She sits on an exercise ball in her office surrounded by Pilates sticks, weights, and mats. Behind her are framed certificates showing her various exercise instruction certifications. Dressed in a tracksuit and a smile, the woman is Alesia “Aerobics” Aumock, who loves her job because she loves her students.
Aumock is a fitness instructor and physical education lecturer. Since 1984, she has taught both community and student classes, covering a variety of different athletic areas.
Her certifications include: Group Fitness Instruction, Cardio Kick Box, Step Rebok, Weight Training Specialist and Personal Fitness Trainer. She has taught classes in indoor cycling, cardio kickboxing, mat science, and multi-fitness training, to name a few.
Aumock began her work as a fitness instructor at various health clubs. She was, however, happy to quit this line of work and begin at the college in 1989 when former athletic director Jack McAvoy offered her the opportunity to pioneer a new fitness program.
She began her job at the college as an assistant to George Roche IV in the physiology lab. When he went to work at the University of Michigan, she would teach his classes.
In the physiology department, she helped students take blood samples and find cholesterol counts. This stopped when the government forbade these practices.
Beginning in January 1990, Aumock began to teach P.E. classes. At the time, Dr. Alice Hullhorst was the P.E. chair.
“She hired me to come in and teach an aerobics dance course. Hullhorst would lecture, and afterward I would instruct the class,” she said.
The following semester Aumock taught the first class. Since then, it has been one of the most popular classes, she said.
In 1997 Aumock was asked to work with the football team to improve their aerobics in addition to teaching other Hillsdale students. Soon, almost every other sports team wanted private classes and she soon earned the nickname “Superwoman” among the athletes.
One of her former students, who was also on the basketball team, participated in Survivor: Africa. Aumock saved one of the videos from his class, which features him doing aerobic dance.
Another aspect of Aumock’s position is teaching community fitness classes. She features the same classes as for students, but at times convenient for community members.
She is also currently developing a Marine Fitness program, tailored for veterans but also available to community members and students.
“With everyone coming back from Iraq, they need to have help keeping up with their fitness,” she said.
Aumock enjoys the overlap between the community and the college in her fitness classes.
“The most fun is when I have a college-aged students in a class, as well as a community member who is 84. She did everything the college age students did,” Aumock said.
One of her favorite memories is when her aerobics dance class came dressed completely in white.
“I called it ‘Chariots of Fire’ attire,” she said, laughing.
Aumock has noticed two major changes in the athletics program in the last 25 years. One of the main differences is that there has been a large decrease in the number of students taking classes, she said.
“The problem is the time of the year, a crunch for time, and an increase in intramural participation,” she said. “If I show you a picture from 1990, this place has 40 or more students in it.”
The attire of students has changed quite a bit in the years since Aumock first begin teaching.
“In the beginning we all wore leotards like Jane Fonda,” she said. “Now it’s workout shirts and leggings.”
Aumock looks forward to the completion of the Tennis and Track building. She hopes to expand the program and allow more time for students in the dance studio.