MARGIE

Softness. Gentleness. Kindness.

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Margie knows the name of every dog that is walked by her house.

She also knows the names of our postal workers, the UPS and FedEx delivery men, and those of her neighbors.

Indeed, she is the kind of person that makes for a good neighbor . . . observant enough to make sure nothing is amiss . . . and caring enough to shout after speeding cars (even when her kids are already grown).

A self-proclaimed lawn queen, she creates a meticulous view of her house, while being generous with her compliments about the lawns of those around her.

Over the past five months of training, Margie has become stronger and more confident . . . achievements gained through hours of various workouts that have met her where she is on any given day. Sometimes she has been game for rigorous and tough. Other times we’ve opted for slow and restorative. She has tested the limits of her deadlift and presses, and found ways to manage her tension and stress.

As a result, she walks taller.

And as is the case with those of us who experience pain . . . in our necks, backs, knees . . . she still has to be cautious and careful with her movements. Yet, she has become so self-aware, that she knows what kind of yard work she can handle, and what she should save for someone else. For example, when she is bending over or lifting something, she knows how to engage her glutes, hamstrings, and core to minimize any potential strains.

True fitness is an evolution, and Margie has transformed herself from living in near constant pain, to enjoying the benefits of some pain-free days and being able to enjoy doing the activities she loves. She has built strength, increased her range of motion, developed internal muscular structure, and learned stress reduction techniques.

Among the tough and hard working, Margie will always be welcome.

And for those who might believe they can’t . . . but hope they can . . . Margie, you are a light.

Thank you for being you.

-Coach Rebecca

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HEATHER

Have you ever known someone who carries pain but never shows it?

That’s how it is with Heather.

She is a warrior.

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Whereas I can usually spot subtle body cues to tell me of another person’s discomfort, with Heather I have to consciously remember to ask about her Inflammatory Arthritis . . . and how the symptoms are playing out that day. She is so full of grace and a soul-enriched beauty that it almost appears as if she has risen above her pain.

But for those who live with the discomfort of arthritis, autoimmune disease, or other chronic pain . . . there’s no true transcendence . . . only better or worse ways of managing the symptoms.

Having already lived for most of her life with tendencies towards anxiety and depression, she’d become all too familiar with how easy it can be to drop out of life, to make excuses, to not move . . . from feeling tired or not feeling well.

Yet, she’d discovered over the years, that the benefits of exercise were so much more than physical . . . that she also benefitted emotionally and spiritually. Those benefits have allowed her to stay engaged in life.

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After being diagnosed with Inflammatory Arthritis earlier this year, Heather lost momentum in doing some of the things she loved . . . including her yoga practice. She turned to The Fittest Me in hopes that increased strength would reconnect her with the more challenging positions of yoga that had recently alluded her.

As a result of her strength training with us, she has experienced various benefits . . . some of which she hadn’t anticipated:

  • improved stamina and strength for yoga

  • greater confidence in moving again

  • knee pain completely eliminated

  • better grip strength

  • overall upper body strengthening

  • stress relief

In looking at what has stood out to her over the five months she’s trained at The Fittest Me, she said:

“I always feel known and heard in these walls . . . that what I need from day to day is being considered. You see me as more than a woman of my age with prior experiences. I know that I can trust you to stretch my limits without going beyond my abilities. Working out here has built my confidence.”

Heather, it is always a pleasure to work with you. May you continue to gain strength and utilize movement as one of your tools for combating the symptoms of arthritis.

-Coach Rebecca

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LANCE

It was for his daughter that he first walked through our doors. He wanted to help her build strength and improve her coordination. So, when it became clear that Lance was also interested in changing the course of his life, I was all ears.

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A dedicated, hard working family man, Lance is all about doing what is right for his wife and kids. Indeed, this is precisely why it became so easy to put himself last for the past 12 years. Yet to watch his cholesterol and blood pressure climb, his body composition weigh him down, and a general feeling of dis-ease . . . was too much. [The urging of his wife didn't hurt either.]

It was time for action . . . and this guy didn't mess around getting started. Only days after his teaching year had let out for summer, Lance said goodbye to any yearnings for a lazy summer. For the next seven weeks, he has shown up at our personal training studio without fail, 5x/week by 6:30am . . . ready to work. In those sessions, he has persisted through cramping calves, the discomfort of gastro-esophageal reflux disease, and the immobility of years of muscular and joint disuse. The fruit of his labor? He now rarely has leg cramps, is able to maintain a steady jog for over half a mile, and has become more flexible.

