Saturday, November 18, 2017
People are typically motivated to incorporate fitness into their lives for similar reasons. Establishing and maintaining optimum health, weight, and nutrition rank among the top factors. However, what makes people take fitness to the career level? What drives them to turn a passion into a livelihood? Here, staff share their stories …

Been There, Done That. You Can, Too.

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Gina Danelson, sales, joined the Center’s team to be a living example of successful weight loss. Although she insists she could’ve reached her goal quicker had she belonged to the Center, she managed to lose 100 pounds in two years. (The Center was not yet open.)

(Left) Gina's "ah-ha" picture. The catalyst for her 100-pound weight loss. (Right) Almost at her ideal weight, Gina poses with fiance Reid.
(Left) Gina's "ah-ha" picture. The catalyst for her 100-pound weight loss. (Right) Almost at her ideal weight, Gina poses with fiancé Reid.

“Fitness is part of my life now. I was never into exercising prior to the past few years. I wish I was,” shares Gina. She emphasizes how much better she feels and looks since incorporating fitness into her life. “I’m not sluggish!”  Gina loves being at the Center, both to work out and work. “It’s so good for your health and well-being here. I don’t need to ‘sell’ this facility to anyone. It sells itself,” she states.

Gina was introduced to the Center through her parents, sister, and friends, all of whom are members. She started visiting as a guest. The welcoming environment inspired her to consider fitness as a career. Her goal is to use the Center as a way to encourage others. “This is more than a career. With each person I meet, I’m given the opportunity to help improve a life,” she explains. For those struggling with weight issues, Gina feels her personal success with weight loss is inspiring.

Prior to working at the Center, Gina taught developmentally disabled children. She’s a “helper” by nature. After hearing about sales opportunities with the Center’s team, Gina decided to put her personal experience to work for others. “Being able to identify with those longing for a healthier way of life makes a huge difference. I was there. I am still striving to reach my ideal weight. I know what they are experiencing,” informs Gina who hopes to use her insight to motivate others.

When asked how much more weight she wants to lose, Gina replies, “I don’t like to use numbers on the bathroom scale. It’s about how I feel, how toned I am, how my clothes lay on me.” She takes advantage of the on-site nurse assessment and, recently, a personal trainer to guide her. “I’m here even when I’m not working to get my own exercise,” explains Gina about why she can be found around the Center on her two days off every week. She is a big fan of Group Fitness where she enjoys the camaraderie and supportive environment.

“I’ve maintained my current weight for three years by changing my focus on food and exercising. I have a little more weight to shed before my May wedding,” informs this bride-to-be. Her fiancé, Reid Kaufman, is athletic by nature and works out at the Center whenever possible.

Everyone has that epiphany, the moment when you realize action must be taken. For Gina, she saw a picture of herself. “I didn’t realize how much weight I gained. Sizes never bothered me. When I grew out of clothes, I just bought the next size up.” She continues, “I like the reaction I get when people see the new me. They can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished. I’m excited to help others in our community reach this exhilarating point through membership at the Center.”

Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

For Group Fitness Instructor Ron Sebastiani, the Center provided a chance to be back in the classroom. After 30 years in an academic setting, Ron continues to enjoy teaching as a second career in our Group Fitness Program.

“Teaching is in my blood,” Ron says enthusiastically. After being retired for only a short time, Ron happily found himself at the front of a classroom again. With a lifelong background in fitness and athletics, he knows what it takes to obtain and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. His post-retirement goal is to share that awareness with our members to help them commit to fitness.

At the high school level, Ron served as a licensed athletic trainer for 18 years, an assistant football coach, and head varsity coach for ice hockey and golf.  Complementing his career in education, Ron finished his tenure as a school guidance counselor. Fitness skills and motivation were always critical to his success, and still are. These qualifications can surely inspire members to break from their hectic lives for some necessary exercise at the Center.

Ron claims his goals at the Center are similar to those during his years in academics. “Even if I reach just one person and encourage that individual to live a healthier life through my guidance and example, then I’ve done my job.”

Charged with excitement, he earned Group Fitness and cycling certifications. He continues to expand his credentials with impressive momentum. “It must be the coach within me,” chuckles Ron.

As a Group Fitness instructor, Ron can continue to enjoy coaching. This time, our community is his team. He understands the diligence and patience required in reaching goals. Through his background, he possesses an effective combination for his students—the power to motivate and the skill to teach.

The experiences and backgrounds of Center staff are as varied as our membership. This explains our ability to personally connect with members, to relate on a level that reaches the mind, body, and spirit. It’s the time-proven holistic approach to wellness, which touches the lives of each member and sends them soaring. As for the staff, Gina comments, “The constant feedback is so rewarding. Success stories from our members make everything worthwhile. I love helping people through my work.”

Share your story. Chances are that Center staff has lived a similar one.

Interested?

For information on job opportunities at the Center, please contact Sheri Firstenberg at sherif@fitnessandwellness.org. We are always looking to grow our team with qualified candidates. Consider helping others experience a life of wellness as a Group Fitness instructor, personal trainer, or sales counselor.

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