Do you know MTVAC’s Health and Fitness Leader Gretchen Thompson?
“Gretchen’s expertise, experience, commitment, and professionalism are second to none. I am glad to know her professionally and personally. She has made a difference in the lives of so many.” -Aaron Volbrecht, MTVAC General Manager
For 29 years, Mount Vernon Athletic Club has benefitted from having a dedicated health and fitness leader in Gretchen Thompson. Gretchen recently received the 2014 MTVAC Stellar Employee of the Year award given out by MTVAC parent company Van Metre Companies in its annual award ceremony.
Where it All Began
Starting as a group personal training and exercise instructor in November of 1985, Gretchen taught low impact, body sculpting (now pilates) and step. She immediately fell in love with the MTVAC health and fitness atmosphere and knew that she wanted to be a part of the community here for a long time. Since those good ol’ days, Gretchen has continued her training each year and has adapted her classes to the ever-changing fitness industry.
“When I first started teaching, there weren’t certifications for fitness instructors. When the industry started to evolve, I was one of the first in the country to become certified.”
After going full-time, Gretchen accepted the Director of Group Fitness position and began to take on more responsibility on the operations side of MTVAC. In 2013 she was promoted to Assistant General Manager, overseeing the entire facility, Group Fitness and Childcare. Her voice is key in providing direction for the club in the coming years and the overall strategy as it relates to improvements and member satisfaction.
The Face of Fitness Future
MTVAC General Manager Aaron Volbrecht doesn’t know what he would do without Gretchen. “She has been steady and instrumental in the club’s success through the decades,” says Aaron. “She is the energizer bunny going from one project or task to the next, seamlessly taking everything in stride.”
Now at 57 years old, Gretchen teaches up to four classes a day including the Les Mills signature Body Pump class, cycle, ball flexibility, and low impact aerobics, in addition to running Intensity Camp twice a week and personal training. She is a true testament to what health and fitness are all about! Gretchen isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, either. In fact, she regularly attends classes and conferences to stay current with all of the latest trends.
“I feel it is important to keep current with fitness trends and research – by staying knowledgeable, I can help our members get the most efficient workout while making sure to provide safe instruction that avoids injury.”
Health and Fitness Is More Than a Job
Outside of MTVAC, Gretchen runs the entire Crew Program as Head Coach at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, personally teaching the girls’ 9-12th grade rowing program. Last year her Girls Quad Boat came in third place at the State Championships, qualifying them for Nationals. Actually, her girls’ crew team has qualified for Nationals for the past 10 consecutive years (she has been coaching for the past 15 years).
Her love of crew goes beyond coaching. Gretchen has rowed competitively for Prince William Rowing Club for the past 16 years and is considered a master rower, winning many medals and first place titles.
“The funny thing about my career in crew is that one of my aerobics students read a newspaper article about the sport many years ago and asked me to join her in trying it. I have since fallen in love with it. It just goes to show, the connection between the staff at MTVAC and our members goes beyond teacher student. Many of the members have become lifelong friends.”
A Virginia native, Gretchen, her husband and three daughters live in the Fairfax county area.