I never expected to be a personal trainer and fitness instructor. In fact, twelve years in, I still find it ironic that this is my career. I believe the phrase “plot twist!” would have been appropriate to use when I made the unexpected and uncharacteristic career choice over a decade ago. Although it is true that many personal trainers spring from the womb loving exercise, I am not that particular brand of human. Growing up, I never played sports, and I certainly didn’t enjoy gym class. The one physical thing I did enjoy was my once a week dance class and doing musical theater. Unfortunately, in my twenties I didn’t do any of those things so I spent my first 30 years slightly overweight and under-exercised. Sure, I had a gym membership and even went several days a week, but I definitely wasn’t what I would call fit. I didn’t discover the joy of gym going (yes, there is such a thing) until coworkers encouraged me to try a climbing wall instead of my same old routine on the elliptical machine. At the time, as a cocky twenty-something, I thought the 40 year olds going with me were amazing for trying it. Now that I’m on the other side of 40 myself I laugh at my naivete. Of course they were amazing! But not because they were 40 years old and climbing a wall. It was because they were trying something new, and scary, and loving it.
From that admittedly terrifying experience I discovered that I had it in me to challenge myself physically and more importantly that I actually enjoyed exercise. Who knew? Since that moment, I’ve kept pushing myself to try new activities, everything from boot camp classes to belly dance to multiple sprint length triathlons and the Covered Bridges half marathon. Over the past couple of years I’ve even been learning to tap dance.
Along the way there was frustration, fear and many negative voices in my head, usually saying something along the lines of “what were you thinking”? I was never the best at any of the activities, and sometimes I came in dead last, but I did them. And I kept trying new things, and getting better at the old ones.
I started teaching the classes I had been taking and at some point I decided I wanted to be a personal trainer. I made the career transition in 2007 and I haven’t looked back since. Now I work one-on-one and in group settings with amazing people of all ages, fitness levels, and life situations. My personal goal is to give people the tools they need to be “fit for life” as one client describes it. And I practice what I preach. Nowadays I get to do the things I loved as a kid – I teach my own dance classes and continue to do musical theater, keeping up with the teenagers in their tap shoes. Here are five tips to help you get moving too:
Amy’s 5 Simple Tips for Getting Fit
River Valley Club