It’s the fourth Monday of the month which means its time to share our Perfect Moments from March with Lori from Write Mind Open Heart. This is my first Perfect Moment Monday here at my new blog Bereaved and Blessed and I am getting this one in just under the wire!

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This weekend I was a Rock Star! Well, at least I got to wear a t-shirt that said so (pictured here). Technically I was volunteering at the Empower Fusion fitness conference near Chicago in Rosemont, IL at the Intercontinental Hotel.

As part of my Rock Star duties I “loaded” rooms for lectures and fitness class sessions, which included checking conference attendees in, distributing handouts and assisting the presenters/instructors with any needs they may have had (or finding someone else to help them, if I couldn’t) and towards the end of the session holding up signs letting them know they had 10 minutes and then 5 minutes left.

In return for doing this a few sessions each day, I got to attend/take part in any other sessions that I wanted to during my free time for free and often was even allowed to participate in some that I was being a “Rock Star” for.

Though I have shared some here on my blog over the years about how much exercising means to my physical and emotional well-being, I typically have not talked a lot about being a group fitness instructor. It is a job that I do very part-time. Currently I teach two classes regularly each week: a cardio dance fitness class on Monday mornings and a yoga Pilates fusion class called “Yoga Sculpt” on Tuesday mornings.

I started participating in group fitness classes regularly in February 2005. Sean was 16 months old and in the process of “dropping” his morning nap. The place that I went then, which is still the primary place that I go now and where I teach, offers free childcare at their morning classes. So I was able to bring Sean with me. I got a great workout and he got to socialize and play with other children. At that time in my life I was looking for a way to lose weight and to have another outlet for my grief after our first miscarriage in December 2004.

Not long after I started going to Beverly Bodyworks (BBW) one of owners/instructors tapped me to train with her to become a group fitness instructor. She notice that I picked up the moves and routines quickly in the classes and had good form. I started taking dance classes when I was in preschool and continued through my teenage years, when I tried out for and “made” my high school’s dance company all four years. I had not exercised regularly, other than power walking now and then, since high school when I danced often in classes and rehearsals.

So I started learning how to teach various types of classes and eventually took the American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.) Group Fitness Instructor exam and got A.C.E. certified in May 2006. Every two years I need 20 hours or 2.0 continuing education credits (C.E.C.S) to maintain my certification. Hence, how I started attending fitness conferences, such as the one I did this weekend.

I attended my first fitness conference in April 2006. Though that was six years ago, I remember having so much fun as a volunteer and participant. My experience was very similar to this past weekend, only I was still very new to the field of group fitness and had a lot to learn. At the time we had just started trying to conceive again after having to take six months off so that my uterus and I could recover from the surgery to remove our interstitial ectopic pregnancy in November 2005. If I recall correctly one of the nights of the conference that weekend I even drove home (instead of staying over night in the hotel, as my BBW colleagues and I typically do together) so that Bob and I wouldn’t miss a chance to get pregnant, as it was “that time of the month.” Unfortunately we did not get a BFP that cycle and it would be another 18 months before we would see two pink lines on a home pregnancy test again.

I attended my second fitness conference three years ago in April 2009, when I was pregnant with Abby. Because I was so paranoid about anything and everything going wrong with our new baby girl (in light of our history with early pregnancy losses and our daughter Molly’s death), even though at the time we knew she had a healthy heart, I took it easy that weekend and mostly observed and took notes during the fitness classes/workshops that I went to for continuing education.

This past weekend was wonderfully exhausting! Over the course of two and a half days I took a total of eight fitness classes/workshops and attended four lectures. The lectures were given by Julie Wilke (about social media), Greg RosKopf (about back pain), Len Kravitz (about Interval Training vs. Continuous Cardio) and Kimberly Spreen-Glick (about Happiness). Four of the classes were cardio dance style (led by Petra Kolber, Calvin Wiley, Tony “The Zumba Guy” Witt, Erick Santana and Patrick Goudeau) three were various types of yoga (led by Julz Arney, Kimberly Spreen-Glick and John Salisbury) and one was a unique approach to/lesson plan for using Bosu Balance Trainers (the session was held by candle light and the instructor, Lawrence Biscontini, called the class a “work in” instead of a “work out”).

It is a truly amazing and incredibly draining experience to learn from some of the best in the industry.

