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This is the real life story of how I accidentally led my first cardio kick class. There I was, I showed up for my usual Zumba class, and the instructor had an emergency. Unable to attend last minute, there was no scheduled coverage. Emergencies happen.
Some of the students know me, and they have seen me training often, preparing for the day that I will teach. I was approached by a small group of about 5 women, and they asked me to teach them.
As a person who likes to follow the rules, I stated that I could not do this. However, I wondered if we were allowed to train together. I inquired about this with the individuals in charge, and I was informed that we could work out together, but I could not lead.
So that’s what we did, we worked out together. I started working with a very small group, and oddly, the group continued to grow and grow. My small, rogue group of 5 training kickboxing together soon grew to about 25-30 people.
Everyone who joined our group seemed to enjoy themselves, and I think we had a great workout. They were all sweating, and following my queues rather well. I kept our group session somewhat simple, but I noticed that some folks were struggling. I suggested alternative, simpler movements for those folks.
Here is what I learned, mirroring is much more difficult than it seems. When you practice facing a mirror, you develop muscle memory, and it becomes difficult to turn around and face the group, while reversing your moves to mirror the group. My left, your right. That requires conditioning, and the way I’ll handle that is by adding non-mirror practicing where I will be leading with my left hand, as the class leads with the right. One of my mentors told me that this will take time to master. Practice, practice, practice.
Sometimes people look at me as though I’m weird. Some laugh and rag on me for training alone, queuing invisible classes, and speaking to the mirror. They don’t understand, practice is important. Repetition, speaking, all these things matter. As a former mixed martial arts fighter, I’m somewhat familiar with how practice makes “good.” I won’t say perfect, I’ll say good. So laugh some more, and keep watching me.
After the group workout, I asked the participants for any advice or feedback. I told them to be honest and not worry about my feelings. Nearly everyone gave me positive feedback and asked me to come back. One person, an older participant, said that she wished I made it a little harder. Well, now! Okay!
This was a great experience, and I’m excited to do more of it. I have little civilian fitness work experience, but I’ve applied to a few places. I’m hoping that my certification, years of hands on experience, martial arts background, and military leadership background will help. Ideally, I’d get hired at 24 Hour Fitness, seeing as though I literally live 2 minutes walking distance from the gym, and I’m always, always, always there, but I’ll go wherever they’ll have me to build up my experience and repertoire. These gyms better hurry up and snatch me, y’all know I’m loyal and won’t abandon someone who gives me a shot! So let’s see how this goes.