Staff profile: Joan Ahern

Joan Ahern is a familiar face to Wellness Center members. She’s often there behind the fitness desk, when she isn’t teaching one of her many fitness classes. She’s another Wellness Center staff who has been with the center since its first year of operation, 10 years ago. Prior to coming here, she worked at other gyms in the area, including what is now Gold’s Gym in Milford, where she is still involved. In all, she’s been teaching fitness for more than 20 years. In Milford, she organizes instructor trainings and conferences, and says she loves to mentor new instructors in the field.

“I love the teaching,” Joan says. “It’s very satisfying, mainly because when I first started nobody really helped me through the process. Now I’ve accumulated a lot of material on cueing and on music. I want to share my knowledge with new instructors.”

Joan was first certified to teach when she was 44, starting out with step classes that were very popular at the time.  Over the years, she’s almost done it all—step, cardio-kickboxing, yoga and, her latest certification, Zumba, the popular dance fitness class.

“I just like moving and being active,” she said. “I eat well—I get my fruits and veggies–I enjoy eating, but I don’t overdo it.”

Joan has a background in business management and graphic design, and this month she’ll take on new responsibilities as the studio manager, scheduling classes and instructors here.

Over her 10-plus years at the Wellness Center, Joan never fails to notice the transformations made by new members.  “New people come in and they’re looking down and maybe they’re not very friendly,” she says. “They’re tired and they’ve got rounded shoulders or something.”

But, she points out, almost without fail, within three months time, those same new members are “bouncing down the stairs and you barely recognize them. They’re happier. They’re walking taller. They’re smiling.  They’ve just become a different person! I see it all the time and it’s just wonderful. It’s amazing.”

Joan hopes to continue working to bring in new instructors and to keep the fitness classes fresh. “They’ll bring new energy and excitement to the process,” she says.

“I feel very lucky to be doing this and hope to keep it up for a few more years, she said. “Then maybe I’ll just sit back and take the classes myself!”

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