While teaching a free yoga class at a local library, Amanda Neidlinger of Weatherly looked out at the group, filled with many first-timers, and “saw sheer terror on so many faces.”
She asked everyone to smile, and that seemed to help.
But the anecdote drives home something Neidlinger has noticed during her work as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor — some people need a little encouragement.
“If you want to be healthier or fitter but you have reservations about getting started, go to a class at a local gym or talk to a personal trainer,” she advises. “If you don’t like what you are being asked to do, either don’t do it or speak up. Any exercise can be modified or an alternative exercise can be provided.”
Neidlinger wrote those words in an essay she composed as she applied to enter the Ms. Health and Fitness contest. If she receives enough online votes to win the title, she will win $20,000 and her photo will appear on the cover of Muscle and Fitness HERS, a magazine read by more than 500,000 fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes.
“Fitness is my life,” said Neidlinger who holds a BSN in nursing but left her nursing job because she wants to help people “take ownership of their own health, (not) just help to treat their symptoms.”
She runs her own business, River Run Center for the Healing Arts, out of her home, offering massage therapy, personal training, yoga and group exercise. “Fitness pays the the bills now,” said Neidlinger. “I can truly say I love my job.”
“It has been amazing to watch my clients grow, and it isn’t the muscles changing that inspires me, but watching them become more confident and better able to cope with the stressors of life,” she wrote in another essay. “The individuals in the group exercise classes are so supportive of each other and have become friends who will help each other and each of the causes that are dear to them.”
The Ms. Health and Fitness contest has been under way for several weeks, and the field has been winnowed, with Neidlinger still in the competition, based on the number of votes.
If she were to win $20,000, she said, she would move her business out of her home into “my dream Healing Arts Center,” with room for private classes, group classes and child care.
“Babysitting is a must,” she added, noting that would be a necessity for many parents.
For more information about the contest, or to cast a vote, see mshealthandfitness.com/.
There are ways to cast one vote per day for free, or to cast multiple votes by paying for them. Money raised benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. The winner of Ms. Health and Fitness will be announced on or around July 13.