Becky’s positive energy and passion for fitness and family are contagious! She is NON-stop energy, raising 3 children, running a fitness center and even a side hustle with VIP Kids. Meet Becky!
Please introduce yourself, where are you from, where do you live now and what brought you here?
My name is Becky Newcombe. I grew up in Troy, Michigan then moved on to East Lansing in 1994 to attend Michigan State University. After graduating and finishing my student teaching at Averill Elementary School in Lansing, I got a job in Corona, California and taught 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th grade until 2003. Once pregnant with my second child, my husband and I decided to move back to Michigan to be closer to family. We chose East Lansing to settle, halfway between our families in Grand Rapids and Troy and thinking a “college town” would keep things youthful and exciting!
How many kids do you have and what are their ages? What is your favorite thing about being a mom? Best piece of advice for someone with younger children that you wish you would have known?
I have three children, two teenagers at East Lansing High School and a 5th grader at Whitehills Elementary. Maybelle is 17, Evan is 16 and Daniel is 10. What I love about being a mom is that all three children bring so many different gifts, personalities and joys to our family. I have learned so much about so many different things…from dance, to cross country, to skateboarding, to basketball, to anime. My best advice is to embrace the gifts that your kids offer and present. They may or may not be the same things that you and their father are interested in. Encouraging them to try different things at a young age is wonderful, but as they get older, forcing them to do activities or sports they don’t love can get frustrating for everyone. Loving and appreciating your children for who they are makes things easier for everybody.
What do you love about living in the East Lansing area? What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in the East Lansing area?
After living in California for 5 years, my husband and I knew exactly what we wanted moving to East Lansing. We came from a huge school district and area full of traffic and things to do. While it was very fun as a couple with no children, we wanted to settle down. We were excited to come home to more intimate school settings, more personal relationships with neighbors, and a pace of life similar to how we each grew up. Some of our favorite East Lansing places to eat are: Tasty Twist, El Azteco, Charlie Kangs and Georgios. We love that these places which we loved in college can also be shared with our kids. We love getting our favorite beverages at On the Rocks Wine & Spirits and there is nothing like a grilled cheese from Campbell’s Market Basket.
Tell us a little about your career & why did you decide to become a fitness instructor?
I graduated Michigan State with a major in Child Development and a certificate in K-5 Elementary Education. While I loved being a teacher in California, after having children of my own, I yearned for more time and availability to be home full-time. Once we moved to Michigan and had 2 children under 2 years old, I chose to license my home by the state and run a home daycare for about 4 years. In that time, while I loved watching the kids grow, I began to miss adult interaction. I did two big things in the upcoming years: I got my Cosmetology license from the Douglas J Aveda Institute in EL and I got my Zumba Instructor license at a training at MSU.
After completing both programs at about the same time, I realized I LOVED teaching group fitness. It was the perfect balance of still being able to be a “teacher” while staying healthy and fit. I was hired by the East Lansing Hannah Community Center immediately and have spent the last 12 years connected with them.
One other side-hustle I do is online ESL teaching for VIPKID International. For almost three years I have been teaching English to students who live in China. The hours are 8pm-9am. These hours are great for the family, I have the opportunity to be a teacher, the schedule is flexible and it puts extra spending money in my pocket for my kid’s activities.
What’s the best thing about your job? What do you enjoy most about group fitness classes?
Currently, I am the head trainer and studio manager at F45 Training East Lansing. We specialize in group fitness classes that focus on HIIT, functional exercises. What I love about our gym is the camaraderie and individualized attention that our clients get. I love knowing everybody by name and taking the time to get to know them and understanding the “why” on what brings them to our classes. I love seeing the progress my clients make over time, and it isn’t always based on metrics, it’s the confidence, poise and new energy they bring to each class.
How do you juggle work with being a mom?
It isn’t easy. I have learned that the very early morning hours (5am and 6am), noon, and late evening hours work best for me. This allows me to connect with my children in the late morning and late afternoon hours. I am getting better at reserving time on the weekends just for family. As studio manager, I know I have to be available at all times. My best way to not have so much mom guilt is to stay connected with my kids and their activities when I do have the time. I have chats with them individually, I text them often, plan lunches and little outings and I schedule around the times they have special activities. I am open about the requirements of my job with them and that helps them understand also.
What’s your advice to moms in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis to make life a little easier? How has your job changed during COVID-19?
My best advice is to be flexible. We need to just take one day at a time and know that success, happiness and progress can present itself in many different ways than we are used to, pre-Covid. It may not be about money, titles, awards, games/competitions won, races finished, parties attended…it may be about patience, books read, new skills learned, time for faith, time with family, focus on health, new habits, being a better listener, writing more, listening to new music, spending time with nature and setting new individual goals.
My job has changed a lot, because it is built around being around other people. Immediately, by the second week of March, I created a private, online group fitness FB group with 2 other instructors. It is called Stay-IN Fit Online workouts. We continue to be private and have about 500 members, running 18-25 classes a week.
As studio manager of a brand new gym, F45 Training East Lansing has had delays in construction, we were originally set to open in May. Once Covid-19 hit, we put our name out there with many free community outdoor workouts in neighborhoods, parks and parking lots. Here we are in December and construction is finally complete. We are just waiting for final approvals from our headquarters and decisions from our state health department and governor.
What is something you wish was in the East Lansing area, besides Trader Joe’s :)?
I really loved when the City of East Lansing set up an outdoor seating area this Summer near their downtown restaurants. I would love more heated, “outdoor/indoor” patio options as we hit the winter months. I would also love a public, outdoor skating rink and maybe a covered outdoor concert venue with seating.
Can’t live without skincare or makeup products? I am pretty low-maintenance when it comes to products. I would say that essential oils are something I cannot live without. My daily go-tos are peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, orange, lavender, clove and cinnamon.
Last book you read? I just started: Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds
Current binge shows? The Crown, On My Block, Away
Strangest thing in your purse right now? Stick on reflectors
Lastly, what is the best piece of advice to someone starting out in your type of business?
My best advice is to create genuine relationships and listen to your customers. Understand where they are coming from, their limitations and their needs. No matter what products, classes, or services you offer, “customer service” is always number one. Put your customers first and gain their trust by following your words with action. In terms of running a small business, be flexible and okay with the chance that you will make mistakes along the way. Owning and accepting your own mistakes is what allows us to grow and be stronger than we were before. To me, success comes from growth and understanding of things that were once difficult.