At age 3, she took up ballet and plied, tapped and waltzed her way through her childhood.
But in 2001 when she began teaching dance at the age of 22, she found out that she wasn’t as agile as she thought.
“I realized I wasn’t as young as the young folks,” Barnard said this week with a laugh.
To recapture her flexibility and burn a few extra calories, she took an aerobics class.
It was love at first step.
Two years later, she became a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor through the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America. At her peak she taught 20 classes per week, including yoga, kickboxing, Pilates, weight training and water aerobics. In 2009 she started Michelle Barnard Fitness, a mobile fitness company that travels to clients. She also teaches yoga classes at the East Lake YMCA and the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta. She created Tone & Tuff Small Group Training Camp that offers personal training to seven clients at a time.
But of all the training she offers, her favorite is yoga.
“Yoga is close to my heart,” said Barnard, who lives in Grant Park. “It has helped a lot of people, especially in becoming more spiritual. I’ve seen a lot of people grow from experiences they’ve had through yoga.”
On Jan. 26, she will highlight her favorite hatha yoga techniques and some very advanced poses in the 2013 Fitness FaceOff Competition at the Mall at Stonecrest. Barnard is one of eight instructors competing at 1 p.m. on the Main Stage near Sears on the mall’s lower level during CrossRoadsNews’ annual Health, Wellness & Beauty Expo.
Barnard, who believes in all facets of fitness, stresses the importance of maintaining not only cardiovascular health and strength, but also spirituality. It is only then, she says, that we can have a completely fit body.
“Staying fit keeps me sane,” she said. “We all have to deal with paying the rent and problems at work. Practicing yoga keeps me grounded and gets me through what I’m going through. It puts me in a better mood.”
Through her demonstration, Barnard is hoping to inspire people to try yoga. “Yoga keeps growing with you,” she said. “You can practice it until your last days.”
For more information, call 404-931-5252 or visit michellebarnard.wix.com/transcendfitness.