Starr Hawkins of the Twerkout
Starr Hawkins (also known as Baby Momma Fit) is the creator and founder of the Twerkout: high-intensity Pilates classes set to loud rap music with twerk breaks. It’s a routine that started with a very specific and personal need. “I needed an outlet after I got sober,” Hawkins admits.
Although she doesn’t have a professional dance background, Hawkins says she’s always loved to move. “I think since I loved Miami nightlife so much before I got sober, I wanted to incorporate that into my workouts. I love to incorporate dancing into a bootcamp style for the people who can’t really follow choreography.”
Hawkins’ offerings include online classes for people all over the world, plus in-person sessions around town. “I’ve gotten messages and emails from clients who are 69 years old and from people who have never worked out. Or their husbands cheated on them. Or they are pregnant. They’ve all said the same thing: That I changed their lives.”
What’s next for Hawkins? “I would love to do a workout at festivals like Coachella and Burning Man. I definitely want to hit the Hamptons this summer. I just want to be everywhere—everywhere and anywhere.”
Get the Lowdown
Try adding the Twerkout to your already-established fitness routine: So you’re already doing cardio and lifting weights (or some other workout). But adding Hawkins’ routine to take things up a notch couldn’t be easier—or more fun. The Twerkout offers 45-minute online classes at noon Monday through Friday. Take a twerk break over lunch, or watch later at your leisure. At $30 a month, it’s basically a dollar a day—cheaper than your morning latte or pressed juice. She suggests starting with that and progressing to in-person classes. If that’s too much, consider simply building up the courage to turn your camera on during her Zoom classes.
Got excuses? Hawkins says to banish your fears, insecurities, and limitations: “My brand is pretty much the workout for the person who is too busy,” she says. “It can be whatever you can give it, whether it’s 20, 30, or 45 minutes. It can be done anywhere, so you don’t need a gym and you don’t need equipment. It’s also affordable because I want it to be accessible to people. I was a single mother for almost 10 years, so my life is on the go. People make time for what they want, so you just have to want it. You can find any excuse in the world—we all have excuses—but investing in yourself is the best thing you can do for your health.”
Hawkins incorporates these three workout components into her own daily routine: It’s not surprising that daily squats and cardio are part of Hawkins’ lineup, but that’s not all. “I do a lot of mat Pilates,” she says. “I love any type of floor work, like glute bridges.” When Hawkins is traveling, the workouts don’t stop. “I usually travel with light weights or a band because I like to add a little bit to the bodyweight stuff.”
Hawkins isn’t afraid of cheat days: “I love pizza, so a cheat day for me is usually ordering my favorite pizza,” Hawkins admits. “I don’t really eat as clean as I would like, so I have a lot of cheat days. But I try to make up for it with extra cardio.”
Working In While Working Out
Mimi Ghandour of Mimi Yoga
Mimi Yoga, a global yoga community with members in more than 64 countries worldwide, has its headquarters in Wynwood. Founder Miriam “Mimi” Ghandour is all about working the body as well as the mind, encouraging her in-person and online students to find their voices and discover who they are by using their life experiences in an authentic and inspiring way.
For Ghandour, this holistic approach is personal and necessary. After giving birth to a child with a developmental disability eight years ago, Ghandour moved to Miami from Saudi Arabia to have access to best-in-class medical care. “I became engrossed in yoga and the peace and clarity it provided me during this time,” she recalls. Soon, she became a certified yoga instructor. She taught classes at studios citywide, and built a following on Instagram. During quarantine, Ghandour made the leap from in-person teaching to online courses, later offering teacher trainings, yoga retreats, and workshops. Next up? Opening a Mimi Yoga studio in Wynwood.
For Ghandour, it’s all about community. “I am a firm believer that we are nothing without a strong community behind us. I am so proud that Mimi Yoga has students from all over the globe, including Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Kuwait, and France, and that we have been able to connect people who would have most likely never met one another.”
Finding the courage (and time) to start a yoga practice: “The perfect time to start is now,” Ghandour says. “There is no magic pill or shortcut; you are all that you need.” Find a form of exercise you enjoy, then find a community you connect with that is there to help you push yourself and to support you, she advises. Another key? Finding an instructor or teacher you connect with. “You’re more likely to stick with your workout if you connect [with] the instructor,” Ghandour says.
