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7 Years Ago: One Small Step That Changed My Life

I few months ago I downloaded the TimeHop app after seeing posts shared from it all over social media. You can connect it to your social media accounts and it gives you a daily feed of your day in history. It’s become part of my morning social/email/blog check-in routine to scroll through my TimeHop feed. It’s kind of crazy/fun/bittersweet/cringe-worthy to see what you were doing/sharing/posting on that day in history. I’ve had some posts that go back on Facebook up to 9 years!

This memory in yesterday’s TimeHop was an extra special one.


Seven years ago I completed my first fitness certification. Little did I know that this small step outside of my comfort zone would be the catalyst that would lead me to where I am today.

For those of you who don’t know the story, I was NEVER a group exercise person and always preferred running groups or working out on my own. I always found myself feeling lost and unable to pick up the choreography in group ex classes. A friend invited me to a BodyPump class and it was unlike any group class that I had ever taken. I loved the focus on strength, minimal choreography, amazing instructors and engaging music. I was hooked after the first class. After about a year of taking classes at the Y, I saw a sign for instructor training. I can close my eyes right now and remember standing there, reading it and thinking “should I try? Am I ready?” I asked two of my favorite instructors and they encouraged me to sign up.


That weekend of training was equal parts one of the hardest and most empowering things I have ever done for myself. Back when I took the training, you didn’t receive materials or track assignments ahead of time. The training started after lunch on Friday and we were assigned tracks to learn and teach. I got lunges and shoulders (and trained on BodyPump 66). I spent the entire weekend immersed in learning my choreography and I can’t tell you how many times I practiced those tracks. I think they will be burned in my memory for life.

Standing up there to teach for the first time in front of my trainers and fellow trainees was terrifying but we all supported each other through it. The weekend was full of practice teaching, lectures, form drills, challenges and more. To this day, I still credit my BodyPump training for truly teaching me how to teach, how to cue, how to connect and how to use my voice. For anyone looking to get into group fitness, I can’t recommend Les Mills certifications enough.


I was thrilled to receive a “pass” at the end of training to start teaching (and later submitted my video to receive my full certification). I got on the sub list at the Y and taught any and every class that I could. When I moved to Charlotte I took BodyPump classes at the Y and continually checked in with the group exercise director until a class opened up. I taught BodyPump on Mondays at 6 a.m. and Thursdays at 6 p.m. for four years!

I couldn’t believe how much I loved teaching group exercise…something I disliked for so many years! I felt so alive an full of passion when I was teaching and I loved helping people feel better and get stronger. I went on to start teaching other class formats, completed yoga teacher training, got my personal training certification and eventually quit my job in advertising to teach and train full-time. I seriously believe none of this would have happened if I had never taken that first small step to try BodyPump instructor training.


So my message with this whole post is just TO TRY! You never know where one small step in a new direction might take you. My decision to do BodyPump training opened me up to a whole new world of possibility. If something is speaking to you or calling to you…listen! Discovering and exploring your passions is one of the best things you can do for yourself and often creates big and amazing change!

Tell me about a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone and got a big reward from it.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Lori August 18, 2015, 9:26 am

    Wow! I so needed to read this today. Thank you! I am currently studying to take the AFAA Primary Group Certification test. I am 47 and have a full time job but fitness has always been my passion. I have unofficially “taught” group classes before and have been asked by coworkers to do it again at work. I decided that if I’m going to do it I want to be certified. I’ve been having self doubts about it all lately and reading this is just the kick in the pants I needed to keep going and push myself out of my comfort zone. Thank you!

  • Jordan Randall August 18, 2015, 9:34 am

    I have been teaching group exercise for three years now and am also thinking about taking the plunge and getting my personal training cert. Thanks for the motivation!! I would be 100% happy if my life was exactly like yours! 😉 You rock!! I am a real estate agent dreaming of making more of my passion in fitness!

