Mar 25, 2015

LaBlast Dance Fitness! Spring JCC and Summer Retreat TREATS!

 Many participants wish to get fit before joining class, but join in today to become fit and be well: all levels welcome, no experience or partners necessary. 

LaBlast is a workout in disguise: make friends, enjoy moving, and feel amazing, just as you are!
XO - Megan 

Spend a summer week in Mexico with a Louis Van Amstel, our LaBlast instructor community, and friends and family in a small group setting.  AMAZING DISCOUNT ends March 28!
 View my Event Listings or email me anytime for current and upcoming ways to change your life.  
Hope to see you soon!

Feb 13, 2015

LOVE Challenge and Dance-filled Day

Special Message: Love Spreading Challenge! 

And while you're spreading love, give love and dance to yourself today and always! XO - Megan

Warning: the following is a self-indulgent, feel-amazing playlist for your life, NO PARTNERS NECESSARY.  Choose your favorites, then rock it solo or among friends!

Warm Up Traveling: Honey Love, Franky Valli and The Four Seasons

Warm Up Isolations: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, Jackie Wilson

Disco/4c Hustle: Get Up Offa That Thing, James Brown

Samba: The Best, Tina Turner

SQQ Rumba/Tango: A Night Like This, Caro Emerald

Disco/Samba/Rumba/Paso Doble Mix: Touch, Natasha Bedingfield

Slow Cha Cha: Moment Just Like This, Dami Im

Med Cha Cha: Love Natural, Crystal Fighters

Lindy Hop: Get-Together, Tim Myers & Serengeti

Slow Salsa/Tango Stretch:  Love Like This, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Kingston

Cha Cha/Jive Mix: Before We Fall In Love, Damato
Mix: We Could Be Kings, A.R. Rahman and KT Tunstall

Viennese Waltz: The Blue Danube, Manhattan Pops

Slow Samba: You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

Cool Down: Love Someone, Jason Mraz

Spunky Cool Down: Something I Need, OneRepublic

Which love-spreading things or dance songs will you share this weekend?  Let us know!

Jan 18, 2015

Love, Music of the 60s, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. moved his generation with a deep and demanding love, particularly song artists.  In honor of the emotional and lyrical depth of those artists, here are a few of my favorite dance songs from the 1960s.

LaBlast Music of the 1960s

Megan Merchant, LaBlast, UNMOne Fine Day - The Chiffons (1963), Quick Step

Be My Baby - The Ronettes (1963-1946), Rumba

 These Arms of Mine - Otis Redding (1962-1964), Rumba

May we turn our dreams of love into action.  Then dance, together. - Megan 


Dec 28, 2014

Four Steps to Finding Your Tribe

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. - Seth Godin

I've been in the fitness industry for around 15 years, passing through many locations, instructing diverse populations, always loving these people and places.  But over the past five years, I began witnessing colleagues really gravitate toward specific fitness groups: Les MillsBeachbody, Zumba, TRX, Crossfit... and I had huge envy watching them become deeply passionate and fully ingrained into these groups.  They found their tribe.

This finally happened to me at IDEA 2011 when I came across LaBlast Fitness.  The feeling of connection was so intense I thought "I have to find a FLAW with this program or I'm in it for life!"  Fast forward to today as a new Master Trainer and I feel very fortunate for my LaBlast family and experiences.

Photo by Basil Steele, University of New Mexico, 2014
This is the power of finding your tribe.  Your work turns to passion; you look forward to being involved.  Your tribe makes what you need to do in life (like being physically active) so much better.

How to find a Tribe that fits You

1. REALLY listen to yourself: what do you enjoy?  My husband loves cycling.  My sister found yoga.  My daughter's teacher adores her daily run.  And my friend loves her two daily hours at the gym.  I love dance but LaBlast also gave me variety, authenticity, use of my own music, the option to dance with my family and friends, and much more!

