At this early stage in my artistic career, I'm often inspired by other artists and creatives who are doing their thing, especially while balancing the challenges of parenthood. I want to highlight some of them here and learn more about what inspires them and how they make it all work.
Meet my friend Jamie. Jamie has a superpower….she can make a group of women smile while they are completing a round of burpees (in case you don't know what a burpee is, it's an effective but universally despised exercise). Along with being a wife and mama, Jamie teaches group exercise classes. I'm lucky to attend her class on a regular basis, and her enthusiasm is contagious. We all sweat like crazy but do it while laughing and smiling…Jamie really has a gift. I asked Jamie to share a little bit about her art (exercise is an art too!) and the impact it has on her life.
Tell us first a bit about you and what you do.
I am a Mom to two pretty special kids, a wife, friend... And a Group Fitness Instructor... :) I get to spend my time motivating other people by my side.... to music. To really really GOOD music! The members inturn motivate me to be a better instructor. It is a recipricol process and I genuinely can say I am blessed that anyone lets me put a mic on and allows me to be a part of their life for one hour.
When and how did you discover this outlet? Tell us about the shift from idea to action.
In 2005 I worked in sales at a gym. While I worked out occasionally and loved a great class, there was never a thought in my mind to become an instructor. My gym already carried BodyPump - a class that I had no interest in - (because after all, I didn't lift weights...) but when they brought BodyAttack (Cardio) my friend and manager told me I should sign up [to instruct]. The following commenced:
"Hmmmm... why not?"
I had never seent he class in my life, but was sure it would be fun
48 Hour Training I had to pass to move on.
IF PASSED, three months to submit a video to be assessed and either pass or fail.
WOAH. WHAT?????? I COULD FAIL AFTER THAT MUCH TIME AND ENERGY INVESTED?
Had my rear handed to me for 48 hours. The class format stole my heart but OH MY GOSH..... THIS IS HARD....
I got lucky. I PASSED, I MOVED ON.
STUDY, LEARN, by the GRACE of GOD, I passed the video assessment.
I should not have. I am serious... if I watched the video now I would cringe.
I TAUGHT, LEARNED, GREW, MESSEDUP.... Learned.
Took on BodyPump 7 years later... (WEIGHTS, ME???)
Got hired by an amazing gym... mentors... members. And pretty much brings me to 10 years later, TODAY!
How do you manage your time and energy? How do you make your art a priority?
I am not sure I manage my time and energy well. I am the busiest person I know that isn't really busy.... Hah. I don't have kids on sport schedules. I have a pretty basic routine, but it always seems WE are so busy. I am really good about taking my own time. The midday "lull" I am pretty selfish about and don't often make plans during. There are those two hours, right around lunch, when I need to step back, stop what I am doing and just sit, enjoy, relax a little. It feels a little indulgent sometimes - but almost every weekday. It is my time, my thing. Before it comes I look forward to it. After it is over, I am reenergized.
I AM NOT OVERLY SPONTANEOUS. I am a planner...
I don't really have the luxury of not making teaching my priority. If I slack off, my class suffers. I have to maintain a schedule outside of my own classes that allows me to be able to get into the gym when I teach and deliver a good class. About an hour before class I have to start getting in my own "mental zone". There are times when I have to convince myself to have energy. (Who doesn't??) Those are the days I find my best outfit, spend alittle extra time doing something funky to my hair and pick the best of the best music... Believe it or not, those silly things help. If I don' t have the energy, I am going to at least walk and there a look like I do.
What struggles have you faced and how have you overcome those struggles?
I used to worry too much that some people might not like my class or that I needed to change to conform to how stubborn members might want "their class" to be. (Trust me, they will tell you...) But after years of training and experience, I now teach my own class with confidence. I am always open to feedback but allow myself to remember that these members are coming to be for guidance and I KNOW what I am doing. They want a confident class with a instructor who does not question it. People are motivated by confidence. I was hired to teach my class, my way... and BE ME... So I do that now, every time.
Who or what inspires you?
Music motivates me, people inspire me. I am fascinated by the human body and how it works. Watching people make changes and watching the body respond is very interesting to me. It is not an easy thing to do. I watch people convince themselves everyday that they have to come and be present. Often, the coolest thing happens after class... People come and talk to me. They tell me their story. Everyone has one and some stories will blow your mind. The fact that these fascinating people come to me as a part of their day inspires me to want to give them the best experience I can, every time. To me it might just be another class taught on a busy week, but to them it may just be overcoming a huge obstacle, conquering a fear or triumphing over an inner battle. I MEAN, HOW COOL IS THAT?????
What impact does your work have on your children?
Oh man, my kids love it! Mostly because they get to come along to amazing gym daycare centers. They are at the age that they love that kind of thing! Truth is, it does not really impact them as far as time or time away from me. That is the reason this job, hobby, is perfect. My family is supportive but also unaffected by the amount of energy I have to put into it because the time frame allows me to not have to take anything away from them. I do hope my kids are excited about health and fitness... and If they can take that away from my passion for it, I will be pretty darn excited.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
It believe it is important as a mom, a wife and a person....to have something to call your own. This is mine. There are times when I am mid-class and literally think that there is no way I would have ever imagine I'd be doing this. But I am... and man, I love it. I am pretty lucky.
If you live in Stafford, you can find Jamie teaching at Sport and Health, as well as a few other places around town.