I would like to introduce you to Christi Taylor. Christi is known for her high-powered workouts in “hi/lo aerobics, step aerobics and strength and flexibility”. While Christi is not a household name yet, she is well known in the fitness world as an excellent choreographer, (Denise Austin 1998 video workouts: Bounce Back After Baby and the Anti-Aging Workout.) and also as a Master Class trainer. A nominee for the IDEA Aerobic Instructor of the year as well as ACE and AFAA certified, she has trained and managed many of the finest fitness facilities in the Washington D. C. area. She is featured in several popular exercise videos which are reviewed on Beauty Buzz and on Videofitness.com. Christi has been interviewed by several magazines including FITNESS, NEW BODY, AMERICAN FITNESS as well as the WASHINGTON POST and BETHESDA ALMANAC NEWSPAPERS.
Christi Taylor has carved out a career in the tough fitness industry while juggling husband, children and a home. Seen in her videos, Christi seems to be a tireless dynamo and she is that in person as well. I have seen her career begin in the late 80’s and blossom as she has achieved one goal after another. Taylor has set up her own web site, TAYLORD FITNESS (www.taylordfitness.com) and now with the release of three videos that she has produced, she can provide you with fitness motivation and great exercise videos that really rock when it comes to working out. Christi has the enthusiasm and energy to get ANYONE off that chair and up on the floor to move. Just when you think you have the moves down, she tweaks them just a bit and still keeps you going. Her down to earth attitude and ability to break choreography down into tiny do-able pieces is what keeps her videos being used when others have been mastered and forgotten. Christi’s appeal is the basic girl-next-door who happens to love to be working out and that enthusiasm is so contagious that you just have to join her. I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to her. Pull up a chair (oops you are already sitting!), and listen in on this conversation with Christi Taylor! Also her latest exercise videos are reviewed on the Beauty Buzz fitness page. Check out edition 17 of the video reviews for those videos.
1)What motivated you to teach aerobic classes? How did you get started? Do you have a dance or sports background ?
I have been dancing since I could walk. As a child, my best friend Carrie took dance lessons each week and I would go along and watch. When I got home, I would practice every thing I saw the dance teacher do, plus add a few things. I was born and raised in Fresno, Calif. My parents have 8 children. I’m right in the middle. As you can imagine with all those children, expensive dance lessons were not something I was able to receive. I learned everything from watching my friends dance teacher. By the time I was in 5th grade, I was choreographing dance routines with Carrie and we would perform them at talent shows. We were very good! As I moved into adulthood, I was able to fund my own dance lessons. I love to dance sooooooo much!
I began working for an accounting firm YET dreaming about working at a health club. Aerobic classes had just begun to take off at that time. I knew that I couldn’t afford the pay cut so I just kept dreaming. When I was 22, my husband and I started our family. My son Jeremy was born and changed our lives. I took advantage of the time staying home with my new son and began learning everything I could about the fitness industry. Within 6 months after giving birth, I quit my accounting job and was teaching for Cinderellaerobics in Maryland. Quickly I picked up more teaching jobs and within 3 years I was managing and training the instructors at an elite exercise studio in Bethesda, Md. Life was good!
2) Did you plan on doing exercise videos or was it generated by your success as an aerobics instructor?
Exercise video’s never entered my mind. My goal was to be an IDEA World Fitness Conference Presenter. It took me 8 years, but I finally achieved this goal, plus some. My only purpose for doing my first video was to assist in achieving this goal. It worked, but now I had a whole new goal. VIDEO’s! Before my first video, I thought that being in front of a camera was going to be difficult. I found out that it was actually “right up my alley.” I felt very comfortable doing it and it was a lot of fun, too.
3) You teach at different clubs ?
I teach for two different health clubs; Washington Sports Clubs, in Washington DC & Maryland, and Sport Fit of Bowie, Md. These clubs keep me very busy when I’m in town.
4) What is your personal fitness routine? What breaks do you give yourself?
I exercise aerobically 6 days per week. I always take off Sundays from doing everything, work & exercise. It’s the Lords day and I spend it in Church and with family. Out of those 6 days, one day I work out hard (teaching 2 classes), four days I work out moderate (teaching 1 class), and one day I work out light (swimming & walking). I don’t work out in a weight room, although I do teach functional strength training within my aerobic classes during the week. One of my upcoming video’s “Strength, Balance & Flexibility” is all functional strength training. It’s an awesome workout. We use hand weights, as well as, our own body weight as our training tools.
