own a fitness studio

You own a fitness studio and you look like THAT?!


That was my first reaction to her comment.

“You own a fitness studio?!?!” *add look of shock here*

Yup, that’s how my encounter started with this seemingly nice lady. We were both in a lineup to pay for our purchases. She turned to me and said how much she liked my new plant. “Do you have a good spot for it in your house?” she politely asked.

“Oh it’s not for my house. I own a fitness studio and I love how plants add to the ambiance in there”.

And that’s when it happened.

“You own a fitness studio?!?!” she replied with utter disbelief in her voice. THEN, it got worse. To add just a little more insult to injury, she gave me the “look”, you know the one that goes up and down you?? Seriously, I’m not sure she could’ve looked more shocked had I told I was an alien.

I think it took a few minutes for me to process what had just happened. I was stunned. Then the cycle of emotions began: shock, disbelief and confusion. What could have gone through her mind when I said that I own a fitness studio?

Next came the doubt and embarrassment. Was it because I didn’t LOOK the part?? Maybe I wasn’t a very good representative for the studio? What SHOULD I look like??

Then the anger rolled in. I was seriously pissed at this lady. Who did she think she was making a comment like that?!?! This was a personal attack on my APPEARANCE!!! Who does that to a total stranger?!?!


I sat in my car, with my plant beside me for company, and had a good cry. It was like I needed the cry to cleanse me of all these negative thoughts. Slowly, I calmed down and began to remove the emotions. What was I supposed to learn from this experience? Was there a teachable moment in all of this?

So I dug deep and thought. Have I looked at someone and made a judgement about how they SHOULD look? Honestly, yes. Unfortunately, most of us have. Maybe we said something or maybe we just thought it. Either way, it happened.

To this day, I have no idea what this lady’s thoughts were behind her comment. It doesn’t really matter. But I would like to thank her. She taught me quite a bit with just that one sentence (well, and a “look”).

Thank you for helping me understand how words can hurt, even if that’s not the intention. It’s helped me to consider my own words BEFORE I speak.

Thank you for reminding me that it’s not how I look but how I FEEL. I’m healthier than I’ve even been and I feel strong. My extra lumps and bumps don’t take away from that.  Your opinion of how I look doesn’t really matter.

And perhaps most of all, thank you for confirming that there NEEDS to exist a safe place, free of shame, judgement and societal expectations, where EVERYONE feels comfortable, supported and encouraged. Where they’re embraced for who they are, not how they look.

And that’s WHY I own a fitness studio.


Want to hear how I became the owner of a fitness studio? Read the remarkable story of how it all happened in my blog post here!

More posts are waiting for you on the Emerge blog!

Anna Ludwinowski

Once an unhealthy overweight Mom, Anna took desperate action to turn her life around and became a client at a fitness studio. After 2 years, she became the new owner! A new found love of fitness, clean eating and overall wellness has inspired her to start this blog. When she's not at Emerge Fitness, she's likely at her other business, Essential Packaging Inc where she works with her husband, David. She likes to hike with her son Matthew, hang out with her chickens and her constantly shedding dog, Soda.

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