First she goes through an hour of HIIT — the High Intensity Interval Training workout.
Then, 15 minutes later, Margy Nelson is doing yoga for 50 minutes.
Not bad, you might think, for a 46-year-old mother of four — including three teens.
But there’s more. Nelson has arthritis in her back discs. And she leads the classes.
Nelson will be the first to tell you it’s a balanced approach of diet and exercise that can make issues such as arthritis not only manageable but also virtually non-existent at times.
She likes the 1-2 punch of a high intensity workout such as HIIT followed by the relaxing stretches of yoga.
While Nelson instructs six classes a week including Zumba, cardio skills and drills, HIIT and yoga at In-Shape Manteca and In-Shape March Lane in Stockton as well as substituting at Manteca’s 24-Hour Fitness, exercising is more than a quasi-job for the Manteca resident. It’s a lifestyle.
Taking care of your body is as tenet of her Mormon faith.
“It’s the only one you have,” she pointed out.
It involves a healthy balance of foods including lots of grains, fruits, vegetables, and herbs with meat eaten sparingly.
That doesn’t mean she doesn’t splurge occasionally on a sweet dessert.
The key is moderation.
“If you take care of your body you are so much happier,” Nelson said.
Nelson’s positive, high-energy attitude rubs off on her students that run the gamut from young to old and female to male.
During her Monday yoga class at March Lane she had an older couple taking it for the first time. The wife came in with a cane. Nelson’s style made the couple feel comfortable as she continually reminds everyone
—including long-time students — that fitness and good health is a journey and the goal is to get better and not to expect to be able to do everything.
“You simply need to keep working at improving, that’s all,” Nelson said.
Such an approach has paid off big for students taking the group exercise classes. One middle-aged lady has lost significant weight, increased stamina and flexibility and general overall well-being in Nelson’s HIIT classes. She may not be keeping up with more intense students but she is pushing constantly to do the best she can. As a result, her health and fitness have been improving.
Nelson noted the biggest hurdle for first-timers to cross is self-consciousness.
“Sometimes new students feel like they are at a junior high dance and everybody is looking at them,” Nelson said. “That’s not the case. Everybody is paying attention to themselves.”
Nelson has found those with the highest frustration tend to be younger people. They will often get nervous because they can’t grasp or master all the moves from the get go.
“As you get older you get past that,” Nelson said.
New students discover after several classes that students feed off one another in terms of support while exercising.
Nelson said in many of her classes she will have students who banter back and forth as the class works out. She said that gives classes an even more relaxed feel that makes everyone comfortable.
You won’t hear much talk, though, in her yoga classes. It’s not because she is a drill sergeant. Nelson works hard at getting people to relax and let their worries go when she teaches. It’s a tactic that is emphasized with her smoothing voice and put into play by constantly reminding students that stretching their body is a work in progress that doesn’t require them to master moves right off the bat or even 100 percent.
While Nelson likes exercise she loves dance. It is reflected not just in her Zumba choreography but in her life-long devotion to the art form.
She started dancing when she was 4 years-old taking every opportunity to learn various dance forms from ballet and jazz to dance. While attending high school in Michigan she was on the school’s dance/pom pom team.
She took modern dance in college. Nelson received her first certification to teach at 19 years of age and taught dance-style exercise at Living Well Lady in Michigan.
After she moved to Manteca with her family in 2000, she started taking classes at In-Shape and eventually became a group exercise instructor.