Keeping New Orleans Fit and Fun
Making her mark on the NOLA health and fitness world, April Dupre’ has found a way to share her love of all things New Orleans with her passion for health and wellness. She works to spread her message of staying true to Crescent City culture and still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
With a background as a dancer and athlete, Dupre’ has always enjoyed an active way of life. Born and raised in Gentilly, she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t dancing. “I went to dancing school my entire life,” Dupre’ says. She began dancing at the age of two and attended New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) for many years. Dupre’ was an avid athlete, throughout her youth and high school years, enjoying volleyball, softball, track and her favorite; basketball. Despite her love for activity, it wasn’t until she was introduced to Pilates by her high school P.E. teacher, that she began to think of health differently. “I fell in love with Pilates. At that moment, I started to think about being healthy as a lifelong skill to have,” she explains.
Dupre’ had the privilege of using her love for dance to represent the city of New Orleans as a Saintsation during the 2004 – 2007 football seasons. “It was so unique to be on the team during the aftermath of Katrina. My experience was that much more special because it allowed me to connect with what happened to our city on a different level. I really took pride in representing New Orleans at such a difficult time,” she says.
Dupre’ went on to graduate from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. She added certified fitness instructor, personal trainer and CPR instructor to her resume; along with business entrepreneur. Having already worked at most major gyms in New Orleans, Dupre’ founded Footprints to Fitness in 2014. The wellness company’s mission is “to help others live a fun and balanced life, while staying true to New Orleans culture.” “I really didn’t have a desire to start a company or be an entrepreneur, but I felt like I wanted to reach more people outside of teaching traditional classes,” she says. For Dupre’, fitness is a lot more than just being fit. She explains that being physically fit is a small part of what your goal should be, adding that it’s important to also be mentally and emotionally fit. Dupre’ set out to create a community that would foster fun along with hard work. “I love to eat, I love to drink and I also like to be healthy!” exclaims Dupre’. Her goal is to show others that all three are possible together in a city where there is so much to indulge in on a daily basis. “You can still enjoy everything that New Orleans has to offer. Having balance is key,” she says
Through her travels, Dupre’ recognizes that the culture of New Orleans is different than many other places where they are known for embracing a healthy lifestyle. “We’re not known for that here, but I think we are on a movement to help change that mentality with many new health initiatives in the area,” she says.
“Treat Ya’ Self”
A motto that has many meanings for Dupre’, “Treat ya’ self”, is part of what she feels creates balance between enjoying what you love and taking care of yourself. Dupre’ explains that the old saying “everything in moderation” still holds true today. The idea of treating yourself crosses over all areas of your life, whether it’s the birthday cake at a party that you really want to eat or a day of pampering, Dupre’ advises you to do it as long as you remember to hold yourself accountable. She confesses her favorite meal consists of boiled crawfish, a sno-ball and an order of beignets, but just like everyone else she has to have a balance between treating herself and staying healthy.
Joining the Journey
Footprints offers yoga, Pilates, HIIT, Barre, cardio, strength training, core isolation and PIYO. Classes are geared towards clients at all levels. “We pride ourselves in making the Footprints experience comfortable for everyone,” says Dupre’. Group classes are held at the Gernon Brown Recreation Center in Lakeview.
Dupre’ also offers personal training, nutrition guidance and CPR/AED training and certifications, as well as her signature Healthy Happy Hour events.
Healthy Happy Hour
The brainchild of Dupre’ and her business partner, Healthy Happy Hour came about after Dupre’ taught a class where she was particularly happy with the outcome and thought to top that off with a drink would be nice. The idea for holding a class, where you work hard, then celebrate your success with healthy foods and a drink was born. She began seeking out fun locations to hold these events. She reached out to local businesses and presented her idea, and it has been very well received. Dupre’ tries to find locations that may not typically be associated with health and wellness in order to show people that they can be healthy wherever they go. The next Healthy Happy Hour, sponsored by Louisiana’s Health & Fitness Magazine, will be held on July 11th and 18th at the Roosevelt Hotel.
Personally, Dupre’ prefers to workout in places other than a gym and she shares that passion with her clients through Healthy Happy Hours and other group sessions. She encourages people to use whatever they have around them to be active. “You don’t need thousands of dollars worth of equipment to be active. Your equipment is yourself,” says Dupre’, who also enjoys promoting this concept on Fox 8’s Workout Wednesday segments, where she periodically appears.
A Woman of Faith
Footprints to Fitness got its name from the famous poem, “Footprints in the Sand”, by Mary Stevenson. “My faith is very strong’” says Dupre’ as she describes the premise of the poem, where scenes from someone’s life flashes before them as they walk along the beach with God. They notice that during the most troubled moments of their life, instead of two sets of footprints on the beach, there is only one and they question why God has left them in their hardest moments, to which God explains "When you see only one set of footprints it was then that I carried you." Dupre’ says “I want to help people during their journey to be healthy. A lot of people think they are alone and I want to be there for them and assist them during times that may be difficult. I hope that they will one day pay that forward to someone else.”
Dupre’, who teaches several classes a week, as well as conducting individual training sessions, says that classes in a group setting give her motivation to keep up the pace. The support she receives from her family, friends, clients and even social media followers enables her to provide others with the encouragement and motivation needed to succeed without her own well running dry. Dupre’ says, “When you first start being healthy, it’s hard, but you will probably end up falling in love with how you feel and who you become.”