Kelly Magnus is truly one of those people where I think, “How does she do it?” Since I met her over 2 years ago, she is constantly taking on a new project or fitness endeavor and having fun while she does it.
Here are just a few of the things on Kelly’s busy schedule:
- By day, Kelly is a PR Manager for Kohl’s, helping to lead their active and wellness initiatives.She’s a certified yoga instructor and you can find her teaching throughout Chicago and Milwaukee.
- She teaches HiDef at Studio Three – a yoga inspired class that incorporates weights in a heated room.
- She writes for aSweatLife, sharing inspiration, motivation and tips from her busy and active life.
Kelly is the epitome of someone practicing what she preaches! It is definitely worth looking into how she does it.
Here we go!
So Kelly, I have always been amazed at how you manage everything you do and are able to keep an enthusiastic attitude throughout it all. How do you stay on top of it without getting overwhelmed?
Most important here is that you’re doing what you love, so the race doesn’t feel like a race. It’s super energizing to fill your life with activities, people, communities and projects that you’re truly passionate about.
I love to move with friends – a run, meet up for a spin class, walk on the lake. Anything! Making sure to move at least once a day keeps me feeling healthy and balanced.
As I got more involved in the teaching and yoga community, I really had to become honest with how I wanted to be spending my time, because you can’t do it all. And then the things you choose to do, be really excited about it.
I was told once, if teaching feels like a job, it’s not working for you and adjust so that it does work. I can honestly say I’ve never been mad/annoyed/sad that I have to go teach a class!
I think my biggest tip for anyone trying to take on extra activities, is start slow. Gradually build up your schedule with obligations. That way you can check in with yourself to see how you’re managing everything. It takes a lot of self awareness to maintain a busy schedule – recognize when things aren’t working and fix them.
As part of your scheduling, it’s also important to schedule time for yourself. I could probably teach more classes in a week, but that would cut into my personal workout time which is also important.
Those are all really great points, and I can honestly say from taking your classes that you are always present and passionate throughout the entire thing. I’ve definitely been to classes where you can tell that the instructor does not want to be there.
When did your passion for exercise begin?
I’ve always loved the competition and challenge of exercise. Growing up, my schedule was similar to what it is now – I’d go from morning practice to school, then have dance practice after school followed by club soccer practice. My mom always said if I didn’t want to do something, she would never have forced me, but I always enjoyed doing everything.
I think the passion to continue with an active life comes from the freedom to move. It’s so freeing to feel your body move, push, lift… it’s empowering. When you focus on the feeling of how exercise makes you feel, you keep coming back for more.
As an adult, my passion continued with fitness moving to Chicago. Running and fitness was my way to see the city and meet new people, and also distract myself from everyday work demands. Training for races made me feel like I was doing more than just showing up at a desk job 5 days a week.
Over time I started to recognize that people gravitated towards my energy, passion and motivation for fitness/health; I didn’t realize I had more insight than other people. That’s when I started to think seriously about becoming an instructor; instructing provides a platform to share that extra energy and passion with others.
Awesome. Okay, so you mentioned training. What does a week of workouts look like for you, both when you are triathlon training and when you are not?
Currently training for a tri, my Monday through Friday usually includes two hour long workouts morning and evening three days a week. Two days a week it’s an hour or so workout, and then teaching a class on the weekend. I like to split my workouts up into two sessions because getting in an hour before work and after work is more manageable and reasonable for me. My weeknights are pretty regimented of workout, eat dinner, catch up on emails/organize for the next day, and pack my lunch for the morning. And then to bed early – in order to stay energized and motivated, sleep is key!
Example of the week ahead:
Monday: AM run, PM swim
Tuesday: AM run, PM yoga class with a friend
Wednesday: AM bike on my at home trainer, PM Swim at the gym
Thursday: AM bike ride and strength workout
Friday: AM run
Saturday: AM bike, teach a class
Sunday: Run and swim, usually in the afternoon so I don’t get up early 🙂
You definitely seem like you have this system down. How were you able to get to this point? What are some mistakes you’ve made with training for any of your events in the past? Have you adjusted your training based on these?
TOTALLY! It’s been such a learning curve, but I think that’s what keeps me coming back to training for races. You learn so much every time! It’s a really cool process. My focus now is quality workouts. Each time I workout, I’m following the plan as prescribed, making the sessions count. It’s less about just going out and running long and slow, its more about hitting specific heart rate zones and interval pushes.
