Cristina1Say hello to our Metropole instructor of the month, Cristina Zottola! Cristina currently teaches iRide and Spin & Sculpt while simultaneously working to finish her medical degree at George Washington Medical School. Cristina doesn’t get much time between study sessions, but says that her VIDA classes are the highlight of her week!

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Cristina was the captain of her rowing team, played and coached basketball, was an avid long-distance runner, a competitive swimmer and a ski instructor. Being part of a team was something ingrained in her from an early age, and she says that teaching group fitness classes allows her to tap back into that ‘team’ mentality.

“Fitness has always been a huge part of my life. When I moved to DC for college I really missed the community and team aspects of working out, so I instantly became drawn to group fitness. I’ve been teaching for five years now and feel like I’m part of a huge group fitness team, which I love!” she says.

Cristina likes to be as effective as possible with her workouts and tries to keep things moving at a fast pace in order to keep her participants engaged throughout the entire class. She was instantly drawn to teaching Spin & Sculpt, since it’s a full-body strength & cardio workout completed in just an hour.

“We get our heart rates up in order to maintain a high cardio workout and then we isolate legs with intense, long-distance hills. You will sweat like you have never sweat before in my class, but you will also have fun and most likely laugh (at my bad jokes,)” she says.

For Cristina, the most rewarding part of teaching is having the ability to have an impact on her students’ lives. She notes that her students are extremely hard-working and they continue to motivate and inspire her class after class.

“The best part about being a fitness instructor is when my students arrive looking stressed after a long day of work, and an hour later leave with the biggest smiles on their faces. Just an hour of group fitness can give you the confidence to tackle another day. It makes me so happy to know that I can help make someone’s day just a little bit brighter,” she says.

Cristina has taught at several gyms throughout her fitness career, but says that VIDA is much more than a typical gym.

“It’s more of a community here. There are constantly new events, programs and activities going on for members to get involved in, meet new people and challenge themselves inside and out of the gym. It’s a great place to get motivated about your health and find a supportive team to help you stick to your goals,” she says.

Cristina2Since Cristina is a full-time medical student, most of her free time is spent studying and catching up on sleep. However, she does enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible and loves going on runs through DC’s best-hidden trails and attractions.

Her favorite health tip? Getting as much H20 as you can – especially during the hot summer months!

“Finding ways to incorporate water into your life can make drastic improvements to your performance and strength, and leave you feeling healthier all day long. I love adding lemons or other fruits to my water and freezing it the night before so I know I’ll be refreshed and hydrated for my workouts the next day!” she says.

We definitely recommend adding a spin class with Cristina to your weekly workout schedule if you’re looking for a way to push yourself, challenge yourself, and break through plateaus.

“I always stress in my class that if you want to change your body or athletic abilities you have to change what you do in the gym. I try to make my classes the toughest workouts my students have all week and push them to their limits to help them achieve their goals!” she says.