Tiffany Thompson is a fitness instructor at the YMCA’s Oxford location. The Oxford native joined the Y in 2003 after being invited to a fitness class by a friend.
What is your background in fitness?
I am certified in group fitness by the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America. I also have certification in BodyShred — the Jillian Michaels program — and R.I.P.P.E.D. I teach a lot of other classes, but those are my certifications.
Describe the BodyShred and R.I.P.P.E.D. programs.
BodyShred is a 30-minute workout. It is a 3-2-1 approach, so we spend three minutes doing resistance training, then we do two minutes of cardio, then one minute of active recovery, which is concentration on your core muscle group. We do that for four circuits, which lasts a total of 30 minutes. There are no breaks, no stops, but it also does not allow you to hit a plateau.
R.I.P.P.E.D. is called the "one stop body shock," and the acronym stands for Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance and Diet. This class is 60 minutes and is a 12-week program. At the end of those 12 weeks, we begin the program again with a whole new workout. It always changes, so your body does not get used to it.
What is a typical day like for you?
My day starts at 5:30 a.m. getting the kids ready to go to school. After that I either go to the Y or start planning my classes for the week. Preparing and planning the classes I teach takes a long time. By 2:30, it is time for me to pick up the kids and work on homework with them as well as plan dinner. After that I either teach a class or spend time with my family, and I am in bed before 11 p.m. I have a great spouse who has always supported my involvement with the Y and my love for fitness.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a fitness instructor?
Getting to personally know the members of your class. Watching your clients achieve things they could not do before. It is very rewarding to watch people transform their lives.
Are there fitness classes available for all fitness levels?
Yes. We do have some classes that are specific to a certain age group though, like SilverSneakers.
What sets the YMCA apart from other gyms?
The people. This is like a community. The people who take these classes are so genuine and real; you become friends and develop relationships and goals with each other. We also have a lot of instructors with a broad scope of certifications.
What is available at the Oxford Y?
There are so many different machines and free weights here. The classes are offered in the mornings and evenings, as well as on Saturdays. I know from the outside it looks like a really small space, but we have a bootcamp class with 18-wheeler tires, battle ropes and more equipment, a TRX room and a spin room with 12-14 spin bikes. We have made the best of the space.
What advice do you have for those with New Year’s resolutions about becoming more fit?
You have to make a commitment. Do not look at a year down the road; look at today, look at tomorrow. Do not make your goal so ridiculously high. Set a goal that you can achieve in a short amount of time, and when you achieve it, set a new goal.
One of the most important things is to align yourself with people who are like-minded and have similar goals. Make the commitment and be accountable to someone else. Ten years ago, one of my best friends dragged me — kicking and screaming — into a class, but now I am so thankful that she did because I would have never done this without her.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.