South Florida fitness influencers share their secrets to workout success
Meet South Florida’s fitness influencers Toni Costa and Shay Medal who share their workout secrets and offer words of wellness wisdom
Professional ballroom dancer, TV choreographer/actor, international Zumba instructor (including at Midtown Athletic Club in Weston)
Familial footsteps: My family has always been linked to ballroom/dance sport; I started dancing at age 5. Dance requires a lot of endurance and flexibility, and dancers need to practice intensively, much like any other athlete. As I grew up, I got more involved in fitness; in addition to being a professional dancer, I became a Zumba instructor. Exercise always has kept me physically and emotionally fit. The more I work out, the more I see positive results. And that keeps me motivated to continue doing it.
Feel the rhythm: Even though the benefits of exercising are more noticeable on the outside, it’s amazing the benefits you get in every aspect of your life—mentally, emotionally, socially. Dancing reduces stress, depression and anxiety; dancing with others helps us feel more connected and social. Additionally, dancing boosts brainpower. When learning choreography, you have to listen to the music, watch the teacher/instructor, internalize the movements, and mark movements so that you can remember them. It takes a lot of concentration.
The gift that keeps on giving: Through dancing, whether ballroom or Zumba, I have the ability not only to help people stay in shape but also to be joyful while exercising. This is the miracle of dancing. I receive messages from people around the world expressing their gratitude for the results they have obtained using the Zumba videos of my classes [on his YouTube channel]. This is the greatest satisfaction I can ever get for doing my job.
International model, personal trainer, black belt in taekwondo; Miami
A philosophical cornerstone: Fitness is my rock—the one true element I can physically see and have complete control of. My body is my temple, and I am the artist, so I build and sculpt it to the manner I believe is beautiful. Isn’t it better to live in a home the way you imagine it? I believe that’s part of where my confidence comes from—to trust the feelings of my inner self and live a life that makes me happy.
What distinguishes her workout: My current routine consists of training five times a week for about one to two hours per day. All days start with a cardio warmup for 15 to 30 minutes. Three of the five days, I incorporate weightlifting divided into three groups of muscles—glutes/hamstrings/abs on day one; upper body (light weights, high reps) on day two for lean, toned arms; and quads/glutes/abs, focusing on heavy weights, for day three. The other two days, I use kickboxing to sharpen and polish it all out. [It’s an opportunity to] engage all my muscles using strength and speed. On one of the two days, I’ll incorporate a high-intensity interval training with the kickboxing, where every two minutes I’m changing the workout to engage more muscle groups while adding intensity. Just like your mind, your body needs to be stimulated with new routines to keep it on its toes.
Words to live by: Everyone’s fitness is different, and, like faith or a relationship, it needs to be practiced in order to become stronger. I enjoy finding new ways to train and mastering different classes because it enhances my relationship with fitness. [Overall,] wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices in many categories—physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual—for a healthy and fulfilling life.
Photography by James Woodley
Location: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
Creative direction: Melanie Geronemus Smit
Art direction: Evelyn Suarez
Copy: Kevin Kaminski
Photography assistant: Lockinvar Denis
Special thanks to Salymarie Alvarez, marketing and promotions coordinator at the Marriott Harbor Beach