Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Vail.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Michael. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Having family from the West Coast, I always knew I wanted to be a California guy but wasn’t sure what I would be doing as an adult. Growing up and all through grade school, I was the skinny kid, lanky with big ears. It wasn’t till I took a weightlifting class in college, where I started gaining weight and muscle. I started to work out regularly and take random fitness classes but it wasn’t until my mid 20’s when I took my first yoga class. What I learned in that class was mind-blowing… intentional movement – adding purpose to your movement and creating a sense of awareness that was more than physical. Our teacher talked a lot about manifestation and putting energy toward what you want in life, it was an epiphany for me. I began to take yoga classes regularly. I loved how it made me feel, the mind/body connection I was creating and the physical challenge it offered me. I knew right away that wanted to share these sensations with others.
Almost a year into my practice, I was sure of it… I wanted to teach fitness. My hometown of Corpus Christi is fairly small and the chance of making it as a fitness instructor was too risky. I decided to make a move to Houston, Texas. Without a job or a car, I left my small town with big hopes. I soon landed a front desk job at a fitness studio called Thrive. Focusing on Yoga, fitness, and nutrition… I felt like the stars had aligned. A few months into my job, I was invited to train and start leading classes of my own. It was happening and I couldn’t have been more excited. I was starting to gain some traction with members when our business closed their doors. Boom! The rug was swept from under me. I was devastated but I knew that I still wanted to teach fitness. And then… Lululemon. Lululemon taught me so much, from time management to communication, to culture and goal setting. Lululemon gave me all the tools I needed to step back into the fitness world as an instructor. This led me to Revolution Studios, a cycling and yoga studio based out of Houston. I had never taken an indoor cycling class before and if you’ve ever taken a good cycling class you know the feeling it gives you. I was into it! I knew that I had to be doing this.
Once again, I felt the stars aligned, after my third class our instructor approached me and asked if I would be interested in teaching with them. WOW! I, of course, said yes! Learning from Revolutions creator Kim Syma and I learned the importance of creating space, guiding movement and creating connection and community. After teaching cycling for over a year, I was ready to become a yoga teacher. Learning under the master teachers at Svasta Yoga School I became certified in 3 months and was teaching right away. Things were moving fast. Then, comes Jason Wimberly. I knew instantly when I met him “I want to do what he’s doing.” Living in Los Angeles Jason would come to Revolution every few months to sprinkle his glitter and magic. As a part creator of Revolution, Wimberly would keep us in check, attend our classes, give feedback..etc. Feeling a strong connection to Jason I expressed to him how I wanted to live in LA he said he was working on a project and would love to have me on board… but, I wasn’t living in LA just yet.
Meanwhile, Equinox was planning to open a location in Houston. They quickly heard of me from my clients and fellow instructors and wanted to meet. WOW! I couldn’t believe that Equinox was reaching out to me… next thing you know I was on the team. Equinox gave me a platform and recourses to explore more strength based training and also Barre. It wasn’t long till LA heard of me and what I was up to. I expressed how I wanted to create a brand of my own and do it in Los Angeles. Next thing you know, I’m packing my car and moving to LA. Transferring to LA was wild, the people were different, communication seemed different, everything seemed to move faster. Luckily, I had the support of my partner Danny Richmond. Danny has always been a support for me and always believes in what I want to create. I was ready to hit the ground running. I reached out to Jason and let him know that I was ready and living in LA. He told me about a concept he has been working on and that he wanted to have me as his Lead Instructor. WOW again! In a blink of an eye, The Wall pop was open. Offering our signature 123 Stack class we were holding small intimate classes of 12 people max. With our pop-up, we were able to introduce ourselves to Los Angeles. We began to create a sense of community and connection with our members and team. This is where my heart is. My intention is for you to feel confident and strong in your body and mind and to have a sense of home within our community. A year and a half into LA and I couldn’t be more excited to share my movement and energy with anyone who is willing to do the same. Whether it’s at The Wall, Equinox or a private session I cannot wait to sweat with you!
Has it been a smooth road?
Oh, the struggles… where do I start? I know, money! Money is a constant struggle, it’s like the tide, an ebb, and flow. Training, yoga school, certifications, traveling is very expensive. What I learned is that it takes a change to make a change. In the words of Thomas Jefferson… “If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” Learning how to adapt and change my lifestyle to make things happen is key.
Transportation was a big struggle for me when I first stepped foot in Houston. My car broke down and was totaled weeks after my move. I was down to a bike but still determined to teach fitness. If you’ve ever lived in Houston you know how the weather is. It would be so hot my bike tires would pop, leaving me to walk or take the bus. I worked and worked and saved and saved and got myself a car. My biggest struggle now is a connection. Living in LA is incredible, the weather is gorgeous, the geography is amazing and the people are nice. But, what I find is lacking from people here is a sense of connection. Most conversations are touch and go… very surface level, almost transactional. I get that the hustle is real and schedules are busy but I still crave connection. What we’re doing at the wall is creating that community and those connections. What I’ve learned for myself is don’t give up and don’t fade in, to stay true to my intentions and my values.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a Group Fitness Instructor at The Wall. I am a Yoga teacher and a personal trainer. Whether we’re sweating in a group of 50 or 1 on 1, my intention is strong. My aim is for you to feel confident in your mind and body and for you to feel connected to me and the people around you. I’m very passionate about connection and community.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Opportunity and possibility are as strong as the sunshine. If you’re looking to create, LA is your place. I’m in love with self-expression! There’s a sense of fashion, style, and character I see in everyone. This city is beautiful, always a few steps from an Instagram worthy photo-op. Also, the nightlife here is so fun! And, let’s not forget about the beautiful weather and gorgeous geography of the land.
My dislikes are basic… traffic is terrible and the food is expensive.
- Private 1 on 1 – $85
- Private Group – $150
- The Wall class – $35
- Website: Michaelvailfit.com
- Phone: 832-475-6066
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/michaelvailfit
- Facebook: Facebook.com/michaelstevenvail
- Other: ThewallFitness.com
Shaun Vadella, Ziv Sade