How my post-baby routine helped me find my passion in group fitness

Like most new mothers, I knew I’d have to work hard to regain my confidence after I had my baby. Even before getting pregnant, my struggle with weight had been a source of low self-esteem. To get the guidance and motivation I would need to get healthy again, I decided to start taking classes at my local community center.

Balancing my life as a mom with my health and fitness schedule was challenging at times, but I loved the camaraderie of group fitness classes. I learned to make this “me time” not just a workout but a priority. Seeing how much I enjoyed the group fitness classes, my husband suggested that I help others discover the same passion by becoming a certified fitness instructor.

Even though it wasn’t something I’d thought about before, teaching the classes ended up being a great way for me to continue to get back in shape while developing new skills. I’d been teaching spin classes for a year when one of my mentors encouraged me to take the next step in my career and get special training in kickboxing. From then on, I was hooked.

I’m grateful to have found a career that not only helps me live a healthier, more active lifestyle but also allows me to guide others toward the same. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Try different formats to keep things fresh.

I love learning something new and sharing it with others through my classes. Over the past nine years, I’ve completed coaching certifications, attended seminars, participated in workshops, and pursued specialized training in everything from cardio hip-hop to martial arts. I’ve also learned valuable lessons from fitness professionals since joining EXOS two years ago.

If you’re looking to get into this field, start with a format that excites you and that you can use as your platform to express your passion for fitness while positively motivating others. I’ve found teaching a variety of formats keeps me engaged and has helped me find new favorite formats.

2. Help members expand their comfort zones.

In addition to mixing up which classes I teach, I also encourage members to try different class formats. Since muscles tend to get used to the same exercises and routines, trying new things challenges them in different ways. Plus, they might find that they love other classes they wouldn’t have tried before.

Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s important to help my clients push themselves outside their comfort zone. If a member is scared to try a different class format, I recommend inviting a friend or showing up early to meet the instructor. The right experience paired with the right instructor can make a big difference in the life of an individual.

3. Motivate through personal example.

I’ve met so many incredible people and have been blessed with many opportunities to motivate and engage clients. Throughout everything, my motivation has been making sure I’m a role model for my daughters while I grow my fitness business. I do my best to show them the possibilities that come with a positive attitude and an active, healthy lifestyle. And I think it’s working. They love putting together fitness classes in my home studio and almost every week we have a dance night.

4. Fitness is about more than appearance.

It may have started out as a hobby but working in fitness has changed my life for the better. I’ve found a welcoming community of instructors and other health and fitness professionals through my work at EXOS and community centers, lost over 70 pounds, and gained a lifetime of confidence. I’ve learned that health and fitness isn't just about looking good. It’s more important to feel good mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. And most importantly, I’ve learned how contagious and powerful a positive attitude can be. 

Think your passion lies in fitness instruction? Check out our careers page.

About the Author

Francine Perez

Francine Perez is a group exercise instructor based in San Antonio, Texas. She's been teaching group strength and cardio classes for over nine years.

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