We talked with Manon Hallay in April, 2020.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi there, my name is Manon Hallay, I’m 25 years old, was born in France but I’m currently living in New York.
I am a freelancer in the city which means my days are never the same! From performing, teaching (dance and fitness), modelling,… The list goes on!
I started training at a very young age to become a professional ballet dancer. I left my parents at 13 to go train pre-professionally in a school next to Bordeaux. Two years later, I moved to Antwerpen in Belgium to join the Royal Ballet School where I kept training for my dream.
After 2 years, several injuries, two surgeries, I took a year off and went back to studying. This did not last long… Life being full of surprises, I ended up passing an audition for the Alvin Ailey School in New York, got a scholarship and moved to the USA.
Seven years later, I’m now freelancing and trying to keep up with a busy, physically and mentally, demanding schedule.
One of my very close friend who is a barre instructor got me into taking her classes and it literally changed my life. At the time, I was still dealing with a recurring hip injury and taking her classes helped me recover from it while staying active and getting stronger.
I realised how much I was compensating during some exercices and how weak were some muscle groups. This recovery made me realise the importance of working on my “strength”. Teaching fitness gives me the best feeling and those little achievements are so rewarding. It empowered me.
It made me realised my weaknesses and my strength without making me feel weak (yes it’s possible). I want to continue on my journey, I’m now studying for the NASM CPT.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
My training change a lot in functions of my dance performances. During a season, I need to be aware about my rest/training ratio. All performances are very demanding and it can be easy to over push your body during those times.
I usually start my day by teaching two barre classes. I usually take one of my friends class, many of them are trainers which is a nice way to push yourself when you are surrounded with people that have the same mind set than you.
During a season I can have up to 6 hours of rehearsals a day, on top of teaching so some days, I will train differently with some more gentle strength exercises.
I try to keep a day off to let my muscles regenerate. This has been one of my biggest misconception throughout my training, thinking not enough rest will slow down your progression..!
My fitness training had helped me so much with my dance technic. At the moment, my focus is to rebalance my body. Over the years, I have over worked a bunch of muscles and forgot some others. We are humans, it’s all about the process!
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
Down times are part of the process, we all have this feeling of un-motivation.
What makes me work out is knowing that after those 30 minutes or this hour I will feel better. Even if I have to do a little less. I still try to push myself to move, what ever that means. If today I feel like I just need to let loose with a dance class or something I haven’t tried before so it will be! Make it fun, it will help you during any down time.
When I cannot find motivation, I first try to take a moment to ask myself “Why am I not feeling it right now?” Sometimes, we do too much and our bodies will make us understand that we need a break.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As we all are locked inside our lives got turned upside down… Luckily enough, I had just closed the show I was working on for the pass two years, it was amazing to have this opportunity. Staying indoor in a New York appartement can be very frustrating but I’m using that time to work on slower, more controlled movement.
I’m currently studying for the NASM CPT, it has been amazing to have time to study.
I’m actually still teaching free online, if anyone is interested in joining you can email me at [email protected]
My goal/focus lately is to build my personal training business. I want to empower people the same way I have been empowered by my fitness journey.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Diversity in my workouts. Luckily now days, I have a pretty diverse training, I keep switching between disciplines, keeping my dance warm up as a constante which allows me to keep a healthy body. I realised that this was the best injury prevention I could do.
Sleep is a big part of it as well. It’s not the easiest especially with my schedule changing every week but I try to get between 6:30/8 hours a sleep a night.
I’ve been used to have an hectic schedule, having to sub for trainers at the last minute, I keep my mind open and just try to go with the flow as long as may body can follow.
Injuries will happen, most of the time we have to keep working while being injured but there is always something to learn and to work one while being injured. This is where you have to open hour mind and find new ways to work on your routines.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet changed so much through the years… After trying a lot of different ways of eating, I found myself being the most performant when I kept a pretty regular routine.
I mostly have a plant-based diet. I have learn to allow myself to eat what I want, which has helped a lot in finding a balanced relationship with food. No bad or forbidden food, I just try to fuel my body the best way possible, giving him nutriments to have the best performance.
I still eat out, have drinks, but I know what works or does not work for me. I don’t believe in “cheat days/meals”, balance in my keyword.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
My friends for most of the time. I’m blessed to have a tons of artist/athletes around me that go on incredible journeys, it keeps me going to see how we are all moving forward and becoming the best versions of ourselves.
My personal goals help me keep my focus on during rough times. But first of all passion, I love, and physically need to move to feel connected to my body and mind. It all goes together.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
“You have to believe in yourself, that’s the secret.” This quote from Charlie Chaplin is what everyone should understand. You can have the most amazing dreams, goals, aptitude, but if you don’t believe that you can achieve your goals, you will simply not.
It’s all about your mindset. Know where you want to go, your destination, the rest will unfold slowly. You will take care of the “how I am gonna do?” step by step day after day.
Know that it will take some sacrifices too. A lot a people will not understand the commitment/the sacrifices you are doing, and it’s ok. As long as it makes sense for you and you know that you want to improve yourself/live, go for it.
And last but not least, be patient… The results will arrive slowly, don’t discourage yourself, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. We all have a different timing, but there is no wrong in going slower.
Hard work, assiduity, patience and kindness with yourself are your best allies.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes I am! Since the quarantine started I switched to proposing free online classes.
Every workout is indoor friendly, for all levels. Barre, pilates, HIIT, stretches,… If you are interested, email me at [email protected]
On top of the group classes, I teach one on one. If you need to challenge yourself and switch up your work out, join the team, we’ll set goals together and progress toward them day by day.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
You can find me on social media:
Facebook: @Manon Hallay