Feeling self-conscious: “My response is always: Show up the way you are, even if you hate how you look in yoga pants.” Ghandour says. “You are perfect just as you are and now is the perfect time. You can do it.”
Even yogis have cheat days: “A cheat day for me usually involves a juicy burger, fries, and some spicy margaritas,” Ghandour says.
Ghandour’s tips for making a yoga practice work for you
Show up every day. Two minutes is better than no minutes.
Stay committed. Even when life gets crazy and you can’t join a live yoga class, you can access on-demand yoga flows to squeeze in a 20-minute flow whenever your schedule allows.
Curate your space. Designate a small area of your home for yoga practice and design it accordingly to serve your practice.
Disconnect. Allow yourself one hour of the day to truly disconnect with the world and reconnect with your yoga practice and inner self. Turn off your phone. The emails (and texts and social feeds) will still be there after your practice.
Build and Burn
Cindy Prado of The Prado Program
As a social media influencer, Cindy Prado knows a thing or two about posting her daily life on social media—and fitness has always been a huge part of her story. “It naturally became the focal point of my content,” she says. That led to her followers asking about her workout routines, which propelled her to collaborate with her trainer, Luis Buron, to create The Prado Program.
But Prado isn’t just another pretty face. She comes by her fitness pedigree honestly. “My dad was a fitness trainer and also taught Judo as I was growing up,” she says. “I practiced Judo and even competed until I was in high school, when I entered a magnet program for dance. I’ve always been active and pretty educated when it comes to working out and taking care of my body.”
Prado launched her program three years ago. “It began with a 12-week program designed to build lean muscle and burn stubborn fat using the same exercise routines I do,” she explains. “The program pushes you to be your best self, both mentally and physically.” It also incorporates mental health and daily rituals to live a positive life because Prado believes health is more than just having a fit body, but also having a healthy mindset.
Following the success of The Prado Program, she launched a Debloat Program. What’s up next? Her highly anticipated Booty Program.
Although Prado boasts fans and followers from across the globe, she says Miami will always be home. “My parents came to Miami from Cuba and I was born and raised here. I have my family close by, which is extremely important to me, and it’s my favorite city in the world. I’m so fortunate to call it home.”
Fire It Up
Yes, Insta influencers have cheat days (even if they don’t post about them): “A cheat day for me usually means one big meal of something I love,” Prado says. “My go-to is pasta, then dessert and usually a glass of wine—or a few.” Prado also advises having a cheat meal instead of an entire day of cheating. “It’s how I can control myself. I practice the 80/20 rule: eating healthy 80 percent of the time and letting myself indulge 20 percent of the time. But I don’t judge myself whenever I fall off track. It’s normal. … Life should be fun, not full of restrictions all the time. When I do fall off track, I will usually just make up for it by doing an extra workout that week to burn off the extra calories.”
Prado knows you have excuses, but focus on the payoff instead: “We all have excuses for not doing the things we said we’d do or feel we should be doing,” she says. In her own fitness journey, Prado overcomes hesitation by focusing on what she wants rather than what she doesn’t want. “I think about the amazing energy I feel after a workout rather than thinking of the difficulty of getting to the gym,” she says. “I think about how good I’ll look in a bikini after working out and eating well rather than how I may look right now.” Prado notes that our brains are wired to think in the moment, but short-term thinking is a long-term problem. “Always try making your decisions based on your long-term goals, not what you want at the moment.”
Prado’s top five tips for fitness success
Schedule it and show up. If it’s not on your schedule, it’s probably not going to happen.
Go for goals. Establish a clear and specific goal with a set timeline. Remember: You can’t hit a target you can’t see.
Be accountable. Find friends or family to join you on your journey. Accountability is one of the main keys to success.
Focus. Don’t stress over being perfect or seeing results right away. Instead, focus on developing healthy habits, such as eating well, sleeping well, and moving frequently.
Stick to your program. It won’t always be easy, fun, or exciting, but do it anyway. The power of discipline will take you places you never imagined.