WARSAW — As a freshman at Grace College, Faith Long knew she wanted to study exercise science. For most people entering that major, the end goal is physical therapy. “I was definitely one of those people who went in with that mindset,” she admitted. However, her junior year, she began to question that end goal.
After shadowing a physical therapist and taking anatomy and physics classes at the same time during her soccer season, things quickly felt overwhelming and stressful. After listening to an older student discuss what physical therapy school would entail, her dreams began to change. “In college I came to the realization that I didn’t want to go into physical therapy,” she stated. “Exercise science was still my passion but I didn’t want to do physical therapy.”
Long gained her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and decided to pursue personal training, getting her certification after graduation. Moving back to Indianapolis where she grew up, Long was able to begin putting her knowledge to the test. She started working at a local gym as a personal trainer, at the wellness desk and helping to coach track at her high school. However, personal training does not provide a steady, consistent income.
When she was offered a position as assistant soccer coach at Grace College, she and her husband, Taylor, decided to move up to Warsaw. “I loved the girls and I loved the program,” Long confessed. “But I never had a dream of being a coach. I’d rather be the athlete out on the field.” In order to keep up with her position as a personal trainer, which she enjoyed, she applied at the Kosciusko County YMCA and was hired.
Eager to do more, Long was always willing to learn new aspects at the YMCA and take on new responsibilities. She would assist with fitness monitoring, became certified to teach group fitness classes, began teaching a TRX class and even taught Silver Sneakers at Grace Village on occasion. This led to her decision to work solely at the YMCA and leave her position as assistant soccer coach.
“It was a scary decision to leave a position with stable income,” Long admitted. “It was a step of faith.” Her faith paid off when her boss was promoted and the wellness coordinator position opened. “It never occurred to me or dawned on me that this was a job I was qualified for.” After multiple people suggesting she apply for the position, she interviewed and was offered the position which she now holds.
Recently she met with students studying exercise science at Grace College and let them know that there were options available other than physical therapy. “I never even thought this was out there and an option,” she shared. “I had no clue it was something I could do and it just kind of happened.” She reassured students who could potentially be struggling with the same thoughts and concerns. “It’s okay if what you’re pursuing doesn’t work out the way you think it’s going to work.”
Now, this job allows Long to get a taste of everything she loves. She is still able to help others through her personal training and teaching group classes. She is able to share her passion with others and help them through their health journey.
Long’s newest exercise in patience is training their new Siberian husky puppy, Kovu.