What motivated you to start at AFS and what keeps you coming back?
My second child was 6 months old, and I was ready to start losing the baby weight I’d put on. I knew I could do it, but was having a hard time getting back into a fitness routine. I’d previously worked out in my basement, but was having a hard time focusing. I’d hear the baby cry or the toddler get upset about something. Even though I knew things were handled upstairs, I kept cutting my time short so I could help. Once I realized I was doing this, I started looking for an exercise class I could go to a couple times a week to workout outside of the house. I found AFS while I was googling options, and just kept coming back to the website. I knew it was something I wanted to try, it was clearly different than other options I was looking at. The two things that kept me coming back initially after starting were (1) the people were all welcoming and supportive and (2) the workouts are effective! It’s an hour incredibly well spent!
Did you have any fears before you started? If so, how were you able to overcome them?
Yes! I’ve never been much of a gym person and never thought of myself as an athlete. I was the person that would go to a traditional gym and use the treadmill or elliptical, do some crunches, and call it a day. I didn’t think this was the best way to get in shape, but I also didn’t feel knowledgable or confident enough to venture into the weight area or even seek out additional guidance. I get intimidated very easily in gyms or other athletic ventures, but the atmosphere at AFS is so different! There’s people of all ages and stages, with varying goals or orthopedic situations, exercising side by side. Everyone gets something out of it and staff are able to help everyone based on where they are in their own, unique journey. I saw this atmosphere from day one, and each time I came back was a little easier. When I added Strength Solution to my plan I was nervous again, but I soon learned it was just like starting Fitness Solution. All the same dynamics were there, and it got easier day by day.
Beyond the weight loss and numerical achievements, what other changes have you noticed?
I’ve definitely seen a shift in my mindset and sense of identity. I didn’t play a lot of sports growing up and never felt like I had much athleticism. My time at AFS has really helped me think about myself differently. My hand-eye coordination may not be great, But I’m strong and can push past my perceived limits little by little. I carry this with me through my day now as part of my identity. I’m proud to be someone who prioritizes putting in the hard work it takes to be fit, and to invest in my long-term health!
Tell us about a moment where you were really proud of yourself.
There have been several distinct moments that come to mind. One that stands out to me was when I was on the step station in Fitness Solution class one night, and I decided to really go for it by doing step taps. There was a great song playing and I got in a good rhythm at a really quick pace. when it was time to rotate to another station, someone next to me (who I perceived as more fit than me) pointed out how great my step taps were, which really motivated me to go even harder. That was huge for me!
What is your long-term goal and how do you envision yourself getting there?
My long-term goal is to avoid getting complacent. I want to always find ways to improve and be the healthiest version of myself. I know there will be periods when everything seems to be running smoothly, and I’ll have my nutrition, fitness, and stress management all clicking. But, I also know there will be times when something gets thrown off track, because that’s just reality. I want to always hold myself accountable to keep doing the best I possibly can at that time. Part of it for me is setting a positive example for my kids when it comes to physical activity and body image. I want them to see me enjoying taking care of my body for reasons that are positive. For instance, I don’t want them to think my primary motivation to exercise is weight loss. I want them to know it’s fun and makes me FEEL good!
What advice would you give others looking to start at AFS?
If you’re nervous or on the fence, just give it a try! It’s really not like other gyms you may have tried before. There’s truly something for EVERYONE here. I haven’t needed a lot of support or guidance from my practitioner yet, but I really needed the diverse and supportive environment to get myself coming to class. I know though, that if I reach a place where I feel like I need extra coaching, that my practitioner will be ready to help out and already knows me and my journey. Others may have no problem showing up somewhere to try out a new workout, but need a little more coaching and support to reach their goals. I wasn’t looking to join a gym when I started looking for a class to take, but joining AFS is easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!