Nov. 5—Certified personal trainer Michele Holloway has spent decades training clients and leading fitness classes at Santa Fe Spa. You can often spot her on the gym floor in her stylish Lululemon and Athleta garb. She also trains individuals privately in their homes, helps people rehab and leads a Sunday morning walk through the forest with longtime devotees. It's a busy schedule. What keeps her going at a full-throttle pace is a small bedroom — about 10-by-14 feet — that she converted into a home gym.
"It's a fun little room. It's not big, but it's fun. It definitely gets the job done. I've got mirrors and a TV on the wall," she says. She's in there every day, usually around 6:30 a.m., when she hops onto the elliptical machine. "You get up, you get your workout in and you're done! That's pretty good!"
Along with the elliptical, there's a bike, a workout bench and step. There are all kinds of bands, free weights, body bars and a TRX strap that's "hard as the dickens!" An inversion machine turns her upside down to change the blood flow, and there's a calf-stretching board. The room itself boasts black rubber flooring, white walls, overhead track lighting with halogen lights and vigas on the ceiling. There are framed photos of Holloway working out clients in step classes. Views of trees outside round things out. The room encompasses everything she considers essential and motivational — not that she needs a lot of motivation.
"I love the gym. I love being in the gym. I've never minded working out," Holloway says. "Some people know they need to do it, but they hate it. That has never been me. Never.
"What has she learned along the way? "Working out is very important to me. It's important to my health, to my well-being." She explains, "If I don't get the energy out exercising, I just don't feel good. That room makes me happy because of that. Without that room, I would have to go physically somewhere else, and that's not always so convenient."
Holloway considers how it used to be, here in this house near Tesuque that she shares with her husband, commercial realtor/restaurateur Sandy Henry. "I had an elliptical machine in a guest bedroom. Every time I wanted to use it, there seemed to be a guest in the room, so it was a real hassle. Then the weights would be in another room. Then I'd have to go there to do that. And I didn't want to do it. It was inconvenient as heck. If it's inconvenient, you won't do it."
Getting her own workout in at daybreak frees up Holloway for her clients. "It's something I do every day. It's part of what I do and who I am. Without that room, it would be a lot more difficult to do my classes, to train my people and to be happy inside myself, because I've got to exercise too. It's not just about training everyone else. I've got to do it too. And I do," Holloway says. "I am grateful that I can do this and still do it, and that I bring joy to people and also help them. If you can help people even a little, it's a lot, especially as they're getting older and have injuries. I love what I do."
She says, "Having the gym and the space allotted for exercise definitely motivates one to go in and do it. Now, I am a motivated person. I've always been motivated, but a lot of people aren't. And if you can make it easier for them, then so be it, right?" She adds, "I mean, we want good health. If we want to live as long as we can and [be able to] move, we have to continue moving. It's crucial."
Holloway grew up in Florida. She moved to New York City at 18 and worked in media sales. She then went back to Florida, where she opened an interior design store and was cast by director Bob Fosse as a nurse in Lenny. She went to Chicago for more work in interior design, then to Dallas for more media sales. "I got breast cancer in Dallas, and I wanted out of the material world. I couldn't stand being around any of that anymore. I wanted out. When I had my store — way back before Ralph Lauren did concha belts and all those things — I always knew I wanted to end up in Santa Fe." It was the early 90s. Says Holloway, "I had to be here. It's something I've always known. Maybe I lived here in another life. I don't know. I had to be here."
She relocated to Santa Fe, reinventing herself yet again — and stuck with it. "Now," she says, "I love my life. I love the weather. I feel better at altitude than at sea level and [in more] humidity. I love my friends. I love my clients. It's easy to live here. It's so peaceful." She says moreover, "There's so much culture and so much depth here: the arts, the opera!"
As Holloway thinks about it, she concludes, "In my heart of hearts, I'm very at peace with myself. I know I wanted to be in Santa Fe. I'm happy to be in Santa Fe. I'm happy to do what I do. And to have the ability to do it in such a beautiful home and to have my own gym."
My Favorite Room: Michele Holloway kickstarts the day in her home gym