FireBarre - Maddog 5/1
Marydawn “Maddog” Taggart, who founded the studio and created FireBarre class, invited me to come try a class. Holy cow! I’ve never sweat so much in my life! The class is an awesome workout based off a ballet barre, in a heated studio with music cranked up. There’s resistance, weights, and a barre for balance when Marydawn leads you through some serious leg exercises. It’s low impact, but high energy (mostly thanks to Maddog herself!). FireBarre was tough, but so much fun. I was too sore to go back the next day…but that’s a good thing! I haven’t tried the RealRyder class yet, but you can check out the description here.
Marydawn says:

I teach over ten classes a week and they are all favorites for different reasons. RealRyder is a cardio party, FireBarre is a great burn that detoxifies and builds lean strong ballerina bodies. I guess those are my two favs!

Spinning- South Shore Health and Racquet Club
Tara Sabo teaches the Thursday 9:00am spinning class at South Shore Health and Racquet Club. Here’s what she had to say about spinning class, and why it’s her favorite!

Spinning is an extremely user-friendly cardiovascular adventure. Avid cyclists can share a class with beginners, and both will get the workout they’re working for. From the music to the variations within the ride, Spinning will challenge your endurance while strengthening your body, mind and soul. Each class begins with a warm-up, takes the rider through hills, flats, climbs and more, then ends with a cool-down. Riders sweat, smile and sometimes sing from start to finish.
Nothing beats a bike ride with your best friends. Add some great music, which is incredibly important to the ride, and you’re in for a good time every time. It’s just one of those workouts that’s hard to walk away from without feeling like you’ve really worked hard.

Tabata Boot Camp- Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA
Nancy Belisle is an instructor at the Y. She teaches a lot of different classes there, but told us about Tabata Boot Camp and why it’s one of her favorites to teach!

Anytime someone sees 'Boot Camp' in a class title it can sound quite intimidating. However, Tabata Boot Camp is attainable for any and all levels. The basic work out is intervals of hard work versus rest time. For example, if participants are asked to do push ups for 20 seconds, they can do as many or few as they are able and in any modified position they may need. If they can do 3 or 30 in 20 seconds, it's all great! I have a participant with 2 newly replaced knees that is a regular at Tabata Boot Camp and modifies as she needs to, yet still gets the benefits of a challenging class.


These instructors are passionate about what they teach, and the community it creates. Tara, Nancy, and Marydawn all shared what they love about teaching this class, as well as their own background.

Tara Sabo is the Fitness Director at South Shore Health and Racquet Club, as well as an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and Spinning Instructor. When asked about why she teaches at South Shore Health and Racquet Club, Tara says:

South Shore presents an incredible environment where literally anyone can feel comfortable getting fit. Our members are like family to us, and they treat us (the staff, instructors, etc.) like friends and family, too. So much support, so much fun…so much encouragement from literally everyone no matter the time of day. I walk through the doors and I feel like I’m at home. When I teach or train at South Shore, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like I’m hanging out with people who truly respect and appreciate all that I do for South Shore…and I, in turn, respect and appreciate them and the hard work they put forth for their own health and fitness. Inspiration flows, and it’s hard to miss.

Nancy Belisle is an ACE certified Personal Trainer/Group Fitness instructor for Yoga, Mind Body Balance, Sculpt and Tabata Boot Camp. She’s been teaching for 21+ years, and at the Y since June 2011. She says:

My husband and I have moved 11 times in 32 years of marriage due to his career. With every move I looked for a place to workout for me, to see if I felt comfortable as a member. If I did, I would also look for employment there. As with each move, I 'tested the waters' at the Y and knew it was the place for me. I like that there is a mix of people of different ages, family backgrounds and fitness levels. Everyone feels welcome at the Y.

Marydawn Taggart holds a B.S. in Recreation Administration, and the following International Certifications: AFAA Certified Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Fitness, Johnny G Spinning, TRX, Yoga Fitness, BarreFit (just to name a few...). Building on her nearly over 20 years of experience, Marydawn works alongside her clients and invites them to look inward to discover their truths and realities. The freedom that honesty brings combined with hard work, is what goes on within the Maddog 5/1 walls. It’s all about daring to challenge ourselves and creating/re-inventing the person that does indeed reside in you. Marydawn “Maddog” says:

I opened Maddog 5/1 to bring specialty group fitness to this area. I started teaching Spinning many years ago and my clients were dedicated, had lots of fun and met new friends in class. Group fitness is a way to bring people of different back rounds and different talents together for the same purpose- getting sweaty!


Of course, we want to hear about students who have been successful! Here’s what Nancy, Marydawn, and Tara had to share about student successes.

Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA
Nancy says:

Recently, a new member joined the Y. A young lady in her 60's and needing some guidance through exercises and form. In the last 6 months I have seen her go from barely being able to get into a modified (supported) plank to being able to hold a plank in perfect form! It doesn't matter when you start exercise, but once you do, you can always improve your health and fitness levels.

South Shore Health and Racquet Club
Tara says:

An older gentleman had been Spinning with us here at South Shore for quite some time. Long story short, he lost his eye sight, but did not let it deter him from riding. As soon as he could, he returned to South Shore and his weekly Spinning classes. Not only does he get a great workout by actively and appropriately riding per the instructor’s instruction, he uses the time to “get out on the road again.” His life is built around a need for assistance from his wife, but when he’s on the bike, he’s on his own again…revisiting roads he used to ride before he lost his eye site, and generally just enjoying his ability to bike without help like he totally used to do. It is an absolute joy to have him in class…and he is incredibly motivating to the other students, too. To watch him ride is to understand that limitations and set-backs are not be-all, end-all roadblocks to fitness goals and (bigger picture) life’s greatest pleasures. We truly can do anything we want to, and he is proof.

Side success story: His wife helps him set up his bike, and after much poking and prodding, I was able to get her on a bike, too. (She used to walk on the treadmill while he was in Spinning class). Her journey on the bike has come so far. She does everything she once thought impossible, and her strength and confidence on the bike is continuously improving. It’s given her confidence that I think she previously lacked, as she’s ventured out into other classes as well.

Maddog 5/1
Marydawn says:

My favorite success story is that of a client (S.M) that came to us a couple years by way of our Square One program- our beginner 12 week program. She was a runner, but never participated in group fitness. She stayed on track, committing to 4-7 workouts a week and now is down over 20 lbs; strong, lean and running better than ever. She is now our highest - most committed level of membership.

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