Encouraging Health and Happiness

MAC Employee Spotlight: Daren Wade

Daren Wade

Meet Daren Wade, one of your Group Fitness instructors!

Magnuson Athletic Club: Can you tell us personal background history?
Daren Wade: Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where I studied psychology with a minor in biology, and earned my MSW in social work. Receiving a job at Reed College in Portland, OR, I made the move to the Pacific Northwest working with students in residence life and career counseling. After two year there, I moved to Seattle for a job at the University of Washington and fell in love with the city for its beauty and the great things about the areas – the welcoming and pioneering spirit of the people, as well as the social and cultural scene with tons of film festivals, theaters, cafes, dance clubs, music venues, and bookstores. I was only going to say here for five years before moving back to the East Coast, but thirteen years later, I am still here!

MAC: Before instructing Group Fitness classes, what other career paths have you been on?
Daren: Outside of Group Fitness, I’ve done a diverse group of jobs from my longest role in international education and student services to other past jobs as a foster care social worker, ESL teach, theater stage hand, sketch comedian, and genetics lab technician.

MAC: How long have you been involved with fitness?
Daren: Well, I’ve always been a participant in Group Fitness since high school from aerobics, step aerobics, Tae Bo, and now Zumba Fitness! I also enjoy working out with a personal trainer doing boxing fitness training, and getting out to Green Lake with my partner for a run!

MAC: What enticed you to become a GX instructor?
Daren: Five years ago I was in a slump where I had not worked out for a while and gained a lot of weight. I stepped back into the gym, slowing at first, lifting weights with a trainer. I eventually built up strength and starting running regularly with a friend. Then I stepped into my first Zumba class,  a little over three years ago and I was hooked! Music and dance has always been strong forces in my life and have served to motivate and move me through many tough periods. And in addition to the fact that we were listening to my favorite types of music from around the world (salsa, merengue, cumbia, and Bollywood), the class was having a great time, laughing, and moving together as a community! I had found home. I eventually hired a coach who helped me lose much of the weight and my Group Fitness instructor took notice and encourage me to join them as a Zumba instructor colleague. It is one of the best things I have ever done in my life.

MAC: What does fitness mean to you?
Daren: Fitness means everything to me right now. It means striking a balance between exercise, nutrition, rest to be able to have the energy to enjoy life with your family, friends and community. Coming from a family that has battled chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and lupus, I understand the need to do what I can to stay healthy and fit. I am on my own fitness journey, and I hope to inspire others to join me! It’s not always easy, but one thing is for sure, if it involves fun, I am there!

MAC: Aside from Group Fitness at the MAC, do you have any other jobs or do you participate in any other programs?
Daren: I am pretty busy now with my job directing the UW Global Health Resource Center, where I manage international exchanges for students who are interested in global health and I also plan events and conferences. I am a part-time instructor coordinating lecture series classes three times a year. Of course training, I am always working to improve myself as an instructor by meeting with colleagues to learn new choreography and attending . I want to bring my best to the MAC community and I look forward to continuing to work with the members into better health!

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