“No amount of money could keep me away from my family. I chose to solely focus on fitness instructing.” - Fitness Instructor Nancy Korf
In January, we received a Core Flyte order from a new customer named Nancy. As with all orders, we were happy that another person was excited about purchasing Core Flytes to make workouts more creative and effective.
Upon ordering, Nancy explained to our team that she was an experienced certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She then noted an impressive list of the classes she’s led just in the last few years: ViPR, CrossCore, small group personal training, Zumba Step, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning, U-Jam, yoga, and HIIT circuits. Nancy is certified in 20 different exercise formats.
Nancy has tested nearly every exercise program and piece of exercise equipment out there. She was even using a large circular device with wheels around the border – called a Havyk – to provide benefits similar to Core Flyte exercises. She was looking for something new and Core Flytes fit the bill. Fitness is an industry where fads are common but trends are rare.
As much as we love our Core Flytes and our upcoming Core Flyte professional certification workshops, we know that when it comes to group fitness, the instructor – not the exercises – determine whether or not someone enjoys a class. Nancy Korf is a veteran fitness professional whose clients return to her week after week because of her open mind, positive energy, and rich fitness knowledge.
With well over two decades as a successful fitness professional, we wanted to hear more about her experience. Nancy discussed her unconventional path to becoming a fitness pro, current trends in fitness, and why she uses Core Flytes with her clients.
Drill Baby Drill
Nancy grew up in Olympia, Washington, and was passionate about gymnastics and drill team in high school and college. Nancy choreographed and instructed her drill team’s half time shows for the University of Washington games. Anyone who’s watched a well-performed drill team performance knows that making formations with pompoms while dancing to music is not easy… and it takes a lot of hard work to prepare for the big events. While teaching drill, Nancy developed a strong interest in both fitness and instruction.
From Dual Careers to One
Shortly after graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Nancy began teaching fitness classes. “As soon as I took my first aerobics class,” she recalled, “I knew with my experience teaching drill teams that I could teach fitness.” While in grad school, studying for a master’s degree in accounting and an MBA, Nancy taught 12-15 classes a week. Throughout her busy career in international tax, she continued to lead classes “as a stress relief valve that kept me sane,” she said.
With the birth of her first child, Nancy decided to focus on fitness and end her successful business career. Nancy said, “No amount of money could keep me away from my family. I chose to solely focus on fitness instructing.”
After 16 years of group instruction, Nancy added the title of certified personal trainer to her list of credentials. Two weeks ago, Nancy celebrated 25 years as a fitness professional.
Zumba as a Universal Language
Zumba is one of the classes Nancy still continues to teach each week. Before Nancy taught Zumba she thought it was “just aerobics to Latin music.” Over the years, she’s seen some of the really interesting benefits of Zumba. Because the moves are simple and the intensity can be increased or decreased to suit nearly any fitness level, Nancy’s Zumba classes serve as a welcoming environment. They are welcoming for non-English speakers as well as those with special needs. “I simply teach with my fingers by performing the move, counting down the beat with my finger, and then pointing to the next move,” Nancy described. Nancy uses music from a wide range of cultures, including African, Chinese, as well as the more common Latin. As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, it is especially important for Nancy to create a class setting that is inclusive and welcoming. Zumba has become a gateway class for many of Nancy’s clients: they get comfortable with the format and often expand to other group exercise classes.
Group Fitness is for Guys Too
Nancy clearly loves teaching group fitness. She’s something of a crusader in the industry, fighting against gender myths and opening up clients’ eyes to new and different exercise approaches. A common misconception about group fitness that Nancy is trying to combat is that the format is only for women. Nancy says, “While only 10 percent of my Zumba class participants are male, I teach a high intensity interval training class which is half male.” Nancy found a nice way to get couples to work out together with many of her classes as husband and wife pairs attend together. Some guys think they’re too strong for group fitness, but the reality is that anyone can get a lot out of nearly any group fitness format. I’ve seen some of the most ripped athletes struggle through Pilates!
What’s Trending in Fitness
Nancy sees some trends that she views very positively. For example, she said, “there is a greater focus on restorative and rehabilitative exercises.” Whereas the emphasis in fitness has been squarely on getting a great workout, there is now more attention paid to recuperation after exercising. To stay current, Nancy was trained in the MELT method of hand and foot treatment (which uses a soft foam roller to help repair connective tissue), a method that she credits for saving her career by healing her plantar fasciitis.
One negative trend Nancy warned us about stems from a concern that fitness professionals have fewer and fewer certificate and training requirements. “Once they become certified with little training,” Nancy said, “the professionals think they know it all, but often do not follow safety first. Because Nancy places a high value on continuing to build her knowledge base, she invests a lot into learning the latest and most effective methods.
Flying with Her Core Flytes
Nancy has been using her Core Flytes for a few months now. She initially purchased them because, “I’m a sucker for any way to move in multiple planes in a safe and effective manner, which is why I loved Core Fytes from the beginning.” Nancy has incorporated Core Flytes into her group fitness classes. One of her favorite exercises involves a client placing one foot on a Core Flyte and gradually lunging back while holding onto a chair for support. “Clients perform this movement in a slow and controlled manner to help open up the hip flexors and quads and to reduce risk of injury,” she said.
Nancy is also a big fan of Core Flyte planks. Instead of the more common placement of Core Flytes under feet during planks, Nancy prefers to put Core Flytes under her clients’ forearms, with knees on the ground, and extend the upper body to the point of tension. This move helps support the lower back while engaging the abdominal region.
Nancy created another Core Flyte plank variation in which the Core Flytes are placed under each foot and the user makes circles to fully engage the core. To view that move, along and other Core Flyte exercises, check out Nancy’s YouTube channel. We are happy to report that Nancy loves her Core Flytes – and more importantly – her clients do as well. Look for new Core Flyte exercises from Nancy: “I have a ton of Core Flyte exercises I’ve been doing and I’m anxious to share them!”
We’d love to hear from you. What attributes do you think are key for a great fitness professional? Comment below or on our Facebook page or tweet us at @flytefitness.
Be Flyte Fit,
Contributing Writer, Flyte Fitness
Certified Group Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer
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