Walk into Elevate on any given day and listen for a few minutes. Chances are good you’ll begin to hear it — someone moaning about her sore glutes, screaming quads or aching biceps, while someone else expresses disbelief that he managed to knock out one more burpee or two more push-ups at the end of a 45-minute class. Wait a little longer, and you’ll probably hear them utter one word: Cyndi.
Cyndi Maston has a reputation for dishing up some of Elevate’s most challenging classes, and after nearly three decades in the fitness industry, there’s no question she knows how to work a body out.
You’ve been working in fitness for a long time now; how do you maintain your enthusiasm and keep your classes fresh?
Exercise is something I’ve always loved. It’s fun to go to conferences, gather ideas and then make them my own.I enjoy guiding people through their fitness journeys. I want clients to enjoy their workouts and get a different workout in every class, and I try to hit all their muscles every time.
What changes have you witnessed over the years in the way that people get fit?
When I started in the fitness industry 30 years ago, instructors didn’t have to be certified. Eventually, some of the gyms started putting together their own certification programs, and then the industry began to offer certifications as well, which was good. Every certification you receive provides more training and offers more ideas.** Obviously, there are many different ways to work out, but whatever new course or type of exercise I learn, I customize and adjust it to my clients’ needs.
Speaking of clients, you have a reputation for leading classes that are quite challenging, yet people return week after week. How do you strike the balance between getting the most out of people and scaring them away?
There are those people who don’t come back, but that’s okay, because a hard-core class is clearly not a good fit for them. I make it a point to know my classes – what people are looking for and the level of difficulty they can handle. I love the challenge of giving people a workout that really tests them and works them as hard as they want to be worked. For example, I know that the people in my 5:45 a.m. class love to be pushed, so I’m always thinking about ways I can tweak exercises to make them a little tougher or different.
It’s important to remember, however, that whatever the exercise, there are always options. And I don’t want people to stop – ever – I want them to modify the exercise or slow down, but keep going.
I have always loved group classes – they’re my favorite. There’s so much more motivation in a group…the collective energy just sucks you in and carries you along. When you’re working hard with other people, it motivates you to do the best you can.
What, in your opinion, are the elements that make up a great workout?
A full-body workout – a mix of cardio and strength training – is the best. I like to give clients a well-rounded experience. And the second element is familiarity. I find it extremely helpful to know my clients when planning a class – it helps me to gauge the level of difficulty I should program into the exercises.
What would you say to those who argue they aren’t fit enough to go to the gym or work out regularly?
Oh, come on, let’s go! Seriously, it’s just not true. Everyone had to start somewhere, and everyone can work out – the exercise just has to be appropriate to their level of fitness.
When you’re starting out, you need to concentrate on your form and understand the point of the exercises, and you need to go more than once a week. Embrace the process, commit to it and you will see results.
** Cyndi’s certifications: AFAA Certified since 1987; Les Mills BodyPump; Les Mills BodyFlow; CXWORX; Outdoor Boot Camp; Pilate’s Mat work Specialty Certifications; Certified Personal Trainer; YogaFit Instructor; TRX; CPR.