Kristin Dowell

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Qualifications: Certifications from ACE, AFAA, Star 3 Spinning, ViPR, TRX, Healthy Mom’s Fitness Perinatal Fitness, Boxing Fitness Institute as well as have certificates from Bodystep, Bodycombat, Bodypump, Bodyflow and SilverSneakers.

Personal History: My structured exercise as a child and teen came in the form of dance classes and cheerleading. Choreography was my passion and I knew it would always be a part of my life, in some form or another!

I grew up in a rural area where there were no gyms within a reasonable driving distance, so working out at home was a necessity. My first introduction to “aerobics” was watching my mother exercise with LP’s and the instructional booklets that came with them. In fact, some of the first albums I owned were Barbie and Mary Lou Retton workouts! As I got into my teens my VHS collection grew to include about every type of workout on the market, and I always looked forward to receiving my Collage catalogue in the mail!

During college I had my first taste of a live group fitness classes, and when I moved back home after graduation I missed that atmosphere. But there were still no gyms in town. If somebody wanted a class they would have to teach it themselves! In 1999 I got my first ACE certification, rented space at the local county Grange building and began teaching. Looking back now, I’m sure those first couple classes were dreadful! However, a few years later I moved to the Philly area where I auditioned at a club. The GFM took me under her wing, provided mentorship, and help me sharpen my skills. Her kindness stuck with me, and I will always make it a point to “pay it forward” to new instructors.

Workout Philosophy: Every once in a while you should attempt something that gives you butterflies. Whether it’s taking a class that’s outside of your comfort zone, or registering for a race you know will be a challenge. If it doesn’t scare you a little it’s not big enough!

Success Story: The coolest thing about this job is that success stories range from extraordinary to the everyday little things. It’s rewarding to witness an entire class gradually improve its technique over time. I smile when people who used to “hate” 6am classes, now “hate” when I go on vacation and class is cancelled. I’m proud of a client who once told me she’d never be able to jog a mile, and now sends me pictures from each race she completes. I was touched when a boot camper was inspired enough by her improvements over the summer to permanently quit smoking. But, you know what? I’m just as thrilled when someone comes up to me after class and says “I really needed that today, thank you.”

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