Q&A w/Courtney Pilgrim, Reynolds Fitness Instructor

Health & Wellness
Written by Jeb Greenberg

A variety of fitness and wellness options exist at Reynolds Lake Oconee, including over 90 fitness classes offered each week to Members. To allow for a diversity of class offerings, The Lake Club Director, Scott Cowdrey, has assembled a talented group of instructors. We met with Courtney Pilgrim, one of the most versatile instructors who leads classes in Aqua Zumba, Strong By Zumba, KYA, and spin.

Courtney, you hold a number of different certifications and teach an extensive schedule of classes for Reynolds Members. How did you get started teaching group fitness?

I've always loved both fitness and music. I went to Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, GA and was either going to be a sports trainer or a band director. Music won {she's currently the Director of Bands at our local Lake Oconee Academy (LOA)}, but I never lost my love of fitness. A friend introduced me to Zumba and I fell in love with the music and moves. Wanting to learn more, I became certified in 2008. From there I began teaching Zumba in the Lake Oconee-area and found different classes and certifications that I could train for. When I earned my Aqua Zumba certification, I came to The Lake Club at Reynolds Lake Oconee and began teaching there in 2013.

How does teaching group fitness complement being Director of Bands at Lake Oconee Academy?

I feel like teaching exercise has really been an asset to my music education teaching. Teaching at both LOA and The Lake Club helps me stay connected to our community in many ways. I love getting to see both my students and their families as well as our Members. In my classes I've had both students I teach at LOA and their parents participate, so it's enjoyable to see the overlap between the two groups. It's a tight-knit, supportive community and I feel like there is no better place to call home.

What do you enjoy most about teaching classes at Reynolds?

I truly enjoy getting to know the Members at Reynolds. We have such a wide variety of people who come from many different places and backgrounds. It's such a positive community to be a part of.

Fitness classes are obviously a great benefit to physical health, but there are also numerous other benefits attached to the classes. How have you seen the classes benefit Members and their lives?

I've witnessed our fitness classes have a great benefit to our Members' lives. When Members first move here, the classes are a great way to meet others and make friends. I have also seen many Members take control of their health and conquer amazing things through the benefit of our health and wellness offerings. I've had Members tell me they're able to come off medication because their health has improved. Through a real sense of teamwork and accomplishment, classes can also push you to do more than you can do on your own. One of my Strong by Zumba Members just climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest!

Since 2013, you've developed great relationships with countless Reynolds Members. Do any moments stick out during your time teaching and training at Reynolds?

I have a lot of great memories through teaching at Reynolds. The best part has definitely been the laughter and triumphs I’ve been able to share and witness. There is no better feeling than when I feel like I’ve helped another person.

Interested in taking a class? Find the fitness class schedule here.

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