A break from teaching group fitness was exactly the gift I didn’t know I needed in my life. Here’s my story and how Ive stepped away from the mic.
I began teaching group fitness classes when I was 15. Yes FIFTEEN. My mother was a family practice nurse who taught group exercise classes in the morning before work. When I was growing up I would practice my mom’s step choreography routines and join her at the gym for class. While all of my high school friends were sleeping, I would go to 6am aerobics. I thought it was the coolest thing. I loved mastering new exercise routines and participating in the fitness community at the gym. You can read the whole story on how I fell in love with teaching HERE.
I got my first group fitness teaching certification and taught group exercise throughout high school, college, up until today. Now I am 33 and for the first time since 9th grade have taken a pause from teaching. It was not an intentional pause. I moved from San Francisco to San Diego and since the move haven’t found the right spot to teach public classes. There isn’t an Equinox down in my area of San Diego, the closest location is 45 minutes away (TEAR). And as much as I LOVE equinox, the hour and a half drive combined with California gas prices have kept me from making the trek out there. The only place I am teaching right now is for my Youtube channel (love all of you subscribers!). People keep asking me where I am teaching these days, so I thought Id share what my plans are in this space.
I miss teaching like crazy. Its felt so strange to not have the community, clubs, and classes. I have hopes of returning to the mic but to my surprise this little pause has actually been nice.
Like many helping careers, teaching is all about giving to others. You are fueled by the desire to work to assist someone else in their health, growth, and happiness. But sometimes this calling to help others in their lives comes at the expense of your own wellbeing. It doesn’t have to, but it can. After 15 years of working as a group fitness instructor, I’ve acquired injuries and muscular imbalances that would never resolve because I was ALWAYS teaching. I mean we are talking weird back pain that resulted from reaching for the music cord from the bike on only one side of my body. Or funny hip pain that came from leaning too far to direct one side of the group fitness studio. Or a right leg that is overworked because its always the side you choose to demonstrate exercises to the class. YES this stuff happens! These are a result of exercising while distracted. You see when you teach you are moving but not paying full attention to your body. Your focus is on the class and creating an exceptional experience. Unlike being a participant, you are NOT there to workout. You are there to coach and host a safe, effective experience. You are moving but not 100% focused on yourself. Teaching takes a large toll on the body overtime. Its taken a toll on mine.
Sometimes I wonder how many other group exercise instructors want a break from teaching. Do you teach fitness classes? Have you wanted a break or taken one?
My move to San Diego was driven by the goal to create a new chapter. To build a home I love and focus on myself. I didn’t plan to take a break from teaching, it just happened. And actually? Its been a blessing. I didn’t realize how much my body was asking for attention. Throughout my move, Ive maintained a consistent and well rounded exercise routine, but for the first time in what feels like FOREVER my fitness is focused on myself. Ive been able to think about my goals and my needs without having to balance having to exercise for a class. Ive been able to work with great coaches and take amazing workouts without need to hold back energy for a class. Ive been able to take rest days when Ive needed or push myself hard in a workout without having to speak into the mic at the same time (NOT the same workout effect as you can imagine!). It’s all felt strange and very foreign. Its also been extremely nourishing.
A huge positive of this change has been that my online coaching business is thriving. Ive maintained a growing virtual coaching practice during the move to San Diego. Now that Im not running around from class to class, I have time to create, coach, and excel in this work. I help clients all over the world with their health, fitness, and wellness goals. I already have a lot of passion for what I do, but this break from teaching has given me even MORE. Its has renewed my excitement to run a coaching practice that is impactful and healing for all those I work with.
I do plan on returning to teaching public community classes in the future. Especially when Equinox opens a location closer to my home (praying!). I also plan to return to the mic with a stronger body and greater perspective on how to balance teaching mindfully with my own needs. But for right now Im giving my all to Caroline, her goals, and her health. After all these years this break feels like an act of self love. And this is something I preach as a coach: Have the courage to do what YOU need even when it might involve taking a break. Sometimes NOT doing is the action required to meet your goals. Whelp Im following my own advice and taking a pause from teaching to focus on myself. Ill get back on the bike and the mic someday soon… and when I do Ill be ready to ROCK IT.
In the meantime Ive been putting together my own fitness playlists, that Ive enjoyed during these self-focused workouts. Here are some of the beats Ive been loving lately – I hope that this mix inspires you to focus on your needs, go for your goals, and do what YOU need to love yourself more.
Winter Break Workout Mix 2019
Have you ever had the opportunity to take a pause from something you’ve loved? Have you ever given yourself a break even when its hard to do so? Id love to hear your story in the comments below.
Oh and don’t you worry… when I come back to teaching I’ll let you know 😉 But for now, you can stay fit with me on YOUTUBE!
Love and positive energy,
Other things to check out: