When I joined my local gym, I was expecting all the instructors to be these super fit, 20-somethings that would have more in common with my daughters than with mid-life me. Was I ever surprised (and relieved) to meet Sandi Morrison, a mid-life exercise trainer whose work out past I could relate to (Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons; leg warmers, head bands, and wrist bands) and a current knowledge I could trust. Hearing her story was truly inspiring.
Describe your venture: I am a personal exercise trainer for individuals and groups. I also teach yoga, Pilates, and boot camp.
What set you on your path to your venture? I’ve loved being active all of my life. It began with running, climbing trees, and playing ball as a child. When I got in to junior high and high school, I was involved in lots of different sports: basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, badminton, tennis, and track & field. My love for sports led me to being a PE major in college. It was when I was in college that I had my first opportunity to teach a small “women’s exercise class” for the Chino (California) Recreation Department in 1970.
What fears did you have getting started? Could I inspire women older than me to be as interested in exercising as I was? The ladies in my first class ranged in age from 25 to 70 years old. A few years later, as a single mom, could I support a young family as an exercise teacher? And today, can I still be relevant with all the exercise choices out there?
What was involved in getting started? When I first started as an exercise trainer, the recreation department provided everything. All I needed was some exercise clothing. As the 80’s rolled in, I had to invest in a stereo, records and a whole new wardrobe. Then, as technology changed, I had to invest in the different ways to play music. I went from NO MUSIC to playing RECORDS, CASSETTES, and CDs to iPods and now today, CELL PHONES!
What are your ongoing costs? About $100 a month. I spend it on extra exercise equipment that I carry with me from class to class and for special oils that I use on my students for relaxation. I also like to reward my students for their hard work so I sometimes take them out to breakfast or lunch.
How much time a week do you spend on your venture? Five days a week, but it is broken up. A couple of classes a day, followed by one or two private sessions.
What have you learned along the way? Most individuals are in the dark about how the body works; how everything is connected to each other; how the mind talks to the body and how the body responds. I am confident and proud knowing that I have the knowledge and gift for anyone who SEEKS HELP! I’ve learned NOT to judge people on their thoughts about PHYSICAL EXERCISE. Not everyone knows the importance of health, so it takes someone with lots of patience, understanding, and knowledge, and most of all LOVE and CARE – all traits that I feel I have come to develop and offer as an exercise trainer.
What do you see for you and your venture in the future? When I was 29, one of my students asked me, “Do you see yourself teaching these exercise classes when you’re 50?” I answered, “Gee, I don’t know, that’s pretty old.” Well, that is what I was thinking at the time and here I am, over 50 and still an exercise trainer!!! There is no stopping me!!