Q&A: Fitness Instructor Ali Baldassare
This local fitness guru tells us what it’s like to manage the workouts of hundreds of Bostonians each week.
In Boston, you can pick from any variety of workout classes on any given day. All types of boxing classes, Pilates classes, yoga studios, Barre classes, and even bootcamp classes are likely no more than a mile from your doorstep. But while you may prefer to pick one or two types of workouts to focus on, Ali Baldassare often has trouble making up her mind.
That’s because she isn’t just a fitness instructor, she’s a cycling, Pilates, barre, Zumba, strength conditioning, Piloxing, and bootcamp instructor in studios (and on lawns) all over Boston. And on top of being a fitness instructor, Baldassare is also a dedicated runner and athlete herself. We asked this fitness guru about what it’s like to design workouts for hundreds of other people each day, and about which types of workouts she prefers.
How did you get started as a fitness instructor?
I grew up dancing, and I became a certified spin instructor in college so I started teaching classes at the Boston University FitRec Center. Over the years, I’ve enhanced my training, my certifications, and my knowledge, and I’ve been fortunate to receive the opportunities to expand my schedule to include a variety of classes all over the city.
What classes are you teaching right now?
I currently teach cycling, Pilates mat, barre, Pilates barre, Zumba, strength conditioning classes, and Piloxing, and I’ve been teaching my signature Cardio Pilates Bootcamp for free out on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the North End twice a month. I don’t know much about what other cities offer, but there is absolutely no shortage of fitness in Boston. Boston is really becoming a city with health and fitness at its core.
What is the best part about being a fitness instructor in Boston?
Being able to justify owning way too many pairs of yoga pants— just kidding (sort of)! Honestly, the best part is being able to motivate and inspire so many people every day. Knowing that I’m helping someone to become stronger, healthier, and more confident, even for just 60 minutes, is huge.
Tell us about your “FITstyle” philosophy and why it’s so important to the way you teach.
I created the term “FITstyle” to help people view health and fitness as a lifestyle and not just a means to an end. It’s cliché to say but health and fitness is really a journey toward bettering yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally and no two peoples’ journeys are the same. Life is constantly changing, therefore your health and fitness needs will change as well. The balance is in embracing those changes and looking at it as an opportunity to be unique and try new things. Your FITstyle doesn’t have a shape, a size, a body type, or a number associated with it. It’s all about feeling healthy, happy, and confident.
What kinds of workouts are most effective?
Zumba is one of my favorites because I will always be a dancer at heart. Zumba is fun, it boosts confidence, it teaches you how to let loose, and it’s a stress reliever. Plus, it improves cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength, and agility. My other favorite class to teach is Pilates. Practicing Pilates compliments anything else you do in terms of fitness because it works the small deep muscles of the body, plus there’s no stress or high impact movement on your joints. It helps to correct body imbalances, improves posture and flexibility, and it creates a beautifully toned and evenly conditioned body. Why do you think so many professional athletic teams are now incorporating Pilates into their training regimen? Because it works!
How do you manage to workout yourself while teaching so many classes?
I teach pretty much every day, multiple times a day, so fitting in my own personal routine can be a little difficult. Sometimes I’ll go into class with the intention of doing the whole workout along with my students, because it keeps it real and it’s only fair. I also love taking other people’s classes, especially yoga since it really balances out all of the high impact work I do, and lately I’ve been waking up super early to go train with the November Project.
Tell us about your experience running the Boston Marathon this year.
The Boston Marathon was a very bittersweet moment for me for the obvious reasons, but I can tell you it was the greatest and toughest experience I have endured so far in my life. Crossing the finish line was amazing, and I can’t wait to run again next year for multiple reasons, but mainly because on that day next year, Boston is going to be the epitome of strength, inspiration, and unity. To be a part of that, a part of this city, is going to be epic.