The Water Lily Way

A school counselor's story of how to live, work and play…the water lily way

Stronger Than You Think: A Weekend of Fun & Fitness



I hope you all had a fantastic and hopefully somewhat relaxing weekend! I was fortunate to spend this weekend in Chicago at the Midwest Fit Fest which was held at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The conference was for group exercise instructors and personal trainers of various universities across that Midwest. There were some pretty big schools that attended: Purdue, Ohio State, University of Iowa, Notre Dame, and the list goes on (I believe there was about a total of 30 universities that participated). I traveled down with 8 other employees from our Student Recreation Center. We spent the FULL day on Saturday attending different sessions related to fitness and wellness. Thankfully on Sunday our day was only about four hours long, which seemed to go by very quick after an 11 hour day on Saturday.

My passion for group exercise really started when I was in high school, and actually is all because of my momma! I remember the first class I ever went to was cycling, and I only went because my mom begged me to go with her. 😉 Of course, I am so happy now that she got me on the fitness class train, and it is actually something we do together when I am back home (which makes it even that much better)! I continued attending group fitness classes all throughout college, it was a great way to meet people, it holds you accountable and there is so much variety when it comes to classes that are offered! When I worked as a wellness coordinator for a year at a YMCA I was certified in cycle, group exercise and yoga. It’s at the YMCA of Southern Nevada where I first began teaching classes, and then once I moved back to Wisconsin for graduate school I was determined to keep teaching! I consider my classes to be “teams” and I love being a part of the motivation, encouragement, relationship building, and all the other aspects that take place in group exercise environments. While I do enjoy classes such as yoga, where it much more independent and individualized, I also crave classes like bootcamp and cycle that bring participants together to cheer one another on!

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Back to the conference…I attended eight different group exercise classes throughout the weekend and one lecture. I don’t think I have ever participated in that many fitness classes in a week, let alone in a two-day span. However, that is what I, and the rest of my group ex family signed up for when we registered for the event! It was definitely challenging, both mentally and physically, but it’s really quite amazing to see all that your body can do when pushed to another level.

One of my favorite classes this weekend was called Bootcamp Battle and it was presented to us by three different instructors from the University of Iowa. It. Was. Awesome. The motivation from the instructors was unbelievable and definitely got the energy going early Saturday morning.  We did a ton of sprints, core work, circuits of strength and cardio and of course, push-ups. If you’re more interested in how the class was set up or the specific details of the workout, message me and I’d be happy to fill you in with further details. 🙂 I love the picture below! I can feel the determination just by looking at it!

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At the end of each class the instructors provided time for discussion. The first question that was asked was why the class was titled “Bootcamp Battle.” The instructors said that the class was a battle between our minds and our bodies. That often times we don’t have believe in ourselves and all that we are capable of, both mentally, and physically. Not only did this class really reinforce this idea for me, but really the whole weekend did as well.

It’s easy to forget how strong we really are! I hope you are all are able to go into this week and overcome any battles that may come your way…Remember, you are stronger than you think you are!

Have a happy Monday!

Jessica 🙂


Author: jesserannp

Professional School Counseling Graduate Student

3 thoughts on “Stronger Than You Think: A Weekend of Fun & Fitness

  1. Happy Monday to you, too!!! Looking forward to the next time you come home and we can do something active together! Sounds like you had an AMAZING weekend! During this long, frigid winter…. It is important to push yourself to keep going! Just Do It!!

  2. That sounds like an amazing weekend! I would love to go to this type of event! Love me some group fitness 😉

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