End of A Fitness Instructing Chapter…

After a nearly ten year long chapter in my book of life, the time has come to say “see ya later” to teaching fitness classes.  I taught my very last class this morning at the Council Bluffs YMCA and I absolutely cannot think of a better gym to close out my fitness instructing tenure.  These people all showed up in my fave color of BLACK, with smiles on their faces, ready to get their butts handed to them as I dished out a mashup of all my FAVE moves.

Even the slackers killed it. ❤

 

I know for most, this isn’t much of a thing.  But this thing is HUGE for me and I am not sure I am emotionally QUITE ready for this chapter to end, however, professionally and personally it’s time.

With a career shift (I am still in higher education but have switched institutions and programming size), comes great opportunity, and I am eager to spend my time really digging deep into strengthening programs that cater to our under-served student population and bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary education across the Metro area.

Some really exciting stuff, guys!

But, with that, comes sacrifice!

.

My fitness instructing career began clear back in 2002 in my hometown fitness facility and after a brief hiatus in between my move to the City, I held positions with 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, IWCC, and the Omaha Metro YMCA, specifically with the Council Bluffs branch.

I LOVE(D) it.

Teaching fitness classes in the city opened up the door to my stint as a national fitness trainer as a Master Trainer for BBLive, which provided an incredible opportunity to meet fitness minded folks from all across the U.S. and within my territory of Iowa and Nebraska.   (You can read more of my Master Trainer life here and here).

.

I still to this day talk to Sarah (second from right) at minimum once per week.  The friendship built through MT’ing was a gift in and of itself.

And the HUNDREDS of people I had the great privilege of training over the course of two years was such an incredible journey.

.

To close this chapter is pretty sentimental.  But, to close it with the YMCA folks who have been with me for nearly FIVE YEARS at the same time, same day, is something I will cherish to the end.

.

The CB-YMCA is where the Slacker Corner was formed:

 

.

And where I earned the OFFICIAL rights to be the Supervisor of them all:

.

It’s where I learned time and time again that age is just a number and mental strength always perseveres.

.

It’s where I got to know members on a deeper level and held the honor of celebrating their milestones and achievements in their health and wellness journey (here’s looking at YOU Randy in your incredible journey to doing a BURPEE in class with us)

.

The folks at CB-YMCA learned to live with me through all my costume themed classes and endless photo opportunities:

.

.

The CB-YMCA is where we celebrated members, turned family, and fought with them battles never before imagined:

.

We celebrated BIRTHDAY’s and HOMECOMINGS in a BIG way:

.

.

.

They chastised me with signs, questionable words under their breath and always with splashes of humor:

.

And celebrated with me my LOVE of all things BLACK:

.

We grew together as a family as we left the old for the new:

.

.

And banded together to overcome not only the end of the workouts, but life’s ever waving highs and lows.

Class was more than class. It was (and will continue to be) a time of togetherness, camaraderie and love.

.

In my reflection over the last several years, I see grit, tenacity, passion, exhaustion, fear, triumph and happiness.  I gave it my all and I sure hope every class, every trainee, every one-timer and every regular truly felt the love I had in teaching and took away something from their experiences.

Putting that mic on brings out a side of me that is a rarity.  Taking the microphone off for the very last time this morning has left a void, but I know, in my heart of hearts, I WILL be back again one day in front of the class.  Let’s just call it a cliff hanger with a sequel to be determined.  And I am sticking around on the sub list so I can get my “fix” on the occasion… 😉

Until then, I am going to continue my participation at a gym I attend as a participant (here’s looking at you, Edge Body Bootcamp) that challenges me physically and mentally every single day.  It’s my personal happy place.  Fitness is a LARGE part of who I am and what makes me happy.  It is not something I will ever let go.  I live for the challenge it places on me. It’s my own personal competition and I am my own opponent.  I friggin’ LIVE for it.

So, on that note…

Here is a CHEERS to my run in fitness instructing.  It’s been fun!

