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Fitness

What You Need to Know about This Saturday’s FAME Fest

We talked to Fitness Ambassadors founder Mai Lyn Ngo about her annual fitness-themed festival.
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FAME Fest returns to Dallas Oct. 14. Kathy Tran

This Saturday, Fitness Ambassadors is taking over the Omni Dallas for the wellness social club’s fifth annual FAME Fest. The annual festival combines fitness, arts, music, and other experiences (hence the acronym) into a jam-packed 12-hour day of workout classes. The morning kicks off with silent disco trap yoga, and continues with Pilates, shadow boxing, pickup soccer, and more classes throughout the day. There’s recovery and refresh lounges, art, and manicures.  

Local fitness influencer Mai Lyn Ngo founded Fitness Ambassadors around eight years ago, near the start of Dallas’ obsession with boutique fitness. It was a way to make friends and to explore new group fitness spots. “I was sharing what was going on with the community,” she says, “and then eventually got into hosting events within those studios and spaces.”

She launched FAME Fest in 2019, and has continued it each year. She switched to streaming during the pandemic, then returned with an outdoor event. Ngo loves introducing attendees to new studios and instructors. And, she says, it’s an opportunity to learn about Fitness Ambassadors. “If folks are curious about us about who we are and what we do, it’s a really awesome way to get to know us.” 

We chatted with Ngo about the origins of FAME Fest, what to expect at this year’s event, and how to pace yourself throughout the day.

What is Fitness Ambassadors?

Fitness Ambassadors is a wellness and fitness social club. People who are looking to make other connections, friends, join it, and it’s just a way for them to connect through events and experiences. I started this company about eight years ago, which feels kind of crazy. And it was really because I also struggled making friends. I wanted to meet people that had different hobbies. I think Dallas at the time was very heavy into just partying and eating and drinking, which is totally fine, and I partake in all those things. But I also really cared about moving my body, playing sports, and was craving that camaraderie you get. 

When did you decide to launch a fitness festival?

This started with the Omni Dallas. We had a partnership with them; they took a chance on us. And we started with monthly pop-up events. After the first year and learning, ‘hey, we really liked working together,’ [we thought] maybe there’s something bigger we could do. And so, we decided in 2019: Why don’t we plan a festival? It was two groups that came together were just like, “let’s do something big and see if it’ll stick and if people want that.” I don’t think there was anything really like that in Dallas, in terms of multiple formats to choose from, very festival Coachella-meets-fitness-type vibe. 

Your first fest was in 2019. Then the pandemic hit. How did that go?

In 2020, we made it virtual. And we hosted two online virtual festivals. Whatever limitations we thought we had with it being Dallas-centric kind of went away during 2020, because we were able to work with folks in New York, in Chicago, and LA, and the connections that I had with people I’ve always dreamed of working with. So we were able to have them come online and teach virtual classes and workshops and have panels and things like that. And it was honestly a really cool break from how heavy those years were. 

You’ve said that 2022 felt like a return to normal. How did that year’s festival go? 

It felt more normal because people were outside more often. We were doing events outdoors a lot more. We understood how to give everyone a little bit more space. I think we just were craving an opportunity to get out and do something and looking forward to a big event. 

What do you have planned for this year’s event?

This is by far one of my favorite schedules. And I think it’s because [there’s] a lot of variety. You have silent disco trap yoga in the morning. You have Sphere Club open play, where you get to play these pickup soccer games, so you have a bit of the sport aspect to it. We also utilize the underground garage directly beneath the lawn; it’s an unused space and we turned it into a workout space. So, we have a couple of underground workouts there in the garage. It has this like really cool urban vibe. 

Is there a new format this year that you’re really excited for people to experience?

The Sphere Club is the one that I’m most excited to see. I haven’t really seen anything like that at other festivals because everything is a group fitness class versus a sport. 

The fest is 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. How will the night end?

We end the night with two cycling classes on the Pegasus Lawn—a silent disco rave ride. So that’s just how we close every single year. And it’s just an amazing moment. It’s very euphoric. 

Besides working out, what else is there to do?

In addition to classes, we have a lot of different activities around it. Because you can work out as much as you want, but I think you’re really there for those in-between moments to catch up with friends and meet people and discover new things. So, we have an interactive paint-by-the color art section with Sweet Tooth Hotel. They’re printing out this big panel where you get to paint it. It’s blank, but at the end of the night we’ll have a full painting that’s custom to us. We have recovery lounges … as well as my favorite, the refresh lounge. Again, taking inspiration from festival vibe, we’ll have a glitter bar. Last year we did like a braid bar. This year we’ll have express manis and facials and an opportunity to relax in between classes.

This is a 12-hour event. What are y’all doing to help people get through all the classes? 

One, we made sure all the classes are 35 minutes versus a typical 45- or 60-minute class, just do a taste of that format. We’ve also asked our instructors to not completely obliterate (laughs) everyone during class—like, give them a chance to try more things. 

What advice do you have for attendees who want to do it all?

Hydrate, pace yourself, go get something to eat. Pick your favorite classes to go to, but don’t feel like you have to go to everything. And just have fun with it. Listen to your body. That’s why we have all the recovery services there, to get you from one to the other. 

How does FAME Fest fit into Fitness Ambassadors goal? 

Yeah, so FAME Fest gives us an opportunity to celebrate the fitness community here. Throughout the whole year, we’re visiting studios, we’re visiting different businesses. We’re introducing these places to our members. And here at Fame Fest, it’s like a birthday party, if you will. Like, we’re all together, all celebrating. It gives everyone a chance to really get together and form these bonds and create these memories. 

See the full schedule of classes here

Author

Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…

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