My name is Paresa (Voula) Ioannidis and I wanted to share my journey with Nina Merlonghi.
In May 2014, I was attending my regular Zumba class or what I thought would be my regular Zumba class at the 7:10pm. When I got there getting ready for class someone said to me… “ wow Paresa you are going to take Insanity tonight?” I was thinking… “Insanity???” nope not I… my response was.. “no, I am here for Zumba” that was when I was informed that Zumba was taken off the schedule and insanity with Nina was put on… So I took my sneakers off and was getting ready to leave the class and then I heard “don’t be a punk try it out” well that was it for me… I knew in my heart that I was not a punk and I was willing to try it out… Sneakers went back on and on the floor I was waiting for class to start.
I remember Nina walking up to me and intr...oducing herself… her smile made my night… I told her it was the first time I have ever been to Insanity.. she looked at me and her smile got even bigger… and then she said…” Good, you will do great!” She stood in front of class and started to talk about the only thing she was looking for in this first class was making sure our “form” was good… I thought “form” what is “form?” what does that even mean… and then the class started… with every routine she demonstrated and focused on proper “form” and then I knew… Suck your core in, straight posture, shoulders back, knees up, neck aligned, squat as if you were sitting in a chain and knees never in front of your feet, when the body says stop the brain still says keep going, stay focused, always stay focused.
The warm up was when I realized this is hard work… and it’s only the warm up… my lugs I thought were somewhere in the parking lot.. but Nina made sure that there is always a modification with every exercise.. and always go at your own pace.. and breath, in through your nose out through your mouth… always breath, by the time warm up was done.. I was done… little did I know it was only the beginning.. when I looked around to the other students… all I kept hearing is “you can do this” “you are doing a good job” Nina walked around and she too reassured me that I was doing a good job… I knew in my head I was a “hot mess” but the energy in the class was incredible… the reassurance from everyone was out of this world.. Then came “block 2” followed by “block 3” and “block 4” I thought I was dead to the world… and finally… the horn, the horn that indicated it was done… I remember so clearly feeling like a champion… I DID IT!!!!!
I was drenched with sweat, I felt something that I have not felt since in my twenty’s “strong”… or the feeling of being strong… I remember Nina saying to me… “you did great” I know I was not great but she understood and maybe saw my potential or at least my drive… and then she said the words…. “see you next Tuesday”
Almost a year later… Insanity once a week… I am a warrior… I am stronger, the shape of my body changed, my form is so much better, I can do push – ups, lunges, I can jump on a chair, I have control my core, I see definition in my arms, my legs are like rocks, my calves are incredible!!! I can PLANK!!!!!!! I squat like there is no tomorrow… I AM STRONG!!!!!! I am not saying I have reached my potential… far from it… but I am where I need to be today… with every class I get better, with every class I get stronger, with every class I realize I am improving my body, with every class I hear Nina’s words… “You Got This Baby Girl” and that moves me to work harder… I am a “working progress”… I couldn’t have done it without all the support from my fellow Insanity crew… and most importantly my one badass Instructor Nina Merlonghi, that believes “you should never give up on your goals” Insanity Class has changed my life! I will always be grateful… I will always push myself to be at the top of my game… and every time the horn goes off in each and every class without a fail… I feel like a Champion!