My Fitness Instructor Journey

Hey friends!

Happy Monday–how was your weekend?


  • Went to a friend’s wedding reception.
  • I did a quick full-body weights workout.
  • I biked 40 miles and then I ran 10 miles. (Last long Saturday for me until the race–>12 days to go!)
  • I hung out at the pool the rest of the day-swam, read a book, and ate watermelon. It was glorious.
  • I chilled with my husband on Saturday night -we ate paninis & watched Olympics.
  • I slept for 12 hours Saturday night. (!!!!!)
  • Went to church on Sunday <—didn’t do my hair.
  • Hung out with in-laws and a friend & watched the closing ceremonies. (SO sad it’s over! But maybe I’ll get my sleep back?!)

A wonderful, perfect weekend.


You all know some of my eating disorder & disordered eating history, but I’ve never really talked about how I GOT to my passion & job of being a fitness instructor.

Well, lucky you. That’s all about to change. 😉

It’s actually kind of a short story.

My Fitness Instructor Journey

I danced ballet & hip hop through High School, as well as playing field hockey and lacrosse. I was always active, and I never really thought about what I would do once that all stopped….

In college I danced ballet my entire Freshman year, so once again, I didn’t think much about ‘fitness.’ After I quit ballet (tough, tough decision to make), I started ‘going to the gym.’

I ellipticized, I treadmilled, and I step-milled. I never set foot in the group exercise room, nor did I run or bike.

{I did attend 1 kick-boxing and 1 boot camp class on campus at the end of my Sophomore year, but didn’t love it. And my Sophomore year I took an aerobics class every morning for credit for half a semester–it was boring, but I got sweaty & was good at it b/c ya need coordination.}

I started running in 2005 for fun, and one day in 2007 I set the goal to run a half-marathon…so I ran one in 2008 (first race ever).

The Turning Point

(A bit before though,) In the Fall of 2007, while living with my little sister (the nurse & beautiful pregnant lady), she left me at the treadmills to go to a ‘great class’,’ she called it.

I didn’t want to leave my beloved treadmill, so I didn’t follow her.

{a pic of us around that time, 2007}

BUT, the following Saturday, I clearly remember her telling me to come try it with her, just once.

I went.

And it KICKED my butt. It opened my eyes to a WHOLE new world of fitness, and it was FUN!! (HUGE turning point)

I started attending that class (it was a weights & cardio circuit class) faithfully all throughout the rest of 2007 and into 2008. But then again, that was the ONLY class I went to.

In early 2009 I was invited to teach fitness classes on campus (because I was a graduate student in Exercise Science). I took it, and this is where it all REALLY began.

I taught swimming & aerobics to start, and it was my FAVORITE part of the day! I loooovvveeeddd teaching.

During this time I was also attending more classes at the gym-like Zumba, Pilates, weight training, and other bootcamp-style classes. I had started falling in love with Zumba, and began seriously considering getting my certification to teach it.

Every day I went to those classes I fell more in love with exercise classes in the group setting. I met new friends, I (mostly) enjoyed the music, and I felt so empowered.

After getting married, I signed up for the Zumba certification. I passed it, and then exactly 2 weeks later I auditioned at a huge gym to be an instructor.

{us around that time–Summer, 2010}

HUGE News That Mattered

I GOT the job!

This was a HUGE moment in my life. I knew I had rocked the audition, and I had felt so ALIVE and free and happy when I taught, and I think the auditioner saw that in me. She saw that it came natural to me.

{I am not bragging, I am just saying I am lucky that someone saw the potential in me as I began this wonderful journey!}

And then 1 month later I was sent an email about a class named ‘BodyPUMP‘ that was coming to the area (I had no idea what it was. hah). I talked to my mentor/instructor friend and she told me she was doing it… I signed up too!

{When peer pressure is a good thing.}

Those 3 days in early October, 2010, of 8-hour per day training were grueling, tough, and life-changing. I am not kidding when I say that. Those 3 days changed my idea of fitness, strength, and how to be a good instructor. I saw in my eyes what I wanted to do and to be (at least part time. Hah). It was SO awesome.

And I knew it was for me when I was sad to leave after 8+ hours of training, teaching, and learning!

{me with the awesome instructor/friend who convinced me to do BodyPUMP with her. With our husbands at a gym party, 2010}

That same semester in grad school I taught 3 different swimming classes, 2 different aerobics classes, and 1 weight training class. It was incredible! Then at the gym I got asked to teach 3 different BodyPUMP classes per week, and I was subbing a bunch of Zumba and Pilates classes too. I also taught a core class.

Ever since then I have taught at least 5 fitness classes per week, and it’d be an understatement to say that those hours per week are some of my favorite! 

I was born to teach fitness. I was born to lead, motivate, inspire, and help women and men become stronger, fitter, faster, stronger, happier, and healthier.

But I never would have known this was my gift & talent if I had not taken a step forward, took a step outside my comfort zone and TRIED something new.

I will be forever grateful to a sister who asked me (no, told me) to come to a class with her that fateful day, and an incredible instructor who became my friend and mentored me to be an even better instructor.

Fitness DOES change lives. It changed mine.

But even more so, fitness classes can be empowering places for people to have fun, get fit, and find a strength within themselves they never knew they had.

But, it all depends on the teacher if those classes are inspiring and not boring.

