Tuesday, January 21, 2014

10 Years in the Field

I very distinctly remember walking into my department head's office my Junior year of college and telling her that I decided to switch my major from Art/Graphic Design/Communications to Biology/Exercise Science.  She looked at me like I was nuts for a minute...then said, "oooooookaaaaaay." And directed me where I should go to start in that program.  I never looked back from there..

I immediately walked up to our JR Holder Wellness Center (which was pretty awesome) and began to ask all the questions I could think of to the Wellness Director.  How to become a personal trainer?  IF there were certifications available?  Could I get a job there?  Group exercise? Her experience with this degree? ....and on and on..

From then on I spent the majority of my time in that Wellness Center. I remember other members and staff joking that the facility name should be changed to JR Woods Wellness Center...(hence the name of my business now)...

Two other gals and I went to a personal training certification in February of 2003.  And I began working with clients as soon as I got that certification back in the mail.  I laugh now thinking back to my first clients and what all I put them through in workouts as I got a feel for what I wanted to do and focus on.  I would read books and books, magazines, Internet sites, etc for anything and everything I could get my hands on to do.  I taught some bootcamp classes, some elderly fitness classes, some water aerobics, some spin classes, weight training...and worked with athletes to the frail and elderly, overweight and sick.  I graduated with my degree in Exercise Science in 2005 and pursued a job at a physical therapy clinic in town, working as a Physical Therapy Aide...and finishing the rest of my days in the JR Holder Wellness Center on NWOSU campus.

After we moved to Kansas, I had to start all over with finding a niche and a job.  I immediately pursued a job at our local retirement community (as I began to realize my passion for special populations)...and started up my own fitness business in town.  I taught group exercise classes at our local elementary school 2 nights a week, and taught weight training and dance classes at Parkside Homes 3 mornings a week.  I partnered up with our local pharmacy for The Biggest Loser contest for our county.  I conducted a Health Fair at Parkside Homes for our residents and community. I even had the blessing of training with an 80-year old nursing home resident for 2 different 5K races in our area.  I had the opportunity to train 2 master track athletes competing in the US Master's decathlons.  I partnered with our local Hillsboro Recreation to host a summer youth triathlon every year.  I turned our basement into a workout area and trained with multiple clients weekly. I mentored a handful of students from Tabor College interested in the health and fitness field.  I developed close friends who I now consider family and my kids call "grandma and grandpa."  I hosted several online fitness challenges.  I lead several groups to train for local running races.  I spoke at women's nights. Hosted free workout sessions at our local high school weight room.  I blogged.  I set up a website: www.woodswellness.com.  I trained local high school athletes in the weight room.  I did Tabor volleyball conditioning every pre and post season.   I threw myself into my passion for fitness and health.  I truly desired for people to improve the quality of his/her life.  As my family grew, my involvement in so many activities became less...even letting go of a downtown business venture I had--hosting tae kwon do, ballet, zumba, weight training, kids play time, high school girls groups, yoga, line dancing, personal training clients, etc.  I was featured in the newspaper on for several big community events and promotions I partnered up with local businesses to complete.  I held fitness party promotions. Made my own workout flash cards for people to follow at home. Made an ab video.  I feel like I've done it all.


As I embark on this 10th year of service to the health and fitness field, I feel like I need to focus back on what feeds my soul the most.  What I leave feeling the most passionate towards, energized by, and thankful for.  And that is my work with my friends at Disability Supports.  Nothing overflows my heart more than working with these friends of mine.  God called my heart to this population for a purpose and I only hope I can continue to forge a way for these folks to experience life at its fullest through a longer life, a more quality life, and a more independent one.  I feel like God has been clearing this path for me, as I'm the type that seems to take on anything I can related to this field because I love it....but over and over again I am called back to this humble service of helping those in need.

And for that I'm grateful for all my 10 years of service to this field--bringing me to this point where I'm at today. Here's to many more!  And wherever that may lead! 


So much as evolved out of that one decision to change my degree.
My work then spread to include providing fitness and nutrition programs for adults with developmental delays in McPherson and Hutchinson--Disability Supports of the Great Plains.  I have since spoken at the Down Syndrome Society of Wichita for 2 years, at the Kansas Parks and Recreation Association Regional Meeting, various church and MOPS groups, I've lead a Sunday School 6-week session on the Spirituality of Health.  I have spoken at the CDDO of McPherson County.  I earned my CrossFit Level 1 Certification along with some mobility and nutrition continuing education certifications.  Brain Gym and Health.  I coached at CrossFit Pathos for 1 year.  I got to compete in various competition measuring my level of fitness against others.  By myself and with teams.  I've had several articles published in the CrossFit Journal.  Accessing Athleticism Lifeline to Independence


  1. Love this and seeing all the lives that you have impacted. Keep going forward, Anna...I have no doubt God has big plans for you and your gifts!

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