Say hi to Nikki Ashendorf. Nikki is the Group Exercise Instructor, Swim Instructor, Child Care Associate and Member Services Associate at MCC Lakeshore Fitness Center in Muskegon, MI. She has been there for 4 years.
Nikki has her ACE Group Fitness Instructor certification, WSI, Silver Sneakers Yoga, Circuit, Ener-Chi, and Splash. She is certified in basic paddle for kayaking with ACA. She also has her Enhanced Fitness certification as well as her Medical Assistant certification.
You may also recognize Nikki as the enthusiastic person in the middle of the group in the pool in the winning photograph from the 2019 Medical Fitness Week photo contest! Check out the Medical Fitness Week page.
We caught up with Nikki recently and here is what she had to say.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Oh, I don’t even consider this my “job” or “work”. What I get to do for a living is so much fun! I actually look forward to coming in and teaching my classes, seeing my participants and playing! It’s so rewarding. They have all become my friends and it’s so fabulous hearing their success stories.
What has been your favorite/most successful initiative at your fitness/wellness center?
I created Aqua Belly dance. Aqua belly dance was also the first thing I ever taught, 1 hour a week. Then things started growing from there. Now I teach 12 classes a week plus the other things I do in the facility. My other favorite is Enhanced Memory Fitness and Enhanced Memory dance. I was able to be on the ground floor for this new class. I helped to create it, name it and now, teach it. I was honored to be part of the team that received the 1st Place Program Innovation Award at the 2019 MFA Annual Conference.
What led you to choose this field?
I was a complete couch potato. You would never see me exercise. I also suffered from depression and still suffer from Fibromyalgia and literally could not get off the couch. But I gained some weight and was not happy so I joined the exercise facility. I took aquatic exercise classes, it was a lot of fun and I saw some pretty amazing results. Not only did I lose weight but it helped with the Fibromyalgia pain. Eventually I was able to get off most of my meds for mental health!!! I thought, I wonder if I could teach belly dance in the water. I asked, created a way to do it, and the rest is history! And now I have the honor of helping other people and it is so fantastic.
What one piece of advice would you give to those just coming into this field of medical fitness?
HAVE FUN! Make classes fun, learn new things and try new things. When you are having fun, the whole class will too!
Are you involved in any charity or community work?
I am a part of the Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 of Michigan. The group brings POW/MIA awareness to the public and we also help out our Veterans.
Thank you, Nikki and congratulations on your winning photo and Program Innovation Award!