Fitness has been such a huge part of my life the in the past 10 years that I now consider it to be a career of mine. I spent several years as a R.I.P.P.E.D. Master Trainer for Chicagoland and continue to teach dozens of classes in the Chicago Loop. I am also certified and held to the high standards of AFAA/NASM and hold indoor cycling and yoga sculpt fitness certifications. I believe fitness is for everyBODY and that it is the greatest thing you can do to better yourself.
Sure, I was active throughout my high school days – playing volleyball, soccer, and marching band. I thought that between all of the games, practices, and competitions that I was in reasonable shape. The hidden trouble came before those sporting events, where our team “fueled up” on Snickers Marathon bars (oh, hello, a ‘nutrition bar’ that tasted like candy? Sign me up) or when we ate buckets of spaghetti at team dinners because we needed to “carb up” for those not-so-intense games. And when the games were over, we grabbed whatever we could for dinner at the concession stand, which was usually a large soft pretzel and cheese for me.
I started taking a Zumba class at our YMCA in my hometown and was hooked. I’ll never forget my first class and how I went online and purchased a Zumba tank top immediately afterward. I became what I never thought I would be: a regular.
I got to know the instructor very well and we became close friends. I continued to take the classes when I was back on college breaks when she reached out to me and suggested that I become certified to teach Zumba at my university. I jumped at the idea and immediately signed up for a training that November in 2010. I will never forget my first class in January of 2011 – it had over 70 students and was so high energy – people were lined up waiting to get in!
This sparked a fire in me and I would go on to get certified to teach indoor cycling, yoga sculpt, R.I.P.P.E.D. and Rumble. I was teaching 12 classes in Chicago, bicycling downtown either over the lunch hour or after work to serve others. The knowledge and skills I learned in these classes lead me to feel confident in creating my own workouts at the gym and at home.
Then, 2020 came in like a wrecking ball and eliminated all of my in-person classes. There were a few months of uncertainty and stillness, where I was pouring out my cup to my friend and family in the form of Zoom classes. Eventually, LifeStart gave me the rare and incredible opportunity to teach virtually for them, which would eventually come my small sense of normalcy during the COVID-19 crisis.
I would continue to find faith in myself as a fitness professional and even trained for and ran the 2020 Chicago Marathon virtually (yes, as in no crowds, no race route, no fun!) I completed it on an unseasonably warm day in October while wearing a mask and still met my goal. But I don’t stop – I am now studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer!
I am definitely the girl that shows up to happy hours in some sort of fitness instructor gear with my hair in a sweaty bun. It is such a rewarding job and I often have to step back and realize how blessed I am to have found this passion of mine.