Ask NYC fit-fans who love super energetic and educated instructors, and they’ll definitely mention Hannah DelMonte as one of their faves. The Cleveland-born personal trainer, HITT and boxing coach was always an active kid, running around her backyard. She started performing in shows at age five and didn’t stop until she found fitness.
Now back in action and in-person in NYC, she’s offering boxing, privates and HIIT training, all while managing another career as a voiceover actor. Read on to hear more about her journey during COVID through the online world and back, and her top tips for HIIT and boxing.
SBS: What has your path to fitness been?
Hannah DelMonte: Being a dancer led me into the world of fitness; the two are very connected. I used to do Jane Fonda type workout videos as a teenager. Then when I moved to the city I took dance classes at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. But the first fitness job I got was as a kickboxing/ yoga teacher for a fusion class, so it was not related to dance.
I loved and took every style of fitness class, from spin to boxing to yoga to barre to ballet. When a studio owner asked if I was interested in teaching, I just said yes. Knowledge of anatomy as a dancer helped me pick up and learn movement quickly, and I had already taught kids ballet and gymnastics. So being a teacher was already natural for me.
It’s a lot like performance: working with music, addressing and reading the energy of a large group, being a leader. These were all things I was used to. I stopped auditioning when I became a fitness teacher as it took up most of my time; my favorite job was teaching boxing at Fithouse.
SBS: How has your fitness life and performer life melded together? Are they connected?
HD: I am a voice actor, no longer a performer. Teaching group fitness definitely has an aspect of performance in it: being able to speak, connect and read the room full of people is the same in theater and fitness. When I began teaching I stopped performing. It was a scary and hard choice, and I’ve had moments of regret, but I love being a teacher.
Voiceover work happened after a tour I did because all my friends from the tour were taking a voiceover class, and I joined. I loved it, so I kept doing it, although creating a voiceover studio at home with limited space and limited funds can be challenging. I hope to be auditioning and recording in studios again soon.
SBS: How has your COVID journey been?
HD: COVID was insane. I was living in a different apartment/borough, worked for two studios that no longer exist, and was dating someone who no longer lives in the city. Every aspect of my life changed. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone and create my own virtual business, which was a great learning curve. I learned to put my mental and physical health first. I approach my day and my workouts very differently now: I’ve slowed down, and I try to be really intentional with my time.
SBS: How did Short and Sweaty Fitness come about?
HD: Short and Sweaty Fitness was a six-month venture of trying my hand at running my own virtual business. It was really challenging. I learned a lot about behind-the-scenes work (filming/ editing/audio), and while some people love doing it, it’s not my favorite. I didn’t love teaching over zoom: It’s hard to connect in a group setting when you can’t see everyone at once. I did enjoy the ability to at least stay in touch, but I knew I only wanted to do it until it was safe to come together again.
SBS: What's your own practice, and how has it changed?
HD: My own practice is always changing. I strength-train, dance, run, do BodyART and adjust according to how I feel emotionally and physically and what I need that day.
SBS: What tips/advice would you give to new instructors post-Covid quarantine?
HD: Figure out why you want to teach, and let that inform how and where and when you do it.
SBS: What advice do you have for new clients to HIIT or boxing?
HD: Manage your expectations about being a beginner, as in, don’t be afraid to be mediocre at something in the beginning. If you actually take the time to set a strong foundation, you will become better at both Boxing and HIIT without injury or burn-out.
SBS: What advice would you give to clients doing strength training for the first time via virtual gatherings?
HD: Take a couple of classes with the weights you have at home to determine what is not challenging enough/too challenging/just right before ordering what you need to continue your strength training journey at home (if that’s your game plan).
SBS: What style of teacher are you?
HD: I’m both a lifelong student and teacher. Education is my style. At the same time, too much information at once is just as annoying as not being educated. I use my knowledge and humor to reach my clients and teach them tools they can take into all classes and workouts.
SBS: What's your approach to nutrition?
HD: What’s good for me is not necessarily good for you. Nutrition is a puzzle, and I do not believe in fad diets or one-size-fits-all. Asparagus makes me incredibly bloated and uncomfortable, but is considered a very healthy food. That’s why I don’t give generic nutrition advice.
The best, zaniest part of being Hannah: My humor is basically the same as every Will Ferrell comedy...but trapped inside of a five-foot-tall body.
Hannah’s SBS Mantra: Be Happy!
Hannah’s NYC Faves:
Healthy Restaurant: Bareburger
Splurge Restaurant: Charlie Bird
Nightlife Spot:In my own bed by 10pm
Yoga Studio: Suki Clements virtual classes
Fitness Studio: 305 Fitness
Fun Activity: Taking my dog to the dog park
Calming Activity: Meditating and then drinking my coffee
Online Resources: The Onion :)
Books: Biographies by comedians like Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling