Teacher Profile: Jamie Botti
This week we're featuring Jamie Botti, one of the teachers at Inwood's own Hanuman Health Club to dig into her philosophy, what she'll be teaching at the gym and her journey in NYC and the fitness industry. But first, a bit about Jamie:
Jamie is a NCSF certified personal trainer. She also holds a certification in Kettle Bells and is a certified Vinyasa Yoga instructor. Jamie enjoys training people of all different ages and fitness levels. While working alongside some of New York's most talented trainers at Titan Fitness Studios and through her experience working at Equinox, Jamie has gained the knowledge and skills necessary to guide her clients to their short and long term goals. Through working on her clients' mobility, flexibility, strength and conditioning, she helps them create better movement patterns, gain strength, lose weight, develop a love for their own bodies, and even build a healthier mind, body and soul connection.
I know you are certified as a personal trainer, in kettlebells, and as a yoga instructor (amazing!). How do you blend the three in your practice and teachings -- and do you find they all work together seamlessly?
I do find that blending the three together is very seamless. In my own workouts and with my clients, I usually do whatever my body is asking for or whatever my client is capable of/needs that day. A typical workout (for both myself and my clients) includes a few yoga poses either at the start, end, or even during the workout to keep the body loose. And during the workout, I usually incorporate kettlebells in some way, since they can be used for so many different movements.
How did you get into fitness?
I got into fitness in college after putting on my freshman fifteen. I had seen a picture of myself in a bikini and was so disgusted and embarrassed that I let myself get to that point. From that point on, I cleaned up my diet A LOT and started doing a ton of cardio. After losing a ton of weight, a guy I was dating told me that I lost all my curves and offered to teach me how to squat to help me get them back. From then, I started lifting weights regularly and eventually even got into boxing. After college, while working in a restaurant and trying to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life, a coworker (who I had always complained to about being sore) suggested that I go see his cousin, Sam, who was a personal trainer. So I did. Since I was fresh out of college, broke, and didn’t have much else going on in my life, Sam offered me a position as an intern at the gym in exchange for free training sessions. Once I started there, I really fell in love with training, I shadowed as many trainers as I could, and eventually got certified myself. About a year after getting certified, I needed to balance all the masculine energy out, which then lead me to get certified in yoga.
What is your philosophy behind movement and how did you discover that?
It took me a while to discover my own philosophy about movement, and it continues to change and evolve as I learn and experience more. I think that being opened to different approaches and not being so absolute about anything really helped me to develop a good foundation. My philosophy is centered around balance and listening to your own body. First and foremost, I believe that your movement (whether it be lifting really heavy, deep stretching, boxing, etc.) should feel good to you on all levels. In your body- if the movement you’re doing is painful, that is most likely your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong or something needs to change. At the same time, it’s important to understand the difference between pain and discomfort. Many of my workouts have been uncomfortable and challenging, which is not a bad thing. Sometimes, pushing through the discomfort is can be the best feeling and may even be necessary for progress to occur. But there has to be a good BALANCE. If you’re feeling super stressed out, haven’t gotten much sleep, and haven’t been eating nourishing food, you may want to step back and take care of yourself and realize a boot camp class is the last thing you need to add more stress to your body. The same goes for the mind: if you absolutely dread your workouts on
a daily basis, it might be time to ask yourself why you feel you need to subject yourself to that particular type of movement and then seek out something more enjoyable that you will look forward to. But again, find balance. Know the difference between feeling lazy and disliking the workout. Ultimately, I think that movement of any kind, as long as it is safe and appropriate for your body, is necessary. Whether you chose to powerlift, bodybuild, do yoga, dance, cycle, swim,
box, or whatever else it is that you choose, I think that movement is necessary in order for anyone to maintain a healthy mind and soul.
Tell us a little about your personal fitness routine and what you’re currently working on?
My current fitness routine differs from day to day. The only thing I am actively working on is feeling good in my own body. Each day, before I do any type of workout, I check in with what my body is telling me. If my muscles, joints and bones feel good and I have plenty of energy, I usually do some circuit training with moderate weights and add in a little something to get my heart rate up (sprints on the treadmill or rower, sled pushes, etc.). On days when my body feels too sore or stiff or I have aches and pains, I either go to a hot yoga class, or do my own practice at home or in the park. Most days, however, I find myself somewhere in the middle…so I do both. The biggest challenge for me is allowing myself to take a rest day; as a trainer, I sometimes feel like I HAVE to workout and I have to look a certain way. But I do understand the importance of recovery; so I guess another thing that I am working on is being gentile with myself.
What is your advice to people wanting to improve in the areas of movement, wellness, fitness?
My advice to people trying to improve areas of movement, wellness and fitness is to be patient and kind with yourself. You will not see changes over night, so being persistent is key. One day of working on your abs at the gym is not going to get you a six pack, just as one day of over indulging in junk food is not going to make you obese. I think it is also important to understand that wellness encompasses ALL aspects of your life, not just being physically active. While moving your body is SUPER important for your well being, it is just as important to eat good food (as close to natural as possible), drink water, spend time in the sun, sleep, reduce your stress, maintain relationships with your loved ones, meditate, recover, laugh, learn,
play, and not take anything too seriously.
What classes will you be teaching at Hanuman Health club in Inwood and what do you hope to bring to the students?
I will be teaching functional strength and movement and yoga at Hanuman Health Club. I hope to bring the students of these classes a better awareness of their own bodies. I hope to teach people how to be in tune with what they’re feeling, where they’re feeling, and how they are able to feel. I think that being in tune with one’s own body can bring about so much healing in all other aspects of life.
How do you stay balanced and centered living in a place like NYC?
I stay balanced in NYC by taking a lot of deep breaths, often! At times, the city can be so overwhelming and it can be easy to get caught up in the little things. But a few things I do to help me stay sane are: meditate daily, move daily, practice gratitude, spend time in nature, spend time by myself, surround myself with positive and uplifting people, write, read, explore, and take trips outside of the city when needed. And when allll of that somehow doesn’t seem to do the trick, I stay centered by continuing to let go. In my opinion, not many things are really that serious in the grand scheme of things, so I let go of the anger I felt when the person on the street shoulder bumped me and kept walking, let go of winning an argument just for the sake of being right, let go of the frustration I have toward my client canceling for the third time this week, let go of the resentment I have toward the person who left my yoga class while I was in the middle of talking about the importance of stillness, and let go of anything else that comes my way that does not serve me. Its easy to be all light and love when I’ve just completed an hour of yoga and meditation…the real yoga starts once I get up to go walk home though. A mantra that has helped me tremendously is: “Inhale to take in anything I do need, and exhale to release anything that no longer serves me.”
What role has fitness played in your life?
Fitness has played a huge role in my life. Through my own experiences, I have found that there is a major connection between the body and the mind and soul. So on days that I find that one of the three are out of balance, I turn to fitness to bring everything back into harmony. In a sense, fitness is my therapy. For at least an hour of my day, almost everyday, its nice to clear my mind and only be concerned about what muscles are working and where my breath is at.
Finally, where can people find you?