Category Archives: talent

Let’s Get Physical

Ms Olivia!

I’ve always loved group exercise classes. I took an old school aerobics class with my mom and sister held in a high school gymnasium when I was little. I LOVED it. I took dance throughout my childhood and while I may not have been the star of the class, I sure had fun! I still love to get my dance groove on, especially with a bunch of other people having fun too! In high school I took Step Aerobics classes all the time and also a class called ‘Stretch & Relax’, which was yoga but the YMCA in the early 90s did not want to call it that!

I’ve always wanted to teach aerobics and several years ago I started taking Turbo Kick classes (cardio kickboxing). I was immediately addicted to this format and I thought- I HAVE to teach this. It is so fun! But I didn’t bite the bullet and figure out how to actually get certified to teach until this year. The first step in the process was to obtain a Primary Group Exercise certification through once of the nationally recognized aerobics and fitness organizations. I chose AFAA (American Fitness & Aerobic Association) because it has a good reputation and also because they have a discounted testing program twice a year.

I received my study materials (a GIANT textbook and a study guide, along with a supplemental text book) this summer and had a few months to learn the material. I studied my little heart out and finally the big day came!

I drove 117 miles to downtown Los Angeles to attend a day long workshop and examination. We spent the majority of the day practicing our routines and reviewing the materials as a group. The test consisted of a group practical exam where we had to show various exercises and stretches for different muscles groups as the muscles were called out. This went on for what seemed like a very long time. I was sure sweaty when we were finally done demonstrating all the exercises!

Next we had to do the individual practical portion where we basically taught the class on our own- showing a specific muscle strengthening move, a stretch, or a cardio routine, showing beginner, intermediate, and advanced modifications, whilst smiling, maintaining eye contact, continually talking about form, alignment and safety… all within one to two minutes!! Oy- that was tough, but fun! I was soooo nervous! But once I got up in front of the group I was just excited. I felt at home. I kept repeating to myself the entire day, “I was born to do this. I was born to do this.” It worked! I was born to do this! I want to bring fun, dancey, sweaty, healthy exercise to people that might not normally be inclined to do it!

I was afraid I would be the biggest person in the room. I was afraid I would be the oldest person in the room. I was afraid of a lot of things. But I was dead-wrong. There was every kind of person, from all walks of life in that room. There were 92 very different individuals with 92 different bodies, faces, points of view, and personalities. It was an amazing experience that I will remember with love forever!

It takes 4-6 weeks for the results of the testing to arrive in the mail. The test was a couple weeks ago, so I now have 2-4 weeks left? I feel confident that I passed. I’ll find out soon enough!


I have a lot of things that I’m ‘good’ at but I’ve never felt that I’m truly exceptional at any one thing. I came across a blog post from Skunkboy Creatures that hit so close to home. I read it and thought, “Yes! That is what I need! I just need to keep trying things”! I loved the post and it got me thinking about my ‘talents’. And then I had an ‘a ha’ moment. Could it be that my greatest talent is excitement? I’m really great at getting super excited about things! (and I love to use exclamation points so that proves it, right??!)

So I continued to explore this line of thinking- about whether or not a feeling or emotion could be a talent. I looked up the definition of talent and found this definition: Natural aptitude or skill and this one: Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality. So I decided that, yes, feeling exceptionally excited about things could qualify as a talent. Yay!

Now, being excited does not mean that I am exceptionally perky (luckily) and it does not mean that I’m as positive as I’d always like to be. But it does mean that if you need someone to get on your bandwagon or fight for your cause- I’m your girl!

And, like any talent, this talent needs to be nurtured. I need to practice harnessing my excitement and channeling it towards my various projects. If I can stoke the excitement and keep it going I can finish projects. I can start to see my efforts come to life. The talent of excitement can grow other talents- like baking and leading motivating fitness classes (exclamation point!)!

This is my BFF Joe and me being excited at the White House!