“I was walking around, and I saw that there was a bunch of athletic equipment by South Beach and the pavilion area. And I just thought to myself, Why aren’t there any classes outside?” recalls the senior biology student from Chandlersville, Ohio.
Days after that, Madyson approached Campus Activities to get certified and started teaching a high-intensity interval training class, moving on to weightlifting in the following years.
The process to become a student fitness instructor at Eckerd is relatively simple, says Maice Clanton ’23, Campus Activities’ coordinator of recreational programs and services. Instructors need to take a certification course from the Athletics and Fitness Association of America as well as a CPR certification course. Although the cost of these courses can be more than $400, Campus Activities pays for the certification and employs students to run classes through Federal Work Study and Student Assistantships.
Currently, the College employs four fitness instructors, with two more in the process of completing their certifications.
Madyson’s connection to fitness began in high school when her recovery from an eating disorder led her to start thinking about exercising differently. “I recovered by learning the science behind nutrition and how to exercise properly. So in other words, exercising in order to feel healthy, not to lose weight.”
The most important thing to Madyson when she leads a class is the community and sense of personal accomplishment.
“I just love creating a fun environment where people can strive to be their best selves and make friends.” This semester, Madyson is leading weightlifting classes three times a week during the pre-breakfast hour.
Other fitness-minded students get their fix with Luke Hudson’s CrossFit classes, which he squeezes in between rugby practice and Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honors Society) meetings.
Luke enjoys helping his classmates reach their personal fitness goals, alternating his classes between several different workout methods, focusing specifically on muscular endurance. He began teaching CrossFit after Madyson encouraged him to lead classes alongside her.
After graduation, Madyson and Luke both intend to continue working as fitness instructors. Madyson plans to attend graduate school to study nutritional science and earn her Ph.D., along with a master’s in dietetics.