I joined Fuse Fitness this spring and knew that I needed a little something extra to help me persist, so I did the Spring Fever challenge. I’ve been avoiding workouts for a couple reasons; an old car accident injury and having my kidney removed due to kidney cancer (the surgery required my abdominal muscles to be cut when they removed the offending kidney). I wanted to get stronger but had no idea what to do without injuring myself. I tried group classes at larger gyms but wasn’t making significant progress. Then in one week three different friends suggested Fuse Fitness, and it felt like divine intervention. I promptly joined the gym and the Spring Fever challenge.
To get stronger, I needed to learn how to weight train correctly and how to have proper nutrition. On day one I couldn’t correctly manage a squat or a lunge. I was anxious about being in the way but also couldn’t afford one-on-one personal training. My biggest hurdle was going back after the first day. Then I had momentum and knew I could survive. All the staff were helpful and encouraging as they accommodated exercises and coached me on technique. It was like I got one-on-one personal training embedded in my small group class. Even other gym members gave me tips and encouragement.
Perhaps my biggest realization was that I don’t feed myself enough. I certainly didn’t eat the right stuff to build muscle. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere about lessons I’ve internalized about prioritizing other people’s needs as a Midwesterner, a female, a wife, a mother, a teacher. I was running on empty: metaphorically and physically. Matt coached me in setting nutrition goals and followed up to tweak my nutrition. Then I stuck to it because I felt so much better and recovered from workouts faster. My mindset quickly shifted from food as comfort to food as fuel. I’m 42, and I am stronger and have more energy than I have since my car accident 19 years ago. I’m amazed at the change in only six weeks.
The team I joined for the challenge gave me the motivation I needed to persist. Amy L, Georgia, and Sharon were veterans to team challenges and welcomed me. We are all teachers, or recovering teachers, so we dubbed ourselves “Getting Schooled.” In hindsight it’s pretty funny because I got schooled. I learned so much. I really learned how to take care of myself. We had a group message thread, and it was very helpful to me. I asked questions about increasing protein and fiber, and my team gave helpful suggestions. Knowing that someone else was facing tough obstacles motivated me to step it up for the group. I only knew Georgia when we started. Midway I got to work out with Amy! Finally, I met the Sharon in person a few days after the challenge was over, but I felt like I knew them all. They didn’t sugar coat things, or act like the challenge was easy. Honestly, after getting to work out beside so many people at the gym, I would be surprised to find a bad group in the bunch. I’ve had the opportunity to work out at various times and have enjoyed the people at Fuse. (I’ll get to that 5 AM class soon—if there is ever room.)
I was pretty amazed by my progress from start to finish. I wouldn’t have made as much progress without the challenge. This was a worthwhile investment in myself that’s been part of a larger personal journey in believing that I really matter. Today I can squat and lunge with added weight. I’m no longer anxious about being in the way because everyone at Fuse Fitness has treated me like I belong there. Because I do belong.