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Paula Rasco: Spin and Abs Instructor at Bryant

HC: What do you do at Bryant? How long have you been teaching group exercise classes here? 
PR: I am a Spin and Abs instructor and have been teaching at Bryant for about 7 years. 
HC: What do you love most about teaching group exercise classes at Bryant? 
PR: I love the kids the most and the enthusiasm they always have to work hard when they are in class with me! Most often my classes consist of female students which is near and dear to me since I am a big advocate of young women not only being mentally strong but physically strong as well. It is a personal mission of mine to educate as many young and older women on the benefits of being in good health and in good shape and feeling good about you!
HC: How did you get into spinning/working out in general? 
PR: After having my kids (2) and spending a few years over-weight and not happy with myself I decided to do something about it, that started with daily walks and paying attention to my diet. After a few months of walking/jogging and losing about 30 lbs. At 33yrs. old I decided to join a gym for the first time in my life! I paid attention to people who looked like they knew what theywere doing and I looked up exercises and did lots of research on working out and eating healthy. I knew it was important for women especially to train with weights but didn’t have much of an idea on what to do so I read A LOT of material. I learned what worked best for my body, diet and working out and tweaked it from there. Cardio is an important aspect in keeping your weight down and burning fat but after a while the treadmill becomes the dreadmill and so I started to look at others ways of getting my cardio in and decided to try spin. I had a love/hate relationship in the beginning because it was such an intense workout and it kicked my butt! It didn’t take long to become addicted to spin and so the next natural step to me was to get certified. I’ve been teaching spin for about 10 years now. Spin is an intense, no impact cardio workout for all fitness levels. It’s a great way to keep your weight in check. 
HC: What are some tips you can give to college students to stay motivated and get into shape all year round?
PR: Set reasonable goals. Goals give you something to work towards. Work on one thing at a time (diet or exercise, not both) so you don’t get burned out. One leads to the other. What I mean by that is, you aren’t going to work out hard and then eat bad things; naturally you will want to make better food choices. The same goes for dieting, once you start to see results from your better food choices, you will want to step it up by incorporating exercising. Do things you love! I love spin so I spin. I love to lift weights so I lift weights. If you love to run, then run. Working out is just that, WORK! It’s hard sometimes but if you dread what you are doing, you probably won’t stick to it so find things you love to do…everything will fall into place. Find out what you love, what works best for you and then make it a priority!
HC: What does it take to become a certified spin instructor? 
PR: I am certified through the Madd Dogg program. It is an easy and fun certification. It’s a one day (9 hour) session that takes you through the whole Madd Dogg spin philosophy. You learn about setting up a spin class, choosing music and most importantly the safety of the riders. You learn the importance of bike set up, using enough resistance and targeting energy zones. It is a really fun certification. 
HC: How do you find time to stay in shape while being a mom, working a full time job and teaching classes here at Bryant and your other gym? 
PR: I made it a part of my lifestyle. It is a part of my daily routine. It’s just as important for me to work-out regularly and be healthy as it is to get up and go to work every day. When my children were young I had to figure out a way to fit it in on a regular basis and still be able to be home to get them off to school and be home at night for dinner. I knew that if Ididn’t make it a priority and a part of my regular routine that I probably wouldn’t stick to it. So my day starts really early in the morning. I am at the gym by 5:15-5:30 in the morning to get my workouts in. When my kids were in school, I had plenty of time to get my workout in and head back home before they woke to get them up and ready for school. I was home every night after work to have dinner ready and spend quality time with them. Because I found things I loved to do as far as working out, it wasn’t hard for me to adjust to the early mornings. I loved going to the gym. It worked out that we were all on the same schedule, early to bed, early to rise (earlier for me).
Fitness is a hobby and passion now. I love it and I love how I feel. I am a different person when I am in the gym. I don’t think about anything other than working out and what my goals are at that time. The rest of the world is shut out from my gym time. Because I worked so hard and have learned so much along the way, I am thrilled and excited to share my experiences and my knowledge with others. I love my classes at Bryant and the other gym(s) I teach at because I get to motivate others to work hard to achieve their fitness goals as well. I am always happy to give diet/exercise advice. Its part of what keeps me motivated everyday to do what I do. I love what I do so it is easy for me to find the time to share my fitness advice and my love for spin/fitness with others.
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