By: Cameron Addertion ‘20 communications
Rebecca (Lukasik) Schutt ‘16, Coley Lyon ‘17 and Chloe Shevlin ‘18 all taught group fitness classes for Wellness and Recreation during their time at NC State. They found community and a passion for fitness. After graduation, they were not ready to give up their fitness driven lifestyle and felt compelled to continue teaching.
Rebecca (Lukasik) Schutt
Prior to college, Schutt was involved in sports, participating dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, track and volleyball. It wasn’t until college that Schutt was introduced to group fitness. “Dancing was one of my first passions. At NC State, I went to a Zumba® class and not even 10 minutes into the class I thought ‘I want to be up in the front of a class doing this too,” said Schutt. Soon after the class, she enrolled in ACE® training course to be a group fitness instructor.
Schutt created and lived a healthy, active lifestyle in college and wanted to continue after graduating. She now teaches indoor cycling at Flywheel Sports in Raleigh. After graduating, giving up fitness was not an option.
“I never considered sacrificing being active or giving it up once I graduated,” said Schutt.
Schutt has genuine relationships with the people in her classes. “It’s incredible to be in a position of outreach like that, knowing you can make an impact beyond motivating people to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Schutt. One of Schutt’s goals as an instructor is to make exercise enjoyable for participants and something they are motivated to do regularly.
Schutt studied human biology and Spanish at NC State. She did not expect for fitness to guide her life. She works in clinical trials full-time at IQVIA in the Research Triangle Park, and Flywheel part-time.
Fitness has always been a part of Lyon’s life and has played a role in who she is. Lyon started going to the gym with her father at a young age to spend time together. In high school, she ran cross country, cheered and played soccer as well as worked out on her own. Lyon took group fitness classes her first semester freshman year. She accidentally found herself in an instructor training class instead of a group fitness class and loved it, “seeing the excitement people had to help their community through fitness was an inspiration and ever since then I was interested,” said Lyon. The fitness-driven excitement inspired Lyon to become a group fitness instructor. She has experience in most fitness classes and she taught almost every format, “I tried to be involved in as many formats as I could. That way, if a sub was ever needed, I could help out.” After graduating Lyon has expanded even more formats and is learning to teach yoga.
The energy in the room when having a great workout is a rewarding feeling for Lyon, “Being able to experience peoples struggles, happiness and triumphs in a group setting is what brings me back every time.” Experiencing her participants’ journeys and the satisfaction they get from a good workout is what makes Lyon passionate about being a fitness instructor. Lyon continued teaching group fitness at a local YMCA in Charlotte after graduation to feel the same sense of community she felt at NC State and believes in the social benefits of a wellness community as well as the physical benefits.
While Lyon’s degree is in marketing, she says teaching group fitness is her most rewarding job. “I find more satisfaction working in the fitness community because I feel like I have a purpose and can positively influence people’s daily lives,” said Lyon. She hopes to teach group fitness long-term and eventually start personal training.
Shevlin became involved in fitness to find community. Feeling spontaneous and wanting to get involved on campus, she took a “morning madness bootcamp” before the first day of classes during her freshman year.
“I met so many inspiring instructors and the other participants kept me energized,” said Shevlin. After experiencing the excitement and encouragement Shevlin knew she wanted to work at Wellness and Recreation, and became a fitness assistant in 2014. Shevlin later found the confidence and self-assurance she needs to ask to be a group fitness instructor and she started within a week.
Shevlin admired the power group fitness instructors had to inspire and motivate participants, and she wanted to be able to do that too. “I saw group fitness instructors inspiring other people to move their bodies in ways that made them feel strong and empowered, and I knew that I wanted to share that inspiration with people around me,” said Shevlin.
Shevlin has struggled with her own self-esteem and body image. Working in fitness has helped her to appreciate what her body can do and her goal is to inspire others. “It has been and continues to be, a long journey of learning self-acceptance and recognizing my self-worth, but group fitness is what helped me get to the place I am now,” said Shevlin. As an instructor, Shevlin makes it her goal to let participants know they are capable and strong regardless of their size. Shevlin has three goals when she teaches: to have fun, to sweat and for participants to feel stronger when they walk out than when they walked in. After a workout, she reminds participants to thank themselves for taking the time out of their busy lives to challenge and move their bodies.
Shevlin majored in industrial engineering with a concentration in health systems engineering at NC State. She now works as an industrial engineer at Duke University Hospital while teaching group cycling and PiYo for Duke University Recreation. She hopes to get her graduate degree in public health and to live abroad, but no matter where she is she plans to be teaching group fitness.
The relationships these women built during their time at Wellness and Recreation was so influential to their lives that they now seek the same connections outside of college. These women are examples that exercise does not have to be an activity done alone, but can be a foundation for friendships. None of them expected fitness to guide their life during and after college, but they found their passion in teaching group fitness and wanted to continue. They want to share their excitement with every participant in their classes and make them feel stronger and proud of themselves. Teaching group fitness at NC State revealed their devotion to teaching and provided them with the skills they were able to use after graduation to continue teaching others. Each of their wellness journeys brought them confidence, community and a fitness driven lifestyle they were not willing to leave in college.
If you are looking for community at NC State, group fitness could provide you with both friendships and fitness. We offer more than 80 group fitness classes to reach everyone’s interest. Check the schedule and register today.