As if that wouldn't be enough, the hard numbers of his strength improvements are noteworthy. Here are some of his stats:

  • beginning: 20" inclined box pushups
    • current: floor pushups
  • beginning: bench press @ 95lbs
    • current: @ 125lbs
  • beginning: back squat @75lbs
    • current: @135lbs
  • beginning: shoulder press @15lbs
    • current: @95lbs
    • current push press: @115lbs
  • beginning: deadlift @65lbs
    • current: @185lbs

To say that I'm please with his progress is an understatement.

And thanks to his also enrolling in our nutrition program, he has also benefitted from lowered body fat, increased muscle mass, improved energy, an elevated mood, and a sense of control that he hasn't felt in years.

He recently made a point of telling me: "Brenda, Leana, and I . . . we wouldn't be doing any of this if it weren't for The Fittest Me. You'd never find us in a big gym, and we like that you train regular people like us."

The truth is that it's easy for parents to rationalize away the importance of their own health for the sake of their children. But what Lance has come to understand is that by taking care of his own health, he IS prioritizing his children's well-being. His risk of major disease is dropping while his odds for an self-sufficient retirement is going up. And the value of modeling life-affirming decisions, to his children's current and future health, is incalculable.

Keep killing your workouts Lance. Yesterday's workout with 50 ring rows, 100 pushups, and 150 squats is just the tip of what you're capable of. You show up . . . the results will follow.

Congratulations on all your success.

-Coach Rebecca

BETH

Thoughtful and searching, with a core of resolute bravery . . . that's how I see Beth.

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When we sat down to talk about her exercise journey, it became clear that what she values in her personal training at The Fittest Me goes well beyond the physical. 

Beth spoke so eloquently, her words are better left untouched.

"There's a huge spiritual and emotional component to working with The Fittest Me. There's an element of coming here that is hyper-distilled. You bring together the big picture of life. It's not just the exercise. And yet, you manage to distill all the challenges I face into one solution . . . exercise."


"There's an acknowledgement of

  • where you've been

  • where you are now

  • the potential for where you can go"


"I appreciate the time you take to get to know me and where I'm coming from."


"What I do in here informs the rest of my time . . . how I think and process stress . . . to help me take baby steps."

 

Change is difficult. Period.

Beth knows that, and is okay with the time and effort required to make peace with and resolve her outdated habits.

She also knows that with each new healthy habit she brings into her life, she is getting closer to realizing her truest self. 

That keeps her going.


Keep showing up and putting in the work, Beth. The ripple effects through your life will be felt not only by yourself, but also by those you care for and love.

Nice work.

-Coach Rebecca

LEANA

If you believe that everything happens for a reason (which I do) . . . it is clear that Leana coming to work with us has had a clear purpose. Mutual family friends introduced us to Leana after her parents submitted a prayer request at church. Their request? . . . to find a trainer to help their daughter become fit while building her strength. A perfect fit for trainer and client alike, Leana's improvements inside the gym have had ripple effects well beyond these walls.

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Not a stranger to hard work, Leana always puts forth her best effort. And the results are the fruit of her labor. Whereas 3-1/2 months ago she struggled to get through three Russian twists (think a seated trunk rotation while holding a heavy ball), in her most recent training session she completed seven sets of 12 over a seven minute time frame. Likewise, her earlier sprints had a sporadic nature to her movements and she had trouble with pacing. Now, however, she can do four sets of sprints throughout a workout and have near perfect form while increasing her speed with each additional round.

These two movements are particularly significant because Leana is a softball pitcher. She needs to have strong rotational strength, the stamina to do that again and again, and an explosive sprint for tagging out at home base. In fact just this morning at her 7:00am personal training session, she excitedly retold the highlights from her prior day's game: she pitched four innings instead of her typical two or three; she only allowed three runs over those four innings at the mound; all this was from the U-14 pitcher's mound distance instead of her typical U-12; and she tagged out an attempt to steal home. Boom! Nicely done young lady! Her parents were quick to attribute her endurance in particular to all the work she's put in during our training. Considering she is committed to 3x/week personal training, I would agree.  

