Three years ago, Tammy Doering — a normally active, energetic person by anyone’s standard — was turning 50, and she wasn’t happy with how things were progressing.

"I was going to Zumba classes, I was going to toning classes, I was running a 5K before or after those classes, and I wasn’t seeing much change in me physically, and I didn’t understand," she said.

Looking for change, a friend suggested they try a class called "Body Blast" at the Anniston Aquatics and Fitness Center. The class was a form of "Insanity," the popular intense fitness workout program created by Shaun Blokker, better known as Shaun T.

Thinking that the workout itself was relatively easy to do, Doering decided to go to Atlanta for instructor training. She was quickly remedied of that thought.

"I called my husband crying … and he laughed and said, ‘You’re tough; stick it out. You spent all this money, you’re going to do it!’ I was the only 50-year-old in the class. I got home and I lived through it and realized, ‘I think I like this.’"

Fast forward to today, and Doering is both a certified Insanity and PiYo fitness instructor, operating under the name Overcoming Fitness. She also runs other small businesses dedicated to health, beauty and wellness.

"[Insanity] is a total body workout, and it’s been proven that high-intensity interval training is the very best for your heart," she said.

"It gives you strength, it gives you flexibility, it burns off the belly fat, and your energy — not at the beginning; at the beginning you think you’re going to die — I’ll be 53 this year, and I feel like I’m 20."

She teaches regularly at Parker Memorial Baptist Church and Anniston Family Fitness Center. On Saturday, you can get a teaser at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County in her free class "A More Flexible You!"

Read on to find out about Doering’s lifestyle, the building blocks behind her classes and the one thing we can all do each day to feel better both physically and mentally.

What is your diet like?

It’s relatively clean. I do like dark chocolate. I eat dark chocolate, but I don’t buy it all the time. I’m not a carb junkie. I have a gluten intolerance, so I don’t eat bread, I don’t eat cookies, cakes. I grill my food. And then I eat a lot of vegetables. But I’m not a fanatic about it because it’s not doable for life. You’ve got to enjoy it. I just don’t consume a lot of "bad for me" fat. I shoot for seven days a week to workout — not to lose weight, but to feel great.

What exactly is PiYo? I’ve seen videos on YouTube. For something that involves yoga, it still looks pretty intense.

It’s the best of pilates and the best of yoga, at a fast-paced movement. There’s no impact with PiYo; however, it’s more intense than anybody gives it credit for … within seconds, you realize this is an Insanity workout with no impact. You will define your body with PiYo.

Flexibility — that’s what makes you stay young. When you’re so stiff you can’t even reach your knees bending over, it causes a lot of pain and discomfort and you’re cranky and you don’t feel good at all and your back tightens up and your joints hurt all the time.

I did a plank challenge in the month of March. I was so strong from PiYo, I was able to start at a 10-minute plank. By the end of March, I actually did a 45-minute plank. And now I maintain a 20-minute every day.

I can’t even explain what it does to me, to watch people go from planking on the wall to the floor and then in a full plank, holding it for two minutes. And these are people in their 60s.

What happens in the class "A More Flexible You"?

Our first class, we had two people there: an 88-year-old and a 72-year-old who was four weeks released from hip surgery. We helped both of them dramatically. In just the short amount of time, we showed them so many things that they could take home. When they got done, they felt great. They came in really stiff. The lady, actually, I needed to work with her sitting in a chair. We showed her what she could do sitting in a chair.

What is one thing we can all do every day to feel better about ourselves?

Break a sweat. Not leisurely walk, like you’re walking the dog, and not running, but a fast-paced walk that will get your heart rate up for at least 15 minutes a day. That will change most people’s lives, because most people don’t do anything.

If you can do it, it’s best to do it right when you wake up, because that will clear your mind and it will set your metabolism for the day, and it will help you to feel your best the rest of the day.

One of the things I do every time I teach is say a prayer. And I always ask God to open people’s minds to the fact that exercise is a privilege, it’s not a punishment. And it makes you feel fabulous! It’s a drug that’s free!

Erin Williams is a freelance writer for The Anniston Star.

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