Prior to entering the gym, I used to weigh 350 lbs. with a 52-inch waist. My mother and I made a commitment to change and reinvent ourselves every year. I got earrings, tattoos, and new haircuts. Finally, I decided to lose weight.
I was a treadmill and weights guy until I saw a guy teaching a step class. People were piling into the aerobic room just to take his class. I finally got the nerve to try it for the first time. It was the most exhausting thing I had ever done.
I continued to take classes and followed my favorite instructor around town. One day after class, he looked at me and said, “You should start teaching.” At this time, I was down to 280 lbs. and laughed off the idea. I thought people would think that I’m too big to teach classes.
He said, “Wesley, you got it. Don’t worry about the weight, it will continue to come off.” So, I went and got certified through AFAA. My first class was February 1, 2000. I am now celebrating 19 years in the Fitness Industry.
Throughout my tenure in teaching, I got certified in over 25 formats, became a certified personal trainer, danced for a ballet company, and became a Master Instructor for several formats. I teach at fundraisers, charities, competitions, and fitness conferences.
As a former overweight guy, my weight will always be a struggle. I consistently work on my diet and find ways to shock my body. Looking at old pictures of myself compared to where I am now, I see miles of maturity and shrinkage. Starting from overweight and untoned to fit and muscular.
As a fitness professional, I tell all my students that Group Fitness classes are just a part of the solution. Your effort to maintain a steady diet must match the effort you make to attend class, using the LA Fitness quote, “You can’t out train a bad diet.”
For some, teaching Group Fitness classes is easy and simple. However, they underestimate the amount of work it takes to prep for class, keep your class current, and always have the energy to be exciting and motivating.
In my 19 years, I have learned it has to be more than just class. It is about the experience. With that, I stress form and technique, stamina and energy in my classes, while providing the best music and variety of exercise.
For all of my peer instructors, personality and education is everything. If you are not engaging and knowledgeable about teaching, then your class will be bored and lack trust in you.