ACTION Leader of the Month: Ari
What do you love most about FITBuddies?
I like the friendships that have been created. Even though I don’t know everyone, I like how everyone’s been nice to everyone else.
What's your favorite music?
Hip-hop and rap.
These are a few of my favorite things…
I like going out for walks and playing golf.
What FITBuddies exercise move do you love most?
I’m pretty good at planks.
Why are you proud to be a FITBuddies ACTION leader?
Because the word leader I’d say perfectly describes me and even though people haven’t always told me that, I’ve always been one.
How does spending time at FITBuddies make you feel?
I feel pretty good. It actually depends — I’m normally pretty happy but sometimes I get kind of frustrated. I don’t show my frustration as much. It’s mostly before I go to FiT that I get frustrated; once I get there, I usually feel much better. Exercise makes me feel good.
More from Ari's parents and coaches!
What skills learned at FITBuddies does Ari use in his daily life?
Ari is stronger which has really helped his golf game. He has learned to be more patient with different types of social interactions.
As a parent, what goals have you observed being achieved through FITBuddies?
Our goal is for Ari to be physically fit and active and for Ari to have more social interactions. His fitness sessions address both goals. He has come to enjoy exercising, interacting with the coaches and having fun with his friends during the monthly Friday Social Hour.
What has Ari demonstrated and achieved to be distinguished as this month's ACTION leader?
Ari has always been a devoted athlete. When we were training in person he loved showing off to the coaches, especially when it was a move he had been struggling with. It was always a treat to be in the middle of a workout and hear Ari call, “Coach Chris,” then pumped out a bunch of push ups, or did an exceptionally long broad jump. Online training is no different, he is devoted to his exercises and is eager to demonstrate moves during group workouts. In the virtual group socials, Ari is always incredibly respectful of everyone, and was incredibly patient during the move online (although I think he got a good laugh at his coaches while we struggled to learn the technology).
While this past year has been a tough transition for many of our participants, I feel as though Ari has grown so much and more confidently participates in the group classes as well as uses his leadership skills to navigate a group setting. Ari is extremely patient and is often the ‘quiet leader’ in our groups; but what stands out to me is his increased focus as well as his thoughtful responses. Ari has also been averaging 4-5 sessions a week and even continued his workouts during a trip to Israel. Being able to work with Ari virtually has enabled us to maintain a consistent schedule and he has progressed so much in his training (and his commitment to his workouts).
Ari lives and breathes the principles of mindfulness in all of our group settings. Our group classes are always a good time, however the hectic nature of navigating respecting one another's voices in a Zoom setting can be tricky. Ari routinely practices patience, and when given his turn to speak, adds insightful, deep thoughts to our group discussion that always elevate the conversation. Ari's presence is such an addition to our monthly socials as he demonstrates the traits of a leader by showing respect to all of his peers.
As his coach, describe Ari's growth that you've observed.
When Ari first started at FITBuddies, I would say he, like many, did not exactly enjoy movement and exercise. He would more or less show up ‘because mom made me’ (or at least that’s the impression he gave us :). As an avid Warriors fan, that is how we made our first connections to movement “we are going to do agility drills like Steph Curry!” We would get the littlest bit of a smile, a sense of connection and slowly Ari to enjoy movement. He enjoyed being a part of a group and participated independently. Fast forward to March 2020 when all our classes went virtual and Ari began training with us 4-5 times a week and has maintained that schedule for over a year. During this past year, Ari also started participating more verbally and now we can always count on him to share an extremely thoughtful answer or a little side joke. Keep up the great work, Ari!
The growth I’ve observed in Ari has been his willingness to demo for the class. He was a shy guy when I first met him and would smile while sliding behind the class when asked to demo a move. Now Ari is my go to demo dude during group classes.
I've had the unique experience of getting to know Ari in strictly a Zoom setting. Over the course of our relationship, I've reveled in the pleasure of Ari's comfort with his own voice, specifically in sharing his feedback with me. Whether it's deeper insights into a comment I've made or maybe a differing opinion that he would like to further discuss, I've loved being challenged by Ari, learning from him and growing in the process. Getting to know one another on a deeper level and developing mutual respect for what we can both learn from one another has been such a treat.