My Students are Becoming Instructors. I Feel Like a Proud Mama.

I know, I know. I’ve been a slacker lately (from a blog perspective). But there has been a LOT going on … and I have some exciting news to share – albeit about a week later than I really wanted to talk about it.

I’ve been teaching group fitness classes for about five years now, and it is, hands down, the most rewarding job in the world. Though it’s more of my free-time fun activity vs. my actual job (at least for now … someday …), I’ve found not only the success stories you hear, but also the relationships you build to be pretty amazing.

Which brings me to what I want to talk about today. I’ve had a few girls take the leap and attend certification classes for a number of formats throughout the years (and another one is picking up another certification soon). Let’s be honest: it’s easy to sign up for a class, but to actually take the time to practice, get an audition, rock it, and get hired by a gym? It’s a lot more difficult (and time consuming) than most people realize.

Which is why I was THRILLED to find out that last week, the first of my “babies” (yes, I’m claiming them now) did all of these things. My girl Kim has been a regular in my Piloxing classes for a while now, and took the leap of faith to get certified herself back in July. And last week, she got herself hired to sub at XSport.

Yes, there is still some work to do, and she’ll do a little team teaching and likely still practicing (and obviously, still attending classes). And the first couple classes may not be perfect (I’ll admit mine did not go as well as I would have wanted them to). But the biggest hurdles are already behind her. It takes a lot of guts to get in front of a room full of people and convince them that you’re not torturing them, you’re having fun with them. And getting a good sweat on along the way. Like anything else, once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes second nature. And as the classes pass, you’ll find what works for you, what works for the class, and how important continuing education truly is.

But I’m claiming “proud mama” (no, I do not have children, and yes, I am younger than Kim). To know that your passion has helped another person build that same kind of passion within herself? It’s incredible. And that’s what makes a great instructor: passion. Seeing Kim’s smiling face in class all these months, I know she has that passion. And I can’t wait to see her start rocking her own classes.

So, are you motivated to make it happen for yourself now? Here are a couple former posts that can get you going:

Finding a Group Fitness Mentor

How Do I Break into the Fitness Industry?

 

 

 

Strong-Fit-Beautiful Turns 2!

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Today is an exciting day here at Strong-Fit-Beautiful … we are turning 2! I would have never imagined that, when I took my girl Helen’s advice and started writing about what I love, it would have turned into something so incredible. I’ve been blessed that, as a result, I’ve had a lot of great opportunities – and been able to share a lot of great stories and advice – along the way. I’ve “met” some great people from around the world who are here for the same reason I am – because health and fitness are my passion, my love, the one thing that I can always get excited to talk about.

One thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m not naturally as outgoing and enthusiastic as I am when fitness is involved. While there is no greater feeling than stepping in front of a class, and chatting with those who have, truly, become my friends week in and week out, I can be pretty shy. I have a hard time letting people in a lot of the time. Which is why I think that I love teaching – I have the opportunity to be someone else. To be the me I wish I was. To feel like, even if only for a short time, I’m not being criticized or judged. In a lot of ways, I get the same feeling when I’m sharing my posts and communicating with all of you – it’s incredibly rewarding. Makes me feel as if I’m making a difference. Having an impact. And at the end of the day, that is the one thing I want out of my life – to know that I have made someone’s life better.

When I first started Strong-Fit-Beautiful, I was in kind of a sad place. I’d recently  had my heart broken – again – and I often found myself wondering if I had wasted many of my “good” years, too focused on the things that didn’t mean as much to me, and not enough on the ones that really did. I felt like I’d done a lot of work, lived a lot of life, and maybe didn’t have too much to show for it. But the truth is, I have realized that it’s the lows that make the highs that much sweeter. And there really is something better just around the corner – and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when we feel we’ve been given all we can handle, the prize for surviving is within our reach (I can honestly say that in the last six months, I’ve had a lot more highs than lows … and everything kind of all hit at once … and yes, I wasn’t sure I could get any lower before that trend started a rapid climb upward). There have been many ups and downs since then, and though I don’t make a practice of sharing too much personal stuff too often, I’m glad to say that while life isn’t perfect right now, it is looking pretty good. I know that I have a lot of great people around me, supporting me, loving me and standing by me through those ups and downs. And I’m fortunate enough to do what I love part-time … even if it is only a few hours a week, teaching classes is truly the best food my soul could ever hunger for.

But enough of the sappy stuff, right? I’ve had a really great time writing Strong-Fit-Beautiful these last two years, and I’ve had some amazing opportunities come out of it. I’ve been fortunate to connect with some other incredible bloggers, both here in the U.S. and across the world. I’ve met a few of my readers here in the local area, and I’ve even enjoyed my five minutes of fame when one of my classes was featured on the morning local ABC news. I’ve had some great laughs from some of your comments (trust me, it makes me feel much more normal knowing that some of the same weird crap I see in my gym is not exclusive to my area … there are weirdos all over). More than anything, I’ve had FUN doing something I love (writing), and even more fun getting to discuss one of my favorite topics (fitness) on the regular.

So, to all of you who have helped Strong-Fit-Beautiful become what it is today … THANK YOU! You’re the best. As long as you’ll keep reading, I’ll keep sharing. I  know I haven’t been as good as of late about keeping up as I have in the past, but life has been crazy, so I’m trying my best (as my mom says, it’s tiring having a life, isn’t it? It’s something that’s kind of new to me). Here’s to another year of fun and fitness!

 

Check Out My Recent Interview!

