Q&A: Meet a Stronger Austin Fitness Instructor

By Sadie Flynn – January 1, 2022

It’s easy to immediately think of essential workers like nurses and firefighters when talking about those who serve and support our community. However, Stronger Austin plays an important role in serving the fitness family of Austin.

Powered by IT’S TIME TEXAS (among other philanthropic powerhouses), Stronger Austin delivers free online and in-person trainer-led fitness classes and nutrition education programming to Texans. This offering removes financial barriers facing vulnerable communities – allowing for the pursuit of health and fitness to be accessible to all. 

What’s more, the structure of their offerings make transportation a non-issue by offering classes virtually through Zoom or in-person at community sites like schools, recreation centers, parks, churches and clinics planted at widely accessible corners of Central Texas and beyond. 

In the spirit of support and servitude, I wanted to feature one of Stronger Austin’s electric, excitable and enthusiastic fitness instructors, Sekoya Waddy – a 35-year-old developer/engineer by day but a dance instructor by night. Waddy leads MixxedFit classes, a dance fitness program blending explosive dance moves with bootcamp style weightlifting. 

Sadie Flynn: What led you to become a fitness instructor? 

Sekoya Waddy: During an annual health and wellness assessment provided by my employer, the results weren’t too flattering. They weren’t horrible but definitely weren’t where I thought I would be. Upon reviewing the results, the common suggestion from medical professionals was that my issues “could be corrected with exercise and by fixing what you eat.” 

That was the wake-up moment for me. I didn’t like what I heard and was seeing in the mirror, so I decided to make a change, and I needed to commit. That’s when I found MixxedFit. I knew that becoming a fitness instructor would force me to be committed to my goals, and the Stronger Austin program has helped me keep that commitment going year after year.

Sekoya playing basketball

Credit to Allen Peters

SF: How long have you been with Stronger Austin, and what were your fitness goals when you started? How have they changed today?

SW: I started as an athlete and fitness instructor after that fateful health and wellness assessment in 2017. When I first started, I was just looking to begin a fitness journey that I could commit to. At the time, I wasn’t really a globo gym or bootcamp type of person, but I loved to dance! So when I found MixxedFit and got certified, I thought to myself, now this is something I can commit to

Working with Stronger Austin as an instructor helped me maintain that commitment since at least two days a week, I would be teaching classes while simultaneously getting a good cardio workout that I actually enjoyed. Now, not only do I still love to dance, but I also love cardio work and weight training as well! And, perhaps most importantly, I pay attention to what I put in my body. I understand how to balance cardio, weights and nutrition, and Stronger Austin has helped me relay that importance to my students. 

Starting out, my fitness goals were focused solely on Sekoya, but now they are focused on the students and Sekoya conquering our fitness journeys together!

SF: What is a health and fitness lesson you’ve learned since starting your fitness journey and working with Stronger Austin?

SW: You cannot, and will not, outwork a bad diet! Early on in my fitness journey and career, I just thought I needed to workout consistently and my body would change, but I was still eating like I was in my high school and college days (simple carbs, little to no vegetables, not nearly enough water). I blamed my poor eating choices on being a picky eater. Soon into my journey, I had to face the harsh reality that I was no longer that girl with the high metabolism who could eat whatever she wanted without physical repercussions. 

You have to consider nutrition when considering your overall health and fitness, and this applies to whatever goals you set for yourself – whether you are looking to lose fat or build muscle. And like they say, muscles are made in the kitchen!

Sekoya playing basketball.

Credit to Allen Peters

SF: What does Stronger Austin mean to you? How has it impacted your life?

SW: Stronger Austin means working on being better together! Literally, I take it to mean that we, as a community, can be strong when we put in effort to be better versions of ourselves. 

Stronger Austin is helping deliver quality and effective fitness programming to meet everyone’s individual needs. Being an instructor with Stronger Austin has given my life a new purpose. Knowing, seeing and hearing the impact that my classes are having on people and their health and wellness journey – losing weight or getting taken off medication – inspires me to keep going. Stronger Austin represents a community that is resilient and strong no matter the social, economic or physical conditions of the time, and I’m just glad to play a small part in that.

SF: What’s something you want readers to know about Stronger Austin? 

SW: If you haven’t heard of Stronger Austin, you’re missing out! There is no excuse for anyone to not get their body moving – especially as we still battle this pandemic. 

When you come to a Stronger Austin class, it’s like joining a family. You come to class and immediately get excited to be working on your fitness goals with someone else supporting you as they work on theirs. In my class, we hype everyone up. We clap, encourage and support all who attend! We welcome you and push everyone to be the best version of themselves during that one hour. And classes are melting pots of people of all ages, fitness levels, backgrounds and ethnicities, yet we all come together for an hour and give it all we have.

 

About the Author

Sadie Flynn smiling.

Sadie Flynn is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and former collegiate athlete with a penchant for power lifts. As a new mom, Sadie is deeply passionate about pregnant and postpartum fitness and wellness, and works hard to help women take care of their bodies before, during and after birth. When she’s not coaching at CrossFit Renew or forcing her 90s alternative music beliefs upon you, you can find her somewhere outside with a beer, her husband, two dogs and their rambunctious toddler.  

 
 

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