Ashley Makes Change Inside and Out!
How did you hear about AFS?
Alex Evans, one of my very best friends, attended AFS in Ann Arbor prior to the opening of the Plymouth location. When Plymouth was getting ready to launch, Alex encouraged me to attend the grand opening. And when I say “encouraged,” I actually mean that she HOUNDED me! I was irritated because I’ve always hated exercise and didn’t want to join another gym since I was already not using my Planet Fitness membership. Alex insisted that AFS was different. I’m glad she bugged me to start going!
What/Who inspired you to take the first step toward getting in shape?
Alex again, with her unwavering persistence (thanks, Al). My husband, Anthony, and my family have also (gently and kindly!) encouraged me for years to get in better shape, knowing that this was something I wanted but struggled to do .
What initially intrigued you about our program/why did you sign up?
Hearing that I would receive individual guidance with my diet and fitness program, as well as having a trainer check in with me on a regular basis, interested me. Since I was a teenager, I have tried to get fit but never managed to be consistent with exercise. Even exercising in a group class format at other gyms has never gotten me to establish a regular routine. I would pay money for memberships and classes and then just not use them. I thought the individualized attention offered at AFS might be the piece that I’ve always been missing.
How did you achieve the success you’ve seen thus far?
Consistently attending classes at AFS has been the key for me. I sometimes still struggle to stick to my calorie goal and get enough protein, but making sure I regularly get to class has made it possible for me to still make a lot of great progress. Some weeks are better than others in terms of getting there, but if I have an off week, I just make sure I start fresh the following week and even make up with an extra workout if I can.
What changes have you noticed in your life since starting with AFS?
I’ve seen a lot of difference in my overall physique since starting AFS, but the most significant changes I’ve experienced have been to my mental health and emotional wellbeing. I’m a person who has struggled with significant depression and anxiety since I was pretty young. Now a psychotherapist myself, I’ve always understood the importance of exercise to managing my symptoms, but the lack of motivation and energy that accompanies depression made it difficult to establish a regular fitness routine. Additionally, my anxiety symptoms would sometimes manifest as an obsession with scale weight and clothing sizes that actually worked against me rather than motivating me to get in shape. Joining AFS, combined with other steps I take to manage my mental health, has made a phenomenal difference in how I feel. Sometimes I still feel down, but if I push myself to get up and attend class, chances are that I’ll feel a hundred times better at the end of my workout. I don’t get anxious about my weight or body anymore because I know I’m doing the right things to take care of myself physically. I also get a lot of support from my trainer, Brooke, and the other trainers with whom I regularly work, like Chris. They know that I have a hard time with depression and anxiety and have made it clear to me that they’re there to support me not just with my physical fitness, but with my mental health too. When they refer to themselves as your “AFS Fitness Fam,” it isn’t just a silly sentiment. I really feel cared for and supported by the staff.
I want people to know that if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other issues, there’s no reason to be ashamed. You’re not alone, and there is help out there in many different forms. AFS has been a huge piece of my puzzle when it comes to managing mental health, and I’ve never felt better than I do now.
Advice you can offer others looking to make changes you’ve made?
Don’t wait around for motivation to hit you! When I work with clients in therapy, I hear lots of people say that they’re waiting to get motivated before making a change, and that’s a trap I’ve always fallen into as well, with physical fitness and with other changes I’ve wanted to make. When you start getting active and making changes, motivation follows, and you want to keep going and going. You might never feel ready or motivated to start getting in shape, so do it anyway! You’ll be glad you did.
I’d like to thank Brooke and everyone else at AFS from the bottom of my heart for showing me so much love and support! I love you all!