But since starting my three-times-a-week 30-minute no-fat-shaming sessions with Rachel a year ago, I’m stronger, more energetic, and my aerobic capacity has greatly improved. Fact is, life is different for me now – my blood pressure is now at a healthy level, I have fewer migraines, and I’ve come to realize that healthy eating is a necessary component to my fitness routine. I can carry 40-pound bags of cat litter without assistance and I’ve definitely been sleeping tight! I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, so far.”
- Before finding Fitness with Rachel, what was your struggle? What were your biggest frustrations?
I had completely quit exercising after being diagnosed with a system-wide inflammatory arthritis. I had always been a very active person (if not terribly athletic) and had worked out regularly my whole life. Having been in chronic pain for years following the arthritis diagnosis, I went into a remission and really wanted to exercise (specifically dance) again. My whole life had changed since I had been on a regular exercise routine and I had tried a couple of free gym memberships and knew that they just weren’t going to work for me. A friend of mine mentioned to me over lunch that she had been going to Fitness with Rachel and suggested I try it! It took some courage to walk into the small studio for the first time and not know if it was going to be something I could even do! I didn’t know any of the moves and I didn’t know any of the people and I think I went the wrong way 1/2 the time in the first class… but the music was great, and Rachel’s smile motivates me and I am so glad I pushed through my fears and kept with it!
- How did your struggle and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before coming to regular classes or personal training sessions?
I was basically told by my rheumatologist to STOP exercising. I was even banned from doing yoga (due to hyper-mobility and arthritis flare ups). I had to re-learn how to WALK because I am tall and walked very fast with long strides. My whole life seemed to revolve around managing this stupid pain that made no sense to me. There were days I couldn’t grab the sheets to pull them over me on the bed; mornings when I couldn’t go down more than one step at a time; days where everything just HURT. Talk about frustrating!! I wanted to move! I wanted to dance! I wanted to walk my dogs! But I digress… At some point (kind of randomly) I felt better and I wanted to do more. I wanted to exercise WITHOUT sending myself back into pain. I needed something low-impact and FUN. I tried classes elsewhere and “ran screaming”… I don’t need to be yelled at. I don’t WANT to be yelled at! I don’t want to do things fast and dangerously; I need a safe and fun place to go. And, I have to add… I needed convenience. At other points in my life I would have been willing to drive downtown for a class, but things have changed… when the gas costs as much as the class… or the travel time is as long as the class… it is no longer worth it to me.
- How did the studio help you?
Rachel’s studio is “intimate”… it is small and welcoming and inviting. Finding a place to dance again has been wonderful. This year has been another series of personal challenges, both physical and emotional. The flexibility of Rachel’s membership or non-membership classes has made it easy for me to maintain as close to a schedule as possible. My goal is to do an annual plan and make it worthwhile! Dancing has helped me with my overall wellness and mood. I sometimes have to force myself there but I always feel better after a class. The music is uplifting and never gets boring. I am definitely more limber and some of the old moves are coming back!
- How is life different for you now?
Having a place to go to dance early in the day means so much to me. We’re “morning people” in our house and my dancing friends are out dancing at midnight. To be able to hear awesome music and dance in the morning is so HAPPY MAKING for me. I leave feeling energized and always so glad that I made it. Having a place that I know I can go to feel good is awesome.