by Sara Nelson


My love for softball was the reason I became a Physical Education teacher. I know, you are probably thinking that is a little backwards.  Teachers should be teachers first and a coach second.  On one hand, I would say you are correct. On the other hand, my entire life and through college my passion for softball was extreme.  The reality was after my college softball career ended coaching was the only way for me to stay involved in the sport I loved.  Surely there are other athletes in this world that can relate to my thinking.

I wasn’t always a Physical Education major in college. I actually started out as an Elementary Education major.  I knew I wanted to go into education from the beginning of my college career, but it wasn’t until my junior year in college that I decided fitness and nutrition was the path I wanted to pursue. So in 2003 I decided to double major in Physical Education and Wellness and Recreation.  This was the best decision I could have ever made for myself.  It has created opportunities I could have never imagined.  Today in a small town of about 6,500, I am known as an Elementary Physical Education Teacher, Head Varsity Softball Coach, Head Boys and Girls Cross Country Coach, Group Fitness Instructor, and finally a Certified Personal Trainer.

When I started my career in education, I was just an individual with a love for the game of softball.  All I wanted to do was give back to a game that had given me so much. Little did I know that soon my life would become bigger than just giving back to young athletes and the sport of softball. After completing two years of being a Physical Education Teacher and Coach, I was approached by our local YMCA to join their world of fitness and become a Group Fitness Instructor.   Of course I welcomed this new and exciting opportunity. I liked to workout on my own but for sure a tough workout would be even more fun with a group!

Since 2007 I have been a Physical Education Teacher and Coach as well as a Group Fitness Instructor.  Over time I have worked hard to create a fun and challenging environment for adults and youth of all ages.  Being a group fitness instructor has given me an opportunity to become a better physical education teacher as well as take my softball team and cross country runners to a higher level of fitness.

The exposure to group fitness and building new relationships with others sparked my interest in personal training. I enjoy hearing about success stories of my class participants.  Whether these individuals know it or not, they are just as much of an inspiration to me as I am to them.  I have discovered fitness as a fresh and new passion. It wasn’t long into my new journey with fitness that I soon discovered becoming a group fitness instructor and personal trainer is merely an expansion of my physical education classroom. I can’t get enough of helping others achieve their personal goals. Whether on the athletic field or in the area of Health and wellness, I have found fitness to be rewarding in all aspects of life. In conclusion, I would like to ask the readers of this article, what has fitness done for you lately?