My friend Moriah did a great guest post last week on doing the scary thing. There, she touched a little on her desire to get into fitness as a professional. I have actually had several clients, turned friends, ask me about making that same move, for work and/or hobby. I absolutely love sitting down with passionate people and talking fitness, how I got into it, and how they too can start sharing their passion for fitness in their own neighborhoods and communities. Our conversations usually go something like this…
I was only 18 when I step into leading group fitness. I heard about a local class starting up in my small town at the community fitness center, which was affiliated with the local hospital. I asked my mom if I could go take a kickboxing class. (It was when Tae Bo with Billy Blanks was new and hot!) She agreed and I went to my first group fitness class at 16. The instructor must have seen something in me because she asked if I had ever thought about instructing. This was a whole new world to me as I had only gotten exercise in the form of sports, or dancing around with my Mom in the living room as she did Buns of Steel or Sweatin to the Oldies! At that time, I was still in high school, but I fell in love with group fitness. The certified kickboxing instructor was also the group fitness manager. She trained me one on one on how to lead a class in cardio kickboxing and step aerobics. I was teaching several times a week and by the time my senior year came around, I had been through my group fitness course, passed, and was certified. I even taught some group fitness in school for some special gym classes! I still remember my first kickboxing and step class participants now almost 15 years ago! (Whoa!!!)From that point up to the present I have always kept my foot in the door with group fitness. I have instructed in many different clubs, towns, and events. I even went on to get certified in personal training, and start a wellness blog! Back when I started I would have never imagined all the great people and opportunities it would bring into my life! So, what’s my advice in order to be a successful fitness professional? (And as usual, these points can transcend into other areas of life too!:)
1. Define What it Means to be Successful to YOU!
I’m no Jillian Michaels, I don’t have thousands of followers on social media, and I am not some elite personal trainer who studied exercise physiology and works full-time at a fancy club. I love fitness, moving, health, creativity, and encouraging people. I love when people tell me how much they enjoy my classes, talks, or blog posts. It is the reason I love doing all of this. If something I have to offer helps people, makes them happy, or challenges them, I am successful!
2. Go for It!
I have had my share of flops. But trying new things, using creativity in workouts, getting personal, telling jokes…whatever ideas you have to reach people, just try it!! Someone may not get it, may not like it, or may not care for you. That’s OK! Set yourself apart by being YOU! People gravitate towards authenticity.
3. Do the Work.
People always tell me that they like that I am always prepared for my classes and training sessions. They appreciate that I have a plan for our time and that I have taken the time to look for fun and challenging new things for us. My workouts don’t get boring because I am always on the lookout for variety and what’s new. I attend conferences, go to workshops, and am always on my favorite websites to gain information and inspiration.
4. Be a Team Player.
I try not to get intimated by my fellow trainers. I want them to succeed and even share whatever I can of my own methods and experience so that we can all get better. What goes around comes around, and I know that I love to be a part of a team that is positive and helpful, rather than competitive and negative. This goes for the atmosphere I like to create in my group trainings as well. I like to empower and call out leadership in others. Sure, I am the teacher and organizer, but when I see participants in the class cheering each other on, high fiving, and holding each other accountable, I am like a proud Mama! Every class I lead is an opportunity to make a friend, challenge an athlete, and leave feeling like you’re a part of something. From my experience, people really like this environment.
The thing is, fitness has been such a blessing in my life. Of course I love the personal benefits it brings to my health, but it has been so much more than that. Through fitness I have met some of my best friends. I have been to wakes, baby showers, baptisms, and weddings for friends that have come to my classes. My clients always turn into friends and we share so much week after week. Easily our hour sessions at the gym can turn into meeting up for dinner after classes, coffee dates, boot camps in the park, dinner parties, and more. I have a fitness family, and for that I am ultimately successful. Be YOU and create the classes and workouts that you would want to attend. Be the leader you would want to follow, and lastly have a servant’s heart in how you lead others.
If you have any questions around this, I am an open book!