Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Breaking Stereotypes

What is a fitness instructor suppose to look like? Most people have a stereotypical thought of a fitness instructor. Picture this: A male instructor w/ buff muscles, a ripped 6-pack, tan and always pumping more iron. What about female instructor? See if this comes to mind: Stick skinny, perky, leotard wearing.

If this is who I had to workout with, I would be intimidated. How would you feel? I would feel too fat to workout with them! Just as someone would clean their house before a cleaning lady came, I would want to drop 20 pounds before working out with them, maybe even squeeze in a marathon for good measure. This may or may not be how you feel...

Not all fitness professionals fit into this stereotype. Don't get me wrong, there's a place for this kind of trainer, and I'm sure it appeals to a certain type of clientele. To be honest, though, fitness instructors are regular people just like you. We have a passion to workout and help others gain from the healthy benefits of fitness. Just like you, we have medical conditions and sometimes we have problems with our weight. Sometimes a medical condition (such as thyroid disease) can cause a person to gain weight. Some medications, like steroids or other hormone containing prescription, can too. But, we have a passion to work through these issues and in turn, to help and encourage others who may be struggling with similar problems.

When I started teaching fitness classes, I didn't fit that stereotypical mold. In fact I broke it. I weighed 280 pounds -- Yep that's what I said! I'm 5’4” and had a BMI over 40. At the weight of 280 I ran, did push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, heck I even played women’s professional football. My philosophy in my classes is “if I can do it, so can you.” But, I never gave up on my quest for fitness and health!

There's a certain scrutiny around fitness instructors. I know I'd want an instructor/trainer that's knowledgeable, has my best interest in mind and cared about my health. I wouldn't want someone that doesn't know what it's like to be overweight and out of shape. I'd want someone that I can relate to. Since I started teaching fitness 4 ½ years ago I have lost almost 100 pounds. So if I can do it so can you!

Written by OnTrack Fitness's group instructor, Angie Conway. Angie has been married for 13 years and has 2 daughters, 6 & 9. She played women's professional football for 5 years and grew up playing softball and basketball.

After struggling for many year's with weight, Angie started a fitness ministry at her church, Greenwood Christian Church in Greenwood, IN. This ministry has been successful and growing for over 4 years.

Angie understands and wants to help others obtain a healthy weight.

She is a certified group fitness instructor and is currently working on her personal trainer certification and is pursuing her degree in Health and Wellness.