My feature on mygroupfit.com, the leader in group fitness!
Name: Raphael Konforti
Location: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Class Formats You Teach: Intervals, Total Body, Core, iBurn
Total number of years teaching: 1
What is your earliest fitness memory?
My earliest fitness memory would have to be from high school. We were taken into the weight room for lacrosse conditioning. I had been in the weight room before but had literally just done a bench press and dumbbell curls (If we could only go back in time…).However on this day of lacrosse conditioning, I finally saw results from exercising and what it could do for me. I took exercise to heart from that season on; it has carried me to where I am today and continues to be my biggest passion.
Who is your fitness inspiration, and why?
I hate to be unoriginal but it would have to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I read and took notes on his Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding and watched “Pumping Iron” time and time again. I find his passion and determination for success unparalleled. He accomplished what no one else could all while becoming a charming and lovable character.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
There are plenty of tangible things I could mention in the fitness field that I can say I have accomplished. What makes me the proudest, though, is how I have influenced people. Sure I have made a lot of people lose weight, gain muscle, and get into shape but a lot of people can do that. I am proudest when people tell me how happy they are or good they feel from what we’ve done together. When people ask the question, “What other classes do you teach?” or when they make up their academic class schedule around the classes I teach, it’s an accomplishment. My biggest accomplishment is having an impact on people’s lives and making fitness fun for all.
If you could go back in time to your first year of teaching and give yourself advice, what would you say?
Just relax. There are going to be all different kinds of people at varying levels of fitness. Use what you know about progression and regression. This way everyone can have a more individualized work-out towards their goals, all the while exercising at the desired/appropriate intensities. Exercise selection is a huge component and you have to keep it fresh, but just as importantly you have to keep it fun. People came to work-out together, so serve that need. Play some exercise trivia, make them do weird, silly things, and offer partner exercises. Most importantly just smile and have fun. The work-out plan makes a class good, but you have to make it great!
What’s your go-to motivational cue?
“Sweat is just your fat cells crying, let’s GOOOO!”
What fitness goals would you like to pursue?
Like most people in the fitness industry I’m a chronic goal setter, so there’s a lot I want to do. My main goals for now are: to get my CSCS (Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist), get a graduate assistantship in the fitness field, and become a representative for a fitness equipment or supplement company.
What legacy would you like to leave on this industry?
When people hear my name I want them to be inspired. I’d like people to think that if someone like me, who was, at first, un-athletic could be so respected in the fitness industry, then they can do it too. In fitness we all start somewhere. No matter where that is, with some perseverance you can go wherever you want. I want to leave a legacy of inspiration for other people to do their best and accomplish what they thought was out of reach.