2. Trying A LOT of new and varied things.  Keep narrowing down who, what, where, and when might fit you until you strike gold.  You can browse the myriad of my blog posts on fitness trials I have had.  Around 2012 I enjoyed watching others enjoy Zumba, so a wrote an article and held a Zumba charity event for colleagues at UNM.  My husband still enjoys a few Beachbody programs we starting trying several years ago (and despite it not being my fit, those programs are REALLY fantastic!)  In 2011, I researched and practiced running to team up for a marathon but all of these activities felt unnatural.  In contrast, I really look forward to time I spend dancing LaBlast.

3. New tribes start everyday!  Among 6 billion people in the world, your tribe is either waiting for you or should be created.  In a very short time and now at 800 global instructors, our LaBlast tribe feels so happy that Louis Van Amstel took the time and effort in creating our program.  Other tribes are equally as grateful to their group innovators.

4. Be in more than one tribe, because: 

 A tribe is a group of people that share an occupation, interest, or hobby. -

Every tribe in your life will vary in the amount of time and level of interaction.  LaBlast is my physical activity tribe that grew to enhance my occupation, intellect, and more, but I keep jogging, meditation, strengthening, and self defense in my fitness routines.  My coworkers at UNM inspire me to strive higher for our students.  I have a group of mom friends that share parenting stories and emotionally support one another in beautiful ways once or twice a month online.  You can have more than one tribe in various areas of your life, such as your:
  • environment: your location and surroundings, home, neighborhood, community, state
  • career: your occupation versus your career and your finances
  • social relationships: your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors...
  • emotions: your feelings about actions, events, and life in general
  • spirituality: your positivity and/or religious beliefs
  • intellect: your education and ongoing pursuit to learn new things
  • physical body: your nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress, and overall health

Which tribes will you look for this New Year?
Wishing you love and happiness in all areas of your life!
XO - Megan

Nov 8, 2014

Four Cs: Critical Principles within Dance Fitness

When the dance and fitness worlds collide, four beautiful principles come together!
  1. Comfortable:  absence of pain and distress, free of anxiety, feeling of ease and security
  2. Challenge: full use of your abilities and resources during trying but stimulating situations
  3. Compassion: awareness of the needs of others and a desire to alleviate a person's suffering
  4. Confidence: trust, faith, and self-assurance; a belief in your own abilities
What are the senses of comfortable challenges
  • Accomplishment striving and task completion
  • A pounding but slowing heart at the end of a journey
  • Heavy breathing but calm words of "Hello!"  
  • Reaching the final push or lift and striving a bit further
In aerobic activity, this is defined by being able to talk with single words yet you are breathing heavily during repetitive motions like walking, cycling, and swimming.  In strength training, it is the moment when you can perform one more exercise safely before you loose proper form from muscle fatigue during motions such as lifting and pulling. 

Reaching the CC level of intensity in both causes a safe overload: push your body to reach just slightly beyond it's capacity and doing so stimulates the body to grow stronger (muscle strength) and longer in capacity (muscle or cardiopulmonary endurance).  Pushing well beyond this limit at once can burn more calories but raises injury risk and requires a longer recovery period before the next trial.  Some activity is always better than none but I encourage you to give a bit more for greater results.

What do compassion and confidence look like?
  • Rising posture
  • Shining sweat 
  • Glowing yet lifted eyes
  • Radiant smiles
  • Open and welcoming arms
Compassion in dance connects instructors, students, and communities through movement and music.  When a group moves compassionately in sync; physically connects through eye contact, partnering or circling; or simply unites in a display of positive emotion; the experience deepens support, encouragement, and unity.

Confidence is possessing faith in the class you enter when you enter, and growing your confidence during big or small dance attempts will leave you with less fear in your life.  Turn your thoughts toward the similarities between you and other dancers: what is inside matters most, and what is outside becomes an aesthetic of diminished importance.  Engage in every challenge with a positive goal in an open heart and mind.  You will receive so much more.

Want to retain these principles?  A happy child can remind you.

Wishing you comfortable challenges filled with compassion and confidence!
XO - Megan