I started my journey, like most, with a New Year weight loss resolution. My goal, in January 2008, was to be the first of my friends to drop twenty pounds. We all agreed to jump on the fitness wagon together. Including a weekly weigh in and no cheating. We challenged one another to get healthier the right way. Exercise and clean eating.
Except, what was clean eating? And what workout do I have to do to lose twenty pounds? I had no idea. All I knew was that I had to start MOVING. I had put on major weight after three kids and was looking to lose at least fifty pounds. I joined a local gym with a girlfriend. We would go, put the kids in the kids club, and hit up random weight machines. Two hours of kid freedom to do whatever we wanted.
During my weight loss transformation I was using the process of elimination to figure out which foods I could continue to eat to ensure the weight would stay off. I was feeling really proud of my progress and there was NO WAY I was going back to my old way of eating. Oreos, Doritos, and Hamburger Helper were regular staples in my cart. A lot had changed and I knew I would not be able to eat like that anymore.
Eventually, she lured me into the group exercise room. I would stand in the back, roll my eyes, and half ass my way through class. We tried a few different classes before I became hooked on this one instructor.
She seemed to be perfect in every way. Her hair… flawless. Make up (to workout!?) flawless. Her sweat glistened and probably smelt like honey dew gum drops. Her socks matched her microphone. She smiled through the whole workout while shouting positive motivating cues. I was convinced she was some sort of alien fitness Barbie.
I remember thinking to myself, “This girl has been doing this her whole life. No wonder she is flawless. Her body is perfect because she doesn’t have kids. She’s probably in the gym ALL DAY LONG. Let me just stalk her on Myspace.”
And so I did.
She was married, two kids, and totally laid back. And FUNNY.
Damn it. I like her.
Friend Request Accepted.
In the next class… “Hey Ember!”
Shit. She knows who I am.
Hi. I love you.
That’s how I fell in love with group fitness. Her name was Christa and she had lost just as much weight me. Initiate girl crush.
By March 2008 I had given up twenty pounds to the fitness grind and achieved my goal. Bonus points because I did it the healthy way. Christa busted out her “before” pictures one day and my jaw dropped. It was me. Her “before” was my “present.” Instead of feeling bad about myself I felt EMPOWERED. It was ON. A fire of HOPE had just been lit and I was about to obliterate the rest of the weight!
"You have been created in order that you might make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world." -Andy Andrews
I went to every single one of her classes. I followed her around from gym to gym to gym. I was her puppy and she was my master. If she said jump I said how high! It paid off. In less than a year I had lost fifty pounds and there was no looking back.
Christa was amazing and eventually promoted from instructor to area manager. She was in charge of all instructors when I started seeing instructor recruiting signs around the gym. I was intrigued. If she can lose fifty pounds I can too. If she can teach group fitness I can too. Right?
After almost a year of taking classes I became fairly familiar with the workout routines and format. I pulled her aside one day and asked what it would take to teach? She seemed overly enthusiastic with the idea and urged me to attend an upcoming certification training. So I did.
In December 2009 I taught my very first group fitness class and my life was forever changed.
To be continued…