The women were sweaty but happy, with the endorphins still pumped up from the work out at Viking Fitness Center on Paul Maillard Road in Luling. A very fit mother of three, Michelle Oubre, had just taught her favorite class - Bodyflow, and the hour had flown by - helped along by funny comments cracked by the exercisers.
It all started with Michelle's introduction, "Today we're going to touch ourselves - I mean - oh - that didn't come out right!" The mood was set.
"We're like a fitness family," Michelle said about the relaxed atmosphere and the women and men who come to her classes. "I try to make every class different so that everyone enjoys coming."
Anything worth working for is never easy, and that holds true for exercise, says Michelle.
She describes her classes as an exercise support group designed to motivate women who live to exercise as well as for those who hate it.
She loves seeing women change their lives for the better by getting fit.
"I love seeing what getting fit does for other people. One girl came up to me after class last week and told me she never felt better. She had tried to lose weight with diet pills and they had really messed up her metabolism. Two mothers no longer take pain meds for their backs since they started taking my class and another mother in my class lost 50 pounds through body pump and cardio training."
Michelle credits her desire to be fit to her mother, who took her to dance classes as a girl.
Dancing became her love and she went from performing at Southeastern Louisiana University football games as a Lionette to making the first New Orleans Saintsations dance team in 1987.
She left her full-time job as a fifth-grade teacher in 1995 after the birth of her daughter, Samantha, to become a stay-at-home mom.
That's when she decided she wanted to get into the fitness industry.
Michelle admits she gets her "dancing fix" from teaching exercise classes, but it's when her students tell her how much better they feel that she feels like she's doing her job.
"Little comments like that mean so much," she says.
"I don't do it for the money, and I don't do it just for me, I do it for those little comments - celebrating joys and picking people up when they're down."
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|Photo by Ann Taylor|
|BODYFLOW is a combination of tai chi, pilates and yoga. Celebrating her 40th birthday next month, Michelle says strength training keeps the body young.|