Your heart is racing, your body is covered in sweat, and you can’t wipe that stupid smile off your face. Take that exhilarating feeling that comes after an awesome workout, and multiply it by about a million. That’s how it feels when you’re the one guiding people through an intense workout and helping them overcome their frustrations and hang-ups about their capabilities.
I haven’t experienced this myself, but this is what Brandy Sorensen says about her job as an INSANITY Instructor in Everett and Marysville Washington. Brandy’s classes may sound crazy, but she is totally serious about health and wellness. In addition to teaching, she’s also a massage therapist, certified personal trainer, and Independent Team Beachbody Coach. We catch up with Brandy to find out more about her fitness-focused lifestyle.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I went to Edmonds Community College for my AA degree after that I went to Everest College to study Massage.
How did you first find out about INSANITY classes? How did you decide to become an instructor?
Through the company I work with, Beachbody. I loved the at-home program and I feel like everyone should feel the sense of accomplishment I did when I completed the workout. That “OH MY GOSH I can’t believe I just did that, you should try it, too” feeling. It also felt like a format I could teach. Insanity is all about what is inside of you. There is no competition with anyone; it is your workout.
You teach INSANITY classes and you also sell Beachbody products. How does this system work?
I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach. I help people who use their products reach their health and fitness goals. When people purchase products through me, Beachbody pays me. But you don’t have to be a Beachbody coach to teach a class like INSANITY or any of the other teaching certifications based on the at home workouts they offer.
What was the INSANITY certification process like?
It was an all-day class with demos and practicals. We could only miss two or three questions on the test to pass. I am glad that I have a background in massage and had a refresher on the info in my personal training classes.
Do you have to do any ongoing or additional training?
To be able to work in gyms, I need to have CPR and First Aid. I am part of something called ProTeam that keeps me certified. If I was not part of that, I would have to take the certification class again.
What are your main responsibilities and activities as an instructor?
Keep people motivated. Make sure they have good form so they don’t injure themselves, and show modifications.
What is your favorite part about this job?
Seeing how the members of the class improve. It is so inspiring. Plus helping motivate others really helps keep me motivated. I can be having a pretty crappy day, but after class I am jazzed. Yelling “YOU CAN DO IT” and “YOU’RE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE” and “YOU’RE DOING AWESOME” not only helps the students, but me as well. Positive energy creates positive energy.
What is the most challenging part of this job?
I want to make sure everyone is having a good time. Everyone comes to class with different baggage, for lack of a better word, so sometimes it is hard to break through that, but when I do it is awesome!
What do you think are the most important skills/characteristics of a successful fitness instructor?
Connection. Being able to connect with people and figure out what they need as an individual and as a class. Making individuals feel special along with reaching a whole class takes time to learn.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field?
Don’t be shy. Be passionate.
Homework time! Brandy talks about the challenge of connecting with students on an individual level and as a whole class. Next time you take a group fitness class, observe what the instructor does to accomplish this.