When Capitol Hill DC resident and MAFA member Betsy shared her Before and After photos with us, we couldn’t resist asking her some more questions! Thanks, Betsy, for your enthusiastic responses, and giving us permission to share this interview with others.
I saw an ad in the Hill Rag. I had been a consistent exerciser prior to joining but I was not doing the right stuff – too much non-impact cardio. Although I run, I realized that won’t make you stronger. I wanted something that was not 45 minutes on the elliptical followed by three sets of 10 bicep curls.
When did you join MAFA?
November 2011 – the week before Thanksgiving. Best time to start a new exercise routine…
What kinds of classes did you join at MAFA?
Did you set particular goals when you joined MAFA?
When I first went to MAFA and saw Rita and Kim, I thought that if working out there could make me look a tenth as awesome as them, that would be enough for me. After a few weeks, I started tracking my calories with an app and just decided to see how far I could take it. So, no I did not come in and want to lose x number of pounds, I really just wanted to get stronger.
What was the hardest thing?
I am not a night exerciser and sometimes it is really hard when I get home from work to go to class. But, about 2 minutes into class, I am really glad I did.
What is your favorite thing about martial arts as exercise?
My favorite thing is every time Rita has us do a new, twisted, demented exercise. I am amazed that there are so many ways to do, well… take your pick– push ups, sit ups, squats, name your exercise–Rita has limitless ways to do them all! Then you do it and are pretty pleased with yourself for accomplishing it.
How do you feel about yourself today, and how does MAFA factor into that?
I feel awesome about myself! This is the best shape I have ever been in. I have MAFA to thank for that. Training with MAFA has really changed my whole outlook on life.
Any particular shout-outs for instructors or favorite classes or workouts?
Come on, they are all great! But seriously, motivating people to push themselves is a talent and a skill. I have no idea how Rita comes up with a different workout every time she is on the mats but she does. Not only does she do that, but she is so good at pushing people without intimidating them or making them feel weak. She is the opposite. Coach Rita believes that everyone can do it and uses that to motivate us.
Kim is great too, she has a lot of energy and what can only be described as a twisted enjoyment of terrible ab exercises. They are both great people who appear to have unlimited energy to motivate us even after a full day of kids’ summer camp. You would never know going to class if they have had a hard day because they are always ready to give it their all. One of the reasons I keep coming back is that it is a great environment to train in.
What are your next big MAFA goals or personal fitness challenges?
I am running the Boston Half Marathon in October. I ran it 2 years ago. I plan to go under 2 hours for the first time (I think it will be my 8th half marathon). A MAFA goal? Finally getting a 30-second push up.
What would you say to other women about joining MAFA, or getting involved in martial arts?
Try MAFA for a week and you will be hooked. MAFA is a secret that should not be secret. You can get into amazing shape right here on the Hill. When I joined, I did not know anybody and had never done martial arts in my life. Now I have learned a ton about BJJ and Thai boxing and know everybody who goes to class. All the women are amazing and friendly. This is not an intimidating place. It is not competitive; everyone is supportive and all are welcome. I love it.
If you have a MAFA story to tell, let us know! We are out to spread the word about the power of martial arts for women, and we’d love to make YOU our next featured MAFA member.