Over 25 years ago I worked as a streetworker for at risk youth in one of the Metro Vancouver cities. I used to help them through counselling, providing emotional and rehabilitative support in both the court and social welfare systems, and also by providing recreational alternatives.

I had two groups of clients: young men and young women. Young men used to attend a lot weekly sporting events such as ball hockey and softball, and I used these regularly to make positive relationships with them.

I had a gigantic caseload of young women as well, and some of them were pregnant and parenting. I really didn’t want to include mixed ball hockey, because the men wouldn’t stand a chance. They grew the women tough in my area. I didn’t have anything to offer them – until I learned to be a fitness instructor. Suddenly I had women, their mothers, and their babies festooning the gyms of several elementary schools. I was teaching three classes per week at three different locations, and I had up to 70 participants in each.

I didn’t think this would happen when I started, but from this innocent start, I began to take my classes to private gyms and community centres all over the Lower Mainland.

I found that I loved teaching. Here are five reasons that I love my job

1. I get to be the centre of attention

If you are a neurotic introvert like me, there’s nothing like a good frisky aerobics class to drag you out of your comfort zone and into the midst of a class. You have to lead by example, and you have to have something to teach. It has to be rehearsed, and you have to handle any mistakes you make. You also have to be a role model to the participants of the class. Here are some people that I have made to do jumping jacks in the past. Archaeologist Dr. Richard Pearson, Environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki (who has recently switched to Yoga, Singer Sarah McLachlan, and the Girl Next Door. What a cure for introversion.

2. You get to exercise mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the state of being where second by second you bnow exactly where you are, what you’re doing, and what you will be doing next. Teaching fitness puts you in the moment. You may have no idea fo how you got there – whether you rode a bike, walked, or drove, but you know that you’re there. I have walked away leaving my car in the lot several times.

3. There are spin-offs.

As an instructor, you may be asked to participate in a number of physical activities. You can teach boxing (which I know next to nothing about, spinning(indoor stationary cycling), step aerobics, Freestyle aerobics, classes with the ball, and circuit classes. You can expound on the theory of each.
You can also be invited to lead warm-ups for marathons.

4. You get to be an expert.

I’m not just a neurotic introvert. I’m also a know-it-all. I give out unsolicited advice to anyone I see whether they want it or not. If you’re cross country skiing with a bottle of gin and a bottle of vermouth, I’m the guy that will pop up from behind a log to tell you how to make a better martini. Regarding fitness, I get frequent requests to write articles on a variety of fitness related topics. These offer more opportunities for money, as it os a good way to attract participants wfor whatever you’re doing

5. You get to wear spandex shorts.

Need I say more?

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



  1. energywriter Says:

    Great advice, organized well, easy to follow. A- because you blew the next to last sentence.
    I can just see your mustachios leaping into a boring meeting to tell a success story. Keep up the good work.

  2. janieemaus Says:

    You make your job sound like so much fun!

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