Hangin’ With Mrs. Cooper


If Claudine Cooper had a reality show I’d watch it. What would separate hers from the fray of falsities and lies that currently plague prime time is that she’s actually real. I’ll let that one sink in. No need to adjust the channel. We’re still watching.

What you see is what you get. What she says goes. What you hear is the truth. What you want to hear is of no matter. Consequence. Or concern. Her bullshit detector is alive and kicking. She’s heard it all before.


Twenty-two years in the game, a handsome husband(with a Superman body) to boot and three kids(all cute) later, Claudine is still killin’ the game. The fitness game that is. She lives what she extols. A complete life dedicated to health and fitness. Her body is a temple. The abs are flawless. How does one get and maintain a six pack after three natural births? Next on Jeopardy.


I was at the beginning of my fitness journey when I first ventured into her class. I’d only had a few gym classes under my belt at that point. Didn’t know what to expect. Heard she was good. So I waited.

The class was unusually packed for the middle of the week. I would soon learn that this was the norm for all of Claudine’s classes. Body to body. An arm’s length apart. It brought a whole new meaning to love thy neighbor. Literally.


Minutes later enters a tiny frame of a woman clad in Nike with lots of muscles and a mountain of hair. She was immediately greeted with enthusiasm and more than a few cat calls. All interestingly appropriate. Rockstar status solidified. Hello, Mrs. Cooper.

Her mere presence snaps the room back to attention. All conversation ceases. All eyes were now on the woman adjusting her headset. She instructs everyone to grab a set of weights and to put the mats away. “You won’t need them”. Wait. What?


If Oprah had another show(#489) and it was about daily exercise, eating right, relationships and loving yourself above everything else, it would star Claudine. In between the sweaty flurry of NTC drills she keeps an open dialogue with the audience members. No subject is off limits. Relationship advice, nutritional tips and maternal insight all rolled into one. The fans love it.

Her innate ability to tap into what is not being asked but always being said is part of her appeal. That is why her classes are always packed. She’s someone to everyone.

That favorite aunt who will still love you after chewing your ass out. That big sister who is annoyingly good at everything but you still want to be just like her. That instructor that you secretly are trying to impress in hopes that one day she’ll reconsider her policy on personal training.


Whether it’s Bodypump, Pilates or NTC, Claudine’s classes are a love fest. A physically challenging one that makes you question life. Yours. Mine. The guy who’s always standing in the doorway checking out the bent over toned bodies facing in the opposite direction.

Our initial meeting, I thought she was crazy. I might have even said aloud, “This chick is crazy.” If she heard me she did not give notice. Instead she turned the music up even louder, threatened anyone who stood up first from what felt like a this could go on forever squat hold and advised the class to, “Get yo’ mind right.” And indeed we did.



6 thoughts on “Hangin’ With Mrs. Cooper

  1. Thanks Monica! You guys have all played a special role in my journey thus far. I do my best to capture certain moments. Sprinkled of course with a bit of humor.

  2. Wait?!? What?!? Rockstar status? Little old ME?!?!
    Next on jeopardy!! I love it Shon. You are a gifted writer.
    Take me with you on your journey to success. Love u much!!!

  3. And I shall return the compliment to you tenfold. Regarding the journey you are already there my friend. Your reach is far greater than you think. Keep writing!

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