Austin is growing strong. Long a trendsetter for wellness and progressive health, Austin is once again ahead of the curve. As the city’s population grows, the local wellness world benefits. Three top-rated Thumbtack wellness providers talk holistic fitness and why it matters to you.
- Steve Baldino of Holistically Trained provides personal training one on one and in groups. His focus is corrective exercise and weight loss. He and his partner, Danny Trejo, also train other fitness providers to expand their team.
- Jessica Marquez of Jessica Marquez Yoga offers yoga therapy for healing. In partnership with a private medical clinic and its health care providers, she treats patients suffering from issues like chronic low back pain, stress, and high blood pressure. She also offers private yoga instruction and group classes, with a focus on being well.
- Clark Arias at Mighty Fit is a personal trainer with a twist. Many of his clients are stroke survivors, affected by autism, or struggle with an autoimmune disorder such as fibromyalgia. Many of his clients suffer from loss of hope. He says they don’t realize their body is in a circumstance, and there’s potential to retrain their body out of it. A recent example was a client convinced he’d never run again. After training with Clark he was running again in six months.
What are Austin wellness trends for 2016?
Strong is the new skinny, says Steve, laughing that he can’t claim credit as he saw it on a t-shirt. 70 percent of his clients are women who he sees shifting away from the scale and towards wellness saying, “I look fit, I look healthy, I am happy with my body.”
In the yoga world, teachers are migrating toward yoga for healing, says Jessica. At the same time, Austinites are no longer using yoga solely for vigorous physical exercise, but also as a way to connect their spirit and their body.
Austin’s growth facilitates the trend of fitness as self care. Clark sees Austin as a frontrunner on the wellness scene because fitness providers and clients are both constantly evolving, trying new things, and getting an influx of new ideas.
Any wellness trends people are shifting away from?
It’s less shift away and more integration, agree Jessica and Clark. Yogis aren’t saying, “I don’t do physical yoga anymore, I only do meditative.” Instead, they’re incorporating it all for a deeper experience. The community is so eclectic—nothing fizzles, it just keeps growing.
The collaborative nature of Austin wellness shows up in Clark’s work too. He partners with clients’ physical therapists or chiropractors to ensure a continuity of care in their rehabilitation. Austin is looking at the whole spectrum to get and stay well.
As a former Marine, Steve is happy people are less reliant on boot camp-type workouts that are hard on bodies. There’s a shift away from grueling routines that ignore personal body needs and towards learning proper movements. He sees a city that’s really learning how to care for its physical health.
Where should Austinites or Austin visitors workout?
It’s all about the outdoors in beautiful Austin. Go swimming (and enjoy the fun people scene) at the spring-fed pools of Deep Eddy or Barton Springs. This low-impact exercise is perfect for any type of pain, shares Jessica. Bike or run the scenic trail at Town Lake—the lake that’s actually a river running through the center of Austin. Hit the Greenbelt for hiking and biking, recommends Steve. Or pop by Zilker Park after work and see joggers, trainers, and people playing soccer. It’s all happening outside, even when it’s hot!
What’s your favorite part of Austin’s wellness culture?
Need acupuncture? There are hundreds of qualified people to help, says Jessica. Looking for yoga? Teachers offer every type under the sun. Austin has a culture built on wellness.
It’s definitely the diversity and collaboration that Clark appreciates. He works with the organization College Living Experience to help students with Aspergers and Autism create some consistency by incorporating fitness into their daily life. Being able to help someone not only to get fit or gain mass but also help someone change their life is all around in Austin.
Even though Austin is a major city in the midst of a growth spurt, there’s still a small town feel that Steve loves. As a trainer in Brooklyn he never met his clients’ friends or family. In Austin, he often trains at their homes and is able to see how his clients’ health changes positively impact their whole family. He appreciates how social the town is and how close knit the community.
Any tips for people wanting to get fit?
Go in with an open mind and try different things. There are so many aspects to wellness, encourages Jessica, allow yourself to try as many as you need until you find the right fit. Maybe it’s physical fitness. Maybe it’s massage and acupuncture. Maybe it’s being outdoors. Experiment with it all.
Don’t give up hope, urges Clark. Your goals can be achieved. Even if your current routine isn’t working, don’t give up. He wants you to know, something will work. Putting yourself out there is the biggest step you can take, he says. Each new effort will get you closer, but you can’t arrive until you start.
Work with someone who knows what they’re doing. Steve, long an athlete and now a personal trainer, meets with his own trainer once a week to work on form, keep him accountable, and stay safe. If cost is prohibitive, round up a couple friends and do a private group class semi-regularly.
As Austin continues to grow, its health and wellness grows with it. 2016 will see more integration of mind, body, and spirit for a healthier overall city. When are you going to get started?