THE MAX Challenge is so proud of the journeys each member embarks on – from the moment they make the decision to start the program and every step thereafter. For some members, their journey includes finding the motivation and courage to step up in front of the class in the role of instructor. Their background both in life and on the mat helps them to relate to the experiences of first-time members in a unique way. In the second part of the members turned instructor series, THE MAX had the opportunity to interview Alexis, an instructor at THE MAX of Commack, Casey, an instructor at THE MAX of Hazlet, and Melissa, an instructor at THE MAX of Clinton.
1. What part of your personal MAX transformation are you most proud of?
Alexis – I really love the strength that I’ve gained from my transformation. I always knew it was inside of me but when you physically see it and then accomplish so many challenges, that in itself is so invigorating! I’m truly most proud of the person I’ve become.
Casey – I had been going to THE MAX for a little bit and was doing great, feeling stronger, healthier, and lost some of the hormonal weight associated with my cancer diagnosis and treatment. My cancer then returned, and I had to go through the treatments again. The second time around, however, was so much different – the treatments weren’t as rough, my recovery from surgery was much smoother, and I attribute it to how much healthier I was from my time at THE MAX. Once I was back in gear, I lost around 30 lbs., and I felt so strong and healthy – it was a great feeling.
Melissa – There are SO many proud parts of my transformation, but I would have to say the biggest ones are the self-confidence I gained, reaching the smallest size I’ve been in as long as I can remember, and running Spartan races! Never in a million years did I see myself doing anything close to that. Even with the pandemic and falling off track a bit, I am so proud of myself and now know I have what it takes to reach my goals time and time again. THE MAX has taught me so many things, and I am forever grateful for all the proud moments it has allowed me to have over the years and continue to give me!
2. What pushed you to become an instructor?
Alexis – It’s actually a funny story. I’ve been in the fitness industry for quite a few years now, so being an instructor is who I am; it is in my DNA. I love group fitness, and I love helping people. But I never realized what I was missing outside of THE MAX Challenge. The community, the support, the energy; there’s nothing like it in the world. I was lucky enough to become part of the team. I’ve gained so much, both personally and professionally, and that’s what I was searching for, but I just didn’t know it. I decided to become an instructor at THE MAX because what we do here is extremely special, and there’s no way I’d be missing out on it!
Casey – I remember one day in class, Marc had asked if anyone would be interested in being an instructor, and inside I thought about it but was a little nervous. You meet really great people at THE MAX, and when Marc asked if anyone was interested, all the amazing people turned to me and said, “YOU have to do it, you would be amazing.” That was the push I needed. I went to boot camp, taught my first class, and there was no turning back!
Melissa – I have always been motivational at heart. I was a teacher, a school counselor, and now, a proud MAX certified trainer! It’s in my DNA to help others. I have always put myself last and am happiest when I’m helping others! After getting more involved in my center and seeing how much I motivated others by telling my story or writing inspirational messages, I knew I had the passion and drive to become a trainer. People from everywhere would reach out and tell me that my story or before and after pictures alone got them to join. I was making an impact simply by putting my journey out there for others to see. It took me a long time to get comfortable sharing some of my before pics, but I couldn’t believe the impact once I did.
Even though I knew I wanted to be a MAX instructor, I still had to push through some of my self-doubts and put myself out there even more than I had before! The encouraging words of Mark Larose, who runs our center, paired with everyone’s support and belief in me, got me there! Mark is such an inspiration that anyone would aspire to be a motivator like him! I wanted to make a bigger difference. I want people who are just like the “old me” to know that it is possible and that if I could do it with twins at home, anyone could. I want to help others feel beautiful and confident in themselves. To know they can push through their fears and have support every step of the way!
3. What is your favorite part of being an instructor? The most challenging?
Alexis – I love having the opportunity to change people’s lives. It’s inspiring, and it’s the best job in the world. It’s so wonderful in so many different ways. I wish they could see themselves through my eyes; then they would see how special they are -that’s what’s most challenging about being an instructor-it’s getting your MAXers to believe in themselves the way I believe in them. Once they do, they can conquer anything. I invented a word; MAXable. It means that they are a MAXer, capable of anything that they set their mind to!
Casey – I love being in front of the class, and the energy you get from MAXers is on another level. I hope they know how pumped it makes us instructors feel! What I love the most is when members tell me how far they have come, how good they feel, and how their life has changed; it feels great to help people make these changes and feel great!
Melissa – My favorite part of being an instructor is motivating others and the joy on the members’ faces when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could, or try something new and are amazed they did it. Watching others achieve their goals and become more confident as they do it is so rewarding. I get so pumped up and excited to teach. It’s one of the best feelings! Week 5 and week 10 are special weeks – they mark huge accomplishments and discoveries. Seeing the members go through the entire process and transform in front of your eyes, and to know that you were a part of that transformation is so uplifting! It’s just such a special journey to be a part of!
One of my challenges as an instructor is portraying the confidence I want the members to have. If I want them to be confident in themselves, I need to model that! Not something that comes easy to me! I put a lot of time and energy into making sure I am comfortable with each aspect of the class plans and power talks to give the members the best possible experience! I want to give back to others what THE MAX has given to me!
4. What’s your favorite MAX exercise?
Alexis – Fighter Jacks! I love jumping, and I love punching!
Casey – I love a good pushup or a burpee. They are hard, but you feel strong and good when you get them done, and I love it!
Melissa – I have many favorite MAX exercises, but I think punching the bag during kickboxing Friday tops it all! I also surprisingly love squat thrusts!
5. What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming an instructor with THE MAX?
Alexis – DO IT! If you have a passion for anything in life – pursue it. It is better to live knowing that you tried than never to take the first step. It’s an incredible opportunity to have, and I cannot imagine my life without THE MAX.
Casey – Don’t talk yourself out of it! You will have butterflies; the first time on the mic will be a little scary, but the rewards of doing it come quickly and they far outweigh the scary parts! Always be willing to learn and take advice from others. We can always grow and get better, and that’s how we keep helping people!!
Melissa – If you are thinking of becoming an instructor, don’t think too hard and long about it! If someone approaches you and says you’d be great or if you have been thinking about it, give it a shot! It means you have the potential to be a great life changer! It is such a heartwarming and exciting experience! It will also help you stay on track and continue your journey as much as it helps others! You will learn so much from experience and continue to grow as well, so I’d call it a win-win
Each of these three women found themselves stepping through the door of THE MAX for a different reason, but in the end, they all found a shared passion for their MAX family and helping others live happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives. THE MAX Challenge wants to thank Alexis, Casey, and Melissa as well as all of their talented instructors for all that they do. To anyone interested in becoming an instructor for THE MAX Challenge, you are encouraged to reach out to your home center, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It may be the next step towards something incredible!