HBW Fitness Friday Instructor Spotlight
This week we shine the spotlight on the kind-hearted, incredibly energetic, pop, hop and rock founder, Preston Blackburn!
Becoming an Instructor
1. What brought you to Richmond? I grew up in Richmond and honestly did not see myself coming back when I moved away after college. But my husband’s job brought us back here and I am so glad it did. My children got to know my parents and I have seen Richmond evolve into an amazing city for work, play.... and eating.
2. When did you join your gym and why? Having been in the group fitness business for more than 20 years, I have had the pleasure of working in many gyms in the Richmond area. They all offer something different, unique. Some foster instructor camaraderie while others encourage individuality. I also own a business where we teach motor development in preschools so I am fortunate to be able to work with both grown-ups and children almost every day.
3. Why do you exercise? I played sports all through high school and college. When that came to an end, I realized I felt better and, quite frankly, was a nicer person when a workout was part of my day. Plus the side effects were terrific.
4. What is your favorite format that you teach? I am pretty ADD about my favorite format. Sometimes it is Spin, sometimes it is Les Mills BodyPump, sometimes it is an all core format, sometimes it is yoga.
Getting to know Preston
1. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone?
First and foremost, I look for a sense of humor. Serious people are boring! I love working with people who are out of the box thinkers -- creative types are so inspiring. Lately I have been working on taking my preschool programming into underserved communities and some of the people I have met who work tirelessly for the less fortunate have the biggest hearts, are so very creative, super open and so kind. Talk about amazing qualities!
2. Type of music you like most? When I am working out, the music has to have a heavy beat -- that drives everything for me. This is probably the reason the squat and back tracks on BodyPump releases are usually my favorite. You feel like you are fighting right through them and then tah dah! You conquered it...what a rush! When I am not working out, mostly I am an Indie-Singer-Songwriter type of girl.
3. What’s your favorite “healthy” food, store or restaurant to go to? I love every time I walk into Ellwood Thompsons. It just smells so clean and heady. So yes, that is probably my favorite, but I do spend a lot of time at Kroger -- their selection of organics and clean food is getting better and better. I loved your blog on Aldi -- so I had to give that a try too. What a great lead!!!!!
4. What do you like to do on weekends? My week days are so rushed, sadly I feel like I spend the weekend either catching up, planning ahead, or both. But any time I can hang with my two daughters and my husband is a slice of heaven. If I had my choice, I like to get as close to water as possible. There is something so very peaceful about the smell of a river or the ocean coupled with the sound of the waves, the birds. Ahhhh.....
5. What/Who Inspires You? I am always inspired by people who can fight through challenges with grace. Whether the challenge is something as small as getting through a squat track in BodyPump or whether it is something huge like caring for a sick loved one. Having the strength to power through and smile raises the bar for the rest of us.
6. In the morning you can’t live without…I hate to admit it....yeah, coffee.
7. Favorite place to go in Richmond? That is the great thing about Richmond. It is constantly evolving so my favorite place changes with it. I love the new roof top bars, particularly Quirk’s bar. But I also love checking out the new restaurants -- we have so many.
8. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? The first thing I would do is renovate my kitchen. I love to cook, so a kitchen renovation would be decadent and exciting. After that, bathrooms and then I would give a bunch of the money away.
9. What is your go-to favorite exercise? Ahhh, this is always changing too. Right now I am getting back into running and it is so fun! But sometimes I just need a good hit of yoga, a bunch of time under a heavily weighted bar, or time in the saddle on a bike. I have self-diagnosed exercise ADD.
10. What is your favorite brand or favorite workout gear? Nike shoes always! Athleta and Nike, sometimes Under Armour for everything else.
You can find Preston at:
Body Pump: Thursdays 6am at the Jewish Community Center, some Fridays at 4:30, too.
I can also be found at the Country Club of Virginia and Hermitage Country Club on various days of the week teaching Spin, strength, core, step and bootcamp classes!
Mostly I can be found in preschools working with kids. My company, Pop, Hop and Rock (www.pophopandrock.com), promotes physical literacy in children. Children today are more sedentary than ever and it is impacting not just their long term health, but their ability to learn. This year, we are also in the process of expanding our programming into Richmond’s underserved communities.
We offer teacher and parent trainings. If anyone is willing to listen, I am ready to share.