By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens
As we move into the New Year with our list of hefty resolutions, it’s helpful to remember that change comes from the small, daily habits we practice and not from setting unrealistic expectations.
Luisa Wixom-Nunez, a sports enthusiast and fitness instructor, has always been into health and movement. So when her 5’2″ frame put on 76 pounds during her first pregnancy, she was pretty surprised.
To get back on track, the now mom of two is committed to showing up at the gym five days per week. Her visits began with running and walking and slowly progressed to include free weight exercises with a personal trainer to rebuild her strength. The motivation to get moving came naturally to Luisa, having grown up active with swimming and track.
Luisa attributes breastfeeding to helping her shave excess weight. Additionally, she credits eating a culturally inspired diet featuring childhood staples such as Filipino rice dishes, hearty green vegetables, and collagen-rich meat soups— containing pork knuckles and chicken feet.
Luisa shared how she successfully got back in shape after her second pregnancy, saying, “Losing the weight, I gave myself more grace the second time, knowing I’d be okay. It doesn’t have to be something that’s rushed. Your body does crazy stuff as a woman, so I didn’t even sweat it the second time around.”
Luisa’s husband, noticing her passion for fitness and the gym, suggested she try turning her hobby into a career.
Luisa holds her Cycling Instructor Certification through a company called Spinning and her Les Mills Certification in Body Pump, a workout that uses light weights in high reps.
She now enjoys maintaining a fit lifestyle and teaching others to do the same through her work. “It’s great to have the gym to connect with adults.”
Luisa currently works at both the Church Health YMCA and Fogelman Downtown YMCA. You can sign up for a class by visiting Ymcamemphis.org.
She also teaches at the Memphis Jewish Community Center, Jccmemphis.org, and teaches a HIIT class at the Cordova Family YMCA through a third-party company, Power 40.
“With HIIT classes, you’re going to get fitter faster because of the constant switching up of moves and varieties that induce muscle confusion. Your body never hits a plateau, so people have seen results within just four weeks.”
Power 40 is excellent for busy professionals due to its structure. She says, “Classes run in 10-minute intervals, with every 10 minutes a new interval starting, so it’s a great option for someone who might be running late from a meeting or other commitment.”
When arriving at Power 40, participants merge into the traffic of the class, jumping right into a series of specific high-intensity workouts in different cells, or pods, for approximately 10 minutes. Members visit four pods, with coaches guiding dynamic movements in each, including burst-of-movement battle ropes and burpees.
The company runs free week-long trials, which you can book online at Power40fitness.com.
When she’s not working out, Luisa continues to bond with her family through neighborhood sports. Growing up, acceptance was important to her, as her father’s side of the family had been Holocaust survivors.
So when her daughter came out a few years ago, “it wasn’t a weird conversation, she just said it, and we were like, awesome, great. The whole family rallied around to make her feel very comfortable.”
Through the YMCA, the Wixom-Nunez family met others involved in the LGBTQIA+ community, introducing them to Pride Sports League, a local adult intramural group that brings Memphis families together.
“It’s been a great way to meet people around town interested in sports and fitness outside of my job.”
Depending on the season, Luisa and her family enjoy participating in kickball, volleyball, and dodgeball.
“Not only do we have fun, but it’s important to us that our daughter knows we’re a part of this community, too. We are all in this together.”
To learn more or to sign up for the Pride Sports League’s Willow Park or Tobey Park meetups, visit Pridesportsmemphis.com.