Every month we take a closer look at a friend or a team member. This month, we get a little closer to the lovable, affable, self-deprecating and supremely talented Kris Walters. She teaches several classes and takes care of all of the scheduling here at FHC. We truly couldn’t do what we do without her. In addition to teaching Barre, HIIT and others, she has one of the most inclusive styles and always makes her students feel welcome. She is truly one of the best Barre instructors in Seattle.
For our questions with her, please follow the link below and keep an eye for a blog post from her in the near future.
What would you consider to be your biggest contribution to the ‘team’ at FHC?
Oh man, um… this one is tough. I am very proud of my work on the group fitness class schedule and miss Zina’s collaboration on it! (Zina is a former instructor who is still a friend of FHC) We created a community for sure. After she left, I just took it & ran with it. I think it is important to be creative with types of classes – not just having a regular class schedule but also adding series, workshops and special fundraiser events (like the one we are doing this Saturday that you should come to our ‘Give what you can’ circuit class) to keep motivated.
I am enthusiastic about fitness for every person and every level and that you should ENJOY something about the process. I try to keep that point of view fresh and in the forefront of all our marketing efforts. If that is my biggest contribution, the idea that fitness isn’t selective, I would be very happy.
What is the most important quality in a leader?
Flexibility. Humility. Motivational qualities that make people want to follow you out of respect and excitement versus fear and bullying. I think people are drawn to my class because I work hard to include all people – all levels of fitness, all body types, all injury modification needs, etc.
In fact, at times I wonder if I give too many options NOT to do something, if students use those options as an “out” — but in the end, I want people to be inspired to move and workout to the extent they are comfortable. Some days it will be Rocky-level badassness, other days perhaps the energy-level will be slightly less and that’s ok. I believe that my balance of acceptance and challenge is what makes me a strong leader. I will push you, but I will also look out for you.
What do you do or say to inspire your classes?
I read the class. If the class needs jokes, I will make really bad ones (seriously, really bad!). If they need a drill sergeant, I’ll bring out my inner GI Jane and let it rip. If they need self-care, I’ll talk about the breath and connecting the mind to the body. And oftentimes a class will need a balance of all three. To me, a class isn’t just a workout – it is an opportunity for me to connect to each person in the room to the degree that they want. I share personal triumphs and struggles in a quick little aside while they are doing burpees and I give them permission to bust ass or take it easy. I also make sure to have time before and after class for anyone who needs it.
As a class-goer, I personally have a lot of anxiety and insecurity — not knowing if I will be able to do everything or if my back is going to tighten up or my knees feel stressed. I wonder if I will feel inspired by the instructor or if it’s going to be a headspace game of me comparing myself to everyone in the room instead of focusing on the workout. So, as an instructor, I try to take that guessing game away from my students. It’s about YOU, your space, your work, today only… not yesterday or tomorrow. And if I see a student’s focus start to wane, that’s when the jokester, drill sergeant or therapist comes into play. If I can keep you focused on YOU, I’ve done my job.