McGraham-Shirley, Massy bring the heat with Fit Fiyah soca series
Fitness entrepreneur Shani McGraham-Shirley leads the opening session of her Fit Fiyah soca series at the Barbican Football Field recently.

With Carnival festivities returning to Jamaica in July, after a two-year hiatus, fitness entrepreneur Shani McGraham-Shirley has provided an open air environment for soca junkies to get their bodies costume ready.

Her Dance Fitness Masterclass kicked off at the Barbican Football Field with over 150 people reveling in a high-energy, fun dance class and workout session. The 90-minute exercise class saw participants of all ages working out to this year’s soca and dancehall hits.

The founder of Yahsuh Fitness Limited led the first class and treated participants to her unique style of dance fitness that blends the best of Caribbean rhythms with effective exercise routines.

“I wasn’t always into fitness. Back in the day when I struggled with my weight, nothing motivated me enough to push through and get my exercise in. When I met and fell in love with Zumba, I knew I wanted to share fun fitness with others. I discovered that exercise didn’t have to fit in a box, it didn’t have to be ‘traditional’….and boring,” she said.

The pandemic at one point brought the whole world to what felt like a standstill with the closure of business activities, public places, fitness centres, and overall social life. Inactivity was declared a parallel pandemic; troubling in a country like Jamaica with high levels of health issues and non-communicable diseases.

Felicia Stephens, Brand Manager for Pascual Yogurt, commenting on Massy Distribution’s support for the Fit Fiyah series said, “we’re really excited to partner with McGraham-Shirley and Yahsuh Dance Fitness to deliver this special health and wellness initiative to benefit the people and communities we serve. Proper nutrition paired with regular exercise are winning ingredients to combat Covid as well as so many other health challenges we deal with in Jamaica. As a company that’s been championing safety throughout the pandemic, we welcome the opportunity to support a space where patrons can get their sweat in, outdoors and socially distanced”.

The Massy Distribution team was on site to provide health snack options like their Pascual yogurt parfait, and naturally plant-based milk smoothies, to the delight of patrons.

Reflecting at the end of the successful first staging of the Fit Fiyah Dance Fitness Masterclass, McGraham-Shirley expressed her excitement and gratitude.

“Keeping physically active is one of the most important things, it’s the difference between existing, surviving and living… it’s about improving the quality of your life. The pandemic has added so much stress, health and financial issues, that many are barely functioning - simply trying to survive. Exercise not only has physical benefits of increasing wellness, muscular strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health, but most importantly, it improves one’s mood and mental state. Exercise simply makes you feel good. I am very grateful to Massy Distribution through their brands Pascual and Naturally for supporting our mission to transform lives through health and wellness,” she said.

The Fit Fiyah Soca Series is being hosted at the Barbican Football Field every Wednesday until July 6, 2022.

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