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.
These are really fascinating reads…. thanks for posting. I hope more people post.
I have had yoga in my life in some form since I was a kid, but working in fitness came later. In fact except for yoga and later walking, I hated and avoided pretty much all exercise and preferred to read and paint and draw.
In the mid 80s when I was out of graduate school and working a friend invited me to come with her to her health club. I had never been in one before. The price was good, and it was something to do in the evenings, and most importantly to me, they had yoga…. so I joined. Two things happened…. I worked intensively with the teacher, both there and privately and eventually she began to ask me to teach with and for her. And I discovered group ex. Especially one teacher who was amazing. I took her class in the evening, I took it when she moved to 6 am, I started taking other teachers, and lifting weights…. I guess I began to get both strong and ‘buff’ because eventually this very popular teacher who had so many people on the floor the ones in the back had trouble seeing her, told them to follow ‘the woman in green if they couldn’t see her’. (I tended to snag a spot in the middle close to a post as I wasn’t a get in front kind of person). I was actually looking around until my friend poked me and pointed to my green leggings.
For someone with 6 years of academic philosophy and a taste for Sartre and Dickens it was a revelation. The club, like a lot of places in those days, wasn’t so picky about credentials, so when teachers were out I started to volunteer to lead the classes, and eventually began to realize I didn’t want to parrot what others were doing, but to understand it, to become really knowledgeable in this area, to join the ranks of those who really cared about doing what was right. So I certified, I joined IDEA, started teaching 3 or 4 mornings before work, and 3 or 4 evenings after work, almost every weekend. I taught in dozens of places in my area, and also worked in the weight room. I also later did some graduate work in exercise science, and started working one on one kind of naturally, as students had specific needs they wanted to have me help them with, and of course certified in that as well. Eventually I had quit the job and was running my own business.
Like Christine I took time off for my kids, and went back part time. I keep hoping to get back to full time, but life keeps sending me on side trips…. but that is another story…
And yes, I had the high leg spandex leggings, and even a black and white unitard with rhinestones ….. and I loved it when someone played ‘Its Raining Men’ or ‘I Sweat’, or that one by Kylie Minoogian…..
Hi Nancy Korf,
I have not been in the fitness industry long, But I have had the opportunity to work at a Great Gym for about a year and a half.
I struggled with childhood obesity until age 16 and addiction all through my adolescent years. At Age 16 I lost 60 lbs working on a farm and with all of the extra energy I began working with a trainer. I had so much fun and began to learn and develop my skills in the Gym. Then in 2013 I overcame a 7 year addiction to various drugs. This huge change in my life helped me to find what I truly enjoy.
I have been working as a trainer and wellness coach ever since! I have been equipped by life and circumstance to help others overcome. To be there for, coach through and guide my clients during times of great adversity, struggle and change.
I am not the typical 22 year old, this last year my body just stopped working. My joints began to hurt, my muscles cramped and lost significant strength. forcing me bed ridden for days at a time. Any and all movement hurt. with no medical explanation this strange phenomenon came and then left. spanning 3 months. This was my latest inspiration to specialize in corrective exercise.
My fitness story sounds like a soap box, that is not my intent, rather that there is Great Hope for any and all who find Adversity in there life. I believe I am defined not by who I was but who I am. This is my story.
Love God, Love People and in doing so, Change the world.
Until I got to college, I found all the previous coaching and instruction was pretty worthless. I had to teach myself how to do pretty much everything that I want to be physically good at before college. While I was in college I got a chance to make some extra money as a swimming instructor and qymnastics coach. I really wanted to be more help to the kids I was working with than the instructors who had simply told me to try harder.
I did these things all through college and really enjoyed it. I received two degrees over that time and had planned to be a dentist. There were no Exercise Science degrees at the time. And as all of the gym teachers I had previously been exposed to were pretty sad at actually teaching skills and the science behind it all, I never considered a Physical Education degree to be an option. I got out in the world and realized that I preferred coaching and made the decision to go back to doing that instead. Once I realized that I was good enough at coaching to make a serious living, I really made a commitment to learning and developing more scientific methods of training. I still study Exercise Physiology and all sorts of exercise science topics to this day. I just renewed all of my certs that I am keeping current and I already have enough CECs to recert again.
I will most likely train clients, teach CECs, and teach prospective fitness professionals to get certified for the rest of my life. Why stop doing what you love to do? I don’t plan on stopping swimming in the ocean, riding my bike all over the Big Island, resistance training, studying, or volunteering in my community either. Why would I? I don’t mind sitting still while watching the waves and the sunset at the end of the day. But even now, I am walking on a treadmill and answering questions because I don’t like to sit still very much and I love to educate others and myself.
Live, Learn, Aloha. That is my motto.
It started for me as a hobby after knee replacement surgery 7 years ago. I started working out to gain ROM and lose a few pounds to make it easier on my joints. as it turns out I absolutely loved working out! The new friends I was making and the way it made me feel. I gave my testimony to everyone I met when asked how I lost the weight especially with the obstacle of bad knees.That is why I love to work with others who have had joint replacement or other disabilities. It’s important to realize you can do any exercise with modifications and get the same great results.
Simple, I had the desire and ambition to get in shape!
I think for me it was just a matter of wanting to be healthy.