Teachable Moments


Fitness is a learning process.

TeachableMomentsSome of us have to learn what a fit lifestyle looks like as adults, while others are lucky enough to become familiar with fitness in childhood. April Dupre is one of the lucky ones who learned early in life.

“My mother was really active when I was growing up, so that created a good environment for me,” Dupre says. “I was always active. I danced; I played sports … you name the sport — I probably played it.”

Her mother’s good example clearly stuck with Dupre. As a certified personal trainer and high school physical education teacher, the moments when Dupre isn’t moving are few and far between.

Dupre earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology at the University of New Orleans, where she began working at the university’s recreation center, eventually earning her personal training certification. Along with teaching group exercise classes and giving fitness assessments during college, Dupre became a member of the Saintsations (the Saints’ high-powered dance team). “It was an experience that very few get to have, and I’m grateful,” she says.

These days, Dupre teaches physical education classes to students at New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School. “You can really teach them a lot, and they’re willing to learn,” she says of her students. “It’s really rewarding to see them be able to do something they weren’t able to do five weeks ago.”

She also trains clients and teaches group fitness classes around New Orleans, including at the uptown Jewish Community Center, Franco’s Athletic Club and Premier Fitness. She hopes to transition into full-time personal training soon. “I specialize in mobile training, so I go to clients,” she says. “I’m looking at starting a boot-camp class.”

On Staying Motivated: Dupre’s after-workout rush keeps her on track with her own fitness goals. “The way I feel [afterwards] is incredible,” she says. “Every time I have a good workout, it just reminds me of why I do it. It centers me.” Helping motivate others, and seeing them put her training into action, also helps Dupre find the time and energy to push herself.

Her Fuel: “Timing is everything!” Dupre says. “I eat at the same times every day, regardless of what I’m doing. I eat roughly about five times a day.” This structure allows Dupre to relax a bit when it comes to what she eats. “I definitely allow myself a few cheat meals — maybe more than I should,” she says.

But having experienced the effects of eating poorly and overeating, as well as the joylessness of rigid, restrictive diets, Dupre has reached a comfortable balance. “Life is definitely about moderation,” she says. “I’ve found that at both ends of the spectrum, I wasn’t happy with myself.”

Client Success Story: “I had a client who couldn’t do a sit up,” Dupre says. “She was roughly about 200 pounds, and it was impossible for her — in her mind, not mine.” Dupre worked with her for a month, and, one day, the client did a full sit up without Dupre’s assistance — and broke down crying.

“She said, ‘You don’t understand how accomplished I feel,’” Dupre remembers. “‘I literally thought I could not do this … I didn’t think that I would ever be able to do it.’ It felt great to know that I helped her get there. She did all of the work. I just tried to motivate her as much as I could.”

Wise Words: According to Dupre, fitness is just as much about your mind as it is about your body. “Mentally prepare yourself,” she says. “You’re going to start a journey and make a lifestyle change. A lot of people want to be in shape, but they don’t change anything in their minds … and they will fail every single time that they do that.”