I have very strong feelings about health & fitness in our society. It amazes me at how much money and time people spend on trying to lose weight and get healthy when the only true answer is “stop eating so much.” Yes, aerobic exercise is important, yes, strength training is important, and yes, eating healthy is important. But, none of these alone will make you “fit and healthy.” There are so many diet suggestions out there today; low fat, high protein, low carbohydrates, low sugar, no sugar, etc. Think about it for a minute, if we just stopped eating such large portions, all of the above would fall into place.
My personal “rule of thumb” is:
- Moderate breakfast, moderate lunch, light dinner. I use, what we know as “a child sized serving” as my guide.
- No food after 7:00pm so my digestive tract can rest over night.
- Desserts, if necessary (and sometimes they ARE VERY necessary) are after lunch, not after dinner
- No food is off limits, just eaten sparingly.
Now, of course I allow myself to steer away from this schedule. When I do, I always know where and how to get back on schedule. These days, I steer away once or twice per week. Yikes!
5) What things do you do for Christi’s mental health?
I need to speak with my Counselor every day! Jesus Christ! Yes, I am a Christian woman. My mental health is never an issue of concern to me. I begin each day by reminding myself that, “this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” As Billy Blanks of Tae-Bo says “I am guided by faith not by sight”
6) What % is your work day given to classes; videos; other stuff such as traveling and training?
My daily routine is tight. I begin with getting my children to school. Then, I usually teach my classes. The middle of my day is spent in my home office on the computer with my dogs on my lap (I have two chihuahua’s Spike, 3 lbs and Daisy, 6 lbs). By 3:30pm, I am picking up children from school (I have two boys now, Jeremy,15 and Justin,10), helping with homework, driving to soccer practice, cooking dinner etc. You moms out there know the deal! I usually schedule workshops and trainings on the weekends. I try not to take more than 3 events per month. Any more than that takes up too much time from my family. The only time this schedule gets interrupted is during the last month before shooting a video (or 3). My family is very patient with me at that time.
7)Do you have a favorite activity that you do on a regular basis?
Yes, I love to travel! I love flying, staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and enjoying God’s beautiful earth. My husband, Bobby (we’ve been an item for 21 years) loves to scuba dive, so you can imagine we get to the water as often as possible. Both my children are competitive swimmers so they too love the water. We are constantly planning our next trip. My favorite vacation was a trip we took a few years ago. We spent a week in Key West, Florida then we went on a cruise to Mexico. It took us a long time to save up the money for that trip, but it was well worth it!
8) Discuss any shoe or clothing company affiliation or other corporate sponsorship.
I used to be on the Reebok Fitness Pro Team. I received some great items during that time. Right now Ryka and Everlast have been very good to me. They generously send me items, as needed. Also, Power Mix Music and Dynamix Music have treated we well over the years. They make wonderful aerobic tapes.
9)How long does it take to design the choreography; choose the music; and essentially take the video from start to finish for you own personal videos?
Well, designing the choreography is easy. I have never had any trouble with creativity. Choosing music can sometimes be difficult. We are limited in this area. Only a few companies have music that is licensed for video use. This is why you hear a lot of the same music on many video tapes. There is a lot involved with putting together an entire video presentation. I began working on this new project back in February and I will shoot the video’s in June. This is my first time doing all the work myself. With this experience behind me, I would assume that it will be quicker and easier in the future. Of course, the work doesn’t end after I shoot the video’s. Actually, it just begins!
10) Your videos seem extremely complex, yet you layer the instruction so well that an intermediate person could pick this up and stay with it for a long long time well into being an advanced person. Yet you still manage to challenge the advanced person with the same video. How do you do it?
I think there are 3 reasons why. First, because of the way I transition the movements. Before the video shoot, I break down each complicated movement into it’s simplest form. Then I just reverse it while I’m shooting. In other words, if I can take it apart, piece by piece, then I can build it back, piece by piece. Another reason is because of repetition. I go through it so many times that anyone can memorize it. I try to make the in-between transitions just as much fun as the completed combination. This helps keep people from becoming bored as I continually repeat. Lastly, it’s because of my cueing terminology. I stay very consistent with my terms. To put it in a nutshell, I build the combo from the foundation up, repeat often enough to memorize and stay consistent with my cueing terminology.