Until next time…

Life As A Master Trainer: What I Have Learned So Far

Life as a Master Trainer

I’ve always had an interest in instructing and mentoring.  I was deeply invested in being a Cheer and Dance team coach.  I lived for the big concert moments as a teacher, watching my students play their instruments with pride and joy.  I love teaching fitness classes.  And as a Master Trainer, I am now combining all those little worlds into something bigger than I had ever even imagined.

image

.

The homework.  The planning.  The preparation.  The networking.  The outreach.  The partnerships.  The agreements.  The marketing.  The branding.  The conference calls.  The hours of work at night after an already 8 hour day in my career and two fitness classes under the belt.  There are sacrifices.  There are hours of missed sleeps.

But, with all of that comes accomplishment.  There is reward.  There is fulfillment.  There is a sense of self.  There is pride.  There is opportunity.   There is passion.  There is pure joy.  There is nothing I want to do more.

image

.

Being an MT means helping people achieve their bucket list item of becoming a fitness instructor.

image

.

image

.

image

.

image

.

It means pushing people beyond their physical limits and showing them what they TRULY can do when they put their mind and heart to it.

image

.

image

.

image

.

It means helping instill a different level of appreciation for the human body and how it functions.

image

.

image

.

It means helping teach the importance of community and family in a Group X classroom and how to create it.

Truly create it.

image

.

image

.

image

.

Being a Master Trainer is more then just certifying instructors.  It’s days and hours of heart and soul. It’s walking into an 8 hour certification as strangers and leaving as a family.  It’s taking all of their fears, doubts and nerves and changing them to goals, accomplishments and excitement.  Each certification I learn more about myself.  I become more self-aware.  I reflect for hours and days following a certification on how I can make the next one even better then the last.  On how I can help these individuals who have just put all of their trust into little ol’ me to help make THEM the best they can be before they go out to the world and instruct their own classes.

Being a Master Trainer is far more then I ever imagined.

And to just think…

this is just the beginning.

image

 

.

 

 

 

I Did It!! 2015 Beachbody Master Trainer Ambassador

image

I had a dream.

I had a dream that I wanted to turn into a reality.

For an entire year I sat on this dream when finally 4 months ago I made the commitment to follow through.  My recent post about fear (here) and my Facebook posts have been directed towards this goal.

I was scared. 

Scared of failure. 

Scared of rejection.

It isn’t easy putting yourself out there for others to critique you.  That is HARD.

And down right humbling.

This dream that I speak of was to become a Beachbody Master Trainer.  Master Trainers are some of the hardest working folks in the fitness industry.   These individuals are hand picked to lead, inspire and train others in the fitness world.  Train the Trainer is the simplest way to explain what a Master Trainer does.

I kept sight of my goal and my dream.  It was there in the front of my mind 24 hours a day, even when that dream started to dim because the fear was taking over.

I was mentally prepared, physically prepared and the only thing holding me back was self-doubt and the fear of the word no.

I am not one for being the center of attention unless I am in my element..  Most situations that put me on the spot make me incredibly nervous.  Speaking up in a large team meeting makes me cringe but I don’t think twice when speaking in front of 50 counselors and administrators about my job.  Teaching fitness classes in front of a classroom full of students makes me feel alive!

image

It’s all about being in my element.

So, why was I letting fear take over my audition?   This is what I was meant for.  This is something I LOVE to do and brings the most joy to my life.  And the timing was perfect.   We were already scheduled to be on vacation in Colorado the SAME weekend Master Trainer Auditions were being held in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  A mere 2.5 hour drive from Copper Mountain where we were staying.

It was like the stars had aligned.   I couldn’t NOT go.  Just couldn’t.

And so, February 28th, I faced that fear and walked out of that audition room feeling more alive, confident, humbled then I’ve ever felt before.

I had officially been accepted into the Beachbody Master Trainer Ambassador program.

 mastertrainer

 

I did it.

