IDEA WORLD FITNESS AWARDS: 2021 FITNESS INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR
“Becoming the best instructor possible has been a journey,” says Stacy McCarthy. It’s safe to say that she’s encountered some roadblocks in her travels, but you get the feeling that McCarthy wouldn’t have it any other way. Her challenges have helped her blossom as a person, instructor and mentor for other fitness professionals.
But let’s start at the beginning: her first job as an aerobics instructor. When she was fired.
It was 1983, and she had no experience or training. “Two weeks after being hired, I was fired,” she explains. “The advice the gym manager gave me was to find a mentor and get more training. And that’s exactly what I did!”
Her quest for education has never diminished. She earned multiple certifications and taught a variety of group fitness classes—from high-low to hip-hop and more. “In 1996, after many years of studying the science of yoga, I dedicated my teaching to yoga and meditation. For the past 25 years, I’ve been at the forefront of bridging the gap between yoga and fitness.”
McCarthy has a clear sense of purpose: “I am blessed with a deep sense of my personal mission as an instructor. My mission is to reach the masses and spread influence through movement in environments that are diverse and inclusive.”
More growth? Yes! “I’ve challenged myself to grow in areas beyond instructing live classes by improving my writing, media and communication skills. And presenting in 44 countries has given me the confidence to teach anywhere.”
More challenges? Yes, those, too. In 2020, while conquering the professional trials of virtual teaching, she was in a serious bicycle accident that left her unconscious and in trauma care.
“When I was released, my face was filled with stitches, with tar and asphalt pigmented in my skin. My face was messy, but my spirit was grateful to be alive. I returned to teaching as soon as I could and used my scarred face as a reminder that my classes are a no-judgement zone.”
McCarthy continues to mentor others, drawn by the belief that instructors have an obligation to nurture the next generation of fit pros. She presents internationally and is involved with many community service initiatives.
The common thread is education. “I am just as happy teaching to a packed room as I am teaching a class of a handful of students,” she says. “I wouldn’t feel like myself if I wasn’t teaching!”