Newport is full of inspiring people, amiright? Entrepreneurs, scientists, artist, and fitness gurus; kick butt community members who embody everything about athletic culture. In honor of celebrating our local athletes, and those who are especially involved in our community, we have created our ‘Newport Mavens’. Since Newport is so small, a huge amount of our focus is on community; we try out classes, meet new instructors, support the newest fitness craze (as long as one of our friends is teaching it). We sweat our buns off and love to hate and hate to love our trainers, yoga instructors, or anyone else who tells us that eating a pint of ice cream is a huge ‘no’ and that burpees are a huge ‘yes’.

That being said, I reached out to some of our community mavens and asked them a few questions about their fitness routine and lifestyle. My responses were pretty close to perfect and are all extremely inspiring. We can look to these mavens as our Sweat Guru’s, or something like that. I am still working on a proper title. Can you tell?

Each week I will produce a feature of a local maven for us to “ooo”, “ahh” and marvel over. This weeks maven is …

Gregory Angel

All photographs taken by Jennifer Manville of Jennifer Manville Photography.

Tell me about yourself and your practice!
“I’ve been running since the age of 13 and originally started my yoga practice 18 years ago to help with injury prevention so that I could continue running. The funny thing about yoga is when you’re ready for more it’s there for you. Whether you’re looking to increase your flexibility to round out your overall level of fitness, gain a deeper sense of self, find sustainable happiness, or take a step closer to enlightenment, it’s here waiting for you. About six years ago, when I was ready for more it was there, waiting patiently for me.”

“As a U.S. Army Green Beret I struggle to find balance between my Army life and my yoga life, but it’s within this struggle that I find my deepest connection to yoga. I teach for one reason and one reason only. It makes me happy to share with others what I have learned and continue to learn. My classes are designed to challenge you physically and spiritually although, I must admit that I love inversions and arm balances. For me, yoga has nothing to do with touching your toes or pressing up into a handstand. It’s the journey, the process and learning to savor each and every moment as you continue to advance your practice without judgment, learning to be happy wherever you are in your physical training and then applying that same philosophy to every other aspect of your life. Today, this is yoga for me.”

Do you have a fitness background? If so, what is it?

“After multiple surgeries due to overuse injuries I started practicing yoga in 1998, at the time it was strictly as a way to improve my running and avoid injuries. Before 2001 I worked as a personal trainer, spinning instructor, triathlon and running coach. I had been in the Army out of high school for four years and went back into the Army in October of 2001 to begin training as a Green Beret, my background as an endurance athlete paid off. I’m still in the military and have worked as our units master fitness trainer. Several years ago I became certified as a vinyasa yoga teacher which has been a life changer for me.”
How long have you been practicing and how did you get started?
“I began my yoga practice in hopes of increasing flexibility and prevent injuries. Years of running had led to multiple injuries and surgeries. I found by taking a couple of yoga classes a week I was able to recover faster from long runs.”

Do you have any words of advice?

“Mix it up! I know runners who can’t touch their toes, yogis who can’t do 10 push-ups, and weight lifters who can’t run a mile. A solid fitness regime should consist of flexibility, strength, and aerobic conditioning. If you’re going to start a new routine take the time to work with a coach. I have seen a lot of well-intentioned people begin an exercise program that involves regular repetitive movements like running, swimming, or cycling only to get injured and discouraged. Over the years I have learned that it’s all about proper form and a solid foundation.”

“If you’re interested in taking up running don’t just throw on an old pair or running shoes and run too far or too fast. This is a sure way to injure yourself and lose your motivation.”

Here are a few tips to get started in a healthy way:

“See a professional coach and come up with a solid plan before you start (I usually start with a video gait analysis and get you in the right running shoe and assure your mechanics are properly aligned). If you’re going to spend time exercising, get the most out of it by staying at your anaerobic threshold. 72% of your maximum heart rate is what I recommend until you have developed a solid aerobic foundation. Exercise for heart rate (HR) and duration. For example; if you’re new to running, I’d recommend running for 20 minutes 4 times a week at your 72%. This may mean running 20 minutes at a heart rate of 134 beats per minute. Most feel like they need to run faster but resist that urge, even if it means you have to walk, over time you will travel greater distances in the same duration and perceived exertion. If you feel like you need more increase your duration and not your intensity (heart rate).
Enjoy the journey! I spent most of my life as a super type-A, who missed important moments because I was so goal oriented. This is your journey to enjoy.”

Favorite quote:
“I choose to live by choice, not by chance. To make changes, not excuses. To be motivated, not manipulated. To be useful, not used. To excel, not compete. I choose self-esteem, not self-pity. I prefer to listen to my inner voice. Not the random opinion of others. I choose to do the things that you won’t so I can continue to do the things you can’t. – Wisdom Warrior”

Favorite music to listen to while exercising:

“When I run I prefer no music, when I teach yoga my playlists include a wide variety of artists. You’ll frequently hear Krishna Das and Bob Dylan played back to back.”

What is one part of your routine that never changes?
“The part of my routine that never changes is the acceptance that things are always changing.  As my body ages, I constantly need to modify how I exercise.”

What is your ‘superfood’ or ‘super’ meal of choice, or, if you diet, what is your ‘cheat’ meal?

“I don’t have a super food. I have always recommended trying to avoid extremes in hunger levels. On a scale of 1-10 (1 begin starving and 10 being completely stuffed) try to always stay about a 6, this means you will need to eat smaller meals and snacks more regularly. I have seen lots of people begin a workout program by exercising to hard and fast, frequently burning lots of sugars and carbs then craving carbs and replenishing more than they burned. this is a vicious cycle with little to no notable results and often leads to injuries and discouragement. My cheat meal… Mission Burgers!”

What motivates you?

“Working with others and witnessing their small victories. Whether it’s running their first 5k or pressing up into a handstand from crow pose.”


All photographs taken by Jennifer Manville of Jennifer Manville Photography.

Jillian Tullgren

Jillian Tullgren is the Lifestyle Editor of What'sUpNewp. She enjoys a quality cup of properly steeped green tea and only writes in a black Moleskin. Follow her on Instagram @gypseachild.