I chased a dream.

A BIG dream.

A dream I never imagined possible.

 

I am still on Cloud 9.  I am overwhelmed, thrilled, nervous, eager, grateful and humbled.

.

So what now?  What does all of this mean?

Let me break it all down for you from the audition to the training to the actual job.

Audition

The audition process was simple in structure.  All Master Trainer hopefuls gathered in front of the panel of judges.

The judges at my audition were Barbara Brodowsky, Field Director of Certification, California; Katy Meuer, Master Trainer, Colorado; Jessica Booterbaugh, Master Trainer, California; Joie Walsh, Master Trainer and Top Master Trainer in the Company, Massachusetts; Maksim Seredov, Master Trainer, Colorado.

When they called out the participants names we stood in front of the judges and answered a series of questions.  Mostly about ourselves, our interests, our experiences, etc.   Then it was our time to shine!  I chose to teach Insanity. (Round 10 for those fellow Insaniacs following along).  We stood in front of the other master trainer hopefuls and taught them!  Talk about a rush teaching some of the best of the best. 🙂

When I finished, Joie asked me if I had ever considered doing Turbo as well.  OF COURSE, I said and then proceeded to show a quick 8 count move that I remembered from a previous round.  HAHAHA.  It was almost like on American Idol when the hopefuls make a last ditch effort to redeem themselves.   Too funny.   Joie and Barb said that I looked like a natural for Turbo as well and that I fit the persona of a Turbo girl.  Happy, smiling, excited, ponytail flying.   You have NO idea how good that made me feel at that exact moment.   I knew I did ok in my Insanity audition, but I got my ass handed to me thanks to the Colorado altitude.  You guys!  That is NO JOKE!   I can typically slam out a solid minute of burpees with great technique.  There?  I got 4 in and had to demonstrate modifications.  All new respect for athletes who train at that elevation.  Dang, kids.

Which reminds me.  During my actual audition I yelled out during the 2nd 30 second move “Can I get a HELL YA for this altitude”?

It was perfect.  The room lit up with smiles and laughs and we chugged right along into move #3.

After everyone had their chance to audition, we were gathered into a large circle with Barb in the middle.  She congratulated all of us for our hard work and clear dedication.   She made sure to mention that we were one of the best groups she had seen in 2015.

And then the moment of truth.  She called each of our names, told us what we did great and what things needed improved on.  And then it was either a yes, you made it, or no, try again next time.

She got to me.

Jordan – you have the body build of an athlete.  Your moves were good with a few minor adjustments to be made, in-particular, your straight arm jacks.  Arms need to be straight, fists need to be tight.  Over-exaggerate your moves.   As a Master Trainer everything has to be bigger, louder and over-exaggerated.  Oh, and we really think Turbo should be your other area of focus as well.  Congrats, you are in.

I wanted to cry.  I really did.  I held it together but I was dying on the inside.    That was the end of the audition.  Those of us that made it congratulated each other, gave hugs and took a group photo.

Cheers to the 2015 Master Trainer class!

image

Jordan, Quen, Jessica, Aimee, Kent, Sarah, Saare

Jessica From New Mexico.  Turbo Girl!  She just shined on stage.  Such energy she has and of course her adorable smile!
Aimee From Colorado.  PiYo girl!  She is a personal trainer, PiYo teacher amongst many other fitness genres.  And this girl is ripped!  Reminds me that I need to get back to the weight room, stat!
Kent  From Utah.  Such great energy, good form, warm smile and welcoming attitude.
Sarah From Wyoming.  Her story is so incredibly inspiring.  Just view her FB profile pic and you will get it.  She cried when she found out she made it in and all I wanted to do was give her a giant hug, but I knew if I did, I would cry too.  She is one inspiring girl. 🙂
Saare From North Carolina.   She’s a PiYo girl and WOW was she just amazing to watch. Her technique, form and energy was just incredible.  AND – she’s 7 weeks pregnant.  They know she has the drive and determination to make this work.  They know that she might be in training a little longer due to her little bundle of joy, BUT, that didn’t stop them from accepting her now into the program.  How incredible is that?  She has big dreams and big plans and I am so excited to watch what she does.
Quen From Arkansas.   He’s an Insaniac through and through. In FACT: he was in the Round 11 Insanity training video.  This guy has SO much energy, he’s incredible.   He made me feel so much more at ease before the audition.  To watch him perform was mesmerizing.   True athlete.
.
And, this is me literally 15 minutes after I found out I had made it.
.

