Here I am with my first Silver Sneakers class, last Monday! This was incredibly meaningful to me, on so many levels.
As you may know, I’ve spent my career in another line of work, communications/PR. For most of my life I was overweight, had low self-esteem, was a yo-yo dieter and couldn’t stick to an exercise program. My weight has fluctuated by nearly 100 pounds over the years. But eight years ago I’d had enough. Even though I was over 40 I decided to try once again. This time I pushed through, didn’t give up, and finally found success and a whole new me! Read: My weight loss story
Fitness made such a difference in my life and I was so grateful to God for that, that it made me want to “give back” and see if I maybe could help others. I enrolled in a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) course. It was really difficult for me and took a long time because I was working full-time and had no educational or work background in physical fitness. The material and the amount of studying required completely intimidated me. But I refused to give up, kept working at it over a period of three years, and earned my CPT credential. Tears streamed down my face when I passed that test.
At that point, I found out about Silver Sneakers. When I looked into it and saw how positive and wonderful it is to work with older adults, I knew I wanted in!
While my CPT made me eligible to teach Silver Sneakers, I wanted additional training specific to leading groups. In 2016, I studied for six more months and became certified as a Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise, then as a Senior Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I attended Silver Sneakers instructor workshops. Also during this time I left my job at the University to return to self-employment, giving me the flexibility needed to begin teaching.
I worked for months writing and choreographing my first program. I learned how to cue, and how to mirror (to lead the class while facing them, which means that ‘left’ and ‘right’ is opposite for the instructor. Try that — it’s hard!). I practiced at home in my fitness room for sometimes hours at a time.
Last week, all of the years of personal struggle, the studying, the work, came together as I taught my first class. I can’t even put into words beyond this what it meant to me.
It went great, and I can definitely say that I’m off to a good start. The members and staff at this gym are wonderful and have warmly welcomed me, which made doing this for the first time fun and not so scary.
Thanks to fitness and healthy eating, I have gotten better with age and can live life to the fullest. I am so excited to now help others do the same and live their best life!
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