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Category Archives: All About Hooping

My Story on BuzzFeed! Hooping for Depression

The BuzzFeed story is live! And this one is different than past media coverage I’ve received. It tells my real story – the truth about how hoop dance changed my life and why I’ve made it my mission to share this art form with others. Take a look:

Depression affects so many people. Some of us hide our pain behind smiling faces. I did that for years… Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Healing isn’t linear, either, and different things work for different people.

For me, it’s hoop dance, creative self expression, meditation, clean eating and reaching out to those who I love when I need support. I used to see a psychiatrist regularly, and I was on antidepressants too for a while.

Depression is scary, but you don’t have to go through it alone. If you or someone you know suffers in this way, PLEASE ask for help. Some great places to start are the National Alliance for Mental Illness American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Believe that healing is possible. Notice which healthy habits make you feel good and do more of that. Be open, and you might find your life change in totally unexpected ways. I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m saying you’re worth it.

*To protect my family’s privacy, some elements of my story have been changed.*
Click here more information about hooping and healing.

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Learn to Teach Hula Hoop Fitness


Hey Hoopers! I’m so excited to bring you a totally FREE hula hoop fitness webinar. Why am I doing this? Because I’m a firm believer in the power of play and creative self expression through hoop dance. Hula hoop fitness benefits are legit, and I’m on a freaking mission to bring the art form to more gyms, fitness centers, schools and dance studios worldwide.

Simply put… More Hoop Dance Teachers = More Joy Spreaders!

I’ve been teaching hula hoop fitness for more than a decade, and I’m so excited to share this info. with you!

Here’s what you’ll learn:
→ My 7-step strategy to teach safe, fun and effective hoop fitness classes
→ Which hula hooping moves promote maximum fitness results
→ Why Hoola-Fit is the ONLY hula hoop teacher training program in the US approved by the American Council on Exercise
→ How to build a local hoop dance community and rock sold-out classes

You’ll also gain access to an exclusive Hoola-Fit discount code strictly for webinar attendees. Just click the image below to grab your spot in my FREE training 🙂


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Why Weighted Hoops Are Not Recommended for Hula Hoop Fitness

You don’t need a “weighted” hula hoop for hoop dance fitness. I repeat: You don’t need a “weighted” hula hoop for hoop dance fitness, and I’m on a mission to drop this terminology.

Handmade hoops are what started the hoop dance and fitness phenomenon. Most hoop makers like myself use a variety of different tubing options so we can size people appropriately. Handmade hoop sizing is based on these factors: height, body type, experience level and flow style (in other words, how you intend to use the hoop). The larger the diameter, the slower the hoop spins which makes it easier for on-body hooping. Small, lightweight hoops work best for off-body technique because they provide less stress on the hands. Hoop sizing works like surf boards in the sense that, we go smaller and lighter as we get more advanced. A small, light hoop also provides a faster rotation which equates to increased cardio during on-body hooping.

Simply put: no one needs a hoop that weighs more than 2 pounds.


I’ve been teaching modern day hoop dance for more than a decade (I’m the creator of both Hoola Fit and Hoola Monsters), and one of my biggest hurdles is re-educating new hoopers on what equipment is needed and effective for hula hoop fitness. There’s been a lot of misinformation circulated in this regard, which I’ll address momentarily. But first: let me give you some hoop history:

Modern day hoop dance is an emerging art form that stemmed from the use of handcrafted hoops. It began in the mid ’90’s when a jam band known as The String Cheese Incident started tossing large adult-sized, handmade hoops out into the audience during their concerts to get people moving, dancing and having fun. In the hooping community, Anah Reichenbach is considered the “Mother of Modern Day Hoop Dance.” Anah, along with her hula hoop performance partner Christabel Zamor, helped to pave the way for hoop dance as we now know it. (Side Note: Christabel is my original teacher, and she was the creator of one of the very first hula hoop fitness programs).

From there, the hoop community began to form. Burning Man was also a catalyst for hoopers to gather, connect, share tricks, and push the art form forward. By the mid 2000’s, the hula hooping craze was going strong. Actresses like Marisa Tomei and even former first lady Michelle Obama were in on the action. Still… we are talking about handcrafted hoops that weighed no more than 2 pounds.

