Get to know Wellbeats instructor Alejandro G., a 15-year veteran of the fitness industry and a licensed clinical psychotherapist who is currently finishing his Doctorate in Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When Alejandro is not busy with these pursuits, his hobbies include playing tennis, horology (watches), painting, playing the violin, watching movies, and spending time with his partner and his dog.
For Wellbeats instructor Alejandro G., health and wellbeing are holistic by nature.
“Health and wellbeing include many aspects of the human condition—how we think, feel, and behave,” Alejandro said. “It’s also based on multiple dimensions of wellness in order to interconnect different aspects of our lives.”
He recognizes that the benefits of fitness go far beyond the physical body and appreciates the emotional and spiritual uplifting, along with the sense of community, that fitness can provide. Accordingly, Alejandro values the relationship between fitness and mental health.
“These two things, along with our gut health, are always in this triangle relationship,” Alejandro explained. “One or some can have a great impact on the other(s). Exercise has great hormone and neuromuscular components to it that help one’s emotional and psychological states. And it’s all about finding ways to be active rather than thinking exercise means running 10 miles a day.”
From a young age, Alejandro learned to include mental health in prioritizing his health and wellbeing.
“My mother was an old-school social worker, and I fell in love working with and helping people at a young age from tagging along some of her migrant work in the community,” he said. “Mental health is such an important thing for people, and I always was fascinated by the psychology of the human mind.”
While that childhood fascination paved the way for his work as a psychotherapist, Alejandro’s love of sports and fitness blossomed with an interest in tennis.
“I started playing tennis on my own from a young age (age 8) and hitting against any wall I could find in town,” Alejandro said. “I found a few friends that loved playing, and we would play for hours almost every day. I ended up playing competitively not only in high school but also at the amateur level in low-tier professional tournaments.”
Tennis has remained one of his favorite workouts for one simple reason—it’s fun!
“I love playing tennis and love the fact that it’s exercising at the same time! That will always be my favorite workout because I can do it for hours a day,” Alejandro said.
As a young adult, Alejandro found a love of lifting weights and running because both benefited his tennis game. He still enjoys teaching others to lift weights in sync to music, and he ended up running marathons for a few years with a goal of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon—which he did in 2011. Freestyle cycling is another one of his favorite workouts to do and teach.
“There’s nothing better than finding a great song and choreographing a great cycling track to it,” Alejandro said.
Eventually, Alejandro’s fitness journey led him to group fitness classes. He loved taking the classes and soon began his career as an instructor by leading body pump classes.
“Fifteen years later I’m still teaching those formats!” Alejandro said. “Attending group fitness classes was an easy way for me to hold myself accountable while listening to awesome music. I connected well with music and exercising to it. I told myself one day in class that I think I can do what that instructor is doing.”
Along with his work as a group fitness instructor, Alejandro is a licensed clinical psychotherapist and works in the counseling center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is finishing up his doctorate in education.
Alejandro’s work informs his coaching philosophy as a fitness instructor, and it’s also woven through how he approaches his life and his own wellbeing.
“I approach life holistically and actually teach about it to college students in my current work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus,” Alejandro explained. “It’s all about prioritizing time for things that bring you a sense of fulfillment. Some things we do actually give us energy rather than just taking away energy.”
With its mission that wellbeing isn’t just for some—it’s for all, Wellbeats was a natural fit for Alejandro.
“My coaching philosophy is developmental and person-centered,” Alejandro said. “I want to work with people to empower them and help develop autonomy and agency in their workouts while having a good time. My approach is that it’s not just physical exercise; it’s about building community and a sense of belonging for people in the group fitness room.”
Wellbeats, a LifeSpeak company is a leading provider of on-demand virtual fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness classes for use in workplaces of all sizes, health plans, on college or university campuses, multi-family housing, the U.S. military, and fitness and health clubs. Based in St. Louis Park, MN, Wellbeats makes fitness accessible, affordable, and approachable for everyone. More than 1,000 classes and 35+ programs are available to help members stay on track and meet their goals. To learn more, visit www.wellbeats.com. Check out a sampling of the company’s fitness classes during a Facebook Live class, and follow Wellbeats on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.