When I first started teaching group fitness 5 years ago, I could never have imagined where it would lead. Not only am I still teaching, my members have become more than just clients, they are friends.
Having moved from Inverness to London to study at Italia Conti, a stage school, dance was a huge part of my life. My mother was a Latin and ballroom dancer and she passed on those wiggly hips and love of dance to me. When I first decided to teach Zumba, it was meant to be a little extra money to bump up my pub wages whilst I was auditioning in the performing industry. Fast forward 5 years and I have 5 established classes with a solid client base and it’s my full time job. I am very fortunate that I earn my money as a self-employed individual and in the process, keeping fit! The real reason however as to why I love teaching fitness is something far bigger and hopefully far more worthy.
Having taught for 5 years, many of my clients have been coming to my classes for some time. I have watched their progress, enthusiasm and dedication to my classes, but most of all, it’s what fitness means to them. For many, fitness is about health, looking and feeling better, a release after a stressful day at work or just some ‘me’ time away from the kids;). However, for others, it’s a distraction, a method of dealing with grief or a sense of ownership and empowerment. Some of the most testing times in life can be made more tolerable by having an outlet in which to focus ones mind and body. Exercise releases endorphins, which are structurally similar to the drug morphine and are considered natural painkillers. Participating in exercise also gives us a sense of ownership, it situations we cannot control exercise allows us to change our mood, body shape and wellbeing, for that, the confidence gained is invaluable.
The very fact that some of my clients feel at ease confiding in me is a true testament to how we respond to movement, dance, fitness and group exercise. So what does teaching fitness mean to me? It means to me what it means to everyone else.