Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Newbie

For a long time, I looked into becoming a group fitness instructor even before I had a decent track record with fitness. Why? It always seemed like a really cool job to me. From time to time, I’d research this possibility, and the whole thing seemed very complicated. A lot of gyms require that you have a general group fitness certification from a national governing body, like ACE (American Council on Exercise) or AFAA. I didn’t really get what I would be able to do with this certification, other than say “Hey there, I’m certified to teach at your gym.” But to teach what?

I considered getting certified to teach Spinning because most gyms do not require their Spinning instructors to have the general certification. There was one small issue with this plan: I really didn’t love Spinning. From time to time, I enjoy a Spin class. I like the amount of sweating that happens in a Spin room, but it’s just not my thing.

Then, I talked running buddy Meg into trying a Sunday morning Zumba class at our gym in January 2010. It was the fastest hour of exercise I had ever participated in. I wanted the class to last longer. I wanted to dance more. Without question, I had found my thing.

I’ve been certified to teach Zumba since July 2010, and it has taken me a long time to get around to doing anything about getting a class. I did have the opportunity to audition for a Zumba class in the fall, which did not go horribly, but clearly did not result in me getting a class. I had no idea what I was doing (I’m not sure I have much of an idea of what I’m doing now), but I did learn from that experience. First and foremost, I learned to SIMPLIFY.

This year, I really wanted to make the whole Zumba thing happen, but honestly, I wasn’t sure I had it in me. Well, I lucked out. The local YMCA—which is approximately six blocks from my house—offered me the opportunity to teach two Zumba classes a week. The truth is, I did not have to work terribly hard to get these classes, but because of that I feel like I have to work even harder to prove that I deserve them.

I’ve been a bit MIA these past few weeks because I’ve been preparing myself to teach. Luckily (and somehow), I had about two-thirds of material ready to go, the bad news was that I still needed to learn a few songs in order to fill an entire class (gotta love the 45-minute format, so much easier to prepare for than an hour). There were a lot of early mornings in the dance studio at the Y practicing over the last week or so.

My first class was Tuesday night. I had prepared myself for a low turnout, but ended up having 11 people show up, which was approximately five times more than I was expecting. Not bad. After mild panic that plagued me throughout the day leading up to my 6:30pm class (not a lot of focus at work that day), I actually made it through my class with few hiccups and definitely no major meltdowns. I knew my music better than I realized I knew my music. And people seemed to enjoy themselves overall. Hey, no one walked out. That’s a decent sign, right?

It’s been a weird couple of months as evidence by a number of posts I have written. I have arguably not been having the easiest go at life lately. Frankly, I’ve really needed something. Something to focus on that is not work related. Something to help me feel more rooted in my new community. Something to get excited about it. I think, in life, sometimes something comes along that is exactly what you need when you need it. This is one of those times.

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