The Belles recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of our favorite instructors- Michelle Dozois!!! Michelle is an internationally recognized fitness expert, award-winning athlete, and creator of multiple top-selling DVDs, Michelle Dozois has been helping people lose weight, get fit and lead healthier lives for over 15 years. Her contagious energy and unique, effective programming have helped her sell in excess of 4 million DVDs such as Pilates for Dummies, Prevention’s Walk your Way Slim, Dance off the inches, the Original 10 Minute Solution series and her own award winning brand “Your Body Breakthru” and many more!!! I absolutely love Michelle’s The Ultimate Workout, Peak 10 Cardio Strength, and MORE! Michelle has created so many wonderful fitness DVDs, that no matter your fitness level or style preference, she has something for YOU!
Belles:The at-home fitness world is anxiously awaiting your new Peak Fit Challenge- what can you share with us about this set?
Michelle:The DVD set is not only made up of my signature high intensity or “Peak” workouts, but also includes workouts to round out your training. It has everything your body needs to be strong, lean and flexible because high intensity training isn’t meant to be done every day. As a busy mom of two active children, I wanted to create a series that really spoke to me at this time in my life. Like so many others, I am in the trenches juggling work, family, kids’ activities and my own piece of mind. The higher intensity workouts are great for me not only from a physical state but even more from a mental state. I feel more grounded after my workouts and my mood is always lifted. I also love the energy I feel with these workouts. I feel my stamina and strength is equal to when I was a competitive aerobics champion.
Belles: We saw on your blog that the Peak Fit Challenge isn’t offered to everyone at your gym, is Peak Fit Challenge designed for advanced exercisers or can it be adapted to all fitness levels.
Michelle:“Peak fit challenge” was an off spring of our health club’s other weight loss program called “Lose 2 Win”. We created the “Lose 2 Win” program so new exercisers or those with a significant amount of weight to lose would feel comfortable exercising in a gym environment and have the ability to meet others with like minded goals. We use small group personal training with that program so we can easily adapt the exercises for a variety of fitness levels or special areas of concern. Originally we would not allow people to participate in “Lose 2 Win” unless they had at least 20 lbs to lose. People were getting great results and my more experienced exercisers were wishing we had something for them. So “Peak Fit Challenge” was born to take the already “fit” crowd with less than 20 lbs to lose to a new level. We require everyone who participates in “Peak” to be free of injury and comfortable doing full body weight movements. Because the workouts are all preset and move quickly to music we can’t take time out to give as many modifications. With that said, many people with some limitations do participate but they are screened so we know they understand their bodies’ limitations and how to modify some of the movements. For example we had a long time exerciser who recently underwent a full hip replacement. Not your typical person I would recommend this type of exercise program to but she had years of experience with trainers and was a former athlete. She knew what exercises she needed to modify and just did her best. She got great results and even though she couldn’t do all the movements, she worked around her limitations and as a result now feels so much more confident and vibrant even after her hip replacement.
Belles:You are a busy wife, mother, and career woman how do you balance it all? What prioritizing tips can you share to help us to fit in our workouts?
Michelle:Honestly I am constantly learning to balance life and it is very challenging. Thankfully, I have a husband to share life with who is also very busy and we do our best to ground each other. There are always times I feel like I can do things better. Sometimes I wish I could volunteer more at my kids’ school or I feel myself getting short with my children when I am tired or over loaded. Phil and I are always reassessing how we can do things better. I just started reading, “The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family” by Patrick Lencioni so I also read and look out for helpful tips from others. Right now I am focusing on when I am home from work to NOT to answer the phone or check email so I can really be with my children. I do wake up early as it is the only real free time I have and I tend to get more things done before my kids wake up. In general, to prioritize I believe exercising first thing in the morning is best if at all possible. The day just brings us so many reasons NOT to exercise. Also come up with a minimum bottom line for your weekly workouts. Maybe that is completing a minimum of three 30 minutes workouts per week or sneaking in 10 minute bouts on a regular basis. Just be true to your bottom line and don’t let yourself slip. If you do, pick yourself up and get back on it. Anything is better than nothing and everything does count. We as parents and caregivers need to set examples for our children. Taking care of our bodies and our personal health is the best thing we can do for everyone around us. I also tell people to make “appointments” for exercise and keep “your” appointment just like you keep other appointments. You don’t have to tell everyone what you are doing, just carve out the time and don’t find excuses to skip your personal “appointment”. Another thing I stress to our health club members is to choose activities that feel right for them now but also be open to try new things as they move through time. There was a long time where I only focused on Pilates. My son had just been diagnosed with Autism and I was pregnant with our daughter at that time. Pilates spoke to me and gave my body and mind what it needed to keep going. I studied and practiced Pilates very intensely for years and still find it a great form of exercise. I am sure I will revisit this area again in the near future.
Belles:We all have unique stresses and challenges in our lives- do you feel that exercising helps to ease those stresses?
Michelle: OMG yes yes yes – exercise is absolutely my number one stress reducer. I honestly don’t know how I would have coped with some of my personal challenges throughout my life. I know from the outside it may seem like life is easy for all of us “fitness professionals” but really we face the same challenges everyone else does. Connecting with others on a daily basis keeps me motivated and inspired. I love stories of personal challenges and seeing how people can overcome them. I am honored to be able to be an instrument to help others.
Belles:What got you interested in creating fitness DVDs for the at home exerciser?
Michelle:Well honestly I fell into fitness DVDs when a popular DVD instructor injured her foot 2 days before a shoot. A friend of mine recommended me and I was asked to audition. I wound up getting the job. I was so nervous, scared and excited and had to learn so much material in a short amount of time plus learn all the ins and outs of teaching to camera. It was an overwhelming experience. I dabbled in it here and there but after I had children, I became more serious about the home exerciser as I became one myself. In the early years of my son’s diagnosis, we had to work in 40 hours of therapy a week for him. That and a brand new baby, and trying to find time for fitness forced me to exercise at home. My first real home workout I did was Bryan Kest’s, “Power Yoga” series. I would sneak in workouts when I could and the yoga workouts were a great way for me to exercise and not wake my children up from their “naps”. This motivated me to start focusing on the home workout crowd. I was used to serious workouts at the gym and wanted to create those same gym style workouts for home exercisers because I realized not everyone CAN get to the gym. To this day, I test and create every workout I have ever taught on camera or at the gym in my living room. If I can’t do it next to my coffee table it doesn’t make it on film.
Belles:Recently there’s been quite a buzz about HIIT -what are your thoughts on HIIT?
Michelle: Well based on my “Peak Fit Challenge” DVD series, I love it! I read all the research on it, the “athlete” in me loved the intensity, so then I put a program together and tested it at our health club. The results were amazing and the program is still running strong and selling out every time we offer it. We are now on our 5th round of the “Peak Fit Challenge” at our club.
Thank you SO much Michelle for taking the time to share your insights & knowledge with us and our readers!!!! Check out Michelle Dozois Fitness on Facebook, Michelle Dozois on Twitter, and herwebsite for more information about her and her new Peak Fit series!