"243. The number flashed on the scale, staring me right in my bewildered face. I stepped off the scale, tapped it with my big toe, and stepped back on. 243. I stepped off the scale and shook my head in bewilderment. How did I let this happen? How did I slip this far? I had thought my face looked round mere moments ago in that family photo, but 243…this was a disaster.
A disclaimer… I have struggled with my weight and body image my entire life. I am not, nor was I ever, the most athletic individual. I swam competitively for a number of years, and I took a number of dance classes in college, but athletic is an adjective I would never use to describe my physical ability. Back to 243...
From that moment on, I made myself a promise. I would change. I would take my insecurities and confront them head on. I would become athletic. Bolstered by this determination, I began the tedious process of vetting a gym. At the time, I was working downtown at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, so finding a gym close to work was crucial. After some preliminary online research, I grabbed my co-worker for moral support and trekked down the block to Gold’s Gym. Shannon, my fearless cohort, was already a member of Gold’s Gym and urged me to join after our tour of this gleaming tower of physical perfection. Needless to say, I signed on the dotted line. I was a member of a gym. It was time to shed the pounds and increase my self-determined self-worth. I adopted a new mantra: Your dreams only work if you do.
The next day I had scheduled my free fitness assessment with someone named Brittany. I arrived, changed into my workout clothes, and checked in at the front desk, nervous, anxious, and ready to run out the door. Seconds later, I was greeted by a girl in a red trainer’s t-shirt with her name printed across her heart and black workout shorts. She stuck out her hand, shook mine, and took me upstairs to take my measurements and learn more about my fitness and personal goals. Little did I know that this fitness assessment would be more than just assessing my then lack of physicality. It would be the foundation and formation of a friendship and mutual support system. We clicked instantly. Brittany possessed the right amount of sass and drive to whip me into shape and encourage me every step of the way. Immediately after the assessment I signed up for three months of personal training, twice a week with Brittany.
Fast-forward nine months later. I was strong. I was confident. I was athletic. Brittany had completely changed my life for the best. I was at my gym 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day before and after work, taking boot camp classes, swimming, lifting, and doing yoga. Brittany had taught me that physical fitness was more than just lifting weights, it was nutrition, it was mental health, it was finding an inner balance. She taught me that fitness is a journey, with twists and turns along the way. That we have good days and bad, and we can assess each as it comes and not stray from the goals ahead. She helped me realize my potential and pushed me to meet it.
The moment I met Brittany my life changed. Through her friendship, she helped me discover that I could do anything I set my mind to. Your dreams only work if you do, so it’s time to keep working."