For the Love of Yoga
Local yoga instructor Matt Lovitt shares his appreciation for the age-old practice.
It was a girl that initially inspired Matt Lovitt, founding partner at Pure Fitness & Yoga, to be interested in fitness. “When I was 13, a girl broke up with me because she liked another guy,” he says. “She said, ‘Matt, you’re cute, but he’s hot!’ I said, ‘What’s the difference?’ And she said, ‘He has muscles.’” After that initial spark of inspiration, he started training.
“I was shocked to see the changes,” Lovitt says. “It blew my mind that I had such control over the way my body looked and felt. Before, I had accepted that things were just a certain way. Now, I was excited to learn all of the ways I could impact my body, my mind, my energy and my happiness.”
Pure Fitness & Yoga opened Sept. 2017 in Metairie, and Lovitt hasn’t looked back since. His favorite class is one that he says you won’t find anywhere else. It’s called Fitness Yoga Sweat, and it’s the studio’s signature class. It begins with a circuit of yoga postures, then incorporates high intensity interval training and ends with deep stretches, breathing and a meditation. “The combination of oxygen and endorphins feels amazing,” Lovitt says. “We also offer traditional Vinyasa flow classes, Recovery Yoga and Power Yoga.”
Pure Fitness & Yoga is unique compared to other yoga studios because, as the name suggests, you can combine fitness and yoga into one session. “Contrary to popular belief, you can actually make a lot of progress without training to the point of soreness or exhaustion,” Lovitt says, “We sweat; we move; and we get better. But the process doesn’t have to be torturous to be effective. There is a minimum effective dose the body needs to adapt to, and, after that, you just get sore and hungry. Our routines are not confusing; there’s a minimum risk to injury; and any a pain or previous injuries may actually improve. And whether you’re a beginner or advanced, we’ll have something for you to practice.”
For Lovitt, it’s seeing the progress his students are making that gives him the most pleasure. “The look on someone’s face after they tell you that they have reached their goal is priceless,” he says. “It’s when a client brings in pants that [are too big] or the exciting look on their face when they get into a new yoga posture. It gives my life purpose. It’s an honor to be a part of that process.”
His personal fitness routine consists of three Fitness Yoga Sweat classes and 3 Vinyasa flow classes per week. If possible, he also takes at least one long walk in the sun and lifts weights once per week. “I’m a [yoga] nut,” he says. 701 Papworth Ave., Ste. 105, Metairie, (504) 615-8164, purefitnessandyoga.com
ON STAYING MOTIVATED
“I have two friends that I meet with every week via Skype,” Lovitt says. “Each month, we declare our goals. If we don’t hit our marks, then we owe the group $100. Stakes and accountability are crucial. I use an app called Way of Life. Each day, it asks me if I have completed my tasks. Then it keeps long-term statistical trends. I attach my goals to this data. I find simply tracking data, even without setting goals, can improve behavior.”
“I’m constantly tweaking my diet to match my current objectives,” Lovitt says. “If I am looking to get ripped for the beach, I absolutely must lower my carbohydrates, using fat for fuel — a ketogenic diet. If I’m preparing for a yoga teacher training, I’ll eat like a vegan to alkalize my system, using fruits and veggies as fuel. If I’m looking to build muscle, then I eat a lot of real food. I always avoid caffeine and alcohol. Foods that make me feel good are broccoli, sweet potatoes, sardines, beans and rice, apples and pineapple. My guilty pleasures are almond milk and chocolate chip cookies, and drinking a bit too much wine while joking with my friends.
“Looking like a supermodel is fun, but I find more satisfaction in relieving pain and creating opportunity,” Lovitt says. “At a young age, I was fortunate enough to work in a hospital setting helping take 100 pounds or more off of several people. I trained professional athletes. But the client that makes me smile the most was a 78-year-old man. He was a retired doctor. He was in lots of pain and he walked with a cane. Months after a few diet adjustments and corrective exercises, he was able to practically speed walk. This meant he was able to enjoy taking long trips with his partner — something he had given up on. Can you imagine not being able to fully enjoy your retirement after a lifetime of sacrifice and then reversing a seemingly impossible problem? To me, that’s more glorious than winning a championship. It lights my heart up. He has since passed away, but that memory still makes me smile.”
“It’s most important to find out why you are doing it,” Lovitt says. “Be as truthful as you can. Then find out what type of training you enjoy. Would you rather train alone or in a group? A decent plan that is completed is better than a great plan that fails. Be honest with your starting point. Be satisfied when you make the smallest progress. Be consistent. You are practicing to improve, not to impress people. Be ridiculous, and make it as fun as possible.”