A fit mind in a fit body

Judi Schreyer leads an exercise class at the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club. (courtesy of Judi Schreyer)

A fit mind in a fit body

Judi Schreyer is a no-nonsense exercise expert in Scripps Ranch who has been teaching fitness classes for about 24 years, and has taught yoga for 10 years. With a slim build and chiseled features, she looks the part. Her story is inspirational not only because of her physique, drive and fitness expertise, but because she became interested in exercise later than most.  

Schreyer wasn’t into fitness as a youngster. She didn’t like P.E. She said she did nothing athletic in high school because she was too shy with no self-confidence. Believe it or not, she only began to get involved in fitness somewhat in college, but mostly after graduating. 

At the time, she had an education in sociology and anthropology, and was working as a public health advisor for the Centers for Disease Control in New York. Money was tight, so she became a volunteer fitness instructor at her local “Y,” which gained her a membership. She said she was walking everywhere in New York, and she began Rollerblading, so it didn’t take long for the exercise bug to take root. 

She said she soon enjoyed taking classes and enjoyed teaching them. She became certified by the American Council on Exercise.

Judi Schreyer, who has taught yoga for 10 years, assumes a yoga pose while in the great outdoors. (courtesy of Judi Schreyer)

Then she moved cross country to Berkeley, where she was eventually hired as the exercise director of the Berkeley “Y.”

“I had 100 instructors. I was managing people who taught yoga and I really didn’t know anything about yoga at the time, or tai chi, and I really didn’t know anything about that,” Schreyer explained. “Then I wanted to learn to teach yoga because I was managing these people who were teaching yoga and I really didn’t know what I was looking for.” 

It was at that time in her life when she started to become even more dedicated to fitness, both as an instructor and as a participant. 

“I was young, I was teaching a lot of classes per week and then I met some friends who were doing triathlons at the same time,” she said. “So, I started doing triathlons. That’s where it really all started.”

Schreyer moved to Massachusetts from Berkeley. She earned a Master’s in P.E. in 2006 and taught physical education classes at a middle school before moving to San Diego in 2008. Now she has two sons attending Jerabek Elementary School and volunteers to teach P.E. there. She has also maintained an ambitious schedule of teaching at the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club. She has been teaching indoor cycling, muscle conditioning and yoga. She recently gained her certificate in Metafit, a high intensity interval training workout (HIIT).

“It’s basically anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes,” Schreyer explained. “There’s usually eight exercises. It’s short bouts of exercise with little rest in between, and you’re going all-out, but it’s only for a short duration. So, you’re really in a high training zone for a short period of time. That helps your metabolism burn longer.” 

But Schreyer isn’t such a fanatic that she forgets about the struggling amateurs, weekend athletes or first-timers. In fact, she encourages a healthy attitude to achieve a healthy body. She has an understanding and realistic tone when offering advice for those who struggle with exercising consistently — the “starters and stoppers.” These people tend to be people who take exercise classes occasionally, moms who have kids or dads who don’t have time, she explained. This is what she had to say about trying to get into a consistent routine:

Judi Schreyer demonstrates her versatility by scaling a rock climbing wall. (courtesy of Judi Schreyer)

What advice do you have for the starters and stoppers?
“Really think about what keeps you from exercising. Try to answer that question. A lot of people say it’s time. ‘I don’t have time to exercise.’ Well, it’s really 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week. It doesn’t have to be all at once. You kind of need to get creative. If you’re working, then you need to schedule it like a meeting. You can go out and take a 10-minute walk in the morning, a 10-minute walk at lunch, a 10-minute walk after work before you get in the car, or after dinner. I know people have to cook dinner or pick up their kids — take your kids (along), get them outside. It doesn’t have to all be in a 30-minute chunk. You just have to get creative and schedule it like you do anything else.” 

What about those days when you’re just not motivated to exercise?
“When you don’t feel like exercising, try to get up and do something for 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes you still don’t feel like doing it, then don’t. Maybe it’s not your day.”

How do you pace yourself when you’re beginning an exercise program, or starting up again?
“Whatever you are doing, or going back to, you’ve got to start slow. You’ve got to set a goal for yourself: what do you want to (accomplish)? Like any goal, it needs to be measurable, it needs to be achievable, it needs to be realistic and there needs to be a time constraint on it.”

Schreyer will be expanding her repertoire of fitness classes soon. She will begin offering kids yoga at Jerabek in the fall. She also hopes to offer some yoga classes and Metafit classes in the park once school starts. Those interested may contact Judi Schreyer at

Learn more from exercise expert Judi Schreyer, including how to reward yourself, setting goals and expectations, plus exercising while pregnant. The second part of this article will run Wednesday in Scripps Ranch News.

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