Running in Place

A New Iberia fitness pro’s homegrown joy of movement

Illustration by Sara Willia

I grew up in New Iberia and was active from the time I could walk. While in high school I ran in my neighborhood, cheered for the local football team and traveled with the basketball team all over the state. When I went on to Tulane University in New Orleans, I found new ways to stay active, running the street car route on St. Charles Avenue, working at Elmwood Fitness in the KidFit program and with the Tulane football team. I worked at Charity Hospital downtown and took walks on my lunch hour just to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the city. I majored in kinesiology as a path to medical school, never realizing that health and exercise would be my future career.

After graduating, I took on marketing and sales jobs in Lafayette and always had a little fitness gig on the side. I’d teach Zumba and Pilates at City Club and train friends in their homes. It wasn’t until I got married that I said “OK, this is what I want to do full-time.” So, my husband and I bought a gym. Before I knew it, I was teaching two classes a day, training clients and meeting with those in need of nutrition plans.

Now that we have three boys and TheGYM has settled down, we purchased a piece of property on the Bayou Teche upon which to build our forever home. It’s what I dreamed of — acreage and oak trees. Now, I run from TheGYM to the property, making a lap to enjoy the view. Every time we visit a city, I take a stroll to see the sights and so I can say, “I run this town.”

I never venture far though, because of my love for the heat and the humidity. This South Louisiana girl cannot take the cold!

I love the way exercise makes me feel when I’m done. It can be weights, spin, bootcamp or Pilates. There’s nothing that gives you that release, that rush, that joy, that accomplishment that a sweat session gives you. Whatever it is that you are struggling with — for that time — it’s gone. You get to do that! It is a privilege, not a punishment — and that’s why I love it.

You can enjoy eating and living life knowing that you have a balance of healthy movement that keeps you going, fueled.

Someone once asked me, “So, you exercise, like, every day?” I laughed and said, “Yes, every day and sometimes twice a day! If I don’t get my exercise in, you don’t want to be around me.”


Kallie Barras Landry is a certified fitness instructor and trainer who owns a local gym in New Iberia. As a mom of three boys she stays busy through her work and their play.