A Q&A WITH STUDIO MANAGER TAMI BLISS
The Studio Manager on fitness routines, influencing her athletic sons to do yoga and plans for The Studio as we move into spring.
You may have seen her around the facility, taken her classes and, now, it’s time to get to know Studio Instructor turned Studio Manager Tami Bliss who has big plans for the upcoming spring both personally and at HCI.
A decorated fitness instructor, personal trainer and mental health expert, Bliss has earned over ten fitness certifications as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees in Psychology. Bliss worked as a counselor with individuals, families, at-risk youth and as an adjunct instructor of Psychology at both the University and Community college levels. As a Rehabilitation Psychology worker, she also assisted those with injuries or disabilities find work within their restrictions. Integrating mental health into the fitness classes she teaches, Bliss firmly believes you can’t have one without the other.
We sat down with Tami to talk about the journey that led her to Hill Country Indoor and what she hopes to achieve moving forward.
HCIdentity: How did you get started in the fitness and mental health fields?
Tami Bliss: I started working in a family-owned gym in the daycare at the age of 16 in my hometown of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Over the period of approximately three years, I moved from there to the front desk, then to teaching group fitness in 1993, and eventually added on personal training. During undergraduate and graduate school, I worked at the same facility teaching Group Exercise while personal training part time. I found that I loved the physical health sciences as much as the mental health sciences. I do believe they go hand-in-hand!
After graduate school, I moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where I worked as a counselor. However, I continued teaching part time at a nearby LifeTime Fitness center. From this time until 2011, I taught group fitness part time while transitioning from counselor to adjunct instructor of Psychology at the University and Community College. Clearly, teaching Group Exercise is a passion of mine!
What led you to Texas and then, Hill Country Indoor?
In 2011, we [Bliss and her husband Nathen] moved to the Dallas, Texas area and I opened my own group fitness center where I taught for two years. I sold my gym when we moved to Austin in 2013 and began teaching for Gold’s Gym. I also worked part time as a personal trainer and eventually moved from working within the facility as a trainer to offering in-home personal training.
In 2017 I met a fabulous couple who I taught a Zumba class for randomly. They had brought a group of 150+ people to Austin on a fitness retreat and needed a Zumba instructor. I began working for them very part time as the director of mental health and wellness. We travel the world and teach people how to live their life to the fullest through hiking, journaling and other activities. I also teach classes when I travel with them for our group.
I taught my first-ever class at HCI. It was a KicX Cardio Boxing class in what is now Studio three and I had one person attend! I was referred to HCI through a mutual friend at Golds. She connected me with Sky and it has been amazing ever since! I was incredibly excited when I heard we were taking over and creating The STUDIO. I knew it was going to be FANTASTIC!
What was your first certification and the first class you taught?
My first certification was a NETA Group Fitness certification and the first class I ever taught was a free-style core strengthening class. From there, I started teaching free-style Spin and Cardio Boxing (both of which had just become popular!) and then added on more certifications over the years.
Though you have a lot of certifications are you planning to do more?
I absolutely will do more trainings. I am a lifelong student and believe that I need to stay abreast of what is going on in the fitness community. I completed the NASM-CES last year and that was one of the toughest I have ever done. So, I will likely take some time off before I peruse another one.
How did you feel when you taught your very first class compared to now?
Oh goodness! My first class was awful! I was so nervous and young. I made many mistakes and felt so awkward up there, but I made it through and continued on. So, something must have clicked for me. Over time, I became much more comfortable being “on stage” and discovered I absolutely love it! It is my happy place. It is a job I hope to do forever.
How does it feel to be promoted to Studio Manager?
I was a bit shocked when I was offered the position, not going to lie. I also felt a sense of pride that I was noticed and picked to run this fabulous crew we already have in place. I came in with many ideas and I am so grateful that I have the support here.
What has it been like to be Studio Manager during a pandemic and with the launch of myHCI?
It has been an interesting transition during COVID. I feel that every family and person needs to do what is best for them. For some, that means feeling safe to come to a class. For others, that means being outdoors for their workout. There are others who just are not ready to come back.
An online platform for Group Fitness has always been a dream of mine. I tend to be a glass half full type of gal. So, I took the pandemic and the offer as studio manager as a sign that this is the time to do it. Thanks to our talented team of not only instructors, but also of all the work that is done in the background, it is becoming a reality and I love that we are helping some of our members who just aren’t ready to come back keep up with their fitness regimen.
What are your plans/goals/ideas for the STUDIO in Spring 2021? What’s coming up that you’re excited about…A little teaser for members? Can also mention anything with myHCI.
We have some very exciting things coming this January! Some of it is undercover; so I don’t want to say too much. My goal is to make everyone in the area realize that we have the best of the best when it comes to instructors and formats that we offer. Our classes will only get better and we want to reach a larger audience and help as many people as we can through the fun of group fitness. From unique and new knowledge workshops, to amazing workouts that fit for everyone and anyone. In addition, I want to grow myHCI to a platform that everyone wants to be a part of. Offering accountability and one on one options for our members and anyone who cannot be a part of the membership at
HCI, because they live too far from us but still want to be a part of our amazing community.
What does your weekly fitness routine look like?
Currently, I’m teaching 13 classes per week. This keeps me in shape, for sure! My current routine consists of lifting classes five days per week, HIIT style classes three days per week, heavy bag boxing once a week and cardio boxing three days a week.
Outside of teaching, I enjoy going on hikes, playing football or, more like, throwing the ball with my three boys and going on walks with my family.
How do you and your family stay active together?
I have been married to my husband Nathen since 2002 and we have three fantastic boys. Caden is a junior at Westlake and is on the Junior Varsity and Varsity football teams. He also works at HCI part time so, say “hello” to him when he is back at work after football is over this winter! Masen is in eighth grade and also plays football as well as competes in track. Ashten is in sixth grade and is in his first year of football for Pop Warner. We are a football family. Go Minnesota Vikings!
Nathen and I enjoy traveling and incorporate hiking and walking the beach into our travels. Since our boys are all football players, they keep us very active and busy as well. We also began traveling with them a couple of years ago and it has been so amazing watching them enjoy outdoor fitness as much as we do.
I also work to teach my boys that yoga, stretching, myofascial release and trigger point work are all important for them as athletes. I want them to understand that they won’t be able to play football forever so, they need to find activities they enjoy that they can do lifelong.
What are your personal fitness goals for 2021?
For me, my fitness goals are ever evolving. I have found that with each birthday, my goals change and become more about functional fitness and taking care of my body. I’m great at preaching the importance of stretching and myofascial release through foam rolling, but I’m not
the best at applying it to my own routine. Therefore, I would say my biggest goal will be to incorporate more yoga, stretching and myofascial release to my personal workout routine.
I also travel frequently, and hiking is a favorite past time. Depending on how travel is in 2021, I will also train for hiking should a fabulous trip come up.