FitLabPGH is a podcast about movement and movement opportunities in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Once a week we also highlight a FitLabPGH mover…someone who understands that movement is a lifestyle…not just an activity. The questions are lightly edited to allow for easy readability. Click FitLabPGH Features for more info if you want to be featured/know someone who should be featured.
This Week: Marissa Venanzi
Are you a Pittsburgh native? If not, what brought you to the Pittsburgh area? If so, why are you still here? I’m from Monongahela, so about an hour south of the Burgh! I’m currently living in the city for school at Chatham University. I fell in love with the campus, my program, the people, and the neighborhood and I know that this is where I am meant to be right now!
What are your three favorite movement activities in the Pittsburgh area? 1. I am a spin instructor, so teaching classes is definitely my favorite movement activity in the area! I teach at Spin City Oakmont and Triangle Foundry, and I love both studios and communities so much! 2. Outdoor yoga or walking… Pittsburgh has so many AMAZING parks and there is nothing better than rolling out a mat or walking and enjoying some movement and beautiful weather in a beautiful space (and then walking to the nearest coffee shop afterwards, of course). 3. This is very general, but I LOVE trying out different studios of different fitness disciplines in the area. The Pittsburgh area is full of a variety of studios and tons of incredible instructors, and it is so much fun to challenge myself with new workouts and meet new people by trying different studios!
Describe the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Where did you go? What movement activities did you include? I haven’t travelled a ton yet due to a super busy school schedule, but it is definitely a goal of mine! The best vacation I’ve ever taken was probably going to Ocean City, MD with a group of my lifelong best friends! The destination was not the most exciting, but the trip was filled with so many laughs, long beach walks, and quality time with some of the most quality people in my life.
What is your favorite pre- or post-workout snack? My favorite pre-workout snack has to be a banana with peanut butter! It gives me the energy I need to crush a workout without making me feel weighed down or sick from eating!
What is your favorite thing to eat in Pittsburgh? Note: it does not need to be healthy. This is the toughest question EVER. I love Shady Grove’s cobb salad… bonus points when I ask for the chicken tossed in buffalo. I love everything at Friendship Perk and Brew and Square Cafe. Both places have the BEST brunch and coffee in the city! I’m also in love with Millie’s vegan dark chocolate ice cream. I’ll stop the list there or else I will literally go on all day!
Do you have a movement activity on your “bucket list”? If not, what’s a movement activity/event you’re looking forward to in the next year? Yes! I really want to try acro yoga and paddleboard yoga! I also am thinking of setting a goal to try one fitness studio every time I travel!
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to getting people to move more? I think confidence is the biggest obstacle, mainly for people who haven’t tried certain workouts before. It can be really intimidating to enter a space where people may have more experience than you, and getting over that hill is the toughest part in my opinion. A lot of workouts can also be very daunting and challenging at first, which can lead to a bit of doubt, but the more you do them, the better and more confident you will feel in your abilities and entire self!
What do you feel is the most adventurous movement activity you’ve ever done? I’ve been ziplining a few times! Hocking Hills in Ohio is the best place to zipline! I have a fear of heights, so this is definitely the most adventurous activity I’ve done. Honorable mentions are kayaking and paddleboarding, and Stonewall Jackson Resort in WV is the best for those!
What is your favorite recovery or self-care practice? Yoga is my favorite recovery/self care practice, but that isn’t always entirely a recovery practice depending on the flow. The highest form of self care for me is to walk to a coffee shop or a park with my friends and enjoy the company and atmosphere.
What is your favorite spot in Pittsburgh? (Bonus points if it is a “hidden gem”) Mellon Park and the Chatham University Mellon Building Solarium!!!
Contact info for Marissa Venanzi: