Trying to get fit through Mardi Gras and festival season? The struggle is real.
So we’re almost done with January, and it’s getting harder and harder to keep those New Year’s resolutions.
Not even a week into the new year, king cake season began, and we’re right on the cusp of festival season, crawfish Monica soon come.
We interviewed Footprints to Fitness owner April Dupre about how to carry out your health and wellness goals, even if you’ve fallen off the bandwagon.
When did you start Footprints to Fitness?
“Four years ago, on Sept. 6. 2015. I’ve been in the fitness and wellness industry for 15 years. I’ve worked at every major gym in New Orleans before boutique studios were even open, and I kept serving the same people. Very rich, affluent people, which wasn’t a problem but I felt I needed to serve the community with the knowledge that I have. High-quality fitness and wellness is not a thing that people receive if they don’t have money especially in a city that’s not known for being healthy. So, I created Footprints to Fitness to allow high-quality fitness and wellness for people who wouldn’t normally be able to experience that. But everyone is welcome. From the wife who can buy her kids everything or the mom who works two jobs. I think think that’s important. That’s when change happens.”
What makes Footprints to Fitness different?
“We’re not a gym or fitness studio or people kind of get confused because they aren’t used to that concept. That’s how we can reach more people. We don’t just have a studio Uptown that only people who live around there go to. Our fitness classes which are all community-based include community fitness and wellness events, workplace wellness, and tourism wellness. Two of those are front facing but not a lot of people realize we develop programs for businesses and school and tourism wellness. We’ve partnered with some big names like Essence Fest and a lot of the larger hotel brands in the city.”
So, it’s the middle of king cake season, and I’m having trouble keeping up with my resolutions. What can I do?
“People make New Year’s resolutions and it’s hard especially in New Orleans, there’s always something going on. Usually, people fall off during the holidays. Everyone is like, ‘Thanksgiving is here, Christmas is here, we want to drink and eat.’ But in New Orleans, it’s the holidays, then it’s King’s Day, then it’s Mardi Gras, then it’s festival season. I struggle with it too, it’s very challenging to stay on track especially when you live in a place that’s known for its culture, its food, and its spirits. The struggle is real. People fall off because they get distracted and they don’t know how to create a lifestyle of healthy living. It’s mainly fads or resolutions. A lot of people aren’t educated about what’s realistic and sustainable and they don’t understand what they can do that works and what doesn’t. You can eat and you can drink. I tell people all the time my favorite meal is five pounds of crawfish, an order of beignets and a snowball. That’s literally not an exaggeration. If I could eat that every day of my life I would be fine, but I can’t. So when I do, I don’t feel super guilty about it.”
It’s carnival season, temptation is everywhere.
“A lot of people have already fallen off from Jan 1. People get discouraged really easily but especially when it comes to their health because it’s frustrating and hard and people don’t know how to sustain that. We use the excuse, ‘Oh we live in New Orleans’, but it’s possible. It’s just a little more challenging. I try to always meet people where they are. You want to celebrate Mardi Gras? Eat Fit NOLA has made an amazing, vegan, gluten-free king cake. People love Mardi Gras and they love to celebrate with the colors. For the last couple of years, we have shared this ongoing tradition about eating Mardi Gras colors. So purple, green, and gold; natural colors. Purple, eggplants. Green, obviously any leafy green vegetable. There’s a lot of iron in leafy green vegetables. Gold, obviously most foods aren’t gold but things have a yellow base. Turmeric is really great and helps with inflammation. So you can add that to your tea or cook with it. It’s kind of an untraditional way to think about it.”
What can we do to make these goals long-term?
“Always have a goal in mind or something that you want to achieve in general. Be realistic. During the new year it is unrealistic if you’ve never been to the gym in your whole life, or maybe just twice last year, to say ‘I’m going to go to the gym fives days a week.’ No, you’re not, let’s be real. But you can say, ‘I’m going to go to the gym one day or week’. Or you don’t like the gym but you want to be active, you can say, ‘OK, I’m going to go walk my dog or bring my kids to the park.’
“When things aren’t realistic, that’s when they fall off. When it comes to your health and wellness, why not set yourself up for success? Sometimes that means sacrifice. We all sacrifice in our lives, but sometimes people are more hesitant when it comes to their health. I tell people you only get one life. If you get in a car accident you can replace your car. If your house burns down, tragic, but you can buy another house. You can’t buy another body, you can’t replace your body. We invest in a lot of things. We work at jobs that we don’t like every single day. We’re investing in someone else’s dream if we’re not entrepreneurs, so why not invest in ourselves?”
April Dupre is one of the panelists at our event How We Made It: Health & Wellness edition. We’ve gathered local leaders to discuss living a healthier lifestyle in New Orleans. Get tips from our panelists on everything from food to fitness on Jan. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Remedy Room. Click here for more information.