April 12th, 2016 Last Updated on: April 12th, 2016
For some, exercise can become boring and often a chore. I know I'm guilty of not doing enough of it! So that's why it's always good to find alternative workouts that make you feel like you're having fun instead. Recently CBC News profiled a new powwow-inspired workout called POWFit where contemporary powwow styles like rounddance are incorporated into a fun fitness routine.
POWFit is the brainchild of Brandy-Lee Maxie, a Nakota woman from Whitebear First Nation, who was a jingle dancer in her youth. She is the founder and fitness leader at AB Original Health & Fitness, which offers fitness services such as POWFit & Maksa “the cut” Warriorcamps.
So how did the idea behind POWFit come about? Maxie says it has to do with her own personal journey with health and fitness.
“I was diabetic, very overweight and very unhealthy. I started doing workout videos online, and purchased DVDs. I was doing Zumba, Bellydance, Tahitian dance all from home and just going for walks to the park with my children. I lost a bit of weight and was no longer diabetic. I started thinking that I wanted to do something similar to all these culturally inspired dance fitness workouts that I was doing at home. I saw a part of the solution to the diabetes epidemic that we face as Indigenous people. I have so many family members with Diabetes, including my Dad, my Sister and my 7 year old Son who has Type 1 Diabetes.
Most communities have a space for group fitness, but sometimes lack the fitness professionals needed to help community members through safe fitness routines. I also wanted to create an online support system, which will eventually be AB Original Health & Fitness online magazine.”
As with any new business idea, it took awhile for Maxie to get things up and running. After suffering joblessness and homelessness she decided it would be best if she moved to Saskatoon, SK and start working towards her dream.
“I was working on the idea of AB Original Health & Fitness but had no idea where to start. I had a vision of having more fitness professionals in First Nations communities. I wanted to incorporate our dance and songs in a respectful way, that allows for people to experience it in way that they are consciously working towards their health & fitness goals; but also learning some of the origins to various dance styles. Putting them together to relate them in a holistic perspective, because dancing in that circle has a special kind of feeling that is just healthy for the soul as well. I started seeking out business planning competitions, as I myself was barely above the poverty line and unable to fund my business. I placed second in the CBC Boombox 2013, where I got to pitch with my daughter in front of entrepreneur/philanthropist W. Brett Wilson (used to be a Dragon's Den Dragon). I placed First in the Saskatoon Tribal Council's Mino-bimaadiziwin Business Plan Competition 2014 and placed Second in the Aboriginal Youth Ideas Challenge 2014.
After a few months my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 5 years old. It was pretty devastating on all of us, I almost threw in the towel and gave up on everything I was working towards. But as soon as we were adjusted and he was accepted into a trained daycare facility, and had a medical facilitator at the school, I started the Start Smart program to continue building on this business idea.”
We're so glad she had the courage and motivation to stick with her dream!
So where can you find POWFit classes? Maxie is currently at the University of Saskatchewan Physical Activity Centre every Wednesday at 7pm.
On Saturday, April 23, 2016 from [2:00] PM to [3:00] PM she'll be in Llloydminister for a fitness event at the Jack Kemp School – 3701-47 Ave, Lloydminster, SK S9V2C4, Canada. The workout is for everyone, all ages and children are welcome! Follow this link on EventBrite for more information on how to register!
You can also find her doing POWFit for youth groups and workshops across Turtle Island. All you have to do is invite her in!
For more information on POWFit, AB Original Health & Fitness and how you might be able to get these classes in your community, please visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AbOriginalHealthFitness/. You can also find her on Twitter: @Ab_OriginalFit and her website at www.aboriginalfitculture.com.
Be on the lookout for videos coming this summer!
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