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Meet Tracy James of Feet & Paws Fitness in Westside and Mid-City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracy James.

Tracy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My interest in fitness was sparked in 2004. While in my third year of Art College, I started walking on a regular basis to get away from the computer and relieve stress. Having never been very physically active in the past, I was surprised to find I enjoyed walking so much that, in time, I started walking longer and faster, eventually progressing to running. Over summer break, I kept the momentum and walked and ran with our family dog, Ginger. It was so wonderful taking control of my well-being with my best friend who was also benefiting from activity.

As I transitioned into the working world, I never lost sight of the impact and joy animals and activity brought to my life. A few years into my profession, I was finding it hard to fit both into my schedule. Work hours were long and visits to the gym sporadic. How could I ever have time to be a good pet parent? I always wanted my own dog, so much so that I started to question if animation was the right path for me. This brought me to ask myself, “What if I could save time and exercise with my (theoretical) dog? I can’t be the only one wishing there was a way to work out together. Right?”

So, after adopting my own dog and earning my certifications, I decided to go for it and combine these interests in a way that could also help other people like me be active with their dogs. Now I teach group fitness classes, post dog and fitness training videos online, create training programs, and offer private dog training. I can’t imagine doing anything else!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In a digital age, one of the biggest struggles is not just capturing people’s attention, but inspiring them to get up and move. On top of that, since Feet & Paws Fitness offers such new concepts, illustrating the activities and offered opportunities can be a challenge. When we describe combining dog obedience and fitness training into our group classes, online training videos and programs and confusion becomes excitement; the hard work is worth it.

Feet & Paws Fitness – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Feet & Paws Fitness specialty is fitness & dog training activities that invite dog owners to be physically active WITH their dogs while also learning & using dog obedience skills. These activities include group classes, online training videos, and, coming later this year, training programs. From mind/body connection to cardio, agility & conditioning exercises, our all-levels activities create fun ways for people and their dogs, of all shapes and sizes, to be active together.

Not only that, but the tools learned in our classes, videos, and programs can help dogs behave better at home every day. This is because each dog obedience behavior is broken down to show the progression, along with troubleshooting tips, while emphasizing their use on a regular basis. Dogs thrive on structure, and a tired dog is a good dog. We do the same for our human clients too because each fitness training exercise includes intensity options along with fitness form tips.

Needless to say, we love seeing people incorporating dog obedience and fitness training into their routine, ultimately recognizing the importance of activity, not just for themselves but for their dogs too. That’s not to say that everyone has to be an athlete and every dog perfectly obedient, but rather train to live a healthy, functional life together.

What sets us apart, besides combining dog obedience with fitness training, is showing our “imperfections”. Like most people, I’ve seen my ups and my downs [on the scale]. When I wasn’t looking, or at least that is how it felt, my weight would go up drastically. So, even though it is much easier (and fun!) to stay on track being healthy with my best friend by my side, we don’t want to make it seem easy. Instead, we want to show it’s about reinforcing good behaviors, establishing healthy habits, and being kind to yourself and your dog if you hit a stumbling block.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Naturally, people come to class looking to improve their dog’s basic obedience in addition to working out together. Often, new dogs to class need time to get acclimated and are not always able to focus on their owner. However, when a pair who was struggling has learned to jump over a hurdle together, hold down a bit longer, or complete the “park” command (dog in a stationary heel position), we couldn’t be more proud of what they have learned to do as a team.

Pricing:

  • Our tiered pricing for our group fitness classes rewards you for getting out and active with your dog more often! The more you commit to coming, the lower the price per class. Classes can be as low as $15/class!
  • Our private dog training sessions are available for those in/around Mid-City and the Westside. From basic obedience to behavior modification, our sessions are individually crafted to fit each client’s needs. Sessions can be as low as $75/session depending on the package selected.

Contact Info:

1 Comment

  1. Mel Ryane

    April 3, 2017 at 18:37

    My dog, Linus, is a super star because of Tracy’s coaching. He’s attentive, trim, and can do lots of fun tricks. My thighs are strong and my stamina’s healthy because of Tracy James, Feet & Paws Fitness.

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