Mind, Body, & Soul: Q&A with Chris Hudson

by Damian McKnight
Mind, Body, & Soul: Q&A with Chris Hudson

Chris Hudson, fitness instructor and graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a recognized leader in the fitness industry. Also a renowned yoga practitioner and teacher, Chris has studied classical yoga traditions, as well as the more physical Ashtanga and Bikram styles.

Simply put, Chris is a rising star.

I recently had the opportunity to interview the fitness industry veteran in between his busy duties as Group Fitness Instructor for one of Dallas' most exclusive and prestigious gyms.

I'll let Chris do the talking, as no intro will properly do him justice.

Tell us a little about your role as Group Fitness Manager....

I’m designed to be the face of the club for members. I create the group fitness schedule; what classes we offer and when including (yoga, pilates, main studio, cycle, treadmill), I audition, hire, and manage all instructors; create special events; manage teacher training, and respond to member feedback. In addition, I also teach about 10 classes/week.

Was there a specific incident in your life that made you want to enter the fitness industry?

I have been very active since childhood. My doctor recommended my mother put me into gymnastics to help correct a physical impairment. I played everything from baseball, basketball, tennis and also swam. In college, I discovered yoga and knew I would be a teacher from my first class. In yoga, we talk about spontaneous right action and that, deep down, we have an energy that always knows the right choice. We just need the awareness to listen. This was my first experience with that…I just knew.

How did you get your start, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

I began teaching yoga right after college. My classes grew quite quickly and soon I received a call from the owner of the most successful studio in town. She asked me to audition for her, made me her student, and soon asked me to come on as a full-time employee. It was one of those rare times when someone just sees your potential, even before you do, and gives you a chance. I feel like that doesn't happen often enough now days. From there I expanded into teaching various formats of fitness.

Did you need a particular educational background?

Yoga teacher training is quite intense and is a never ending process. It is truly regarded a cherished relationship between teacher and student in the hopes one day the student becomes his own teacher. Training is truly one of my favorite parts of the job. There is always a new method, new piece of equipment, etc.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

It’s a perfect balance for me. I get to be creative with teaching and I get to use my analytical and business mind set with budgets, programming etc. It makes my brain happy!

What are the top 3 traits or skills you feel every group fitness manager must have?

You must be a presenter. You must be a leader. You must be perceptive.

What types of training or certifications are necessary to be an effective group fitness manager?

My background is all over the place. I’ve worked in banking, corporate training, and marketing. I use all of the skills I learned then in my current position. A passion for fitness is needed, but all skills can be valuable.

There are all kinds of certifications: group fitness, personal training, yoga, Pilates. Continuing education credits are required to maintain those certifications. Also in most cases, CPR will always be required.

Otherwise raw talent is the key.

Who is your idol in the fitness industry? Why?

My mentor from the yoga studio. Because she saw the real me, even before I did.

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