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ACE-certified Success Stories



Josie Gardiner
ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor
Reebok Master Trainer
Boston, Massachusetts

2005 ACE Group Fitness Instructor of the Year

As a pioneer in the fitness industry I opened Josie's Exercise Studio in 1976 and had already been teaching for 10 years. Over this decade I knew that with this new developing world of fitness there was a missing link, a standardization of baseline knowledge to be a group exercise instructor. I will never forget the day in May of 1986 when I walked into the first ACE Certification Exam ever given. I was very nervous and excited to be part of a new era—the beginning of instructors having to pass a stringent exam to become certified by an internationally recognized organization. Passing this exam gave me a new sense of confidence and a new commitment to excellence.

In 1980 Barbara Fisher and I started a company named BFIT, Boston Fitness Instructor Training. We were committed to bringing educational workshops to New England in order to ensure that those teaching would be qualified to instruct safe and effective programs. As we trained thousands of instructors, we also used this network to start the first Aerobathon in the nation. Over the next six years we raised over $150,000 for The American Cancer Society and Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1985 I became a member of The Reebok International National Instructor Team of Advisors and in 1986 I became a member of Reebok's Master Trainer Development Team where I had the wonderful opportunity to work with so many talented instructors. Reebok then researched and developed the final manual-based programs–creative, safe, effective and fun programs—for the Reebok Master Trainers to bring to other instructors. For the past 25 years I have been part of a team developing new and creative programming. Joy Prouty, my business partner for 25 years, has made all the difference in my success in this industry. To be able to work so closely with such a talented individual and share in the development of all of our programs for Fit Over Fifty has been invaluable.

Seven years ago I was suddenly diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. After an operation and eight weeks of full torso radiation and an radioactive implant, I knew for the first time in my life what it was like to be so weak I could not even dry my hair. So, for this fit, athletic trainer my world had changed. I felt scared, anxious and weak and all my beautiful muscles were gone. I thought, if I can survive this, I have a new job—to help others feeling scared, out of control and weak get into shape. I knew for the first time that the true power of exercise is about one word—HOPE; Help Other People Exercise. Since this experience I am convinced that the 83% of our population who aren't exercising isn't because they do not want to, I believe it is because they are intimated by the fitness industry. We keep on coming up with programs to make the fit fitter. These people want to get started but do not have any idea what to do!

There is an expression to "Raise the Bar." This is when someone enables others to do something as well as they can or even better. It is our job as certified fitness professionals to make a difference in the lives of others. If we are going to be successful in making a difference today with obesity at an all time high we must all commit to raise the bar for those who truly need our help.

My advice to future group fitness instructors is:
  • Have a passion for what you do and the individuals you teach.
  • What really matters is that you care about the well-being of every student.
  • It does not matter who you are or what you do, but it does matter how you make people feel!
  • Absolutely get ACE Certified.
  • Never stop learning and stay committed to the quality of your programs.
  • Share your talents and work as a team member.
  • Always respect you peers.
  • Never loose your common sense approach to fitness. Keep it simple and safe.
  • Constantly communicate with your students. Engage them in the learning process.
  • Make a difference in someone else's life!
  • Give those who need help getting started a new sense of HOPE!
  • Live each day and be thankful for you health, family and friends!
  • Have fun!




INSPIRE,MOTIVATE,EDUCATE...become ACE-certifed today!