Much of the appeal of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore is right there in our name: Community. That’s especially the case for the Fitness Center, where many of our instructors and trainers started out as JCC members. Here are the stories of three of those members who made the jump to the other side of the gym.
Shelly Cohen originally became a JCC member to take advantage of membership discounts on her children’s camps and after-school programs. When Laura Fink, an instructor she was taking several fitness classes with, suggested Shelly become a BODYPUMP™ instructor herself, she initially laughed the idea off. “I thought she was crazy,” Shelly said.
The actual process of becoming a trainer was fairly intensive. First, Shelly went through a two-day training. Then she had to videotape herself teaching a class all the way through and send the tape to Les Mills International, which develops the BODYPUMP™ classes, before finally being approved as an instructor.
Shelly says she likes being a JCC fitness instructor because it allows her to share her passion for fitness with fellow fitness enthusiasts.
“I have a passion, not just for BODYPUMP™ but also for exercising in general,” she says. “I enjoy so much being around people that share that with me. I’m very much into group fitness; the social aspect of it is almost as important to me as the physical workout so I enjoy sharing that with other people.”
Stacy Spigelman has been a member of the JCC since she was a child but she didn’t start thinking about becoming a fitness instructor until six years ago when she became a health coach. She’d always had a passion for fitness and was already certified as an aerobics instructor but she hadn’t really used that certification much.
Now that her kids were older and she was becoming a health coach, Stacy says, “I thought being a personal trainer would definitely enable me to help my clients even more.”
In order to become certified as a JCC personal trainer, Stacy had to take a self-study based personal trainer course and pass an exam, which took about a year. Now that she’s certified as a trainer though, Stacy says she enjoys the challenge it gives her.
“I like getting out of my comfort zone and challenging myself and others to do something different.” She says “It’s great to motivate people to better their health.”
Like Stacy, Jocelyn Casser has been going to the JCC since she was a child. She didn’t really get involved with the fitness side of the JCC though until about three years ago, when she decided to take advantage of the group fitness programs to get back in shape after the birth of her second child.
One of the first fitness classes Jocelyn started taking was a ZUMBA class taught by Pam Weisman. After about a year of taking that class, Pam suggested Jocelyn think about teaching the class herself. “She said ‘you’re really good at this, you should look into becoming an instructor,’” Jocelyn recalls.
Jocelyn initially laughed the suggestion off but after reaching her initial weight loss goal, she began taking the idea more seriously and took a training to become a ZUMBA instructor this past July. Shortly after that, Pam asked her to start subbing as an instructor and before Jocelyn knew it, an opening came up at the JCC and Amy Schwartz, the JCC’s Senior Fitness and Wellness Director, hired her.
Besides having a passion for music and dance, Jocelyn also enjoys being a ZUMBA instructor at the JCC because it allows her to encourage other people who are trying to lose weight.
“I really like to share my weight loss journey with other people that might be going through what I went through,” says Jocelyn, “showing them that you can do it. It is possible and all you have to do is find something that you love and keep at it.”