The fitness industry has changed drastically in the last few decades. Professionals have gone from teaching aerobic step classes at their neighborhood gyms to launching fitness Instagram accounts; each new stage reaching more people (in a different format!) than the last. Natasha Swinford remembers these shifts in the industry well. With 20 years of teaching under her belt, she’s really done it all: managed gyms, taught multiple class formats, created a fitness YouTube channel, and most recently, launched her own fitness app that followers can subscribe to.
Each new endeavor hasn’t just been for the sake of Swinford’s followers — her own wellness journey has continued to evolve as well. Initially, she was focused on HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cardio workouts. As she progressed in her professional and personal fitness journey, she discovered how beneficial lower-intensity training could be for sustainable health.
“I loved the balance of doing the high-energy, high-intensity workouts with the more gentle (but still hard!) yoga and Pilates classes.”
Swinford began implementing this balanced routine into her teaching style, often mixing them together for the best of both worlds. It’s not unusual for her to add a weight component to her yoga flow — kettlebells, for instance. This “HIIT yoga” style she’s created has helped her to express creativity within sequencing, making each new flow fun and engaging for all participants involved. It’s also a great way to get a variety of components in shorter workouts, because as Swinford firmly believes, “you don’t need to workout forever.”
As a busy mom, Swinford is not about to spend all day in the gym — there are kids to jump on the trampoline with! This stage of her life has not only affirmed her love for shorter workouts (most of her workout videos range from 20-40 minutes), but it’s also fueled her creativity for working out at home. No hand weights? No problem, grab a can of soup or that bottle of wine. Need sliders? Socks work just as well! It doesn’t really matter what state your home is in, Swinford’s goal is to make working out effective and accessible.
Ultimately, Swinford’s hope for this new stage of her career is to customize workouts using all the skills she’s cultivated over the years — yoga, strength, cardio — based on what her followers need. “I’d love to coach people on their form,” she commented, understanding how important this personal aspect is to working out. She hopes that her subscribers will reach out, ask questions, and allow her to partner with them as they grow stronger.
About the author
Lily is a Brooklyn-based wellness enthusiast who never says no to trying a new fitness class. As a previous fitness coach and current health editor, she loves New York's health scene and can often be found in a hot yoga studio, attending a meditation seminar, or going for a long run in Central Park. Lily is originally from Oregon and moved to Brooklyn in 2017—one day when she makes it big, she'll spend her winters on the West Coast and her summers in New York's best borough.