5 Mindset Strategies to Take Your Fitness and Career To a Happier and Healthier Place
By Amy Schlinger
For those who know Christina Muccio, it would be hard to fathom that this seemingly outgoing individual in fact hates public speaking. It’s true though—to this day, the 31-year-old Boston native fears speaking in front of large groups of people. But that all changes the second she enters the indoor cycling studio. “Put me in a sports bra, on a bike, on a platform in a Spin class, and that’s my thing,” says Muccio. “That’s the biggest thing that I thought about when I was considering teaching indoor cycling—how I could really inspire the students in front of me.”
Photo Credit: Rolando Sanchez
Muccio began her love affair with teaching indoor cycling when she was living in Denver in 2013. “I was an athlete growing up, and my mom was actually in the fitness industry for 30 years, so I really wanted to try it when I saw one of my friends doing it,” she says. She gave it a go and was immediately hooked! She began teaching two to three classes a week, while still working a full-time corporate job. But as the travel for her full-time job started ramping up, she wasn’t able to teach as many classes as she wanted to. “I was bummed to be missing it, because it kind of felt like a part of me was missing without Spin and my clients.” And it was her clients asking her to teach more classes, reassuring her how good she was at teaching, who ultimately convinced her to finally quit the corporate world to become a full-time fitness instructor. “When I started teaching full-time fitness, it wasn’t really a thing, and the industry wasn’t really that big yet, so I was taking a big chance.”
Muccio went home to Boston for Christmas in 2017 and took a Spin class at B/SPOKE studio. The ride was themed, and Muccio left knowing that she was going to teach there at that studio. She began the auditioning process at the beginning of 2017 for a full-time instructor position, while still commuting back and forth from Denver. She landed the job and ending up moving back to Boston full-time in April 2017. On June 20, 2017, Muccio taught her first class as a full-time fitness instructor, and immediately knew she’d made the right decision. “It was serendipitous how it all lined up,” she says. “After that first class, I just thought ‘this is my life now, and I can’t believe that I’m working at my dream job.”
Since, Muccio has also become an entrepreneur, starting her own fitness and life coaching business (with a large focus on nutrition and gut health) called Move with Mooch & Mel, as well as a business coaching program called 90 Day CEO. “I love coaching at B/SPOKE, but I felt like I was only serving Boston, and I wanted my voice to grow, and to be able to help more people, all over the world.” Muccio has now helped over thousands of women, serving clients from California, to Canada, and even Australia.
As a successful fitness instructor (hello 14,800 Instagram followers), and entrepreneur, Muccio has learned a lot along the way about both fitness, business, and life.
1. Just because you love working out, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be a good fitness instructor.
There were lots of instructors in the fitness industry who went into the job because they loved to work out, and thought why not get paid to do it, she remembers. But that doesn’t always mean that they’re going to be a good instructor. Muccio realized this early on. “When you’re teaching, it’s not your workout—its everyone else’s workout,” she says. “You need to focus on inspiring others, not yourself.” Muccio suggests taking lots of classes in the beginning of your indoor cycling journey to find instructors who you find motivating and inspiring, so you can see who and what teaching style you like, and what you don’t really love.
2. The fitness community is second to none.
The community aspect at the studios where Muccio taught and still teaches, and the collective fitness community as a whole are the main reason Muccio got involved in the space to begin with. “It’s something that I cherish and will always cherish,” she says. “It’s filled with people who are teaching and supporting each other, and everyone wants to be better and better themselves, while helping others. It’s really special to be a part of it.”
3. Don’t focus on what you aren’t doing, but rather focus on why you’re not doing it.
When teaching, Muccio tries to pull out things that clients are judging themselves on. “I say things like if you’re calling yourself out for not going fast enough, or hard enough—get that out of here, because that’s not going to help you grow,” she explains. “Instead, I want to know why you aren’t doing it—what’s the resistance and where is it coming from?” With resistance comes the best teaching, she explains. And it also creates community. “Say Sandra is sitting there on a bike, and Mike has some resistance that I’m calling him out on, and so Sandra is like ‘Mike, you can do it,’” she explains. “People are pushing their own limits and sweating together, and it brings together a community of really incredible people.”
4. Longevity comes through overall health and wellness
Balance is such a struggle for many in the fitness industry. Muccio asks her clients to focus on longevity versus a quick fix that they won’t be able to maintain a month later. “Whether it’s trying a fad diet, or people coming in and bragging about never taking a day off, and saying they worked out for 21 days straight,” she explains. “Why are we glorifying that? Why are we glorifying overworking and feeling worthy from losing weight on a diet that’s impossible to translate into a lifestyle? If you want longevity and you want change in the mind, or body, or even belly, you need overall balance or nothing will work.”
5. The future of fitness needs to be even more inclusive.
The boutique fitness industry sets itself up to be a bit exclusive, charging competitive prices for classes and sessions. And while Muccio’s home studio has done a great job at welcoming people from all walks of life through their doors, she still agrees that there’s more work to be done. “How can we create a place filled with positivity, that’s also available and inclusive to all?” she explains. “The biggest challenge because of the way the industry is set up is figuring out how we can make our classes welcome to any person, and get rid of that exclusivity without losing what makes group fitness and boutique fitness so special.”