Norma Shechtman
ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor
ACE-certified Personal Trainer
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ACE-certified Success Stories



Norma Shechtman
ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor
ACE-certified Personal Trainer
The Sports Club LA/Orange County
Irvine, California

2003 ACE Group Fitness Instructor of the Year

Let’s take a step back in time and explain the beginning. Then, you can see how much I care and respect the fitness industry. I became IDEA certified way back in 1984. I bet some of you weren’t even born yet. Boy, that makes me ancient, but I really know how it started and how the organization kept struggling to hold onto its ideals and values. Once the organization grew, a separation to make sure quality was maintained was needed. ACE was then born.

I started my career as an elementary school teacher and just loved teaching. However, I found a new love after school by attending aerobics classes for my workouts. It made me feel so good I just had to become an instructor. This is when there was only high impact and I fell in love with the choreography and the contagious energy of the crowd.

My first step was to go to San Diego where I met Kathy Davies. She also attended Susan Calhoun’s Fit Camp. We stayed in the dorms and learned anatomy, choreography, music and how to put a class together.

This was before the IDEA exam but as soon as it was in place I sat for the exam and passed. It was a test that really made me think and I immediately realized this organization is great. After a few years it became the ACE exam and I then took the Personal Trainer Certification Exam. Again, I passed and started helping people in my neighborhood. Of course, I still continued to learn. In fact, I enrolled at California State-Long Beach to pursue my second Master’s degree in Kinesiology. I needed to learn everything about the body, inside and out.

As I studied, attended workshops and other classes from some wonderful teachers I gained confidence to teach others. I began two trainings for The Sports Club LA. One course was to help prepare the students to take the ACE Certification Exam and the other course was to help prepare them practically to teach aerobics. I spent many Saturdays in Manhattan Beach training people to follow their love. Their feedback and appreciation was worth every minute. Even to this day I have people thanking me for helping them to start teaching. With my background in Education and my ACE certification I found it natural to teach others. I wanted to share my knowledge and get them started on the right foot.

There were so many opportunities that opened up from there. I had my own Cable TV show that aired in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Irvine. It was called Stepping For Fun and I even received fan mail, which really made me feel as though I was giving back to the community.

I was also asked to write the ACE Personal Trainer Home Study Course and the ACE specialty manual, Indoor Cycling.

That opportunity spun into scripting Walking Tapes and writing two home study courses, Indoor Cycling Basics and Step Basics.

My most unbelievable moment came when I received a call from Ken Germano telling me I had been selected as the 2003 ACE Group Fitness Instructor of the Year. What an honor! I love fitness and I love teaching. When I received that award I was in tears.

That year was tough for me. My husband had quadruple bypass surgery and my sister had brain surgery. This all happened within days of each other. I worked so hard to help my husband recover and spent hours on the phone with my sister back east, trying to assist with her recovery. After receiving the award, I knew fitness and health is what it’s all about.

I will continue to help whomever I can to feel better, look better and rekindle their spirit and inner light. ACE, or as it was back then, IDEA, got me started and I have just begun!

I know I must sound like I’m ancient, but experience and my appreciation for life has made me a better person.

My advice for others is:

  • Never give up
  • Always follow your dreams
  • Don’t let baggage get you down (especially others)
  • Continue to educate yourself
  • Never feel as though you know it all
  • Treat people the way you would like to be treated
  • Respect your elders (some of them may be your clients and they are smart)
  • Get ACE certified. Start right now. Get the application and get into a study group or use the home study courses
  • Always be thankful for what you have
  • Always be available to help others

Thank you to ACE for giving me the foundation I needed to begin my fitness career, for being so supportive and professional. You are all wonderful!



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