Fast forward to 2011. The American Council on Exercise took notice of the hoop fitness trend and conducted a comprehensive study to determine if hooping was an effective workout or “just child’s play.” Sixteen women between the ages of 16 and 59 were evaluated while hula hooping with handmade hoops. The participants averaged 151 heart beats per minute, burning an average of 420 calories an hour hooping [source: Goodman]. To put that in perspective, the average 154-pound (70-kilogram) person burns approximately 220 calories during a half hour of heavy yard work or vigorous weight lifting [source: CDC]. Simply put, the study found that hooping with handcrafted hoops is considered an “excellent form of fitness.”

It was then that fitness equipment companies jumped on the trend and started to mass produce “weighted” hoops. This is when things got muddy. Along with the mass production of “weighted hoops” came the mindset that the heavier the hoop, the better it is for fitness.Three-to-five-pound, mass produced, “weighted hoops” hit the marketplace with a vengeance, along with hoop fitness programs that incorporated this super heavy equipment. And guess what? ALL of the programs that used mass produced “weighted” hoops have now fallen by the wayside. Why? I imagine it’s because spinning a hoop that’s too heavy for a person’s body type is likely to cause injury. Hooping is supposed to be fun, not painful.

Weighted hoops in the three-to-five-pound range can cause serious bruising. I’ve seen it, and it’s not pretty. Mass produced, weighted hoops can also result in pinched nerves, and even internal bruising. The Yonsei Medical Journal reports that a woman sustained a Perirenal Hematoma (bleeding around the kidney) after continuous use of a hoop that was too heavy for her body type.

Unfortunately, the problem of “weighted hoops” still exists for hoop fitness instructors like myself because we’ve had to do cleanup work ever since they hit the market. I’ve personally refused to make and sell hoops to customers who’ve requested hoops that weigh more than 2 pounds. I’ve turned down large orders in an effort to make sure that my students and customers are safe and set up for success. I won’t stand behind a product that could potentially cause more damage than good.

So, what do you actually need for hula hoop fitness? Here’s a short and sweet video I made that breaks it down:

So, if you’re someone who’s been inspired by the beauty and grace of modern day hoop dance, it’s safe to assume that inspiration stemmed from dancers using handcrafted hoops. We make our own because we can totally customize them and make sure we’re setting new hoop dancers up for success based on their height, body type, experience level and flow style. Hoops are not “one size fits all.”

The elaborate spins, leaps, tosses, and optical illusion technique performed by skilled hoopers is a result of using handmade hoops (and lots of practice, of course). Even if you have no desire to learn the fancy tricks (I hear this all the time: “I just want to hula hoop for exercise.”), then it’s still in your best interest to go the handmade route, for injury prevention purposes.

I always encourage customers to contact me on ETSY if they have ANY questions about hoop sizing before placing their order. It’s my personal mission to set you up for success, as hooping is a beautiful, fun and effective form of fitness. It’s also attainable for EVERYONE with a little help and hoop sizing guidance.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful, and please let me know if there are any additional questions I can answer about handmade hoop sizing and how to get started on your hooping journey.

PO_0486About the Author: Abby Joan Lee Abby is the founder of both Hoola-Fit and Hoola Monsters – Florida’s first full service hoop dance company, which specializes in handmade fitness hoops, hoop dance classes and performances. A play professional and fitness pro for more than a decade, Abby is an ACE-Certified Youth Fitness Specialist and ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor who also holds certifications in Les Mills Body Combat and Cardio Kickboxing. A hoop dance educator since 2007, Abby has taught the art form to thousands of people of all ages. She’s also spent years developing, testing and implementing her training programs. Her mission is to inspire and empower hoop dancers worldwide.

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Tampa Bay Fire Performers

Want to HEAT UP your next event with fire performers?  Then you’ve come to the right place. Our highly skilled, experienced and insured fire dancers have been entertaining in the Tampa Bay area since 2007.  We offer a wide variety of fire props including but not limited to: hula hoops, poi, palms, staff, levitation wand, fans, and gyro.  We also have strong relationships with fellow performance artists, so if you want something we don’t do (like fire breathing, burlesque or belly dance fire props), we can most likely make it happen!

