Elise Huffman – Elevate Instructor & Personal Trainer
Elise Huffman hasn’t always been a regular gym-goer. In fact, she says, she didn’t get into fitness until she was 41 years old. Prior to that, Huffman says she approached exercise like many do — joining a gym, going for a few months and then dropping out, yo-yo dieting all the while.
Those days are over. Today, Elise is an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer; a certified instructor in Pound Fit, PiYo, Piloxing SSP, and Piloxing Barre; and a certified Girls on Guard self-defense instructor. Her new mantra: Fitness is empowering and women over 40 can be fabulous.
Elise recently took a few minutes out of her day to talk about her journey to health and her desire to help others achieve their fitness goals.
Q: What is it you like about working out?
A: I wasn’t an active child – I didn’t play outside and I wasn’t involved in any sports. By the age of 40, I was overweight and unhealthy and I knew it was time to make a change. I started watching what I ate and working out by myself every day, using Leslie Sansone’s ‘Walk At Home’ program. I kept at it and eventually I lost 70 lbs.
Then I started working with a personal trainer who introduced me to weight lifting and other forms of exercise. I discovered that my body was strong and could do much more than I had realized. I learned how to do new things and do them well, and it was empowering!
Around age 40, a lot of people start slowing down and their lives begin to get smaller, but for me, life began at 40, and I believe it can happen for others. Our 40s are a good time to make life bigger, because we’re old enough to appreciate what we’ve got.
Q: You’ve employed healthy eating and exercise to come back from an illness, too, right?
A: Yes. I suffered from hypothyroidism, and when we relocated from Texas to New Hampshire several years ago, the stress of the move got the best of me. I was bedridden for 6 months and had zero energy. I regained the entire 70 lbs. I had lost – it was awful and very depressing, as I had worked really hard to lose that weight and get fit.
Then someone told me about ‘The Right Weigh,’ a program offered by Nutrition in Motion in Bedford. I really didn’t want to go on another diet, but I also knew I wasn’t healthy and had to do something. So, I reluctantly joined the program and after a few weeks, I knew I had made the right decision.
The program is amazing – it addresses the whole person and forces you to look at yourself inside and out. Suddenly I had a team of people – a nurse practitioner, a registered dietician and a mental health counselor – dedicated to helping me realize success. And I have! Since May of last year, I’ve lost the 70 lbs. that I gained plus another 15. I’ve gone from 217 lbs. to 130 lbs., and I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.
Q: As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, what’s your philosophy in working with people?
A: My emphasis is three-part: safe, smart and progressive. First and foremost, I want my clients to know that their safety is my paramount concern — I always have their best interests at heart. I also want to be smart about our time together. I like to be specific with clients regarding their goal and the steps we will take to achieve it. And finally, I like my workouts to be progressive, not only from Day 1 to Day 30, but also over the course of every class. I go into every training session with a goal in mind and then work throughout the course of the class to achieve that goal.
Q: Anything new you’re particularly excited about?
A: Yes! I’ve just started teaching a new class at Elevate, Barre Bells, and it’s great! It’s a full-body workout and it’s tough. We use the barre and light weights/high reps to work the entire body over the course of the hour. It’s hard when you’re in it, but you feel really good when you’re done!
Q: What message would you like people to carry away from your classes and training sessions?
A: Women over 40 can still be vibrant and sexy and learn new things. You don’t have to be invisible! I would love to see more women my age finding themselves and embracing life.
Find your joy, whatever it is. Be proud of who you are and live life on your own terms!