When I first started training for races, I thought I could do it all. Go out late on Friday nights, recover from a hangover and then run Saturday afternoon. There was a lot of friction and stress with this approach. Over the years I’ve started to evaluate what’s important; like getting in a great workout Saturday morning. So Friday’s are usually pretty low key for me.
I think my biggest mistake was signing up for a half marathon (my first one ever) and not really training. After the race I couldn’t sit down or go to work on Monday. It was terrible! But it’s also cool to see now how far I’ve come. Training works when you put in the time and effort.
I’m interested to know, have you ever sustained an injury due poor training or overdoing it?
Luckily, knock on wood, I’ve stayed pretty injury free which is also why I continue to move and be as active as I am. I don’t have nagging injuries and I’m so thankful for that. I’ve always been into lifting weights, and I think the strength helps injury prevention a lot.
Yes! Strength training! I love that you said that. A lot of us females get worried about “getting big” and are scared to hit the weights. It is so important for injury prevention, and I think it really is a major reason you are able to keep going and going. How do you know when it’s time to give your body a rest?
The more you continue with a workout regimen, the more you understand your body. When I feel very lethargic, fatigue tired, I know I need sleep more than a workout. If I’m mentally feeling lazy, I try and push through a workout. Physical fatigue is much different than “I don’t want to run” mental challenge. If it’s physical, I break and rest and I try and tell myself it’s totally okay.
Great point. I imagine a lot of the fitness communities you are involved in help with motivation as well. Tell me a little bit about these.
Fitness communities are the best. People with so many backgrounds come together with one common goal, to be better, work hard, etc. There is no judgement, negativity, exclusiveness in the communities I’m involved with, they are so inclusive – all are welcome if you just show up. I love the community aspect because it brings accountability and fun to workouts. After a while, you show up at each workout for the group, the people you’re going to see at the studio or in class, with the added bonus of getting in good workout.
I completely agree. You really help facilitate a community and these positive vibes with your classes. What made you decide to become certified CorePower Yoga Sculpt instructor?
CorePower has been with me since college. It’s the one workout/place I’ve gone, over and over again, and love it every time. When I started to realize I had the discipline, motivation and energy to be an instructor, I took the leap to go through training. And I’m so happy I did!
What is your teaching style? What can one expect at one of your classes?
My style is inclusive. Some call me Coach Kel, my class is a team. We’re in it together, working hard but in a way that’s right for everyone in class. My mantra for people nervous about coming to a class, is just show up. I will get you through it, and you’ll like it. There is no judgement! My classes are mindful, they start with an intention or a focus, which are usually about body/mind awareness. My class intentions come from my experiences, they’re authentic. BUT, class is tough. I incorporate full-body movements with cardio bursts so that you’re heart rate is elevated the entire time. And my playlist are good. High energy music, always synced to the workout. You’ll walk out saying that was hard, but that was fun, and organized.
Coming from someone who has taken your classes, I agree 100% of all of that. You kick my butt every time. Speaking of killer jams and your amazing playlists, what is your favorite song to pump you up during your workouts?
Oh wow, my favorite. Absolute favorite running song is “Finale” by Madeon. Turn that on, and I’m in the zone.
Okay, changing gears a little bit. Tell me why you are so passionate about raising money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research.
MS is a disease that keeps people from moving; my mom and aunt both have MS. Raising money for MS is a simple thing I can do to show support for those I know living with the disease. My fitness and active lifestyle is also an expression of my support. Every time I workout, I try and remind myself it’s a gift and a privilege to move with power, strength, balance, etc. MS is my motivation to keep moving!
That is really inspirational. I love that movement is another way for you to show your support. Do you have a favorite motivational line that helps you keep moving or that you like to tell your students?
Make it happen.
That’s it – you make it happen, don’t wait for anyone else, don’t sit back. Just make it happen. Push, fight, get your goal.
When I need to dig deep, I repeat in my head “you are strong”. That’s my personal mantra that keeps me calm, and pushing through.
Yes, I love a good mantra! I do something similar, and it definitely helps. Okay, thank you for giving us such good information. If people want to get in contact with you or read any of your posts, where should they find you?
Find me on Instagram at Kelly Magnus or writing on aSweatLife here: http://asweatlife.com/author/kellymagnus/ and on Spotify at Kelly Magnus. I post all of my class playlists for everyone to use and reference!
Awesome! I’m already following a few of your Spotify playlists, but I can’t wait to add more!
So with that, in the words of Kelly, go and “MAKE IT HAPPEN!”