by Erin Flynn Jay
For 55-year-old West Mt. Airy resident Yvonne Ferguson Hardin of Fergie’s Instructional Training FIT LLC in Germantown, striving to be healthy and without any physical limitations was always an unwritten rule in her book.
As a British-born (Jamaican heritage) young lady, Hardin moved to America in 1987 and immediately found that consuming increased portion sizes and the variety of super-rich foods caused her to gain unwanted weight. Desperate to lose the extra pounds, she joined Bally’s Holiday Fitness Center, and after being introduced to aerobic classes, she became an aerobics instructor.
Hardin taught many classes in various areas such as Montgomery County and Philadelphia in clubs such as The Bodyshop in Horsham, The Sporting Club in Center City and Riverside Aquatic Club on the Main Line. She decided to return to Temple University, where she gained degrees in Therapeutic Recreation and Physical Education/Health Sciences. Hardin also married and had three daughters. After being a full-time supervisor in various wellness facilities and long-term care homes for a few years, she returned to fitness 100 percent in 2009, creating her business, Fergie’s Instructional Training.
Hardin offers ‘The Efficacy in Aging,’ a series of designed classes for the 55+ population in Germantown and Chestnut Hill. According to Ruth Joray, of West Mt. Airy, “I take exercise classes with Yvonne. “She is a positive , affirmative inspiration who has made a difference in my life. I don’t know her personally, but I do know that she is determined, generous and truly works in support of her clients’ health and well-being. She brings out physical ability and endurance I had thought was long gone!”
According to Hardin, “My main challenges as a business owner are time and finances. I am forever trying to make 25 hours out of a 24-hour day and juggling the dollars. I absolutely love what I have chosen to do, but the rewarding task of running the business while wearing many hats has been challenging and draining.
“But working for myself is economically empowering and satisfying, and movement is healing. Being able to promote the same joy and freedom in others through movement and empowerment has been my greatest joy.”
Through life, work and studying for her degrees, Hardin has worked with autistic students aged 5-16 to young adults and seniors of both genders. By far, though, “senior citizens 55-100” are her favorite group to work with.
“I found out about 25 years ago that there is something special about the symbiotic relationship that is formed between young and old. Now that I am older, I can relate even more, and that special spark that flickers when I interact with older adults remains bright and warm,” she said.
“Working with geriatrics while I conducted my internship with Temple University Hospital and a few other nursing homes helped me to realize who I should be working with. I am able to learn from their no-nonsense attitudes and common-sense wisdom, and they learn from me new ideas about old misconceptions in relation to exercise and what they can and should do.”
Fergie’s Instructional Training FIT LLC is expanding. After having short term rentals, Hardin acquired her first brick and mortar building (a modest boutique studio) in January. Sponsoring and working with other similar businesses while growing the reach of her current programs is her path for 2020.
“The next five years will see educational programs for caretakers and health professionals on the ‘Efficacy of Aging.’ I plan to open more wellness studios, focusing on this population in other parts of Philadelphia, other states and other countries.”
For more information, visit www.transformurlifetoday.com or www.facebook.com/transformurlifetoday/