image

First phone call:  Clint.  Pure excitement.  Fast conversation.  Stress relief.   He made me feel so good before and after.  ❤

Second phone call: Mom.  I cried.   Haha.   Why is it when you call your mom about exciting things you cry?  Or is that just me?  Love you, mom!

Third Phone Call: Kayla.  AHHHH!!!!  Pure excitement.  I think the feeling was mutual because I could hear the excitement in her voice coming right back at me.

Tyree, Nicole, Sara, Grandma, Jessica (<– who didn’t pick up.  tsk, tsk)… they were all called next before I made the executive decision to stop calling and focus on my driving.   I had another 2.5 hours on the road BACK to Copper Mountain, in the dark, in the snow.   I made it back at midnight.

The older boys were still up when I walked in.  I got a big congrats from Kyle and my nephews Connor, Zach and Devin.  Made me feel super special.  Love those crazy kids.
And then my giant hug from the hubs.
.
Training
.
Now begins the 6-9 month training period.  I will be paired with a mentor during my training period and will be submitting a lot of videos of my form, technique, class teaching style, etc.   I will also attend as many trainings that I can close by to gain additional expertise.   Training will consist of several other elements such as how to conduct a certification, how to set up trainings, marketing, business management, etc.   That entire schedule wont be laid out for me until next week, so right now, my training knowledge is limited.
Once through the training period I will earn my trainer title and then will start offering my own trainings/certifications for Beachbody LIVE formats.   I will be focusing on Insanity and Turbo.  I have a little part of me that hopes to add P90X and maybe PiYo if I can start getting that practice shoved into my schedule.   But for certain, Insanity and Turbo it is!!!
.

And for the record, I am the FIRST Nebraska Master Trainer.

How cool is that?!

 

What I have learned from this experience is this:

 

never-doubt-yourself

 

You have to trust yourself.  You have to make a goal and keep pushing towards it.  Do NOT let go of your dreams because of fear and self-doubt.

I am so glad I kept pushing through even though the fear was all but consuming that last month leading to the audition.  I am living proof that if you want something bad enough, and you put in the work and time needed to get it, it CAN be done.

Cheers to the next stage of my fitness career and life.

2015: you are looking mighty fine

image

 

March 2017 Update:

I have officially retired my role as a Master Trainer for Beachbody Live.
For the update, click here.

For The Love of Teaching

What is that saying…

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

How many can say that they truly love what they do?

The percentage is probably low if I was guessing.   If you can say you LOVE what you do, then you relate to that quote above.   You get it. You live it.  You freaking LOVE it.

I enjoy my day job.  My career.  My 7:30-4:30 position.  It has its perks, rewards, flexibility and stability that I need.   But, I would still call it work.   It’s work.  It’s why I have two Master’s degrees.  I have this position because I worked for it and will continue to work to stay on top of it all.

But, I also do something I love.   I would go crazy without my side gig.

It’s the peanut butter to my apple.

The protein to my shake.

The icing on my cake.

 

image

 

I started teaching fitness classes back in 2003.  I stumbled into it thanks to Frances Furst, my first Group X instructor.  She encouraged me to seek a National Certification and so I did. I taught in my small hometown gym, The Clarinda Lied Center, and also at the Clarinda Academy where I taught to the youth.

It was my escape.  It was my therapy.

It kept my mind going when I was internally struggling with some life decisions.

