Who? Me? Go to the gym!! Are you crazy!!??

That is what I thought 2 years ago…. My friend convinced me to try the gym with her. Well, 2 years later, I come 3 or 4 times a week to see what Coach Kelly has in store for me!

I’m not any different than you. When I joined the gym I was a 56 year old  professional woman, who was very overweight, didn’t exercise - out of shape, emotionally drained over a failed marriage, drained from taking care of family members for the last 10 years when they were ill while juggling a full time job and taking care of everything in my household. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t exist as a person. A loser.

I did go to the gym with my friend, and I will be in debt to her for getting me to go. To my surprise I liked it. What? I had actually lost a couple pounds by going twice a week for a month or so. How the hell did that happen?!

Then one fateful, icy day in February, I slipped on ice and fell down some stairs! Long story short:  broken foot; royally screwed up both ankles; in a cast for 10 weeks; needed a wheelchair to get around at home for a few weeks (and living alone!), as I couldn’t even walk with crutches - you need at least one good ankle to do that!! And I went to physio twice a week, which was excruciatingly painful! I did physio exercises 2 or 3 times a day while sitting on the floor. It was so painful I was crying each and every time. One day Coach Kelly texted me and said that I should come to the gym. What? Are you crazy? I can’t walk! Just come she texted! I will get you doing something. So, against my better judgement, I went when I could get a ride - couldn’t  drive in a cast. I hobbled in on my crutches and sat on a box and did upper body with the assistance of Coach Kelly. That was the beginning of my journey. Little does Coach Kelly know, if she hadn’t have insisted that I come, I probably would have quit. A loser once again.

Struggling to get to the gym, and doing a modified work out, gave me something to do as I couldn’t work. Eventually, I didn’t need the cast or crutches, and I continued to go to the gym and got stronger each passing week. The discipline that came from struggling to do the warm up and work out, and the encouragement of the Coaches and fellow gym-goers (you know who you are) spurred me on. I found that I was starting to lose more weight (although slowly), and the physical strength that I was gaining, made me stronger emotionally. Now, I started to really change, emotionally that is. I was stronger emotionally - what happened to me? I could take on all the problems that I hadn’t been able to deal with before and actually deal with them and cast them aside. I realized that I was a real person, was proud of myself and had the courage to move forward. I was focused and determined.

Finally, on a cold winter day before Christmas 2015, I was the only one that showed up to Group Fit. It was just me and Coach Kelly - scary stuff!! Well, she had been asking me for the last month to start a Strength Program. She felt that I was ready for it. I didn’t think that I could do it. Me? Lift weights? Are you on drugs? So, she pushed me to try Strength that day. And I have been in the Strength program every since.

This last year, I have been more determined than ever to stay healthy so that I can enjoy whatever life has to offer me. I started trying more things. I currently do Strength 3 times a week, and Cardio once a week. I focus on moving forward in my own program. I quietly push myself in my workouts with my own little mental challenges. I also started to learn how to run with support from Coach Stacey. I am proud to say that I did the 1K, 3K and 5K this year. I also ran another 5K for charity. Sometimes I lose focus, but that’s part of the journey. I’ve been more determined than ever to lose weight and inches. Sometimes I fall off that wagon, but get back on it the next day.

My results: 50 pounds lighter; more physically fit; able to manage my life with more determination and emotional strength; kayaked for the first time in my life this summer; new friends at the gym; I can actually run, do straight-leg sit ups, and push-ups!!! You have to understand what an accomplishment this is for me! I am now a Proud Lioness part of the Gone Strong Pride. You can be one too. Just take the risk and challenge yourself. If I can do it, anyone can. I am 58 years old and loving it.

With Respect and Encouragement,

Karen (a.k.a. Ankles).