Walk through Elevate’s doors on any given day and you’re likely to see Jeff Cushman’s smiling face behind the desk or out on the floor leading a class or personal training session. A fitness veteran with a B.S. in Health Fitness and more than two decades of experience under his belt, Jeff brings an energetic blend of hard work and infectious enthusiasm to every fitness encounter.
Q: You say that you enjoy helping people get fit so that they can live happier lives. In your experience, what’s the biggest obstacle to people getting into shape?
A: The number one reason is education, without a doubt. Many people would like to get in better shape, but they have questions about how to do it safely and effectively – for their age group, current fitness level, possible injuries (if any), etc. If they don’t know how to get the information they need, they’re much less likely to commit to exercising as well as much more apt to get injured.
Many people also find the gym intimidating, so they come in a few times, run on the treadmill and lift a few weights, and then never come back because they don’t get any direction or guidance on what to do.
That’s why Elevate’s Small Group classes are so great. They’re a very affordable alternative to personal training and small enough to give participants some accountability and personal supervision by the instructor. When I’m teaching a small group class, I can keep an eye on every person in the room and help them with modifications to exercises, corrections to form and general encouragement.
Q: Speaking of encouragement, your classes are great – high energy and a lot of fun. As an instructor, how do you maintain your enthusiasm class after class, year after year?
A: I work off the people in class – I get a lot of energy back. That’s also the job; you’ve got to bring it to every class because you have to be able to motivate people at some level. If I don’t make the workout fun and engaging, people won’t come back.
It’s also incredibly gratifying to watch people grow stronger and more self-confident with every workout.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working in the fitness industry?
A: Seeing people improve. I make my clients’ lives better every day – whether it’s helping them get a little more cardio into their day, relieve some stress, work through an injury, lose weight or gain self-confidence.
Q: What are the top three things you think that people should know about exercising?
A: 1)Everyone can do it. Everyone can work out at some level, whether it’s walking in the neighborhood or working out at the gym. The key is to find the activities that work best for you.
2) You need guidance. Everyone needs to find a workout that works for them. You need to look at what you enjoy, what you’re trying to accomplish, what challenges you have, and where you’re starting from. To get a good exercise program going, you need to educate yourself, and that’s where a good instructor can really help.
3)You need to make it easy for yourself to exercise. By this I mean you’ve got to make your workouts as easy as possible to complete – find a gym that’s convenient to your home or office; lay your gym clothes out the night before; find an accountability buddy – whatever it takes to help you establish a routine and stick to it. From time to time, we’re all guilty of making exercise too much work, but if you want to stay fit and healthy, you have got to move!