But we’ll talk about that another day. 😉

Being a fitness instructor is an incredible part of my life, and I am thankful for this.


And now I am off to teach some BodyPUMP <–teaching that class changed the game for me!

Have a LOVELY day, my friends! <3

What has YOUR fitness class journey been like?? If YOU teach fitness classes, what do YOU teach & how did YOU get into it?? What is YOUR favorite fitness class to attend?

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  1. Well teaching fitness is definitely your calling! You are SO amazing at it!!!!! I talked to my lil bro last night and his gf and him were going to a BodyPump class.. I was like oooooooh! :( MIss you!!

  2. I was at that Christmas party! I remember you four hanging out together. 😉 Too funny.

    I loved your story lady! You are such an inspiration!

  3. danielle says:

    Oh I love reading about your journey, it’s so amazing!
    My fitness journey is totally crazy and long, but I’ll try and sum it up :)
    I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis when I was 11yrs old, and they recommended me to have rods put in. My mom didn’t want that so for the next 8 y ears I went to a chiropractor a few times a week and she told me to really utilize exercising and fitness. So I started martial arts, running, and even swam for a semester. I got really strong in kung fu, but finally had to have spinal fusion in 1999 so couldn’t do full contact sports anymore. After my surgery and year long of physical therapy, my doc said I was ready to whatever I felt comfortable with. I was terrified of cycling and faling, but 3 years later I was swimming, running, and cycling… and did my first sprint tri in 2005. It felt amazing, and since then I’ve just appreciated the joy of movement in every way. Fitness has also helped me with my body and food issues tremendously, in fact I feel so blessed that I can move my body now and take care of myself.
    I love good fitness instructors and my favorite ones are a spinning class and a kickboxing class. Love them both, so much energy and so motivating! My spining instructor is an Ironman finisher and just amazes me, she is my senior by many years, yet totally leaves me in her dust when I’ve ridden with her and her Irongirl friends out on cycling rides. Makes me feel like a wuss, but it’s good practice 😉

  4. What a good Monday morning motivation story to start the weeK! :) Thank you!

  5. You’re just so awesome. I think the only class I’d like to teach is Zumba or kickboxing…even though I’m a much better dancer in my mind….the only things I’m good at are running and hitting things. :) Did you ever take a kickboxing class with bags/ pads?

  6. I really love reading about your journey as a fitness instructor, clearly it is what you are meant to do! I wish I could go to one of your classes!
    I love your whole journey, its a true inspiration!

  7. This was a truly great thing to read about… I enjoyed learning about your personal journey! It’s so interesting to hear about people arrived at a career and job that they actually enjoy

    • So many twists & turns to lead me to the right place 😉 Sometimes we wish we knew we had all the answers RIGHT now, but it’s so much better to be led by our hearts!

  8. That’s so awesome! And what a great feeling when you just KNOW you rocked something and then you get the results you’re hoping for. Love it! Super-jealous of your panini, sleep-filled weekend. :)

  9. caroline says:

    ME!!! MEEEEEEEE! I guess it IS because of me that you found your calling. Free exercise classes for me for life? ja?

    MY favorite fitness classes to attend are YOURS. You always bring so much energy and inspiration to your classes.

  10. I loved this post! this is exactly how I feel about teaching Zumba.. it just 100% changed my life in words I can’t even explain. I am so glad you have found all of this!

  11. My journey with fitness has definitely had ups and a lot of downs. I grew up dancing (tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop) and also did cheerleading for a number of years. I loved it and never thought of it as “exercise” (that was what we did in PE class and I *hated* it).

    Then in college I took a couple dance classes for half credits before falling away from fitness almost all together. I walked a lot of hills on my college campus, but I never worked out.

    Then, about a year after college, I decided to do an Olympic distance triathlon with Team in Training. I chronicled the journey on my blog and it was definitely a pivotal moment. I’d always like to swim and ride bikes, but I’d always hated running… and this was all three! And far! And my parents thought I was crazy because I was the unathletic kid that hated PE growing up. I did it though. I finished and I was SO proud of myself. It was incredible. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my team though.

    Without a race to train for though, I lost a lot of motivation and mostly kept fit with the occasional run on my own or doing ballet in my living room. I liked both, but I was lonely and not nearly as motivated without people… so I joined a gym and started going to ALL of the classes that looked interesting to me on a weekly basis – yoga, zumba, aqua zumba, turbo kick boxing, and bodypump.

    I went to most of the classes with my best friend, it was something we did together and we’ve both made a ton of friends through Group X. He became a BP instructor and started teaching and I still took and when our gym expanded their LesMills offerings, I fell in love with BodyFlow. It combined the group dynamic I loved, with awesome music and choreography, and the format just felt like “me.” I got certified in April and I just started teaching my own class (I’d been team teaching previously).

    It’s a journey that’s SO far from over.


  1. […] the rest here: My Fitness Instructor Journey | BodyPUMP … – Enjoy Your Healthy Life ← [Healthy Living] SMACK THAT FAT! 10 Best Foods for Weight Loss and Ultimate […]

  2. […] actually left most of this as a comment on this Enjoy Your Healthy Life post and decided that I should share it here on my own blog too (with a couple additions )… […]

  3. gregory グレゴリー ポーチ

    My Fitness Instructor Journey | BodyPUMP teacher | Fitness Changes Lives | Zumba Class | Gym Time | Enjoy Your Healthy Life



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