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Photo by Tom Lew
June 14, 2017

I’ve never considered myself athletic. As a child, my mom would encourage me to participate in sports, and I failed miserably. I attended dance classes, and that was my niche. I can jump, turn, and step all day! But ask me to catch a ball? Not going to happen.

As I grew older, I decided to take on the hobby of contortion and hand-balancing. I say "hobby," as I will never be a part of the circus. Some people like to run, do yoga, or lift weights—I like to get bendy and lift my own body weight. When I finally dove into practicing contortion and hand-balancing, the cycling and bootcamp classes fell to the sidelines.

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Ignoring the importance of balance (and I’m not talking about contortion-related balance).

While I continued to stretch daily and practice different contortion skills, I realized I was ignoring the need for variety in my workouts. Don’t get me wrong, contortion is not just stretching. It requires a huge amount of control, impressive strength, and balance. Even though I work hard to fit it all in, in order to be my best, most athletic self, they need to be supplemented.

Photo: Tom Lew
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Back in my earlier days, bootcamp was always tough for me. I wasn’t the fastest runner or the highest jumper. My agility and coordination were top-notch from years of dancing, but I was missing the power element—the fast, reactive energy that is usually required in a high-intensity format. That’s why recently, I decided to add a few bootcamp classes to challenge my body and hone my explosive, high-intensity power.

Finding diversity in my workouts.

Photo: Tom Lew
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These days, while I mostly practice dance, contortion, and flexibility, I make a point to sprinkle in some high-intensity bootcamp classes, too. No matter what workout class I’m taking, I get my activewear from Kohl’s because they have such an extensive collection of active and wellness items from my favorite brands.

Photo: Tom Lew

I’m a huge fan of the Gaiam products at Kohl’s in particular—they have a pair of high-rise capri leggings and sports bras that I practically live in, whether I’m doing hand-balancing exercises or a HIIT workout. I feel super comfortable performing in these styles regardless of the workout. I’m also crazy about Gaiam’s tops & graphic tees, which make for super easy transition pieces post-workout.

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Exercising on a physical and mental level.

Leaving your comfort zone every once in a while is so important, and not just on a physical level. Trying a new workout class has helped me advance my athletic abilities and stamina, but it’s also helped me exercise my willpower.

Photo: Tom Lew
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The extreme range of motion that I’m trying to create needs to be supported. Learning how to breathe while in extreme positions needs to be practiced. So even though bootcamp classes are not my forte, I know my body and mind thank me for trying—and I’m so glad that the versatile apparel options at Kohl’s allow me that flexibility in trying new things.

Alicia Archer
Alicia Archer
Fitness Instructor & Flexibility Expert

Alicia obtained her BFA in dance from Fordham University/The Ailey School and continues to pursue a career in fitness. Although a dance major, Alicia was still very new to the world of exercise. She started taking group classes several times a week and developed a passion for fitness and instruction. Certified by AFAA, she now teaches several signature formats focusing on helping students realize their full potential joyfully, through musicality and rhythm. Through working in the industry, Alicia found herself influenced by circus arts. Always intrigued by aerial work and acrobatics, she looked for lessons in NYC and began training regularly in aerial, contortion, and hand-balancing. Now well-versed in the workings of flexibility, she combines her specialty in body-weight training with the knowledge of mobility and stretching techniques. Alicia believes discipline lies within and that tremendous results are possible for anybody willing to put in the work.