Who knew that the “fitness craze” would grow into a huge industry, helping people of all ages and conditions to feel better and live better.
My motivation for starting to exercise came in response to a challenge from my Marine husband. He had witnessed my struggle to get and stay thin by starving and dieting for many years, and he was sick of it. Marines feel strongly that all you need is the weight of your own body to get incredibly fit.
The challenge…Run One Mile! My running time was 10 pm after he returned home to stay with our young son. My running track was around the next door cornfield. That’s how my love of exercise began. I found that running gave me confidence, strength, leanness and I learned that I LOVED TO SWEAT!
My friends wanted no part of exercising outside on a Marine base, and asked me if I would teach an “inside” exercise class at the Naval Gym. So, how do I lead an exercise class???? Searching through stores (no internet then) I only found one exercise book, “The Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Handbook.” (This book is in my library today and cherished).
Yes, it even had drawings of women in black leotards performing some of the exercises. So barefoot and dressed in black, we started our class. Recommended exercises…jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, squats, lunges….1 hour’s worth!
Within a few months, 60 women showed up twice a week to exercise and the only sound was the hard breathing and counting. Music just wasn’t involved in exercise back in those days. I found that I loved exercising with a group focused on having fun, sweating and getting into shape.
When I left, those 60 women were feeling strong, healthy and confident in both body and mind. It was a joint effort of fun, support and learning for all of us. Thus, began my career in the “fitness craze” business. In retrospect, I was so lucky to have found my life’s work from my first “job” as exercise teacher.
However, as I taught exercise classes, I was always looking for something that would interest me and look like a “real” job. It was the 80’s and the pressure for a woman to have a profession was strong. At that time, teaching exercise classes did not count. Well, turn around, and I am a lifelong fitness trainer.
In l981, I flew from Hawaii to San Diego to attend the International Dance Exercise Association’s first convention. (www.ideafit.com), Attendees were woman in black leotards, pink tights, ballet shoes or barefoot.
This was the most exciting event in my life up until then. Hey, it sort of looks like a career path. In l987, American College of Sports Medicine (www.ACSM.org) came to Hawaii to conduct its first Personal Trainer Certification. Once I finished the 6 month course, I knew that this definitely was my career path.
I have traveled the fitness road for the last 40+ years, never wandering too far from this path.Never thinking that it was a career until the early 80’s. Although I added other avenues that were fitness related, speaking, tv, videos, personal training, coaching, I never left my main path, ‘TEACHING AND MOTIVATING PEOPLE TO EXERCISE.” Helping people move their bodies, find their motivators and stay the course has been my life . May I die in the gym, helping people leave the gym feeling better.
I would love to hear how and when you started exercising. Did you stop, why? Did you continue, why? What motivates you today? My career came as a total surprise to me. Did your career happen by surprise, sweat and tears or planning?