Daniel Shea is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a dance and fitness instructor with over 30 years of dancing and teaching experience. He’s also a funny and charming guy who has been known to filibuster a class with his anecdotes. He has studied dance at various schools in California and New England, including the MJDC Dance Studio in Rhode Island, and he now works as a personal trainer, sharing his passion for fitness with the people of Providence. Each Sunday morning, he can be found teaching a core workout class at 95 Empire Street, where he trains his students to use floor barre, dance, and training techniques to improve their strength, balance, and flexibility.
We interviewed him to find out more about how he started teaching, what exactly the “core” is, and how to live a healthy life.
What is your background with personal training, fitness, and dance?
I’ve been dancing since age 19, and I have always viewed dance training as an all around fitness program. Dancing works every muscle group, although it does train you for a specific discipline. I’ve been a personal trainer for two years now, and I bring all my dance knowledge to that arena, as well.
When did you know you wanted to be a personal trainer?
One of my ballet students told me I should try it. I was looking for another career, and that one suggestion brought me great clarity. It was a serious “DUH” moment in my life.
What is the best thing about your job?
Guiding my clients to a better quality of life. It’s a really rewarding experience for which I also get paid—it doesn’t get any better that that.
What are some of your favorite tips for a healthy lifestyle?
Listen to your body. Things change as the body ages, such as digestion and physical ability, so things like what foods you eat need to adapt as well. Do anything you are able to do to relieve stress: yoga, walking, meditation, listening to music. Some people need more aggressive forms of release like kickboxing or training for an obstacle course. I wrestle weekly to help control my high-energy nature.
Who would enjoy the core fitness class you teach at AS220?
Anyone who wishes to strengthen this most neglected area of training. The core includes the front, side, and back—not just the abdominals. I help my students become aware of using their core in everyday activities. Do you hold in your stomach when you pick something up off the ground or get up from a chair? You will be surprised at the difference in effort.
Check out Daniel’s Core Workout class from 9-10 am on Sundays for only $5.