Inspiring Instructor - Diana Katsikaris

September 12, 2017

Inspiring Instructor - Diana Katsikaris

 

Hey all, we wanted to share with everyone a recent talk that we had with our friend Diana! For anyone in the fitness scene in Boston, we're sure Diana needs no introduction but for those who haven't had the pleasure of bumping into her or taking one of her classes, Diana is a full time instructor and studio manager with B-Tone! B-Tone is one of the fastest growing studios in the city and their attention to detail, homey feel, and killer pilates and rowing classes taught by first rate instructors really sets them apart!

We met Diana a few months ago during our frequent stops in Wellesley. When we met Diana the first thing that blew us away was her energy and positivity - this is something that is observed by all of her clients as well! For us, meeting someone our age in the fitness studio industry was rare and we were immediately inspired by Diana's commitment and work ethic. She's become our go to for studio and product insights, event planning, and impromptu photo shoots. 

Here's a recap of our recent convo with Diana - we were going to cut this a little but we loved Diana's answers too much to get rid of anything - enjoy!

Hey Diana! I guess we have to start at the beginning! Let's chat a bit about how you became a fitness instructor. Where did the inspiration come from? 

I became a fitness instructor after having a passion for all things exercise related. I grew up in Wellesley and played field hockey competitively all throughout high school, I have always been an avid runner since the Elementary School Physical Education Mini Marathon as well! When I discovered Btone Fitness a few years back, I immediately fell in love with both the TONE and ROW workouts and knew that becoming an instructor was the next logical step!

I was trained and certified through Btone Fitness at age 18, both in the customized Btone Reformers and Indo Water ROWing Machines, and since have obtained a certification in Barre and Yoga.

Becoming a fitness instructor is something that has changed and shaped my life for the better. I have never felt so incredibly inspired by others, nor have I ever felt so much energy, passion, and love towards a workplace and the environment and individuals that come along with it.

We still can't believe that you went through those certifications at such a young age! We’ve had to deal with the experience of being very young for our field and we know that this is something you’ve obviously dealt with too – how did you establish yourself as a professional at such a young age? What strategies did you use to be taken seriously?

I truly believe that age is just a number, and while there may be some skeptics out there, it is important to continue to be who you are, not change your craft, personality, or style, and embrace what you have accomplished and be proud of those endeavors. The instructor is there to teach and guide the class; to inspire them, to make them stronger both mentally and physically, and to lead them through a class.

Regardless of skill level and ability, every day is different for every individual, but what most always remain consistent is the positive energy, acceptance of all, and drive that the instructor brings into and creates in the studio before, during, and after class.

Being professional has nothing to do with age, but has to do with keeping composure, making and establishing personal connections, and giving individuals an experience that they cannot find anywhere else.

Those are some awesome insights - I feel like your enthusiasm and passion is boundless! We've found that in some ways our youth and in-experience can be a competitive advantage.  What do you think about that? What are some of the biggest pros and cons of being a bit younger that you've seen?

I love being young. I am thought of as the “Btone Baby” and I have SO many incredible role models and individuals that I look up to. I simply cannot count the number of individuals that care for me and take care of me in this Btone Fitness community on both hands; clients and fellow instructors alike.  

Regardless of age, there will always be individuals who have feedback, both negative and positive, but it is what you do with the feedback, how you choose to apply it, and your overall reaction that shows and displays maturity and reflection, rather than age and stereotyped ability level.

When we first met you, you were teaching at the local elementary school as well as working privately with tons of kids in the area - do you think this experience helps you be a great instructor? How does it affect your teaching style and overall attitude?

Teaching and working with children have significantly impacted the way in which I lead my classes. I think of children as the resource to all of life’s greatest advice and wisdom. Like teaching children, a fitness instructor needs to be present. They need to be watching the class, engaging the class, keeping things on track, on pace, as well as fun and interesting.

Teaching children has also taught me that there are very different learning styles—some students work better with visual cues, auditory cues, and/or hands on, kinetic learning. What people sometimes forget to recognize is, once someone is done with schooling, the type of learner they are does not change and every individual continues to find and learn concepts in their own unique way. Therefore, I have taken the aforementioned and applied it in my classes making sure that I have a good variety of hands on cues, demonstrations, as well as auditory cues.

With most moves, I try my best to incorporate every client’s individual learning style so that they are able to make a quick transition, understand the move and the muscles they are working, and get the best out of the class because I have directions and instructions that can be followed by all.

The other crazy thing about you is that on top of all of this you're also a full time student! When you told us that, I remember being taken aback - still not really sure how you juggle it all! How do you balance the workload? What does a day in the life look like?

A day in the life is BUSY—but whose life is not? I never find “being busy” as an excuse for something. I used to say there needs to be more hours in the day or more days in the week, and would waste time thinking of the things I COULD do if there was more time. But, why not prioritize and make it all happen? Some days, yes, feel more accomplished than others, but every day completed is an accomplishment, but it is your individual job to make it count for you.

