16 Sep From overweight Mom to fitness studio owner!
I never saw it coming.
Nope, not in a million years. Like not even a tiny blip. But as with most things in life, the path that is meant to be has a funny way of finding you. And almost always, it comes to you as an unlikely opportunity. The trick is to recognize it.
This is my story of how I went from being an overweight Mom to fitness studio owner…
How It All Began
For me, it all began on January 9th, 2017.
The day started the same as any other morning. I went into my closet to find something to wear. But nothing was fitting me these days, NOTHING. This had been happening every morning for the past while. Some days, I’d just stay in my pj’s and work from home. At least my pj’s still fit.
As a Mom and entrepreneur, my days were filled with countless hours of work, fast and usually unhealthy food, little quality sleep and ample stress. I felt so unhealthy, lethargic and in constant pain. I ate Tylenol daily and visited my chiropractor weekly. Plus, there was that hefty dose of guilt for not being able to achieve that perfect work/life balance. Why couldn’t I get it together?!
Well, I think sometimes you don’t see how bad it’s gotten. You just accept this as your “normal” and you carry on. But really, the breaking point was just around the corner…
What made this morning different was I sat down. Right there on the carpet in my closet. I’d been defeated. I’d hit that proverbial rock bottom. And I cried. A lot.
There’s something truly therapeutic about a really good cry. Besides the ensuing headache that usually follows, there seems to be a clarity that comes along too. On that day, on that closet floor, the clarity came.
I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING. I was a forty-seven year old, overweight Mom.
My clothes weren’t going to suddenly fit tomorrow morning. It was up to me to change. And this was something that no one else could do FOR me. Somehow that gave me just enough courage to get up and face the day.
An Unlikely Opportunity
Two days later, I got an interesting text message from my good friend Meg. She’d seen this Facebook post for a women’s fitness studio and wondered if I’d want to go with her.
I teared up as I read the caption. It felt like it had been written just for me. Yes, I was starting to SINK. I was READY for a FRESH start. And I desperately needed HOPE. Those words just came off the page and spoke to me like nothing before. Here was one of those unlikely opportunities staring me in the face.
So I did it. I’d never even set foot in a gym or fitness studio in my whole life but for some reason, on that day, I joined with my friend.
One week later, this overweight Mom walked into this fitness studio.
And how did it go?
I was Totally. Freaked. Out. You can read more about it in this blog post. But that first positive experience was all I needed to entice me back for another class.
Just A Little Help
What was it about this studio that made me want to go back?
I liked that only clients in that session were in the studio. That was a huge selling point for me. It’d been hard enough mustering the courage to go into the studio but the thought of random lookie loos watching this overweight Mom working out was a definite NO.
The other clients were totally relatable. I’d had this preconceived notion that the only people in fitness studios were those incredibly buff and toned types you see in ads. And maybe some places are like that but not this one. This was a studio for us “regular” people. A place where we could ALL feel comfortable, supported, accepted. There were women of all ages, sizes, abilities and fitness levels. It was a perfect place for those of us, like me, just starting on our fitness journey.
And then there was this special person. The very first person I met after signing up was Lynn, my trainer. Her warmth and encouragement were EXACTLY what I’d needed. Looking back, had it not been for her support and the kindness of the other clients, I probably wouldn’t have gone back.
I think that’s what happens to a lot of us when we finally decide to make a big change. It’s a huge new step and having a person/tribe/community around you can really make all the difference to your success. If you haven’t found yours yet, please keep looking. Don’t give up because they’re out there.
My Happy Place
This photo of my husband David and I was taken a couple months after I started at the fitness studio. While I was feeling better that I was doing something about my health and fitness, I felt like more needed to be done. I was inspired to kick it up a notch.
So for the next year and a bit, I made some drastic changes to my lifestyle. I adopted a healthier diet, committed myself to 3 classes a week at the studio and added more outdoor activities like hiking and running. After a lifetime of being overweight, David also chose to make a change and joined me. I was so proud of him and that we’d get to do it together, as a family.
Was it hard? Oh hell yes!
Did I want to quit? More times than I can count. But I’d remember that feeling of despair and hopelessness I’d felt as I sat on the floor in my closet. That had felt far worse and that kept me going.
I was feeling better than I’d felt in ages. Sure weight loss followed but it was the other things that I started to notice. It was easier to bend over and tie my shoes, the soreness the morning after a workout has eased and I was eating way less Tylenol. I was feeling better and even smiling more!
The studio has become my sanctuary. Whenever I was there, it didn’t matter what kind of day I’d had, I was in my happy place.
Then, in July 2018, I received an email that would forever change my life.
The email was from Andrea, the fitness studio owner. It was closing at the end of the month. I actually felt my heart sink. This special place, my happy place, was going to end. I’d never felt such an instant shot of panic. What would I do? What would we all do without the studio??
Surprisingly, and without much thought, I hit reply and began to write Andrea back. Would she be interested in meeting with me? For some reason, I felt the need to talk with her. To this day, I believe with my whole heart, that something was guiding me to reply.
I met with Andrea a week later. I had no particular notions about what would come from this meeting. In fact, driving over to meet her, I realized I actually had no idea what I would even say to her! There was just this undeniable feeling that we should talk.
It wasn’t until I was driving home from our meeting that I realized it. This was another one of those unlikely opportunities!
A Crazy Idea!
But for the first time in a very long time, I trusted my gut. I had an idea!
The next day, I sat down with my husband David, in the kitchen, and shared my thoughts. Bless his heart, he listened. Even though he’d seen the positive impact the studio had on me, I was quite certain that he’d think I was delusional. We already had a business which we both worked at full time. How would this even fit into our lives?? I had no idea yet for some reason, the how’s didn’t seem to matter.
To my shock and surprise, his reply was, let’s find a way to make this work! YAY!!
From Overweight Mom to Fitness Studio Owner!
For the next 4 weeks we scribbled ideas, added up all the financial considerations and negotiated. This was not a decision to be taken lightly, that’s for sure. But for all the hard work and sacrifices that were going to made, it just felt right. It was what I was supposed to do.
What had started as a reply to an email, was about to become a real thing. I was going from being an overweight Mom to fitness studio owner!
On September 15, 2018, we officially opened the doors to Emerge Fitness Studio Inc.! More than a few times, I had to pinch myself. We chose the name Emerge because I felt like I’d emerged from this place of despair into a whole new healthier world.
I’m so glad I followed that unlikely opportunity that lead me to this studio. I truly LOVE this place. I got to experience first hand, how the right support and encouragement can make all the difference when you’re at your lowest. My hope is that I can pay it forward to someone who’s struggling with how they’re feeling. You CAN turn things around and FEEL BETTER! Please, reach out to someone/someplace that can help you. You’re not alone.
And be open to those unlikely opportunities that may come your way…you never know where they may lead you.
I feel so blessed for all the amazing people around me that helped make this happen!
Thank you to our beautiful clients who’ve found their happy place.
To our devoted trainers, who care so much and provide such support and encouragement to us all.
Thank you to my dear friend Meg, who unknowingly started me on this path.
To my supportive family, who’ve listened and helped in so many ways.
Thank you to my amazing husband, who somehow still loves me unconditionally.
And an extra special thanks to Andrea. I can’t thank you enough for sending out the email that changed my life. Thank you for helping me go from an unhealthy and overweight Mom to fitness studio owner. I’ll be forever grateful.