I had an opportunity recently to do an interview with Lola over at Christsoldiergirl Fitness, and wanted to share the link for you to find out a little more about what makes me tick: http://christsoldiergirlfitness.com/csg-fitness-interview-with-strong-fit-beautiful/ We had a chance to discuss my background, how I got my start, what keeps me going … all kinds of good stuff.

Many thanks to Lola for taking the time to feature me on her blog – and, oddly enough, she just happened to post the interview last Tuesday (clearly life has been a little crazy lately if I’m just getting around to sharing the link now) … which was also my 33rd birthday! Hope you have a chance to check it out and see what she’s been up to as well!

 

 

You’re Never “Too Old” – Just Ask My “Zumba Cheerleader”

I’ll admit to probably calling myself “old” far too often (I mean, I am about two months shy of my 29th birthday … and yes, I mean the 5th one). To discussing with some of the ladies in my classes my theory that once you hit 30, things start hurting that never hurt before. The recovery time is not as good as it once was. Yes, I’m definitely working out a lot harder than I was at 22. But I often feel it a little longer than I did once upon a time.

But being “old” is not the purpose of today’s post: it’s actually knowing that you’re never too old.

As you know, I spend a lot of time at the gym. Some days, I think there’s a real possibility I spend more awake time there than I do at home (unfortunately, “real” work and sleep take up the bulk of the rest of my days). I’ve seen a lot of people come a long way throughout the years, but there is one person who I find more inspirational than anyone else, even a lot of the people I’d consider at least to some extent personal success stories. No, this is about someone who you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hold a little bit of a place in my heart.

I don’t know his name, but he’s easily close to my grandfather’s age. He’s taken the Zumba class before my Piloxing class for as long as I can remember … and I’ve been teaching that class for almost two years now. I lovingly refer to him as the “Zumba Cheerleader,” because his attitude, and his dedication and love for the class is infectious. He calls everyone “honey” as they leave the studio, announcing how many calories his heart rate monitor tallied during the class, wishing everyone a good night. And, in true sweet old man fashion, he’s always handing out candy on his way out the door (I kid you not, I ran into him in Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, and the man had a piece of chocolate on him, which he tried to pawn off on me). It’s adorable.

My point? There is no such thing as “too old” to get started. It’s easier to start young, but like I’ve already said, I feel like something new on my body starts to ache every week. My Zumba Cheerleader has to be at least in his mid-70s … and he’s still shaking it with a bunch of girls who could be his granddaughters a couple times a week. I’ve also seen him on the cardio floor and in the weight room (he actually came up to me the other night and told me I was really strong – it was cute) – the man is seriously in the gym at least three or four days a week. And if he can do it, anyone can do it. You just have to find something you love and want it bad enough to make it a priority.

Apparently I Lived at the Gym this Weekend…

I have a confession to make: I MAY have spent close to eight hours in the gym between yesterday and today. No, it was not some kind of seminar or certification … it was literally classes, workouts and a couple unexpected things that popped up. Not that I’m complaining – I love being in the gym. But I know many of you are reading this wondering, what on EARTH can you possibly spend that much time doing?!?

Sunday mornings, I teach class from 9:30-11:45, and I always try to get there by 9:00 at the latest – just so I have a little time for a 15-20 minute warm-up on my own before class starts (you know, get those endorphins flowing so I’m at my crazy best by the time class kicks off). I’ve been stretched a little thin these last several weeks – I normally teach five classes a week, and during the last three weeks, it’s been more like eight – so I have to fit my weight workouts in when I can. Regardless of how much I’m teaching, I still try to get a good three weight workouts in a week – and with a GORGEOUS dress hanging in my closet, waiting to be worn this weekend (I was invited to the Marine Corps Ball), I have no interest in giving up a weight workout for lack of time. So post-class Sunday it was.

This morning, I had planned to meet one of my Piloxing girls, Kim, at 10:30 to run through some choreography and give her some tips as she prepares to audition to join our XSport Group Exercise staff (YAY!!). So what do I do? Show up at 9:30 (knowing we are planning on running choreography until noon), run 5k and get a little weight work in. Choreography practice went pretty well, and at the end, Kim invited me to join her for her noon training session. Since she invited, I was glad to join in on a little further torture. At about 1:15 (and nearly 1650 calories later), I was finally on  my way home. Totally worth it. No matter how hard of a workout I plan for myself, I always learn something new and push even harder when I have a trainer in my face. And lesson of the day? I really need to figure out the best way to use a foam roller, because HOLY CRAP. Apparently my IT band is insanely tight. And sadly, the one part of my body I thought was probably the tightest (my hamstrings – they’ve just felt locked up lately, and no matter how much I stretch, it seems to do nothing) was the one body part that didn’t cause me to need peeled off of the ceiling.

Here’s the thing: I had not planned to spend this much time working out this weekend (oh, yeah, I taught a class at Sport&Health on Saturday, too, so add in another hour of cardio and a light leg workout, and you have another two and a half hours to my clearly gym-centric long weekend). But the thing is … I know it’s an illness, but I loved every minute of it. I think it’s amazing how quickly the time can pass when you’re doing something you love (okay, not going to lie, the foam roller felt like it was never going to end. And I’m pretty sure the effects of it will hit me tomorrow more so than they already have). I may be pushing hard, and I may be truly working, but whether I’m teaching a class, or running, or lifting, or anything else physical that I decide to torture myself with, I love every single second of it. It’s not work. In fact, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.