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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Redefining Fitness

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Denna Haslett is not your average aerobics instructor. In fact, she makes it her business to kick typical to the curb. At Just Classes, Haslett’s new fitness studio in Wauwatosa, she hopes that others will also buck the typical idea of what a “fit” person should look like. Haslett says she wants people to embrace their individual shapes and uncover what “fit” means to them. Just Classes is simply that: just classes, minus all the fluff, blaring tunes, grunting jocks and tiny studios packed so tight that sardines couldn’t inhale.

Instead, this far northwest locale is ded icated to those who want to leave all the competitiveness behind and just enjoy fitness classes. Participants will be able to learn everything from Yogalates to self-esteem building.

Do you consider yourself fit? And is it even possible for women to be both “fit” and “thick”?
For the most part, yes—I think that being “fit” is a notion that constantly evolves for me. I would describe myself as a balanced person. Being fit and thick means more to me than what’s going on on the outside. Being fit makes me feel alive, brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face. It also makes me feel empowered because I know that I am empowering others.

Teaching can be a challenging endeavor, especially coaching others on how to take care of themselves. How do you maintain your sanity—or do you?
There are several ways: prayer, meditation and being fully present are No. 1 stress-busters for me. In fact, teaching group exercise is a way for me to focus on the needs of others, which also keeps me grounded.

What do you hate, and what do you love?
Dishonesty. There is some degree of dishonesty about what fitness really is. I would like to help change that. What I love: I love scheduling “me time.” It keeps me focused.

After being in business for more than a year, finish this sentence: Running a business is like…
…a good suspense movie. You don’t know what will happen next, but some how you know everything will be all right.

What makes you worthy of news-space?
There needs to be something positive in the news about what is going on in the community. There needs to be something in the news that can lift people up, instead of just tear them down.

Your vision for Just Classes?
My vision is to provide quality group exercise classes that cater to people that may not want to attend a regular fitness center, and grow from there. My vision is to eliminate the “intimidation factor” for people when it comes to attending a facility, and exercise in general.

When did you know you were on the right track?
When I stepped out of my box and started teaching in other places, other than my home, like the YMCA. When people outside of the Y accepted me, that was groundbreaking [for me].

What are people most surprised to find out about you?
I am a very soft-spoken person when you meet me. But people quickly find out, especially if they attend one of my classes, that I am tougher than I look. I also am not a quitter; I have a sense of perseverance that even surprises me!

Just Classes is located at 10045 W. Lisbon Ave., Suite 300, in Wauwatosa.

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