Friday, August 11, 2017 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Me? Leading a Fitness Class? Seriously happening!

Silver Sneaker Classic and Yoga Chair Exercise Classes

Let's go  back to October of 2010, when I sat down, prayed for God to help me succeed in taking over my health. Then during the month of December of that same year, every day of that month, I prayed, "Father God, help me be successful in getting my health and weight pleasing to you." Now your weight and health may be pleasing and happy for you and to Him, but it wasn't for me. I began my journey on January 1, 2011 with beverages and then changed my foods on February 1, 2011. It wasn't until August of 2012 that I added activity. When someone asks me now, "How do I start?" One of the first things I tell them is to balance a fitness routine with your change in food choices. Losing weight or maintaining it has to be done with some type of fitness program. I didn't do that and it would have been much better had it done so.

Each year, I have either made a challenge for myself or be given one by a friend. In 2015, my goal was to join a gym. My friend, Anna, told me about Bender's Gym hiring people for various positions. When I called the owner, Amanda Bender, she invited me down the the Elite facility to see it and to interview. We talked about management to cleaning and I asked for cleaning. She almost didn't hire me because, "You are over qualified for this position." I laughed, shouldn't have but did, because I wanted to clean, it was moving. I began in the Hartselle facility and since then I have done almost every job offered through Benders. In a matter of months, I will have been with Benders for three-years. Now, I am one of the fitness instructors working with our Silver Sneaker program, to which I am very passionate about!

The struggle I had in the past was that I couldn't succeed at anything. When I was asked to be certified as a fitness instructor, I was uncertain that I could pass the test. I began studying and while doing so, was afraid to take the online test. I went to the training for Silver Sneakers which just brought my passion for this program and getting those my age and older active even stronger. Then as I drove home, I began thinking about how great these classes were for new gym members or those never attending a class to those overweight and needing a place to start! My ideas were so in fast thought motion so much so that our lead instructor had to say, "Lead your first class and keep practicing." Lol, I am a long way from being a leader, I am still a student. 

In my past, as I struggled to try new things, to succeed at something with very little confidence and self-esteem, it would end in failure. I labeled it as such because of the lack of empowerment I felt inside as well as being beat down by others. The thing I have learned from this is that those failures weren't really failures at all, but instead they were opportunities for me to grow. I had a choice to allow them and the people to control me in the today and in the future or to move past them. When you understand that you don't have to answer for their choices to beat you down or beat you up, then you can live in joy and press toward the plans God has for you. 

How has this experience changed my life?  In leading this fitness class, I am gaining so much joy in being in front of people. I have carried a fear of being in front of people. I am great with a few people or my one-to-three minute selfie conversations, but I don't do well as a sit down and let's have lunch conversationalist. Second, I have learned to listen and process both the good and the bad things people say to me regarding my leading and the class it self. In the past, I took things personal because I was taught this by those around me. I realized how much I had grown in the past few years, when I was listening to one of our precious ladies make a suggestion regarding my leading and I was taking it in collectively not critical. It was a successful step in my arriving in that growth moment. Go Me! Another area this has taught me is that I have a solid foundation in knowing that if anyone can lose over three-hundred-pounds, keep it off and have a workout routing both indoors and outdoors as I do, then you are beyond successful. 

People that leave your life, needed to go. People that are in your life, living in a negative whiny dramatic character, but in the body of someone you feel you owe your soul too, needs to be re-evaluated. I pray constantly, "Father God, please bring relationships into my life that live for You, positive and in joy, binding the enemy from those friendships." I don't want to be around jealousy, control, unhappiness, drama or whining. There is a difference in someone going through something and listening and habitually walking through life crises. Moving to working out and eating healthy, gives you new desires to be around people that live a character striving for Christlikeness. This is the life I am striving for. Not a perfect life, a one that loves others and serves. God wants to use your life to reach others and for the good of others. 

The one thing I want you to get is that we have no excuse to make the choice to live a healthier life-style. Our relationships will change when we set our minds on healthier things and when we chose to live a healthier life-style with no excuses. You begin to think clearer, walk further, feel better and sleep deeper. Life is seen clearer and faith becomes stronger. Hope is there for the taking but you have to take the first step and it can begin with a class like the one I lead. Come sit by me, I will go to class with you, help you make the right food choices, even be your friend. We are without excuses; we are full of motivations, just pick one. 


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