I’m feeling a little nostalgic today since it’s the 24 year anniversary of the first full class that I taught. So I’m wondering, how did you decide to join the fitness industry, whether you do it for a hobby or as a career?
For me, I had been in gymnastics and drill team for years, including choreographing and teaching routines. When I got out of college, I bought a fancy membership at a women’s only gym and took a few classes. They weren’t fun. I found myself thinking of different things I would do if it were my class. Then I stopped going to classes, and no one had taught me how to use the weight machines. So, in order to keep healthy and to keep interested, I attended a several-week training that was being provided by a regional chain that was offering it to build up their instructor base. After our team teaching, I got a job at a club closer to home. That was in the day of leotards and tights, hi/lo, aerobic steps made out of wooden boxes, and cassette tapes that weren’t 32-beat mixed.
Here’s to another 24 years! What a ride it has been, and still is.
here I am on memory lane.
I probably would not have gotten into fitness the way I did if it was not for a shoulder injury I got from playing Squash. This was my favorite sport, and I was pretty good at it.
Two things happened, though, after I hurt my shoulder: I had surgery, and I moved to the United States where Squash is hardly known, and I could not find a club I liked. The few times I played, I ended up hurting my back because my ‘Squash muscles’ had atrophied but my ‘Squash brain’ had not. I had to give it up and spent some time pouting and feeling sorry for myself.
So I joined a club and did the normal cardio, weights and stretching thing which I liked better than I expected. Since I had come to this after an injury, I looked around for advice but did not find the ‘trainers’ very helpful. So I bought every book I could find on what was then called bodybuilding and figured it out for myself.
A career change a few years later opened the opportunity to do something entirely different, and becoming a personal trainer was my new goal. Because of my personal history with injuries, I was immediately drawn to learning more in that area, and that’s where I still am after more than 20 years.
(And, yes, I also cruised around in leotards and tights – sigh.)
For me it was a natural transition after 15 years of competitive swimming. I’m competitive by nature and I always try to find ways to keep myself challenged. I could not see myself sitting behind a desk or surrounded by four walls, so the best way to continue with the energy and lifestyle from my swimming career was to follow a career in the fitness industry. I learned a lot of valuable lessons and I had many great mentors along the way, beginning with my first swimming coach to the strength and conditioning coaches at the University of Alabama where I was a member of the swim team.
I started teaching 25 years ago–yikes! In college, I used to exercise (and I feel so old saying this) with Gilad’s Bodies in Motion show in my living room and really loved it. When I found out a local, privately owned fitness place was looking for instructors, I wanted to see if I could really do it as a part time job. I interviewed–and he required both a written and practical exam– and I did well on both and started teaching classes for IBM employees for many years.
Like you, I also started in the days of hi/lo, which I taught 6 days a week. Step was brand new, and we also had the wooden steps. I had a pre-choreographed program for 6 weeks straight, with the same music for that time (yuck!).
I continued teaching throughout grad school and then started a full time career in higher education administration. Eventually I had children and became a stay-at-home mom, which is when I added my personal training cert on top of teaching. Now, I have the best of both worlds by training/teaching and being with my family.
Love, love, love teaching, training, and coaching–and leading others to a healthy lifestyle.
Hello Nancy Korf,
Congratulations and have another wonderful 24 years.
I have always been active at home and with school sports, on my own and on teams. After working different positions, the physical route was natural. Helping others felt good so I decided to make personal training a career. The nudge to push me into health and fitness training is the gimmicks people believe.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.