That being said, I usually wake up between 4 and 5 and head to the studio to teach. I teach every day, seven days a week! I am currently enrolled in three courses at a local university, as well as am taking an online course so it gets really hectic some days!

I make sure I have meals prepared daily or weekly so that I do not turn into the guy from the Snicker’s commercial and get Hangry… just kidding!

Yes I am busy. But I absolutely love every second of it. I love waking up early, as I get my energy from my clients who inspire me daily. I love being busy, as it keeps me sane, and there never is a dull moment. My life is eventful, fun, chaotic and sometimes can be stressful. I am so thankful and fortunate for all that I am able to do in a day, and all of the people who have made it happen.

I'm sure everyone's really loving this info and tips - you're certainly an inspiration! We did want to talk about B-Tone a bit too - with the opening of the new Chestnut Hill studio it seems that B-Tone is taking over Pilates in Boston! Can you describe a Btone Workout and what makes it so popular? What are some of the different workouts that B-Tone incorporates?

Yes! There are many different classes that Btone offers. The first and most popular and common class is the TONE class. The tone class is held on one of Btone’s customized reformers. The equipment allows clients to work their entire body, using their slow twitch muscle fibers to change and shape lean, long and tone muscles. The equipment is low impact on the joints, and is a workout like no other, where the entire body will be worked from head to toe in an entire forty-five minute class session. The customized reformers at Btone integrate a mix of strength training, muscle toning as well as slight bursts of cardio and escalated heart rate exercises integrated throughout the class. The second class offered is the ROW class. Clients are able to choose between Circuit, Cir-CUT and Endurance classes based on their preference. While including more cardio, accessories such as booty bands, resistance bands, hand weights, medicine balls, kettlebells, and TRX equipment are integrated into these classes. The ROW workouts are a great component to individuals who enjoy cardio classes, still want to focus on muscle toning, as well as is a great cross training tool for sports and marathons. It is important to note that ROWing by itself is a total body workout: 60% legs, 20% core and 20% arms.

We spend a lot of time with you in Wellesley, but you also teach in a few of the other locations! We're always interested in how the different markets differ and change the culture of each studio. What is your experience like with the different studios?

I love teaching at any and all locations, while I primarily teach at Wellesley and Chestnut Hill and substitute in the Boston Locations. I am a true Boston girl at heart, and am always in awe with the city. Each and every location is filled with wonderful clients, great facilities, and fun and different workouts and experiences.

It seems like B-Tone seems to have a unified culture and has maintained its community even as it grows.  At school, we always talked about the "secret sauce" that makes a successful business.  What do you think makes B-Tone so special or is that "secret sauce" if you will?

Btone is special because it is a group of people who are focused on building strong humans: both body and mind. Any and all levels are more than welcomed and accepted and the range and style of classes are unique and fun. The classes usually never get any easier, as there is always a new way to be challenged, a new move or exercise to attempt, and each and every instructor has an amazing background, bringing a fun and fresh flare to their classes.

You obviously spend so much time at B-Tone, but in your free time, what other types of workouts do you like to do?

I am a hard-core runner. I love to run both for fun and greatly enjoy training for races: marathons and half marathons. This summer I got hooked on the idea of competing and participating in the Iron Man 70.3. I am obsessed with the classes at HeartBreak Hill Running Company, am a brand ambassador for a really cool running brand called Janji, as well as was given the opportunity to take over the Sweet Green instagram during the 2017 Boston Marathon. Therefore, running is a platform for so many different opportunities and experiences, and I am obsessed with the sport.

I also enjoy Barry’s Bootcamp, yoga classes, barre and spin and of course take Btone classes, both TONE & ROW on the regular, clients often finding me on the machine next to them at least four to five times a week in a class that I am not teaching.

We've been working with you on an upcoming back to school event and you take the lead on many community events and also do many events for charity personally – what is the most rewarding part of this for you and what inspires you? Maybe you could detail some of the most recent events you participated in!

The most rewarding part of these events is being able to give back to so many communities and charities, all by uniting people as a team to raise money through a fitness class. I recently did an ALS fundraiser class and a PMC fundraiser class and am working on a Hurricane Harvey/Hurricane Irma class. I am also all about cross training for sports teams and getting local students into class. Working out is a lifestyle and one that should be introduced to individuals at a young age.

Those are some incredible causes! We find that you always come back to helping kids and using teaching as a platform to drive change. Is this something that is a central theme in your life? What are some of your big goals for the future?

My goals for the future are to obtain my degree in Elementary Education and Child Psychology, and I am almost there! I want to continue teaching fitness classes, and training for new races and marathons. I also want to travel the world and explore by running through the places I visit. An ideal day would be teaching fitness classes in the morning and the evening and weekends, while teaching elementary school students during the day. I someday aspire to be a field hockey coach or running coach for the High School level as well.

Thank you so much for Diana for joining us today! Join her for a class at B-Tone in either Wellesley or the newly opened Chestnut Hill space! If you want to find Diana she is on instagram as dsk8154 and can be reached at email dianakatsikaris4@gmail.com for any further inquiries!


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