#WeWantToKnow: MJ Shaw of FITPOP
I discovered my newest favourite workout — it’s called FITPOP and it makes working out FUN! I’m hopeless when it comes to guiding myself through a workout so I heavily rely on group sessions to get my fitness on, and my preference is dance-based classes (I take a lot of barre-style classes) so FITPOP, a fitness-based cardio-dance program, is perfect for me. I had the chance to spend time with the lively and energetic FITPOP creator MJ Shaw, and I’m excited to introduce you to her, as well as relay my experience of taking her FITPOP class!
MJ has lived a movement-filled life — she took gymnastics as a child, spent summers in NYC dancing in a dance program, and studied theatre and choreography at university, earning her masters in theatre at the University of Toronto. When she finished school, she began choreographing for theatre and took up residency at the Rose Theatre in Brampton, where she choreographed 25 musicals. From there, she did choreography work for film and television. Throughout all of this, MJ had always taught fitness, and it was fitness that she shifted to full-time when it came time to settle down and start a family, as this was the more stable career choice. But her dance roots were never far from her, and last November she combined her passions for fitness and choreography to create FITPOP.
There are currently five FITPOP classes offered, with music and dance styles ranging from 80s jazz and early 90s hip hop to current pop hits. MJ has a choreographed dance routine for each song on the playlist and the routines are good for all levels from beginner to experienced. On her choreography, MJ says, “I choreograph in the style of the song, in the era of the song and also I choreograph so that it’s easy enough for everybody to get, but also complex enough that it’s interesting.” I was a little nervous before my first FITPOP class, but I adapted quickly and I was able to easily follow along. Plus, MJ has designed the routines to repeat at least three times per song, so you get more chances to improve! (If you really want to come prepared, you can learn the choreography for each song that MJ has posted on her YouTube channel). I had so much fun learning the dances that it didn’t feel like working out at all, and I have never smiled so much while exercising! To give you a little taste of what you can expect from a FITPOP class, here’s a small sampling of the songs we ran through: Black or White (Michael Jackson); Formation (Beyoncé); Push It (Salt-N-Pepa); Sorry (Justin Beiber); and we appropriately ended the class à la Dirty Dancing with a cool-down to Time of My Life. FITPOP is a lot of fun, and made more so by MJ’s passionate energy for what she does. After all, what could be more fun than taking a dance-style fitness class from someone who spent her childhood making up dances in her parents basement? ;) MJ is living the dream and my health and fitness thanks her for it!
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow about MJ:
I can't start my morning without… Coffee. Pretty typical, but very real. My mornings start with clients at 6 or 7am, so 5:30am is wake up time and coffee comes shortly thereafter. Normally I’m a Nespresso snob, but lately I’ve been rocking out the old school drip style. As long as it’s *good* coffee, I’m happy.
I have a weakness for… A juicy story. Red wine. Late night political satire. Chocolate. Puppies and babies. Twerking. Reruns of The Office. Dad jokes. 80s pop music (the good and bad stuff). Creative and tortuous HIIT exercises. Raunchy talk with friends… I have a lot of weaknesses.
Most people don't know that I… Gawd I’m an open book… what don’t people know? I think people forget that while I’m married, we live long distance, so my day to day life is run solo. My husband is an officer in the Airforce. It can be a challenge, but it’s also like an on-going sexy weekend love affair. The long distance will be coming to an end this Spring, but it has made for a somewhat atypical lifestyle.
Currently reading… “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz. I created a book club with a friend this year to ensure that I read at least one book every couple of months. I love reading and think it’s important (historical fiction is my fave), but if there isn’t a time-bound incentive it’s one of those things that falls by the wayside. So book club has been great! We actually geek out and discuss the books too. And then we drink wine and gossip. It’s a win win.
I want… World peace and universal happiness. Tall order? Though true, maybe I’ll be more specific. I want a happy and healthy baby (due in June) and I want my fitness business to thrive and succeed. How about that for starters? But really, I want for little as I’m pretty damn blessed overall.
Thanks MJ, for participating in #WeWantToKnow! See you again at a FITPOP class soon!
#WeWantToKnow is a series published on behalf of Wantfolio Group for Want.Canada and showcases and supports the leaders and talent in the Canadian creative arts community. Visit Want.Canada for all Canadian news, blogs, photo sharing & messaging.