“Come on guys! Can you push yourself? Can you push your friends?”
At the Southeast Collegiate Fitness Expo this weekend, held at James Madison University from Feb. 10 to Feb. 12, Tabby Bruck stood in front of a full room of college students, all doing squats to pounding music. As she demonstrated the exercise, she offered words of encouragement.
“If you keep doing it, they’ll keep doing it!” she yelled.
Bruck, WC '17, was one of four University of Richmond student fitness employees who attended this year’s expo, but the only one to teach a class at the event. In the fall, approximately three months prior to the February expo, Bruck applied to lead a workshop. She was required to write a detailed proposal, including a description of the group exercise class she wished to teach, learning objectives and how the class fit into the expo’s “Project Wellness” theme.
The Southeast Collegiate Fitness Expo is an annual weekend event that brings together fitness students and professionals from college recreation centers across the Southeast. It is an opportunity for students to share their skills and techniques and learn from people who share their passion for helping others get healthier and stronger.
“All day Saturday and Sunday there are about ten options each hour of workshops, classes or lectures to attend, so there's a ton of opportunity to learn and grow throughout the weekend,” Sarah Sheppard, fitness manager at the Weinstein Center, said. “It's an exhausting weekend filled with fun reunions and new experiences all wrapped up in one big fitness bow.”
Bruck attended the event for the first time last year.
“Once I went, I felt very motivated and interested to share what I have to offer, how I teach fitness classes and why I do the things I do,” she said.
Bruck has years of fitness experience. She got into athletics as a middle- and high-school student to relieve stress, trying a wide range of sports including cheerleading, wrestling and everything in between. Starting college, she quickly seized the opportunity to work as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer at the Weinstein Center. Now she works as a facility supervisor while also continuing to teach a high-intensity interval training class once a week and train an elderly client with Parkinson’s disease.
“Tabby is one of the most hard-working, trustworthy and level-headed students I have ever had the pleasure of supervising,” Sheppard said. “No matter what, she puts her clients' and participants' needs above her own, ensuring that they get a safe yet effective workout, and have a little fun with it, too.”
When she is not sharing her love for fitness with others, Bruck is finding new ways to challenge herself in the gym. Last year, she competed in the 2015 Blue Ridge Classic bodybuilding competition. Though she loved the experience, she said it was hard to do while being a full-time college student. Now she is considering powerlifting.
“My personality is to try something that I hear about,” Bruck said. “I definitely would have to train for it, but I’m at competitive weights now.”
She said she had experimented with some different training schedules and had seen positive results. In five months, her deadlift max has increased from 185 to 225 pounds. But for now, she is holding off signing up for competition so she can focus on finishing her senior year.
Bruck is also already considering ways to continue to share her passion for fitness when she starts pharmacy school in the fall after meeting some fitness students and professionals from VCU at the expo this weekend.
“I want to try to find some time to teach over there and build their fitness program at the MCV campus,” Bruck said. “I also want to do some type of research related to fitness.”
Contact writer Rachel Bringewatt at firstname.lastname@example.org