All this said . . . Leana likes to have fun as much as she likes to work hard. She just finished a successful sixth grade year, enjoys swimming in her family's pool, and is looking forward to a weeklong church camp where she'll be with her friends. When asked what super power she'd choose if given the opportunity, she said the power of teleportation: "so I can go  on vacation whenever I want." She looks forward to one day getting her pull-up, and loves the feeling of getting stronger.

Keep it up Leana, and you will be unstoppable.

-Coach Rebecca

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ROGER

Gentle and witty with a propensity towards exposing the ironies in life, Roger is an adored member of our Kids Unplugged class. On more than one occasion, upon entering class, he has asked: "what kind of movements are we doing today?" Then, without waiting for an answer, and with a straight face, he continues: ". . . as long as it doesn't involve dumbbells, kettle bells, presses, deadlifts, or wall balls, I'll be fine. Those are the movements that keep me up at night."  After that, he catches up with his friends, recites a scene from the favored musical, Hamilton, and gets into the paleo sit to go over our day's program.

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Over the course of this year, among many accomplishments, he has:

  • held a six minute plank hold
  • improved his minute max setups from 25 to 35
  • increased his max bar hang from :41 to 1:15
  • got a toes-to-bar
  • achieved his first double-under

Here's my Q & A with this 10-year old, who has just finished 4th grade.

Q: What's your favorite subject? What do you like about it?  
A: Reading. We get to do fun projects. 

Q: What’s your least favorite subject? What don’t you like about it?
A: Social Studies. It’s very boring.

Q: If you gained superhero powers, what would they be…and how could you use them to make your life, those around you, or the world better?  
A: Invisibility and no one can hear me either. But to make lives better flying would be good. 

Q: If you had a money tree and enough rain and sun to keep it healthy, how would you spend it?
A: Probably just on stuff that I need and treat myself every once in awhile.

Q: Provided all opportunities possible, what’s your ideal adult career?  
A: YouTube 

Q: Since beginning our kids fitness classes, what do you feel best about?
A: Jumping rope

Q: What keeps you wanting to come to class again and again?  
A: Talking to friends

Q: What’s your current skill goal that you want to achieve?  
A: 2 double unders in a row. 

Q: If a friend was considering taking Kids in Motion, Kids Unplugged or Teens on the Move, why would you recommend they join?  
A: Doing it is fun and you get to meet people and you get stronger. 

Our class is better for having you in it Roger. Keep putting in the work and you'll get those double unders!

-Coach Rebecca

CARMEN

If you could take the imagination of J. K. Rowlings, the expressiveness of Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the fight of Laila Ali, that's Carmen. She comes to every class with a story to tell and a song to sing. And when there's a moment of downtime, she grabs the gymnastics mat to place against the wall for some punching. 

In her nine months in our class, not only has she gained significant strength and improved her form, but she now feels proud of her mile run in school. 

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Here's my Q&A with this precocious 12 year old:

Q: What's your favorite subject? What do you like about it?
A: Language Arts because I like using words and writing 

Q: What’s your least favorite subject? What don’t you like about it?
A: Probably math because we have homework pretty much every night without fail. 

Q: If you gained superhero powers, what would they be…and how could you use them to make your life, those around you, or the world better?
A: To make all my ships cannon (this is a fan fiction reference- a ship is a relationship that you support and a cannon means that the relationship is real). 

Q: If you had a money tree and enough rain and sun to keep it healthy, how would you spend it?
A: Donating to charity and buying duct tape because you can make anything out of duct tape. 

Q: Provided all opportunities possible, what’s your ideal adult career?
A: Traveling the world and writing. 

Q: Since beginning our kids fitness classes, what do you feel best about?
A: Rope climbing. 

Q: What keeps you wanting to come to class again and again?
A: Seeing Lillian and Roger.

Q: What’s your current skill goal that you want to achieve?
A: Jump roping. 

Q: If a friend was considering taking Kids in Motion, Kids Unplugged or Teens on the Move, why would you recommend they join?
A: Because it’s really fun and it’s not like other workout classes where they are yelling at you and you are sweating like crazy!!

There you have it . . . bright, talented, and strong . . . and knows how to bring her fun energy to each class.

Thanks for being you, Carmen.

Cheers!
-Coach Rebecca

 

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