The little girl in me who always dreamed of being a professional dancer was in Heaven these past few days! I had almost forgotten how much I love to participate in fun, challenging and creative cardio dance fitness classes. Having to learn the routines quickly and then getting to add my own style, as I got more comfortable with the moves, was just awesome! I also really grooved on the various yoga styles that I got to practice with some really inspiring yogis.

I tweeted (#empowerfusion) and Facebooked both on my personal page and on the Beverly Bodyworks page throughout the weekend sharing about my experience.

One of my favorite sessions ended up being a lecture given on Sunday morning by fitness instructor and motivational speaker Kimberly Spreen-Glick called “Pillars of Happiness.” I wasn’t sure what to expect or how much Kimberly would have to say about that topic and I was blown away by the insights that she shared. I didn’t make it to church that day, but in many ways being a part of that session was a spiritual experience for me. It was one of many perfect moments throughout the weekend where I seemed to end up in the “right place” at the “right time” with the “right people” to make for a wonderful and very inspiring experience. Though I shared a few of my favorite quotes that “Quote Queen” Kimberly said throughout her lecture on Facebook and Twitter, I want to include them here in this post, as they really moved me:

“Happiness isn’t something that you get from life, it’s something you bring to it.”

“Your greatest power in life is your ability to choose your reaction to any situation.”

“Forgiveness is making a conscious choice to rise above what others may have said or done that hurt us.”

This morning I got to teach my first post-conference class at Beverly Bodyworks. I had so much fun sharing some of what I learned this past weekend with the participants. Sometimes group fitness instructors can burn out on teaching, but participating in conferences like this really motivate us to bring back the energy and enthusiasm that we experienced to our classes.

Throughout this past weekend I definitely let my inner “rock star” shine and I look forward to sharing that funk and glow with the participants in my group fitness classes in the weeks to come.

Do you participate in group fitness classes (or have you done so in the past)? If so, what do you like about them? Do you have a favorite class style (i.e. cardio dance, step, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, etc.)?  

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Lori from Write Mind Open Heart says that “Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.” I love the idea of being mindful of and blogging about perfect moments. Over the years I have often used my blog more to write about things I am struggling with and though I know that is valid and important for me at times, I appreciate the idea of being intentional about also sharing the simple and very special moments in our lives. Many thanks to Lori for this wonderful opportunity to focus on what is right in our life, instead of what is wrong. 

Click here to read about and comment on more Perfect Moments (there are links to others’ posts at the bottom of Lori’s blog entry) and/or add a link to one of your own.

Thank you for reading. I hope that you have a wonderful week and that you are aware of, as well as able to notice, many perfect moments in your own lives.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori Lavender Luz March 27, 2012 at 12:12 am

It sounds like an amazing and rejuvenating conference! I missed your tweets because of a short family trip we took, but I really love this statement:

“Happiness isn’t something that you get from life, it’s something you bring to it.”

Thanks for sharing the story about how you got into fitness training. I had been wondering!
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2 Jjiraffe March 27, 2012 at 1:46 am

I admire and envy your ability to both take and teach exercise classes!

I am a total klutz. Usually when I take a class, something like this happens: http://jjiraffe.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/never-take-me-to-an-exercise-class-ever-no-i-mean-seriously-never-ever-take-one/

That being said, I took a Zumba class in Mexico and not only did I not make a fool out of myself but I actually enjoyed it. Progress!!

Glad you had a great conference 🙂
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3 St. Elsewhere March 27, 2012 at 2:36 am

So happy to learn of the super fun you had at the conference!

And I distinctly remember one of the three happiness quotes you shared on FB.

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4 marwil March 27, 2012 at 5:33 am

I recently started go back to the gym and have slowly entered the classes as well. I had forgot how fun it was. It’s great that you teach classes. I used to teach yoga before IF happened. That’s something I would like to take up again when I feel like I can handle it.
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5 Suzy March 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

this sounds like a fantastic conference! Ike and I are just starting to change our eating habits and we plan to add some walking in our neighborhood to our daily routine once the pollen settles down.

I love this quote. It really spoke to me.
“Your greatest power in life is your ability to choose your reaction to any situation.”

Thank you for sharing your perfect moment!!
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6 Justine March 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I do go to group fitness (yoga, step, and “group power” which is essentially cardio weightlifting) … and I always think of jjiraffe now when I do, because of that post she mentions. 🙂 I owe my fitness to many awesome, inspiring instructors! Love the quote about happiness.
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