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We come prepared with all props, fuel, fire safety pros/ equipment and a proven track record. We are happy to provide client references, and you can view some of our past performance footage here:

For booking availability and rates, please email inquiries to:











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Handmade Hula Hoops on Etsy

I thought it would be fitting to share the story of how it all began…

I started hoop dancing in the summer of 2007 after a friend introduced me to the art form.  I actually created my first handmade hula hoop before I ever successfully spun one on my waist!  I’ve always been crafty… as a child, I would comb the FL beaches for shells, to make jewelry for family and friends.  In high school, I discovered a passion for mosaic art.  So, when my friend Kacey invited me over for wine and hoop making, I was in!  The first hoop I made was Watermelon themed, in pink and green.  Kacey took it to a music festival she was vending, at Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park and it was actually the first hoop she sold that weekend!


Of course, my love for hoop dance was soon realized after that fateful hoop making night.  I began teaching myself everything I could about the art form (from making hoops to learning the latest tricks and moves), and in 2008, I opened up my Etsy shop.  At the same time, I started selling my handmade hula hoops at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete, FL.  The market proved to be an amazing thing for me, considering it’s the largest farmer’s market in the Southeast United States.  People started asking for classes and performances, and before I knew it, I was leaving my marketing career to be a full time Hoola Monster.  Now, 9 years later, I’m pleased to say that I’m still a vendor at the Saturday Morning Market, and Hoola Monsters is one of the longest running hoop stores on Etsy!

Saturday Morning Market

Saturday Morning Market

And, I’m super excited to be featured in the July 2016 issue of Handmade Seller Magazine!  What an honor!  I also launched my jewelry website earlier this year and I expanded my ETSY shop to include Good Vibe Designs.

I love being a handmade artist, and there’s nothing more exciting than to see someone fall in love with an item I’ve created.  I also love setting people up for success and welcome custom orders.  Feel free to browse around my shop, or stop by my booth at the market, the next time you visit Sunny St. Pete 🙂  You can also check out Hoola Monsters on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. 


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Yoga Hooping on Daytime

Abby, from Hoola Monsters and Hoola-Fit, makes a guest appearance on the Daytime TV Show, to promote this year’s Rasa-Lila Yoga Festival, where she will be teaching and performing.

WFLA News Channel 8

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Getting Our Children Hula Hooping (the worldwide hub for all things hoop dance) quotes Abby Albaum, founder of Hoola Monsters & Hoola Monster Kids, on the health and wellness benefits of hoop dance, both physical and mental.

With Michelle Obama and the Center for Disease Control on a mission to wipe out childhood obesity in America, it is no surprise that hula hooping has come into the limelight as one way to maintain health for our kids. Childhood obesity has, after all, more than tripled in the past 30 years here. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of youth struggling with obesity today already have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Something obviously has to be done.  Whether or not kids want to exercise, most want to play. Hula hooping is a great way for kids to spin up some exercise without really knowing it. And while that may not be a news flash exactly, it has seemed to me, as a mother, that my boys have been gaining a plethora of other benefits and life skills from picking up the hoop as well.

Click here for full story!

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Hoola Monsters Celebrate World Hoop Day

ABC’s “The List” talks with Hoola Monster’s Abby Albaum about World Hoop Day 2012.

TAMPA, FL – The good old-fashioned hula hoop has made a comeback, and now it’s being employed, not only as a good work-out tool, but also a means of self-expression. Abby Albaum owns Hoola Monsters, Inc., the first full-service hoop company in the area. Abby designs handmade custom professional hoops, she has a performance troop which works parties and festivals, and she offers sessions where you can learn the art of hoop dancing and get fit, too…

Read more and watch video…

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Pinellas County entrepreneur inspires with hoop dancing

Published in the Saint Petersburg Times
Abby Albaum’s climb up the corporate ladder began with a global public relations job in New York and ended with a Hula Hoop lesson in Tampa Bay.

“Kacey Douglas, a traveling nurse, showed me how to hoop,” said Albaum, 31. “I was totally inspired, but two months later, she moved away. It was the summer of 2007. I had a million questions, but no one to teach me.”

Albaum turned to the Internet to learn twirls, jumps and spins. She searched for other hoopers and found them at Treasure Island Beach Drum Circle gatherings. While she worked in marketing full time for a Sarasota restaurant company, she made and sold hoops on weekends at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg.  Before long, word spread: Albaum was the go-to person for the scoop on hoops.
Read the full article

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