and the rest of my body, to be as healthy as possible.”)
  3. Just say, “I love my body.”  Just say it to yourself.   Then say it to others.   Practice saying it until it is true.   Because deep, deep down, it is.



Originally published 8/22/10.

Featured Sacrum/Hip/I-Tband Stretch: 4-part Hip Twist

This is a favorite stretch series among my clients, young and old, athlete and desk jockey.  Why?  Find out for yourself…

click here!