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Having the courage to choose myself

Nicole Schoville

Nicole Schoville decided at the end of last year to take a hiatus from teaching to make time to be a yoga and Pilates student again. Why it was a difficult -- and liberating -- choice. 

Blog by Nicole [Former Invoke Pilates instructor, yoga & Pilates student, HR goddess]

I did it.

After weeks of debating and soul-searching, last November I found my courage in a couple of glasses of wine and sent my semi-resignation to Amy Peddycord, the owner of Invoke Studio.

After six years of teaching, training and music-mix-making at Invoke, I felt like I needed to hang up my set list, at least for now. It was an incredibly difficult decision and a totally selfish move. But after six years of focusing on others on their mats, I needed to focus on mine again.

Don’t get me wrong; I love teaching. The challenge, the energy, the people, the studio -- they all make you a better person. So why would I stop?

The answer is simple and kind of lame. When life became crazy, I had to choose between cultivating my own practice and helping others grow theirs. At the end of the day, I chose myself.

In an ideal world, a balance exists between the roles of student and instructor. If you’re really lucky, you might even clock more hours on your mat as a student than you do standing over others on theirs. But at some point along my six-year teaching journey, I let a full-time job and other life events keep me from my mat.

And I felt it.  My mind-body balance was out of whack. I was starting to feel like I was walking through the world with a mental limp of sorts.

Today, I’m back on my mat as a student. I’m making it to class a couple of times a week, and instead of standing over students, demanding that they give me 20 more or hold for five, I’m sitting and standing next to them, giving 20 more and holding for five. There are days when I might even mentally curse my instructor for those extra counts and breaths, but it’s awesome and worth it because within the strain, I find my mind-body balance.

In the classes where former students are now instructors and students of all ages and abilities are moving on their mats, side by side, I’m in it, and there’s balance.  My mental limp has begun to fade, and in its place I find the buzz that you can only get when you’ve spent your 60-plus minutes on your mat.

I can’t stay away from teaching for long. Just like taking classes, I will crave instructing.

I plan to surprise my old students every now and then with a sub appearance. They’ll find me standing over them, calling out breaths and counts, maybe even making them mentally curse me.

That’s OK, because in those moments, it’s all about them.

Schoville, known among many at Invoke for her challenging classes, works in human resources at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.


Her mission: Help others discover their potential

Maria Romaine's after-work cycling hobby transformed her life. Now a workout instructor, she uses her passion for fitness to help others do the same. 

Blog by Maria [Workout instructor, sales guru, national fitness ambassador]

It all started with my mentor, Julie, who got me hooked on turbo kick, an intense cardio workout, the summer before my junior year in college. I started teaching turbo kick classes as a college senior. That made me think I had what it takes to become a workout instructor.

After graduating and moving to Indianapolis, I started taking cycling classes at the YMCA at the Athenaeum and was soon recruited to help teach. Instead of going out to dinner or having drinks with friends after work, I couldn’t wait to hit the locker room, suit up, and greet my cycling students. I looked forward to the music-pumping, sweat-dripping intensity of each class – and the satisfied smiles that followed at the end.

The opportunity to teach was a catalyst for conquering my own health and fitness challenges, including losing 20 to 40 extra pounds I had always carried, as well as the platform in which I began my health consultancy/coaching business.  Five years later, I teach up to five cardio classes a week – a combination of turbo kick, cycling and stride – at two workout venues, in addition to working a full-time job in sales at Angie’s List and serving as a brand ambassador for Oakley’s Women.

For me, fitness has become so much more than a hobby or a way to burn calories. It’s a forum for connecting with others and helping them reach their innate potential.

Through teaching, I’ve discovered how much I love motivating people and have found some of my best workouts are when I’m teaching. I’ve also loved forging relationships with those in my class. I’ve become Facebook friends with many students and have developed those connections further by leading 30-day health challenges to help people achieve their health goals.

I use a formula that works – a nutritious diet, rigorous workouts and an online accountability group. And the camaraderie that comes along with it – including the prizes I award for those who fulfill the challenges and pitch-ins I organize among challenge participants – keeps people motivated.

Though my experience teaching, I’ve come to believe it’s my life’s purpose to help people unleash the sincerest form of themselves, and I firmly believe taking care of oneself physically is a great place to start.

It’s taken time, encouragement, support from others, and hard work for me to reach my own fitness potential. I now know I have the power to help others do the same.

For more about Romaine's fitness endeavors, visit mariaromaine.com or follow her on Twitter at @MiaLettuce .