Fitness Career Spotlight: Jeri Jirsa, CPT
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA, RD on FEBRUARY 27, 2013
The desire to truly make change within one’s self and improve one’s life can inspire finding one’s dream job. Jeri Jirsa is living her dream while helping others reach theirs, too. See her before and after (yoga pose!) photos. – Sarah What attracted you to the field of fitness and exercise?:I should start by mentioning that I was never very physical growing up, nor very healthy. I was fascinated by the idea, however. I’d read workouts in magazines and try to see if I could figure them out secretly at home, as I felt uncomfortable exercising around my peers. After college, marriage and desk jobs I went up to 198 pounds- I’m 5’4”. Wanting to prolong family trends of diabetes and stress-related heart problems, I started working on learning how to connect with my body and finally feel GOOD. The last four years found me focused in on the hard work and continued attempts. Today I’m healthier and more fit than ever at 125 pounds. My struggles gave me a passion to study fitness so I could become a trainer and work with people one on one. I went into business for myself so I could help save others the stress, frustration, and time it took. Your Job Title:Health and Wellness Coach Company you are with now:Everchange Fitness, at Body Mechanix Website: www.everchangefitness.com A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you: ”If you’re not smiling at the end of your session, I’m doing something wrong.” My hours are as varied as I am, as are my clients. There is one thing my clients are promised, and that is fun! Whether I’m working with my weight loss clients or maintainers, functional exercisers or people who want a taste of why Pilates and bodyweight exercise are my favorites, success can best be achieved through enjoying what you do. I keep my people moving in the ways they feel keep them growing. No matter the modality, everyone gets a full-body workout and leaves feeling accomplished. How did you get your current job in fitness and exercise?: See the above answer- I think that really sums it up. What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?:Physically, I was born with flexibility and a belief I was slow, clumsy, and terribly un-athletic. Fortunately, I was also born with a sense of determination. Along the way, I’ve learned how to listen to my body and identify its needs and preferences. I’ve learned a variety of styles and modalities of exercises. Other skills that have been important to learn are patience and concentration. It’s astonishing how many injuries come from not paying attention to our actions and being aware of our surroundings. What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?:Don’t give up, and do the work. It’s ridiculously cheesy, but time constantly reminds me of this. It took a long time and a lot of risks before I found what works for me. I kept being willing to put in effort, and even today I continue to try to learn and expand my own knowledge and understanding. The more I know the more I can pass that along. I’ll make myself look like a complete idiot if I need to in order to learn something that has a chance of helping even one person I train. If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?:I’m fortunate that every day I am rewarded with the joy of seeing my clients achieve their goals, and develop connections with their bodies. Getting to watch them experience move easier, feel stronger, more balanced and flexible? That’s what’s worth it. Hearing them be excited as they have to replace clothing as results of their hard work? That’s even better. The paycheck is just what lets me continue to develop myself so I can help people feel their best, and hopefully a lot more awesome!