11) Which is more motivating for you: the videos or teaching live classes?
Teaching live classes are a BLAST, but, I get to do it all the time. Shooting a video is a BLAST too, but I don’t do it as often. I guess my answer then would be VIDEO’S!
12) How do you incorporate your personal life with the professional one?
It’s difficult wearing so many hats, but the good news is, it’s achievable. When I am teaching at a conference and my children are around, I feel a strong urge to keep my priority on my children. They are my first priority, yet my Presentations are very important to me. For this reason, I usually don’t have them around while i’m performing and answering questions. Now that they are older though, this has become easier. They are much more self sufficient now. So my answer is, I try NOT to incorporate my personal life with my professional one. Keeping them separate is my goal. One hat at a time.
13) How would your friends and family describe you?
Well, my friends would say I’m kind, considerate, fun and motivating. My husband would say I’m, talkative and opinionated but he loves me anyway, and my children would say I’m mean, unfair and I never listen. Take your pick!
14) What is Christi Taylor like?
I’m no different than most people. I am motivated by the joys of life and I want to be loved. Yes, I want to be successful, but not at the expense of others and I truly love meeting new people and traveling to new places.
15) In your opinion, what is the next “hot” fitness trend to come down the road?
That’s hard to predict. Although, I do feel that aerobic instructors are going to get a real “whipping” as we move into the year 2000. There are so many ways for people to get a great workout now-a-days without taking an aerobic class. This is causing club owners to re-evaluate their aerobic instructors. I think that being a good technical instructor won’t be enough to get people into your classes anymore. The classes that fill up will be taught by instructors that bring “fun” and “joy” into their classes. Technical skills will be a given. Aerobic classes will need to become more like the TV show “Cheers.” The place where everybody knows your name.
16) How old are you and how do you anticipate the aging process will affect you your fitness routine; your personal life: your goals?
I’m 38 years old and never felt better. I don’t anticipate backing down from teaching for a long time and I don’t expect that I will need to. The fitness industry falls so nicely within my age group. The “Baby Boomers” started this awesome industry and so the industry is aging with the “Baby Boomers.” I don’t fall into the “Baby Boomer” age category, but, I do teach and train many of them. The industry just keeps changing to accommodate the aging population.
17)In a perfect “what if” world, where would you be right now?
Right here, right now, having this interview! Honestly! I wouldn’t change a thing!
18) What things give you pleasure or make your day?
When my husband and children are acting playful, when my Chihuahua’s follow me everywhere for their KISSES, coming home to a clean house and going out to eat!
19)Describe any programs or charities that you are involved in?
I have a ministry at my Church, teaching proper nutrition and exercise. I also work with aerobic instructors that teach at Church facilities. I help them with choreography, music, transitioning and networking. My husband and I are members “at large” of the Kettering Swim Club board of trustees. Both our children are competitive swimmers. My 10 year old, Justin, has been competing since he was 4. Both Jeremy (15yr) and Justin are ribbon winners in All Star swim meets. Over the years I have done many charity master classes and workshops for associations such as; the American Heart Association, City of Hope, Hands to Hands, etc.
20) What are your best traits? worst faults?
I would say determination is my best trait. If I see something I really want to achieve, I find an honest and hard working way to achieve it. If something in my life needs to change, I change it. As far as faults go, I have so many. God would agree, I’m still under construction. If I had to admit some, I would say impatience and stubbornness. Ouch!
21)What would you like my readers to know about Christi Taylor; about fitness, about life, about achieving goals?
I would want to remind people that life is precious, their health is a blessing and each day is a gift. That’s why they call it the “present.”
22) What’s left for you to achieve? Any goals or things left undone?
In two years, we are moving to Arizona. We want to live the “desert” life. Professionally I hope to be doing exactly what I’m doing now, conference presenting, video’s and aerobic instructor training. It’s very gratifying and rewarding. Personally I hope to be enjoying my grown and almost grown children and travelling with my husband.
23) Anything else you want to share with the readers of this interview?
Not really! We seemed to have covered it all.
24)New projects in the works? Videos, books, new fitness trends, personal appearances?
I have many appearances coming up and have some exciting projects in the making. As they become official, I will announce them. I take one project at a time.