Did I think I would be in fitness when I was younger? Nope. Did I think I would be 10 years ago? Still no. I have always loved to move. I grew up with a pool in my back yard, where I was placed before I could walk. I started dance classes when I was two. I played basketball, soccer, even T-ball I believe, but I never thought the fitness profession was in my future. So, how on earth did I get here?
The short answer; God did it. He orchestrated it because there is no way I could pull this off.
If you want the long answer, here we go.
It has been evident since the age of two that I love to move/dance and I love music. I continued recreational and competitive dance classes off and on until I was 12. From 12-18 years I tried other sports through our local community and school while struggling with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation my last couple years of high school. After high school, I got involved in musical theatre which introduced me to a local dance studio where I was able to take and eventually teach many styles to many ages.
Through a series of (fortunate and unfortunate) events, a friend of mine invited me to try Zumba® at her gym. I was about 3 months postpartum with my third child and a night "out" doing something I loved sounded magical. I absolutely loved it. We joined the gym immediately and I took Zumba® whenever I could.
After a couple months taking class I thought, "I could do this!" I drove to Madison, Wisconsin and took my Zumba® Basic 1 training in May of 2013 on Mother's Day weekend (not knowing I was pregnant with number 4). I was determined not to sign up for ZIN. I signed up for ZIN. I still am ZIN and it was one of the best decisions I've made.
In June I started teaching at the studio and in July at my corporate day job. In August, the gym asked if I could come audition and in September I had a class there as well. That year I also became a certified group fitness instructor through ACE. In January 2014, I had my 4th child and in April, returned to teaching adding more classes at more locations. I loved it.
I loved seeing how much fun people were having while being active. Not just moving to move but finding joy in the movement. I loved the small community we were building. I loved it so much that by the end of 2014 I left my corporate job partly to teach and partly to mom because childcare is crazy expensive when you have a circus. We homeschooled our kids for 2 1/2 years. I learned so much about health, wellness, fitness, myself, my kids, and life in this time. It was crazy and beautiful. I was only teaching Zumba® but I was content. Until Zumba® did something crazy. They released a HITT format.
Zumba® released STRONG by Zumba® (not STRONG Nation®) and everything changed. I was sure I would come close to death but I had to try. In August of 2016 I attended the first STRONG Nation® training in Minnesota with a huge group of other insane people. I was so nervous, I trained for it. Looking back, that wasn't necessary but I'm still glad I did. Almost a week after our training, another instructor and I released the program at our gym. It's was bad but it wasn't great. We had work to do. Thank goodness they didn't give up on us.
Since September 2016 I have added classes and taken away classes. I have planted a studio and closed a studio. I taught Zumba® and STRONG Nation®, added yoga, became a Certified Personal Trainer with NASM, took a cycle training, TRX training, BodyPump training, a bunch of online trainings. I moved to Florida and just kept going because I loved it. I saw people that didn't think they could do something, do something. I saw people push with smiles, sometimes glares. I saw a family of people grow. I saw people go from hesitant and unsure to confidant and strong. I saw people find themselves.
I think that is why I love my job and why God brought me here. I get to encourage people. I get to help them see they are more than. Sometimes fitness can cause us to think our size, weight, figure, muscle mass determines who we are or what we are worth but we are more than that. We are more than a number, a strategically lit instagram photo or even a diet program. You are more than that. You are more than you think. You are capable of more than you think. That is why I'm here, because we need to realize we have more worth as we are, where we are, because God sees us and loves us.
I have never known THIS was what I would do. I don't know what I will do in the future. I do know I love helping people and showing them love.
Go smile at people.