Every day I wake up and these feet hit the floor is a success story. I never thought I’d be here this many years later. I’m a survivor of a rough childhood that I thought would rule my world, one I thought I could not muster up the strength to get through. My scars, triggers, and memories cannot be erased but each and every moment moving forward will be better, because I decided they will be better. There’s no turning back, I’m worth it.
What motivated you to start at AFS?
Fate….The funny thing is, I was originally looking for a place that would suit Christian, our son, for strength training geared towards student athletes. We have a gym at home but I felt being at a facility with trainers on site would help push him to keep it up. He was interested in gaining weight and I knew I had to find a place he’d be comfortable or he just wouldn’t stick with it. We met with the owner of another gym who went over Christian’s nutrition, workout regimens and so forth. It was in depth. However, we never heard back from him after that appointment. The very next day, I happened to come across an article on AFS. I made the phone call, took our son in for consultation with Andrew. It didn’t make sense for me to bring Christian in for his workouts while I just sit there so I signed up too and the rest is history.
What keeps you coming back to AFS?
Well, I’ve always been around fitness growing up with a brother who was a body builder. I’ve been in a hundred gyms all over the place and even managed a couple through the years. BUT, I have never been in one that just feels like family the way we do at AFS. I can just be my focused, yet silly self and not think I’m being, or anyone else is being torn down or judged. There’s a simple understanding of “you be you” and that’s comforting. We all have our own story which makes us who we are.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen since starting?
There’s no doubt my physical strength has definitely improved but for me personally, the biggest change has been the mental aspect of working out and pushing myself further than the numbers on my workout sheet. This means that even though it may be difficult in that moment, I know that the reward after the workout is so much greater than my last rep. For me, the incredible mental endurance that I now possess is so much greater than I even realized. The mountain in front of me simply doesn’t stand a chance.
What has been the most rewarding part of your experience?
Tough to put out there but here goes…I come from a very broken background which forced me to tuck so much way down inside my soul. I was very confident on the outside but dying on the inside and it wasn’t an option to tell anyone. I knew what was happening to me as a child was wrong but somehow it became my “normal” and molded me into an anxious, insecure, non trusting girl. So I would say, after much thought, the most rewarding part of this journey at AFS has been watching the person in the mirror come out of her shell in so many areas. The physical part is great, as mentioned, but I’m just mentally stronger to not only push through the exercises but through high stress situations that arise in everyday life. I know that the fear we all hear is just those insecurities trying to creep back in so I’ve learned to squash those in a split second with my mental strength which I have gained through my faith that has led me to AFS. It’s just a combination of the positive attitudes of the staff, the belief in me that they have, the accountability to not only my trainers and to myself, and the many smiles that my son and I encounter on a regular basis. In addition, Christian doesn’t argue when it’s time to leave for our gym visits, he’s engaged in his workouts (most of the time), and he genuinely feels comfortable at AFS which is a huge deal at this interesting age of 15 when they’re coming into their own. It’s really been a blessing for me in so many ways.
What advice would you give to others looking to start at AFS?
My greatest advice would be to just make the initial call or the drive to AFS. Give yourself the gift of love, do something for yourself because you’re always giving to others. It’s time to crush the fear that’s been crushing you. I can honestly say that the drive is not exactly convenient and we pass many gyms/training facilities on our trip to AFS but I cannot imagine us anywhere else. There’s even a training facility connected to our girls cheer building and I’m taking our girls to cheer all the time but will still drive out to Rochester to my gym and my family at AFS. I chalk it up to quality and conversation time with our son or our girls if they come with. (We have laughed, cried and learned on our trips to our gym.) And if I’m heading out to AFS by myself, I use that time to reflect, listen to music where I sing to my hearts content (for real) or find a podcast that peaks my interest. It becomes “my time,” which as any busy Mom or Dad knows, is far and few in between.
Side note: I’ll even bust out a tune or a dance if I feel the need to during my workouts just because I can and just a heads up— I’m not worried what anyone thinks so be forewarned. You be you and I’ll be me and we can still be friends— you can even join in even if you can’t hit the note or if you have a killer dance move that you feel you’d like to share. Stop being afraid. Bam 😉