Q&A: Fitness and empowerment with Jennifer Glackin and Amy Jaster of Element 22

Jennifer Glackin attended her first group fitness class when she was thirteen. Starting out at aerobics classes with her father, she eventually found her way to Barre. In June 2012, she set out to open her own studio right here in Midland. After twelve years of teaching health education at H.H. Dow High School, Amy Jaster left to become an instructor at Element 22 when the studio first opened and is now part owner.

We caught up to talk with these two inspirational ladies, and co-owners, about their journey to create a safe and empowering workout space for all members of the community.

Q: What inspired you to start Element 22 in Midland?

A: Jennifer: I first started working out as a teenager, with my father. He was a long distance runner who would take aerobics classes during the winter, and this became our bonding activity. I saw how motivating group fitness classes could be, and later when I found Barre, I knew I had found my passion. My inspiration for opening Element 22 came from this love and my desire to create a space where everyone felt welcome and accepted despite differences in shape, ability and fitness level.

Q: How did you get into fitness?

A: Amy: Fitness has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom used to teach Jazzercise classes, and I would go with her as a little girl. In fact, I met my husband in a fitness studio. It’s such an integral part of my life; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t work out.Amy Jaster and Jennifer Glackin of Element 22

Q: Let’s say I’m new to the world of working out, any advice for beginners?

A: Amy: I always focus on three things. I say, first, schedule your work outs. Make it an appointment in your calendar so you know it is important. Second, find a workout partner; you do a better job if you have a buddy. And lastly, set realistic goals. It can be something as simple as a weekly time limit, but make sure it is something you know you can attain. Those are the three keys.

Q: Can you tell us about the range of classes you provide, and some new and innovative things you offer to enhance a workout?

A: Jennifer: We offer three types of classes: 1) strength classes, including our Barre22® method and traditional Pilates, 2) cardio classes featuring WERQ cardio dance, Step22 step aerobics and cycling on our two Peloton bikes, and 3) various yoga classes to provide balance to the body by creating flexibility and mindfulness. We invite anyone who is curious to check us out, and enjoy a free first week of classes on us!

The Peloton bikes are our most recent addition, and something we are very excited about. These are indoor cycling bikes where the instructors and live classes are streamed right onto the tablet on our bikes. You can ride live with NYC instructors all day long or choose one of thousands of on-demand rides. It's amazing and tons of fun... and sweaty!

Q: Everyone is welcome at E22, but it’s very popular with women — can you share what makes the E22 community such an empowering environment?

A: Amy: We really are a family. When you come to us, you’re more than just a punch card. We try to make this a gathering place for the community, and a fun place to work out. Sometimes it’s not even about the inches lost, sometimes people just need a place to go. We want to be with you on that journey, to learn, laugh and cry with you as we sweat a little together.

Q: When you’re not teaching, what is your favorite go-to class?

A: Amy: The Barre 22® class — I could take it every day of the week.

Jennifer: I am addicted to our Peloton bikes right now. In fact, I just logged my 250th class in just over a year.

Q: When you’re not in the studio, what is your favorite fitness activity?

A: Amy: I love to run and enjoy being able to get outside. I also love any activities where I can spend time with friends and family. I’m a people person, so I like to do things with others.

Q: What is your favorite thing that’s new to Midland?

A: Jennifer: I love the new boutique next door to us — Elodie. The owner, Christina, is fantastic at picking fashion pieces and her prices are very reasonable.

Q: What inspires you to work out?

A: Amy: How I feel after — I always feel really good — and the fact that I want to be a role model for my clients, community and especially for my two teenage girls. I aspire to model a healthy approach to fitness, one that isn’t just about the losing pounds, but about making your heart, body and mind feel good. I grew up watching my mom teach her own fitness class, and now she is one of my students. It’s a beautiful way to come full circle, and I love being able to share this with her. I hope to pass that on to my girls as well.

Jennifer: Every day, I am inspired by the people who walk through our doors. They are the reason I keep come to teach after seven years. Amy and I work hard to keep our workouts and class offerings fresh and fun, and to see our clients do things they never thought possible... it just gives me goosebumps some days!

Q: People workout for a reason... can you tell us your favorite guilty/cheat meal if you’ve had a hard workout?

A: Amy: I usually eat pretty healthy, but I try to follow the 80/20 rule. I eat 80 percent good food and treat myself to something small, but fun, every day. If I had to pick an indulgence, though, it would be ice cream. 

Jennifer: An extra glass of wine at the end of the day... :)
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