I’ve been a member of the NSCA since 2002. I always remember what year I joined because it was the year my first child was born. I was pregnant during the CSCS test and had horrible morning sickness. I threw up three times during the test, but I still passed!
Although I passed the CSCS and kept up with continuing education via online courses, I didn’t become involved in conferences until 2014. During those 12 years, I had another child and I opened my first 15 to Fit Pilates studio. I focused most of my career efforts on learning Pilates in depth. In 2014, we were moving from Indianapolis to our dream destination of Lake Norman outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. I attended the NSCA Coaches Conference that was held in Indianapolis to make some contacts with trainers and business owners in North Carolina.
As I attended the conference, I observed that nearly all of the speakers were white males. There were two female speakers and they were in the nutrition field. I remember thinking, “They need more diverse speakers and more women. I’m going to apply and speak about Pilates at NSCA events.”
I met Doug Lentz, a member of the speaker selection committee, and he told me that I first needed to apply. I applied to speak as a “Wake Up Workout” at the Personal Trainer’s Conference in Washington, D.C. and was accepted. I led NSCA members through a mat Pilates workout. Thinking that was pretty easy to accomplish, I then applied to speak at all the conferences for the following year. I wasn’t selected for any.
Doug told me I needed to apply to speak at a state conference because people needed to know that I could handle a crowd at a state or regional event.
At the national conference that year, I had a state director tell me he was hosting a regional clinic and invited me to speak about Pilates. That worked out perfectly, and I happily accepted!
Three months before the regional clinic I began preparing my presentation. It was lock solid by four weeks out. With two weeks remaining until the clinic, I had prepared and practiced it so much that I could do the entire 50 minute presentation by heart and without notes.
I’m not saying everyone needs to practice that much, but I would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Even though I really wanted to speak, this was absolutely out of my comfort zone. Yes, I was speaking about Pilates- a topic that I love. However, I was speaking to a largely male crowd that is really into lifting weights and other traditional methods of training. Honestly, I was afraid I was going to be heckled. I wanted to be completely prepared for anything.
The day of the presentation came and, disappointingly, the speaker before me used up 25 minutes of my 50 minute presentation time. I was fuming and had to think on my feet and cut short my presentation. But because I was so prepared, I rocked that presentation! I had a number of attendees after the presentation that came up and asked questions and wanted more information. One attendee’s wife joined our 15 to Fit team training program within that year and became an amazing Pilates and fitness instructor. Ultimately, it became a good thing that my presentation was cut short. I had to adapt in the moment and it only increased my confidence to present at nationals.
The following year I once again applied for every conference and, once again, I wasn’t selected. I applied again the next year and was finally selected to speak at the national conference in Indianapolis.
About two months before the nationals presentation, I asked the largest provider of education and Pilates equipment in the world, Balanced Body, if they would sponsor my presentation by bringing Pilates reformers to the event. Although they normally book out conference sponsorships a year in advance, they accepted! I was overjoyed to bring Balanced Body Pilates to the NSCA, and they were overjoyed to be exposed to the great strength coaches and trainers of our organization.
Now, it was on! I felt a fair amount of pressure now that I knew Balanced Body was donating what amounted to about $50,000 in resources through staffing, equipment and shipping costs to this presentation. I had one choice and one choice only- success. I prepared even more for this presentation. One month prior to my presentation, I was able to recite it by memory with no notes or PowerPoint. The book The Four Agreements lists as one of the agreements “Always Do Your Best.” I followed this to the best of my ability. I figured if I gave it my all and it didn’t work out, I couldn’t be upset. However, I knew if I gave it my all I would be successful.
The 2018 NSCA National Conference was held in Indianapolis which was a homecoming for me because I had lived there for over 20 years after I graduated from Ball State University. Neal Hazen, the lead physical therapist for athletes at Ball State was in attendance. I was Neal’s first patient at Ball State way back in 1987 when I shattered my ankle two weeks before I started school as a freshman. He helped me not only walk again but compete in gymnastics again. My long time friend and amazing photographer John Bragg was hired by Balanced Body to shoot pictures for the event.
Although I was terrified that only three to four people were going to show up for my presentation, we actually had over 150 people attend. We had three groups of 15 people cycle in and out on the Pilates reformer demonstration alone. It was standing room only and a great success. Balanced Body was very pleased. They signed up again to sponsor another presentation the following year in Washington, D.C.
As I mentioned previously, I graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Our most famous grad is David Letterman. To honor him I give you:
The Top 10 Things Speaking for the NSCA Did for Me
- Stressed me out.
- Cost me countless hours in preparation.
- Strained my voice due to over practicing (and some yelling at my kids).
- Excited me to no end.
- Led to many adrenaline rushes.
- Motivated me to keep practicing press handstands.
- Allowed me to pay myself about 75 cents per hour for prep time.
- Aided me in becoming a Balanced Body Pilates Master Instructor.
- Gave me the opportunity to train Integrated Movement Specialists through Balanced Body Pilates and bring Pilates to strength coaches, athletes and personal trainers.
- Increased revenue streams for my business through education.
Speaking for the NSCA has given me untold opportunities in business and personal growth. I highly recommend all types of members from all types of backgrounds to apply to speak. Just because “you’re not a speaker” or “you’re not good at speaking” doesn’t mean you won’t succeed. You can become proficient through practice, discipline and passion. No excuses. The NSCA needs YOU to make it better.