By Julie M. Lucas
NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs
The Naval Air Station Jacksonville Fitness Center and Gym offers more than 15 different group class options and half of those classes are taught by volunteers. According to Fitness Director Jill Sheppard, it is because of the volunteers they can have such a wide variety to offer.
"Our volunteers make our program well-rounded and shine," said Sheppard.
"We recently added swing dancing and a martial arts class, so there is something for everyone."
The volunteers have a variety of reasons they personally became involved with volunteering as an instructor, but most of them agree, it is because they love what they do.
"I was taking classes on the base and the instructor left and they didn't have anyone else, so it pushed me to get my certification," said Deonne "Noe" Freeman, who teaches Cardio Jam and Zumba.
"My favorite part about coming to classes is seeing all the smiling faces."
Many of the spinning instructors are volunteers, including Charles "Chuck" Kerekes, who teaches an express spin on Tuesdays at 11:15 a.m., which lasts 30 minutes.
For those looking for a new type of class, check out Mixxed Fit, which is dancing to popular songs, with boot-camp type exercises added to make it more challenging.
This class is offered at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays and is taught by volunteer instructor Shavon Stokes.
One instructor encourages those who feel intimidated by choreography, to give Zumba classes a shot.
"Many people are afraid to try Zumba because they think they can't dance, are uncoordinated or have no rhythm, but I tell them it is not about dancing, coordination or rhythm but more about achieving cardio fitness," said Terry Crawford.
Crawford has been teaching fitness classes for more than 17 years and can be seen at the Fitness Center in the evenings often teaching back-to-back classes.
"If my class is not sweating, cheering or having a good time, then I'm not doing my job," he said.
Other Zumba classes are taught by volunteer instructors such as Andrea Freeman at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays or a two-hour Zumba party on Saturdays with Crawford, Amirah Azziz and Tonya Martin.
"The party is great because we combine all of our different styles and you get one big work-out," Crawford said.
Class schedules and hours of operation can be found at the gym and fitness center or online at www.navymwrjacksonville.com under Fitness and Recreation on both the gym and fitness pages.