By Lubna Al-Nsour
Endorphins raging, heart pounding, sweat drenched. Exhaustion and euphoria. Exercise and fitness are my passions, but it was not always this way. Without a doubt attending the University of Virginia played a critical role in shaping the person I am today. Beneath the colonnades of Mr. Jefferson’s University I earned a multi-faceted education that has instilled in me a great sense of self. One of the most integral components of this education was the knowledge and perspective I gained regarding wellness.
As I began my final semester at the University I enrolled in a course called “EDHS 3500: Introduction to Personal Training” through the Curry School of Education, taught by Intramural-Recreational Sports associate director Erica Perkins and other staff. On the first day of class I vividly remember sitting in the back of the classroom wondering what shape the course would take. I quickly found it to be one of the most worthwhile courses I took at UVA.
The course instructors gave us a holistic education of what it means to be healthy. They shared their insight into the world of personal training and ultimately gave us the resources and confidence to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The course was extremely interactive: we entered the weight room. practiced correct form and discussed the muscle groups each exercise targeted. Additionally, we were taught a good deal about nutrition and had a University nutritionist act speak to us as a guest lecturer. For the first time I began to see food as fuel, and exercise as an outlet.
Our final assessment involved taking another student through various exercises while directing their form. As my nerves took over, I recalled Erica, the course instructor, telling us earlier in the semester that in order to keep the core tight we should flex the abs as if we were preparing for someone to punch us. Of course, with a high level of nerves I took the instruction very literally. In the midst of the test I instructed my trainee to keep his abs tight. Hearing Erica’s instruction echo in my head, I gave him a swift (but not too hard!) punch in the stomach to assure he was listening. Everyone burst out laughing, all equally shocked that I had just punched another student during a final. My nerves quickly dissipated and I completed the exam. On the whole, the process of learning and the practical application of the information has been tremendous for me.
The impact of EDHS 3500 was transformative and I feel extremely privileged to have had this experience. It was this class that put me on the path to discovering a lifelong passion. And it is this passion that enables me to live every day with a greater sense of fulfillment, strength and confidence.
Lubna Al-Nsour is a guest contributor and graduate of the University of Virginia, CLAS 2013, and graduate student in the McIntire School of Commerce.