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…..
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.
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.
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.