Everything in life is interconnected. Every decision you make in one aspect of your life will affect other parts as well.
This is what certified health coach Mirabai Holland teaches in her Lose-to-Win program. She has been teaching exercise and health classes for 10 years on Longboat Key.
“Lose-to-Win is not a diet,” said Holland. “I teach a wheel where the person is in the center and everything around the person affects them: food, exercise, stress, sleep. This program is about finding balance between all of these and making life easier.”
Lose-to-Win is an intensive holistic education and health coaching program lead by Holland. She said that the program goes beyond just following a weight-loss program. It focuses on integrating a complete lifestyle, covering diet, sleep, stress management and exercise.
The class is offered each Wednesday for four consecutive weeks at the Bayfront Park Recreation Center. Each class includes informative videos from Holland that discuss the topics for the week. This is followed by a discussion, Q&A and a quiz to see if everyone understood the information.
Holland is the wellness consultant for Manatee County and has offered the program for Manatee County workers as well as at the Longboat Key Club and Paradise Center.
The program also includes a discount to Holland’s private coaching sessions. She said that she encourages people to do the sessions so she can personalize the program to the individual. She helps with designing custom cuisine and an exercise program that addresses specific goals and stress management methods for everyday life.
“I have people that lost a lot of weight,” said Holland. “I had people that lost hardly any, and yet, it helped them in many other ways. They would continue coaching with me afterwards and see results later. This is really not just about counting calories, not just about what to put in your mouth. This is about your life, and how to live your optimal life with understanding what's going on inside your body.”
She also teaches “Pumping the Prime” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That class is a low-impact cardio class that burns calories and increases stamina. She carefully curates the music and exercises for a lively full-body workout.
“The classes are super easy to follow,” said Arlene Levy, who has been taking the class since 2016. “A lot of us have been coming for years, so we have built a great community that has this amazing energy. Mirabai knows everyone and she takes notes of our adjustments needed, like if someone has back problems or a knee hurts. She will take the time during class to look out for us and personalize it so we can get the most benefit out of it.”
Motivation close to home
Holland has been a dancer all her life, opening her own Boston dance studio in her early 20s. When her father wasn’t seeing any progress at a physical therapist following a knee replacement, Holland became intrigued with health and exercise. She decided to take matters into her own hands in helping her father recover.
“I was helping my dad and also I fell off a cliff in 1983,” said Holland. “I was hiking with my boyfriend at the time in Israel. Long story short, I fell 30 feet. I almost died. There was a big rock pile and I missed it. I decided that I had to think about something else, besides dancing. I was teaching a lot. I was performing a lot. And so I said, ‘Well, maybe I should go and get more into fitness and health.’”
Holland has a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree of fine arts, dance and exercise. She also earned a master's of nutrition and physiology from New York University.
She is originally from Chicago but lived in New York and Boston while teaching, consulting and developing health programs. She was the director of fitness and wellness programs at the 92nd Street YMCA for 16 years. Holland also is the CEO of her own health video production company, NuVue LLC. She started this with her husband in 1996.
“Lose-to-Win is all about being intentional,” said Holland. “I get you to shed the external barriers. You have to lose all these things that are keeping you back and win, meaning to bring in who you are and what you really want to be.”
Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.