My students made last night’s book launch a huge success. I am very grateful for all of the help that went into making it so enjoyable. I made a short speech which I have included below for those who were not able to attend. My book is available on amazon.ca. Fundamental Fitness After Fifty. I highly recommend purchasing the paperback version because it will be easier to use as a guide when training at home.
My Words of Thanks:
When I completed my training to become a fitness instructor in 1998/99, I was very excited and eager to get started. At the time, I was working as the Administrative Coordinator at the YMCA in Hudson. So naturally I expected the manager to give me a class! Well much to my surprise he said, “No.” His exact words were, “I need strong teachers!” I was crushed but I took note. Be Strong.
About four years into my career at a different facility, the manager used to take surveys from all of the classes. The students would get to rate our performance and make suggestions for improvement. Well, out of fifty evaluations, only the one negative comment stood out. “Beth’s too happy and smiley and laughs too much!” The next day I went into work and tried to be a serious person. I didn’t smile or laugh once and by the end of the day I was miserable. If this is what teaching was, I wanted no part of it. So I took note. Be genuine.
I went about my business being strong and genuine, trying to be the perfect fitness instructor. I demanded excellence from myself when it came to timing and choreography however I quickly learned that it was not about me at all. It needed to be about you, the students. I could look great in the mirror and be spot on with my moves but if you did not feel motivated, you would not return to class. So I took note. Be a good motivator.
The years passed as I was busy being strong, genuine and motivating to my students and during that time I learned that there was more than one way to movitate. Some students need to be pushed while others simply need to be seen and heard. Perhaps they are caring for a sick spouse or aging parents and just getting to the gym is hard enough. So I took note. Be kind.
Well a funny thing happened while I was being kind. I came to learn about your lives and your struggles. One man named Ian, will remain in my heart forever. He was a brilliant thinker and humble giant who rarely missed Chair class. He was in his eighties when he passed and he had his share of health concerns. I was very impressed with his abdominal/core strength so one day I said to him, “Ian, your doctors must be so happy about your abs!” He smiled and spoke softly, “No they are only focused on what is wrong with me.” So I took note. Focus on people’s strengths.
The wheels really started turning on my book project about two years ago when a friend of mine, with whom I had lost contact, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Sandra was about the same age as I am today and she was given 6 months to live. This really hit me hard because when we are in our fifties we think that we have lots of time left to complete our goals. She lived for 16 months and for much of that time she focused on making each day count! So I took note. Get busy. Make your dreams come true because no one is going to do the work for you!
Feeling the urge to get my ideas down on paper, I hired a photographer last summer and gathered all of my notes and the result is what you hold in your hands today. I hope that my book helps to motivate you to be strong and genuine, as you live each day to the fullest, making all of your dreams come true along the way.
Thank you for teaching me how to be a great teacher!
See you in class,