June 29, 2005 — Personal trainer Cassandra Mallory needs to print up her own motivational calendar and mass produce it. Even short conversation with her is smattered with a myriad of positive messages. She exudes so much energy, a couch potato might be motivated to take a walk.
Some examples include:
— "Balance in life is important. Keeping yourself physical fit and healthy is an insurance policy. Nobody is going to give it to you."
–"If you can watch TV for an hour or longer, you can exercise. We all have the same 24 hoursit's how you choose to use it."
Each week Mallory zigzags her way around the island, helping people make lifestyle changes based on healthy choices. The name of her business, Total Fitness, encapsulates what she's hoping to achieve with each client, whether they are 25 or 85.
A certified personal trainer for five years, Mallory calls this her midlife career change. Before deciding what she really wanted to be when she grew up, Mallory co-owned Down Island Traders for 20 years.
"I spent so many hours of my days and nights working, I feel it should be something that you enjoy. You should be thoroughly excited. I decided to move on," she says. She took three years off, traveled, ran her first marathon, went to tennis camp and went on safari in Africa.
"I had dabbled in attempting to help people in some way. Fitness was the dearest to my heart, so I went back to school and studied. If I gave it the old college try and it didn't work, I would try something else," says Mallory.
In the beginning there were a handful of clients, and for awhile she was dipping into her savings to survive. Not so anymoreshe's maintained some of the same clients from the very beginning.
"I think one of the reasons I've been successful is the fact that I'm middle aged; I'm not a threatening 20-something with a little body. People on the island know it's taken me a long time to change the shape of my body," says Mallory.
No one understands better than Mallory how important it is to develop positive lifelong habits. "Even as a child I had weight issues. When I was 12, I was wearing a woman's size 16 shorts and weighed 160 pounds."
Now she works with anyone who wants to make a change in their lives and does it at the gym, at the beach, or at the client's home.
"Exercise can be as simple as going up stairs, walking up and down a steep driveway, gardening, washing a car, cleaning your house or jumping rope on your gallery," says Mallory.
"The body is meant to be moved. There's nothing like a good brisk walk. It doesn't cost anything, and you can always carve out 20, 30, or 45 minutes," she adds.
Mallory's training regimen for clients combines cardiovascular exercise with weights and stretching. She also gives tips on healthy eating but emphasizes that she is not a nutritionist.
"I feel that the actual weight loss is the icing on the cake. If you exercise and eat properly and maintain stress in your life and get plenty of sleep, the weight loss will come. That's why it has to become a way of life. It can't be about six months or six weeks."
Most of her work is one on one, but she does have one group class at Magen's Bay. It starts every Saturday morning at 7:30 — 20 minutes of cardio, followed by mat work on the sand, pilates and yoga, and a healthy breakfast of bran muffins and green tea. The group works so well together that they participate in weekend fun runs and most recently in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, in which they raised more than $14,000.
This summer Mallory will start an evening water class at Magen's Bay at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Recently she was named Rotarian of the Year for the Rotary Club of St. Thomas II, an honor she takes as seriously as the success of her clients.
"I'm rewarded so many times in so many ways. You work with these people one on one and you can't help but become involved and concerned. Their accomplishments are your accomplishments. You feel good when they succeed."
Mallory can be reached at Total Fitness at 774-9032.
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