Lena Baker: @mov3itgirl
How did you get involved with fitness?
It started when I was in high school. My senior year of high school I started instructing classes at a local gym in my town — that was over 20 years ago now! I’ve been doing since then — either full or part-time depending on my family or work situation.
Where are you from?
Northern Arizona (Fun fact: It snows there!)
What is special about here?
I like Evolve because of the smaller class sizes and the equipment that we have. It’s difficult to do any of this on your own or when you’re in a setting where you don’t have instruction. I started teaching here when the studio first opened and gravity was new. It was really appealing to do the new equipment and the spin bikes. Having the computers and being able to track the speed, the gears, and all of that was really appealing to me.
In 2012, the gravity machines were a new technology — here we have the professional versions of that with individual pieces that allow you to emphasize the different body parts. There is so much more that it does too! You guys just experienced half an hour of it but there are a lot of variations that you can do. Another reason why I like teaching this class is because the options are endless as long as you have the creative energy.
Do you plan it all before the class?
I do — I put a lot of time into my programming. My day job is physical therapy so I try to incorporate a lot of that into my classes as well. Like for you guys, for example, I wasn’t sure who was coming today so my original plan was something slightly different which I modified because you guys are new. I switched some things up at the last minute to make sure that you guys could feel successful with what you were doing and that we were doing minimal changing of equipment with the limited time that we had.
Do you need to be a frequent exerciser to take this class?
I don’t think so. If we were to go back to why I like this equipment, it’s because it’s very modifiable. I always try to make sure that everybody has lots of options throughout class. On the bike for example, if I was giving you a range of intensity that was too much for you, it’s so easy to just take the gear off or to stay seated instead of standing. The same goes with the gravity machine — if it’s too intense on the angle, you can easily lower it down to make it an easier resistance. I usually try to give most people easier options to build on so that way, they’ll always have a foundation to go back to.
What’s the community like?
I love the community of people that we have here in Mission Hills. I don’t live in the area so I like coming here to a neighborhood feel. You’ve got kids eating ice cream in the corner every time I come in around the afternoon so it’s a really fun neighborhood. Evolve does a bunch of community events.
For example, once a month I do a Friday happy hour class because we have such great people here and I feel like sometimes we’re all just passing the night between classes. So it’s a nice way for members to get together and to get to know each other — as well as for us instructors to get to know our members too.
I feel like that’s a big part of why people do classes — otherwise they would just workout at home or go do their own thing at the gym. People that come to classes like this appreciate the sense of community and friendships that can be created in the process. The happy hour classes really keep people accountable and motivated to come back because they are getting to know the people that are here and start to hang out together outside of class.
Drinks are optional. We come and workout then I take you out around here. I don’t really want to emphasize alcohol as something that is the highlight of the happy hour. Instead, I want to emphasize more that we are going out to just hang out together and maybe grab a bite to eat or drink but I want to make sure that it is always welcoming for people that don’t drink alcohol as well. I’d work hard for a glass of wine!