On the 9th of August 2018 I was over the moon to find out I had been awarded ‘Best Dance Fitness Instructor 2018 – South Yorkshire’ in the annual Yorkshire and the Humber Enterprise Awards!!! I found out I had been nominated for an award at the beginning of July however didn’t tell anyone as I didn’t think anything was going to come of it. You can imagine my disbelief when I found out I had actually won one! I was so surprised I kept the news to myself for a good few hours before telling a soul! After it had sunk in I was left feeling immensely proud of myself.
When you work for yourself there is no-one there to pat you on the back and say ‘Well done!’ or ‘Good job!’ I think this is why I felt so shocked and so grateful to have been recognised.
Big achievements always get you thinking and reminiscing about how far you’ve come to get to where you are now. This award has prompted me to look back, reflect and think about how my classes have grown…
The Dance Fit with Helen mission is to break down this barrier of people feeling too self-conscious to go to an exercise class because of low body confidence and self-esteem. I like to challenge the view of fitness classes being places only fit, slim, twenty-somethings can attend. Through dance, exercise can AND should be fun otherwise you won’t want to do it!
Over the last few years the range of classes I offer has widened, the amount of classes I run has increased and class attendance has gone up. But much more importantly the people that come to my classes have improved so much. They have had personal achievements and reached their own milestones. To see people get fitter, stronger and grow in confidence is the most rewarding part of the job. Their successes are NEVER all down to me, not at all. However I love knowing I was part of their journeys and I am always filled with pride.
I have the pleasure of working with some of the kindest, funniest and bubbliest women around. I love to see them become more body-confident and positive. I get to watch their self-esteem grow through coming to my classes. Outside of class I am friends with many of my dance fitters on social media. Their posts make me smile and quite often inspire me. I love that they post selfies of themselves looking and feeling good. I love that they aren’t afraid or embarrassed to post sweaty selfies after class. I love that they also know how to poke fun of themselves! I can remember some of these same women being so nervous about coming to class and getting into exercise! To know I have helped make someone feel less self-conscious in any way is a big deal to me.
One of my favourite parts of the job is getting to know so many different people. I enjoy the social element of the classes and seeing people make friends. My class members and I have shared so many laughs and stories together. We’ve been there to provide support and encouragement for each other. I’ve fond memories of pre and post class discussions! Some of the ladies I teach have come to class through their pregnancies. Some started coming in the lead up to their weddings to get in shape (no pressure Helen!)
My job can be viewed as quite a frivolous one. It’s active, it’s fun and it involves dance and music. It’s not very academic. I’ve turned a hobby into a job; I’m doing what I love.
Is it a real job though?
Well it might not be your traditional 9-5 but I have come to the conclusion that it’s a blooming important one! I don’t think even I realised how important it was until this last year.
Not only have I seen people lose weight and up their fitness level, I have seen people become more mobile and able to move in ways they couldn’t before. I’ve seen faces light up, sparks ignited in people’s eyes and memories evoked. Movement is a huge struggle and challenge for some of those I work with. Movements that I take for granted can be extremely hard for them and in some cases not even possible. I have been inspired seeing these individuals trying their best, then making improvements and now moving in ways they couldn’t before.
Exercise has a massive impact on your health and fitness. When I say health I mean physical AND mental. I’m not saving lives, but I’m helping create healthier, happier and hopefully longer lives and that’s pretty special.
After all, what’s more important than your health?