lucyPRO Tiffany Gustafson, owner of Motivated Fitness in San Bruno, CA, was preparing to become a physical therapist when fate intervened.Read more
lucyPRO Deb Mc Bride followed her husband to Europe and fell in love…with a body training system which she says feels like dancing and is effective for people of all fitness levels. A former dancer and choreographer of everything from ballet to Broadway dance, Deb started taking GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS®, classes and realized, “There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be teaching.” She got certified in Germany with the system’s creator, Juliu Horvath before returning to the states and opened her own studio in 2005.
When your husband got a job in Amsterdam, what were you looking for?
I was looking for a way out of dancing. I was tired and my body was hurting. I wanted to stop performing but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do because dancing had been my identity. I knew about this system of body training but I had never experienced it so I went and took a lesson at a studio in Amsterdam. I fell in love with it in one session. It just feels like a similar language to dance and moves the body in a way that feels familiar to me.
What is GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS®?
It’s a yoga-based system that uses principles of traditional yoga, dance, swimming, tai chi and gymnastics, so the emphasis is on spinal articulation. You move three dimensionally in circles and spirals. It mimics the way energy travels through the body. It’s a very holistic system. You feel like you’re working body, mind and spirit.
What is the difference between the two?
GYROKINESIS® came first. It’s yoga for dancers. Done without equipment. Then Juliu realized it was hard for people to sit on the floor for a long time so now we do it sitting on stools, plus standing work and footwork. Then he built GYROTONIC® equipment to support the movement. It’s a pulley-based system that works with resistance that is supporting your body and kind of guiding it.
Do you follow a strict routine or are you free to make stuff up?
There’s so much within the system – it’s all variations on a theme. Like choreography, there are different formats but the possibilities are endless. Every once in awhile I make up my own variation but mostly it’s all there.
How do you figure out how to work with someone?
There is some instinct that comes into play. If I’m working with a dancer, I always look at alignment first. You can see if someone’s spine is off, if the upper body is not over the lower body. If someone has pain and can’t do very much movement, I start small with some legwork. It’s very individual. I start by looking at what the spine is doing and what the pelvis is doing.
What do you love about what you do?
I think the system is brilliant and I feel like I’m dancing. I love that you can work with people at completely different levels and capacities. It complements every other activity you might be doing. It’s all encompassing. It does so many different things. And it’s healing. I love being a healer.
It’s really therapeutic. People talk to me all the time. There’s a lot of chest opening, a lot of opening of the heart center. People get to release and talk and express. And that’s a form of healing. It heals me too. We all have stuff. It comes back to me, and I realize, Oh, that helped me with my issue.
What is a typical day?
A typical day is 3 – 4 clients. I used to see 5 – 6 and do a group class, then I got sick and had to have surgery. I was working too much and had too many clients. My body just said, we’re going to make you stop. That was in 2012. I had anxiety, depression, pain, and could only do one client a day for awhile. I had to build from there.
What are your daily-musts?
I have to be outside even in winter. I really need sunshine and fresh air. In summer, I have to be in my garden. I eat really well. I don’t eat red meat, mostly chicken and fish, lots of protein and vegetables, not so many carbs. I’m pretty addicted to dark chocolate, that’s my vice. My other obsession is cats. I could be a crazy cat lady. But I only have two. I volunteer at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. I need to have cat energy everyday.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Finding balance. Honestly, less is more. I don’t push too hard. I’m constantly trying to find balance in terms of time. Like making sure I have my own time to workout in the morning. I’m always trying to find new solutions to help clients fix problems and get lasting benefits. And also learning more about the way the body works, how I can be a better teacher.
Essential words of wisdom for women?
Do nice things for yourself. When you’re done taking care of everyone else, do something nice for yourself. Nurture yourself. Save a little bit for yourself.
Does a cute workout outfit make a difference?
Absolutely. You know when I was dancing, we used to wear sweatpants and ripped up sweatshirts and I went to Europe and no one does that, everyone is put together. So now I wear makeup and jewelry, even though I’m teaching exercise.
How did you discover lucy?
I think my husband was on a trip and I was at the movies one night, and saw the store. I just went in there, and everything I’ve ever bought fits great and your stuff never wears out — that’s a problem. It’s just more down to earth than other brands. Better quality.
Fave lucy item(s)?
I love the Get Going Pant, the Walkabout Collection. I love the detail on lucy – the little drawstring on tops, love that detail. I love the Hatha Jacket I bought a few months ago. I love that you can wear things and it doesn’t even look like exercise clothes, it’s so nice.