March 7, 2016

When Students Become Instructors

They’re new, they’re trained, and they’re ready to make you sweat (in a good way)!

We love our own Group Fitness Instructors and were thrilled to send more off into the world last IAP (winter break) with our newly-premiered Group Fitness Instructor Training Instructional Program. Five aspiring instructors came together from different backgrounds to take the course, and through the process of learning – and sweating – together, emerged as energized and accomplished trainers!

Over the course of the program, the students learned the science behind fitness training, how to plan classes, and then had a chance to lead their own fitness class for their fellow students. But more than just a course to learn and practice their skills, it offered a chance for a group of talented women to meet, have fun, and even de-stress together! Check out what each student had to say below…



Danielle-PaceDanielle Pace
Toronto, Canada
PhD in Computer Science (CSAIL / course 6)

Favorite part of the Course:
Learning about how to plan routines and then teaching them to the other students in the training program. We got great feedback so that we could improve, and it was great to try out teaching in such a supportive environment.

Reason for taking the Course:
Group exercise is my favorite way to work out – there is such a variety of different classes and the energy in the room always pushes me further. I joined the training program so that I could learn how group exercise classes are designed and how to teach them effectively.

What’s Next:
I plan to take the exams required to get certified and then hopefully teach on campus, perhaps with some student clubs!


Marie-FengMarie Feng
Austin, Texas
EECS PhD student

Favorite part of the Course:
I loved meeting others similarly committed to fitness and sharing what led us to attending group exercise classes. And no matter our original reasons for showing up at our first bootcamp, we all agree that the community built around sweating together makes burpees more bearable.

Reason for taking the Course:
I want to make a positive impact in the others by sharing my love of fitness. My group exercise instructors and trainers have motivated me to prioritize my fitness and health and I hope to do the same!

What’s Next:
I’m currently teaching on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30PM! Come join! Let’s sweat together!


Kerie-SeamansKerie Seamans
From Hull, MA; lives in South Boston
Sr. Financial Analyst in Office of the VP for Finance

Favorite part of the Course:
My favorite part was meeting and interacting with a great group of girls from around the Institute!

Reason for taking the Course:
I think the Group Exercise Instructor Training Program is a great opportunity to acquire some skills in something I am passionate about (fitness) and something that is very different from my day job.  I would like to be able to teach classes in order to help people achieve their fitness goals and live healthier lifestyles.

What’s Next:
I plan to take the AFAA test to become certified as a group fitness instructor, and then hopefully teach some classes!


Lutao-XieLutao Xie
Master’s in Computation for Design and Optimization

Favorite part of the Course:
My favorite part was learning the anatomy and physiology of the human body. It helped me to have a better understanding of how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The science behind it fascinated me.

Reason for taking the Course:
I have been actively going to the Group Exercise Classes at MIT. I enjoyed the classes a lot, which have not only improved my physical conditions but I was also able to make new friends here. It helped me a lot with stress relief. I wanted to get more involved and gain deeper knowledge in this field.

What’s Next:
I plan to get the AFAA certificate, and hopefully become a Group Exercise Instructor in order to pass my experience on to more people.
I have had such a positive experience with fitness. It has greatly impacted my life. It is something that I will definitely carry with me through my future ventures. In order to test my skill, I signed up for my first Tough Mudder (12 mile) in July, and I plan to run a 10K soon.


Mariam-AllamMariam Allam
PhD candidate – Civil & Environmental Engineering

Favorite part of the Course:
My most favorite part is making new friends having the same interests yet reflecting their own personality in their exercise choices which took place in the practical hour when each of us came with our own workout. It was a lot of fun and interesting to see how creative a group of people can be.

Reason for taking the Course:
First I started group exercise as a way to channel out the stress and it helped me BIG time!! I really loved the idea that you can get in shape, meet amazing people from very diverse backgrounds and at different ages, make new friends and actually get psyched and have fun. That’s what got me interested in group exercising.  I wanted to join the training program to learn more about our body anatomy, correct exercise form and more nutrition and eventually to be able to help others achieve their goals as it did help me.

What’s Next:
Next step is the license and hopefully becoming an instructor. I hope I can inspire others as much as I was inspired by so many of the current instructors at MIT Rec!


Thanks to all our attendees for their awesome feedback!
Interested in this course? Let our Assistant Fitness Director, Deanna Dempsey, know.

In the meantime, leave us a comment below about this or any other course offering you would like to see offered!