Next in our series we have wife, mom, former IT professional and entrepreneur Kristy McCarley. Kristy is the CEO and founder of Shazzy Fitness workout program and popular dance workout DVDs based in Hotlanta! If you are familiar with Daniel in the Bible, his Babylonian name was Belteshazzar and the folks at Shazzy Fitness just kind of imagined that “Shazzy” would be his modern, 2016 hip hop name. Fun right, love it! Shazzy Fitness initially began as a cardio exercise DVD series in 2012 and has now evolved into a comprehensive workout program with classes held not only in Atlanta, but travels to various cities holding classes throughout the U.S. Kristy’s interest was piqued after taking an aerobics class, falling in love with it, but discovering what truly sparked her interest was the routine’s cool music beats and the charismatic instructor leading the workout. She, therefore, realized with the right beat and a dynamic instructor you have the perfect formula for a dance that could be transforming. Unlike other workout routines where the lyrics of the music aren’t always so good to listen to or the moves are sometimes too suggestive, The Shazzy Workout is set to Christian hip-hop music that make you want to move with intensity levels that can be done by anyone from beginner to more advanced. My daughter who is a formally trained dancer and professional model, that is in great shape, really enjoyed it and found it really got her heart rate up. I too, was impressed and broke a sweat, especially doing “A Time to Dance.” That said, it’s a fun and energetic workout that’s effective and appropriate for anyone! During the classes, everyone is not only welcomed, but wanted! Read our interview with Kristy and see what she has to say about exercise, stepping out on faith, leaving the conventional to do the unconventional, keeping our temples in good condition, while balancing it all with God’s grace and substance – “Shaping what the Father gave ya!”
What motivated you to establish Shazzy Fitness coming from a background in IT?
I've thought about this a lot actually. Since the day I was born, I always liked solving problems. I remember taking our old broken black and white TV apart when I was young, less than 10 I'm sure, just to see how it worked. I didn't know what I was looking at of course, but somehow when I put it back together it actually worked. So I kinda like figuring things out.
Shazzy Fitness was a solution to a problem. I wanted a workout that had all the excitement and passion of Zumba, but with music that was not suggestive or with sexual lyrics. I wanted to infuse my spirit every time I exercised my body. The problem was that there was nothing like that out there. So many people still hold onto the belief that Christianity equals solemn and rejection of anything non-traditional. I decided it was time for a change I guess.
It takes faith and a lot of courage to go from a stable 9-to-5 situation to starting and operating your own business, tell us about your transition into entrepreneurship.
Sometimes God asks you to go to a dark, unfamiliar place. And it's scary as hell. That's where I was 4 years ago when I was let go from my job. But somehow I found the courage to answer the call He'd placed in my heart at least 20 years earlier.
I'm still not sure what will come of this, but I am sure that no matter what it looks like in the end, it will all be for my benefit and ultimately all for His glory.
Kristy, you and your team of choreographers are busy, which is awesome! I know Shazzy has been featured in many news outlets including The Chicago Tribune, Shape Magazine and named Top DVD Workouts of 2014 to name a few and you spearhead business from Atlanta, but you also have your traveling workout classes in different cities, so tell us what a typical workday or week is like for you, especially when you’re traveling?
My schedule is a little crazy these days lol. When it comes to our business, there's always a lot to do. So in order to stay sane, I try to stick to a schedule that includes time to breathe - meaning time to exercise (even if it's just a quick walk) and spend time with family. Traveling brings a lot of excitement because it allows us to meet lot of interesting new people, so we look forward to that. But it can also disrupt our work system, so we put a lot of time into planning which engagements to accept and the scheduling of our instructor training classes.
How do you maintain fitness, operating a company, being a mother & wife and your spirituality?
I'm not gonna lie, it is TOUGH! It's a daily challenge, keeping myself motivated - from a business perspective and spiritual perspective. Basically I stay prayed up and I try to surround myself with people who are good to me and good for me. I'm too old at this point to be hanging around anyone who isn't both LOL!
What advice can you give others who want to get in shape, but have limited time because of the many balls their juggling in the air?
Keep trying, don't give up. Day 1 is always the hardest. Making up your mind to just get started is a big step. Once you start, celebrate the beginning. Don't celebrate with food though - celebrate by telling a friend, a good friend - either by phone, email or facebook - getting support from others is a good way to encourage yourself and give you some accountability. Both will help with sustaining your motivation!
Many times women exercise to get to a particular dress size, but obviously not everyone is going to be a size 2 or 4 or 6, so for women in general how would they go about determining what’s optimal for them in terms of a goal weight and how can they find out just how long and often of a workout they’ll need to achieve optimal fitness health and that dress size perfect for them?
There are a ton of free weight and body fat calculators online. They can give you a good idea of what to shoot for, but the easiest way is to ask your physician if you're in the healthy weight range and if not, find out the minimum weight you need to lose in order to get there. Once you know that, you shouldn't stop there but at least you'll have something to shoot for.
Do you have any particular designers that you prefer when shopping?
No, I have to admit I'm not into designers much. I tend to focus more on how it looks than who made it.
Who comes to mind when you think of inspiring style - a designer or celebrity, loved one etc (or simply is there a designer or someone else whose style you admire)?
I'd have to say Oprah. Love that she's got curves, but always looks classy with shoes to die for.
What about for workout clothes, can you give readers any tips on selecting proper workout garments, that’s cute?
Find something that's comfortable, not too tight, where you can move freely and if possible, find something that makes you smile when you see yourself wearing it. If you feel good about yourself when you wear it you'll be much more inclined to want to wear it often - and hopefully you'll wear it while working out :)
In past seasons Sporty Chic was a big trend in fashion, this season now it’s all about Athleisure, which to me is a new and updated take on the former, what do you think of the trend?
I like it because it seems to give a sense of freedom, a new perspective on working out. A fashion trend that allows people to express who they really are (and still be tasteful) is usually a good thing in my opinion.
Are there any new particular fitness trends (technique or equipment) that has piqued your interest?
There is a trend now where you'll see actual fitness equipment at playgrounds. So people can get a real workout, similar to what you'd see at the gym, while their kids are playing. I think that's kinda cool!
I have a style question that I like asking you gals, “What’s your Style Innuendo (the way you would like others to consider or view your style without even saying anything after being in your presence?
Wow, that's a hard one. Honestly I tell people I'm "style-challenged". I rarely watch TV or read magazines that aren't related to spiritual growth or entrepreneurial in nature. I think most folks look at me and say "Yeah, she's definitely a mom" - I rock my mom jeans on the regular, and love a good pair of old sweats. Sad, but true.
How would you describe your overall style – can include dress, parenting, personality, doing business etc?
A loving, determined, grateful child of God.
What can we expect on the horizon from you in the world of fitness?
We love what we do and we're all loving the ride. More projects definitely on the horizon - bigger, better, bolder.
How can one transform their style and faith in a positive, progressive manner, and do so without compromise?
My goal this year has been to try to stay more mindful of my inner spirit - the Holy Spirit that dwells within each of us - and paying close attention. My advice would be to intentionally take some quiet time every day, to listen for His direction. With practice, faith will grow. The inner transformation of faith will ultimately affect the outward evolution of style.
To read more about Kristy’s story of faith and fitness, or to find out when Shazzy will be in your city, for workout tips, devotionals and more visit Shazzy Fitness through social media and their website:
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