  • Dana August 18, 2015, 9:38 am

    After taking yoga for only a year- and while reading “The Firestarter Sessions” I decided to go for my 200 teaching certification. I wondered if I had made the right decision- was I ready? During training one of my teachers gave me some of the best advice “own It!” I decided to do that and that has changed my journey:)

  • Kristen August 18, 2015, 10:11 am

    Incredible timing for this post…I took your class this morning (amazing) and all that is on my mind lately is teacher training. I go back and forth everyday in my head questioning if I’m ready but I know that I’ll regret it if I don’t. Decisions, decisions 🙂

  • Brittany Holtz August 18, 2015, 10:48 am

    Ahhh, the compound effect! It’s so true how one small step can lead to so much more. My first “small step” was starting my old blog. That led to becoming a CPT, to going to yoga teacher training, to opening my own studio, etc. etc. What a great reminder – I’m so glad you shared this!

  • Shannon August 18, 2015, 11:33 am

    I am starting Pilates teacher training next month and am I equally scared and crazy excited!

  • Amber August 18, 2015, 12:10 pm

    Ah I love this! I took a big jump out of my comfort zone and took my basic fitness theory at the Y this past January and have been teaching classes since April after mentoring for several hours. I still need to do my group fitness instructor certification but will be doing that this fall. I also LOVE teaching classes and get such a high from it. It’s such a different kind of energy and so much fun!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine August 18, 2015, 12:27 pm

    My first Group Power (same thing as Body Pump) changed my life too! It was the start of my love for all things fitness and weight lifting! I’m sad I don’t have access to a class now, but it was only so fun!

  • Julie August 18, 2015, 12:31 pm

    LOVE this post!

  • John Mark August 18, 2015, 12:55 pm

    I actually found your blog 4 years ago when I was about to do my BP initial training (searching for folks who’d been through it to try to know what to expect). Loved my training and totally agree: one of the hardest/best experiences ever! Thanks for all the fitness and food inspiration. Kia Ora!

  • tara August 18, 2015, 1:53 pm

    first…dating someone that was not typical for me is one that comes to mind. 15 years later and its still going : ) but i had to step out of my comfort zone a bit and trust someone again and that was hard
    second….going from the worst 5k ever to a 1/2 marathon almost exactly 1 year later. i totally switched to a run/walk method and didnt look back. yes i felt silly walking within the first 5 mins of the 1/2 but i had to learn to run my own race…and know i would pass the same people looking at me oddly later on !

    its great you remember the thing that keyed you into your passion. i’m sure then every time you think of body pump or see a class it zeros you back in on your love.

  • Emily @ My Healthyish Life August 18, 2015, 3:17 pm

    Body Pump holds such a special place in my (fitness) heart because it’s what got me to love strength training AND group ex! I hope to one day get certified to teach, or at least live near a gym that offers it.

  • Ashley @ A Lady Goes West August 18, 2015, 3:26 pm

    Jen! We share similar stories! I was just an average exerciser, who started attending group fitness and an instructor friend encouraged me to go to BODYPUMP training. I was hesitant, being that I worked a busy corporate communications job, but went. I trained on release 69, which was also in the three-day training, no materials ahead-of-time, era. Fast forward to today, and I’m a full-time fitness professional and blogger. I owe it all to taking that leap of faith with BODYPUMP. I love that you did too! Thank you for this great reminder of how far you can go!

  • Rachel August 18, 2015, 6:28 pm

    LOVE this!!!

  • Jill August 19, 2015, 10:55 am

    I start my yoga teacher training in 2 weeks time! Thank you for this post – i needed the confidence boost!


  • Casey August 19, 2015, 2:21 pm

    Thank you for this post!! I am about to start my 200 hr TT on Saturday and I have a wave of emotions hitting me everyday about it. I am beyond excited to get started and meet everyone but I tend to get overwhelmed thinking about how I am going to make this into a career. Reading about your experience just reminded me to keep pushing forward, work hard and let things fall into place.

  • Sarah August 21, 2015, 11:25 am

    Practising yoga was one small step that changed my life a year ago. Starting yoga teacher training next week – hopefully that will be another small step that will change my life again! Also your old post “Yoga Teacher Training – My Final Thoughts” helped a lot in making me feel like I made the right decision to enrol. x

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