Hey everyone! Michelle from Fit Journey here…while Julia is on the west coast doing some exciting new things for Fit Journey, I thought I’d let you all know about someone I recently met in Chicago! I was visiting Chicago a couple of weeks ago, and it was a rainy Saturday afternoon. I was tired. And then, I realized there was a Flywheel Sports about half a mile from my hotel. I signed up for the afternoon class with the lovely Alicia Miller! Her energy and her music were fantastic, but one thing that stood out for me was how attentive she was to each of her riders. She had about 8 people that were new to Flywheel in the class, and she gave a great explanation on the Flywheel technology and made sure throughout the class that everyone had proper form. Her cute husband was even in the front row pedaling like crazy! Before class was even over I knew we had to share her with you, so here she is!
What inspired you to become a trainer/instructor?
I’ve always been into sports and was involved in basketball, cross country and track teams in school. I was never exceptional at them though. Not being a naturally competitive person, I just enjoyed being a part of a team working towards a common goal. However, music and choreography come VERY natural to me. I was bored with the treadmill at gyms and started attending classes where I realized that the instructors I was the most drawn to also had natural musicality. It inspired me and I could start to see myself “up there” teaching and motivating. All of a sudden, I’m back on a team working with others to meet goals!
Where do you train/teach?
I teach full time at Flywheel Chicago, where musicality and athleticism rule! I also manage Reform Chicago, a Pilates studio in which we do intense circuit training using only the Balanced Body Allegro Reformer. I occasionally teach there and then I teach a Cardio Sculpt class once a week at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
If this is your 2nd career, what made you make the career change?
In undergrad I majored in English because I loved to write and had no idea what I was going to do with it since I was hell bent on not going to grad school! I found myself taking the first salary job that presented itself. I worked in the insurance industry for five and a half years. While I enjoyed it well enough, I started to wonder as I got really involved in the fitness world if it was even possible to go after it as a full time job. I spread myself pretty thin for about a year working full time in insurance and teaching classes on nights and weekends. What finally made me make the change was having faith that everything would fall into place with the right amount of jobs and hours…and it did!
What inspires you most about your clients?
They have such a positive, no quit attitude. Some of them juggle countless life distractions: jobs, kids, stress, and they still come and work hard. They make fitness a priority. I’ll get on my soap box for a second and say that they are living proof that even though you’re busy, there is always time to take care of yourself and get your workout in.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that it’s fun! I didn’t think I would ever have such a ball just doing my job. What makes it so fun is that as a fitness professional, you reap the rewards immediately. You feel the music, you experience the energy, you see your class having fun, and you get to hear them say “thank you.” If you don’t have the best day, you usually get another chance to redeem yourself by killing it harder on your next class!
What is your advice for someone looking to get started on a better diet and/or fitness plan?
1) Try to have a mindset of “healthy,” not “skinny,” and that usually gets better results. 2) Set ATTAINABLE goals and give yourself enough time to accomplish them. 3) If you ate and drank too much on the weekend, don’t try to make up for it on Monday by spending extra time working out and trying to deprive yourself of food. Just get back into your normal routine of exercising and making better, healthier food choices. That will ensure that you won’t get overwhelmed or quickly burnt out.
What are some of the motivational tools you use in your life each day to stay healthy?
I remember that I have to fuel my workouts intelligently, which doesn’t always happen when I’m teaching three classes in a day and I just want to gorge on everything in sight. I remind myself that my body will perform better during classes if I put good things into it.
What is your favorite workout at the moment?
Right now my favorite workout is a Reform Chicago class. Since I am performing my managerial duties I don’t always get to jump into a class. When I do, I realize quickly that it’s completely different from Flywheel and that it challenges me in crazy ways. My core and inner thighs are sore for days.
Are there any new workouts that you are absolutely in love with?
I don’t know how “new” Yoga Sculpt is, but I LOVE the combination of stretching, strength training and POURING sweat! My first Yoga Sculpt class was with Roxy, one of the Flywheel Chicago Club Coordinators, and it completely changed the way I view yoga.
If you could work with ANYONE in the world who would it be?
I would love to work with Johnny Goldberg (Johnny G), the man who invented indoor cycling. I want to ask him how he feels about the evolution of indoor cycling and if he’s happy with how it has turned out. I also want to know if he cues on the music or if the music is sort of just “in the background.”
If there was a billboard in Times Square advertising your services, what would the quote on the billboard be and who would be the image be?
Man oh man…maybe just a picture of myself dancing with all of my favorite riders at Flywheel and the quote would say “the best workouts are the ones in which you don’t realize you’re working out.”
Who are your inspirations?
My inspiration is my husband. He had high cholesterol, was overweight and just woke up one day and did something about it, little by little. He didn’t change overnight. He slowly took away animal fats from his diet to lower his cholesterol, added foods rich in fiber and antioxidants, and started exercising only 30 minutes a day. 30 minutes on the elliptical turned into longer, more intense workouts (like indoor cycling!) then he added strength training to his regimen. He armed himself with knowledge and used that newfound knowledge to turn his life around. Since I was busy teaching classes he only had himself for accountability and motivation. I am very proud of what he has done for himself!
Do you enjoy working out inside or outside more?
Definitely inside. My skin hates the sun. Hot temperatures drastically affect my workouts. I simply can’t run as well or perform. Blast that AC and let me sweat it out inside!
Do you have any new and exciting projects you are working on?
Nothing specific. My classes are a constantly evolving project. I try not to be the same instructor this week as I was last week. Getting better is a process and it’s ongoing!
Do you have any hobbies?
I am quite the foodie. I love trying new foods and restaurants! I also feel so relaxed when I am out with people I care about at a bar or restaurant with a great atmosphere. However, by 10pm I will be ready for bed so it has to be an early evening outing!
It’s Friday night, your best friends are all ready to meet you out and you don’t have to work tomorrow, where are you going and what are you doing?
Sometimes my Fly riders and I like to go to Jake Melnick’s or Tempo, which are both great places to visit in the River North/Gold Coast neighborhood. I also love getting mani’s, pedi’s and then drinks at Mystic Celt pub with my girlfriends!
You can follow Alicia on twitter @aliciamille