Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Elaine Mollindo. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, Elaine thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. We’d love to hear about the things you feel your parents did right and how those things have impacted your career and life.
As backwards as it sounds, I think what my parents got right was telling me a lie from the moment I was born. I suppose it wasn’t really a lie because it was their truth – they believed it one hundred percent. They told me that I was the most beautiful, smartest and, talented girl in the whole world. They told me this often and so I one hundred percent believed it too. There were periods of my life where I was disappointed in them for telling me this story. As a young child I quickly found out I was not the ideal specimen. At school I was not the smartest. Children and adults told me I was fat, so I couldn’t be the prettiest. I was bad at sports and physical activity so I was definitely not the most talented. It was a hard blow to find out my Mom and Dad were wrong. What I didn’t know at the time was this story would serve me well my whole life. You see, they had repeated this to me so many times that it rooted in my psyche and deep in my soul. I created a new story that would help me stay resilient. The story I carried was that I was the most beautiful, talented and intelligent person ever born I just dialed it down for the benefit of others. I walked around incognito so that others wouldn’t be so overwhelmed with my awesomeness. If that sounds arrogant, well that’s okay, because it got me through many hardships. When I was unhappy, unhealthy and almost 300 pounds, I said to myself, “Elaine you are the most beautiful, smartest and talented person alive, it’s time to unmask and show them who you are.” When I had no car, a low paying job and was living in barely livable conditions, I reminded myself that I had the will and smarts to change it. When I wanted to teach dance fitness with zero dance background, I told myself, you are the most talented person in the world, you will learn quickly. Any obstacle in my life became easier to move through once I remembered this story. Looking back, I guess it wasn’t really a lie but more about perception. It’s a testament to the power of words and how your language can build or tear down your loved ones. Thanks Mom and Dad.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Elaine is a Level 2 Mixxedfit Instructor and Master Educator in Mesa, Arizona. If you love to dance and are looking for a fun way to get moving you’ll love Mixxedfit. What is Mixxedfit and how is it different from the many other dance fitness classes? It is a people inspired dance fitness program that combines explosive dance movements with body weight toning. That means the dance moves are easy to follow and weight bearing exercises like squats, lunges and jacks are worked in. Everything is designed to be repetitive and easy to master so you can concentrate on your form instead of complicated choreography. Elaine is currently teaching three nights a week in the East Valley. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram for the most current schedule and locations. Mixxedfit is important to Elaine because she credits it as one of the lifestyle decisions that changed her trajectory. Nearing almost forty and three hundred pounds she desperately wanted a fitness routine that wouldn’t be intimidating or too strenuous. Once she found Mixxedfit and made some healthy diet changes the weight gradually started coming off and so did the emotional pain and stress that had caused the weight gain. Mixxedfit is not only a workout it is also a community of supportive, loving people just like you! Feeling like she needed to give back to the format that saved her life and show others it is never too late to make changes, Elaine became an instructor, mentor and Mixxedfit leader in the State of Arizona. She looks forward to seeing you in a class and learning how she can support you in becoming your best self.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
The lesson I had to unlearn was that you don’t have to look like an athlete to be an athlete. I was so scared that people would laugh if I decided to teach dance fitness because of my size and age. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by so many other dance fitness instructors that didn’t fit that distorted idea in my head. They cheered me on, lifted me up and sometimes literally pushed me to the front of the class to make sure I didn’t give up on myself. Anyone can teach dance fitness if they believe in themselves, believe in others and have a passion to serve.
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Personality is something that is necessary to be successful in dance fitness. You need to be able to connect with people so that they feel safe enough to take chances and become better. You need to be able to laugh at yourself because there will be times you forget the choreography or trip over your own feet. You need to be willing to take pictures and give hugs because that will be what gets people to return to your classes. It’s not the show or the wow factor they are coming to see. They aren’t coming to watch you perform. They are coming to take care of themselves and you need to be the person that guides them through that like an old friend. If you do those things I can guarantee that many of your students will quickly become true life long friends.
- Instagram: @elainemollindo
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elaine.mollindo
Portrait by Holly Fain