The next morning I took a good look at myself in the mirror and realized if IWANTED a dramatic change, I needed to MAKE a dramatic change. More upsetting than being 25 pounds overweight was the realization of how out of shape I was. I called Laura back and told her I was in. I also sent her a follow-up text telling her I was petrified. My exact words. The dramatic change in eating was scary enough…but combining that with a workout regimen that appeared to me to be way over my head scared me even more.
Until I took my first class.
I was not prepared for the welcoming. Not prepared for the folks that came to help me set up a bike or show me proper form or how to modify something if it was too hard. I was not prepared for the women and men, without judgement, who encouraged me and inspired me to do just one more push up or one more flight of stairs. I wasn’t prepared to look around each class and see that there were others…in my same boat…modifying things that may be too challenging that day or simply taking a rest when needed.
I wasn’t prepared for it to be fun. And it was ALL of these things.
Shortly after I joined, Melissa said something to me that really made it all click. “You are the one that has to live with your body.” To me this had dual meaning and became my mantra. Her words gave me the OK not to do bicep curls with 20 pound weights like the person next to me…for if I did I could either injure myself or be so sore the next day that it would render the following week’s workouts impossible. But it also meant that if I didn’t push myself by attempting more challenging things… I would have to live with my body not changing. This one statement taught me to push myself…but on my own terms. That one sentence inspired me more than a scale, more than any class, more than any achievement. The instructors present amazing challenges before us each day but customizing my own workout never even entered my mind.
Fuel’s staff amazes me every time I go in there. The owners Julie and Jeanne are an inspiring, caring duo that have hand-selected some of the best instructors around. Melissa not only gave me my mantra, but she actually makes we want to (occasionally) get up at 5:00 am to “take a class in the middle of the night.” Tommy has, from the very first class I took with him, taught me the importance of form and how every single movement, no matter how slight, matters. Jodi has been my behind-the-scenes cheerleader and has taught me more about nutrition than I have ever known. Lori was the first person to welcome me into Fuel and I thought she was the sweetest, daintiest woman…until I took her barre class and couldn’t walk for a week. 😉 And Rhonda has this gentle way of encouraging and pushing you to do your best…while kicking your butt…all at the same time. I gravitate to her classes.
One of the things I love most about Fuel is how they are always changing things up. I’ve been there 4 months and every class is STILL challenging, new and different. I still wake up sore. I still can’t do everything all the time. Because of this I am never bored, always challenged and I’m STILL having fun. That’s what keeps me going.
The most important thing Fuel has taught me was about my own mindset and perception about what was best for my body. I always thought that to get the most amount of change, I had to do a ton of cardio. Even when I started at Fuel I was drawn to the classes that in my mind would burn more calories and thus make me lost the most weight. I could not have been more wrong. Everyone’s body is different, but I quickly learned that the HIIT classes and barre had a profound impact on my body. The small spurts of cardio, combined with strength training, not only helped me take the weight off but change the actual shape of my body. I still can’t believe sometimes when I look down at my stomach that it’s mine. I can’t say that since I have had kids I have ever felt strong or fit. I feel differently about that now. How do you thank a fitness studio and its staff for that feeling?
I’m not going to say it was easy. It was a commitment, it was sacrifice and it was a lot of hard work. But DO-ABLE. Honestly, if I can do it…ANYONE can do it. I have always hated that statement, but after my experience at Fuel I truly get what it means. I went from never having been able to do real pushups (always having to be on my knees) to being able to out-plank my teenage boys.
This is what I would like folks to know that have thought about joining Fuel but have been too afraid. If you are willing to put the work in, Fuel can be the place that can bring it all together. Do yourself a favor and walk through those front doors.