I loved it.   Absolutely loved it.

image

 

And then three years later I found myself going through a major life change, a risky change, a move to the city of Omaha with no job lined up and I let my teaching fall to the wayside.  It wasn’t until a few years later when I started taking back control of ME and my well-being that I contemplated getting back into the fitness industry again.   I started taking classes with my friend and mentor, Carrie McDonald, and through her encouragement and gentle pushing I found myself Nationally Certified again and on my way back to the front of the class.  Carrie, THANK YOU, for being that push, that support, that confirmation that I truly needed.

Man, am I ever so glad to be here.

image

 

I love the push it gives me to keep working towards a healthier me.

 

image

 

I love the feeling I get when I walk around the room to help motivate others to keep pushing.  I see the struggle.  I’ve been there… I STILL go there.  It isn’t always easy for me.  If it was then that means I am not pushing hard enough.

I like to help people push to their max because we are all far stronger then we ever possibly imagined.

And when they realize it?

That look.  That moment of “Hell YA!  I just did that” makes it all worth it.

image

 

I love feeding off the energy, the excitement, the nerves and the hard work that a Group X class brings.

 

image

 

And I love celebrating with the class when we make it to the end.  That feeling of pure satisfaction and accomplishment is freaking awesome.   Trust me when I say you can FEEL it come alive right there on the floor.   We work hard together, we sweat massive puddles together, we scream because it HURTS together, and then I hi-five the hell out of the class when we are done.

WE did it.  WE made it.

 

image

 

I take this love of teaching in the physical classroom and translate that into the online environment as well.  I have found my other love is in online accountability groups.

As a fitness coach, I help people choose exercise programs that will work into their schedule and lifestyle.   And then together we WORK.   We work on nutrition plans, exercise routines and we talk through barriers.

I want to help people see their worth, their need for physical and mental well-being and I want to help them become healthy and fit.  Does that always mean losing weight?  Absolutely not.

It’s about strength, mental focus, self-confidence and overall health.

And you know what these little groups have done?   They change ME.  My peeps help keep me motivated and accountable.

I love being a fitness instructor.

I love being a coach.

I LOVE what I do.

image

 

I thank my class attendees for making my job ridiculously fun!

I thank my online accountability clients for making my job rewarding!

I thank my hubby for allowing me to keep up a crazy schedule to continue to do more of what I love.

I am thankful for this job that I have.  This job is the absolute best job on Earth.

The best job for ME.

image

Merry FITMAS to ME!!

I had some large and in charge boxes hanging out on my front porch today.   All for ME!   Why, yes!   I buy myself big ticket items around Christmas.   I had to!  The discounts were incredible!

image

 

I was so stinking excited to open these babies up and get them settled into their new corner of the world.  AKA: my fitness corner.    I got a new step, barbell, a few plates and a whole DVD set of Body Pump.

image

 

Oh YES YES YES!  This little corner makes me very happy.  I’ve got all my dvd programs nestled away safely on a shelf ready to play at anytime.  My kettlebells, a few hand weights, bands, fitness journals… all things Fit Focused.

image

 

My stockpile is growing.  I’ve got several other items on my wishlist (floor mats, mirrors, dumbbells, more plates…) but I think I’ll give Santa a chance at those first.  😉

Working on those 2015 Goals EARLY.

image

Oh, there’s Champ again.   #typical

Speaking of wish lists and goal setting… have you thought about your 2015 goals yet?   Does fitness and nutrition have a spot on that list?

I’ve got multiple challenge groups planned for 2015 that you could be a part of.   Prescribed fitness plans, eating plans, motivation and me as an accountability partner.

More information on that soon.  Just know…

I’ve got your back.  

Because, what you don’t realize is that you also have mine.

I’ve got two groups going right now, and man… the dedication I am already seeing out of these ladies is amazing.   They are going to have some serious results before Christmas.   Super proud of them and we are only 2 days in. 🙂

 

Cheers to being FIT FOCUSED.