My husband and I joined Cornerstone in 2003. For several years, I took spinning classes twice a week, yoga twice a week and then did some general weight training and cardio. When I turned 40, I decided I wanted to step things up. I wanted to start a new decade feeling stronger. I always struggled in aerobic and step classes, so I knew taking a class that required coordination was not for me. I was scared to go in the Training Room because I didn’t think I had the strength or stamina to try classes. At the time, Cornerstone offered a Boot Camp. For several years, that is where I was at 6:00 am, three mornings a week. Boot Camp helped me realize that I like working out with other people. I liked the group effort, and I was motivated and inspired by what I saw other people doing. I also appreciated being able to complain and laugh with other people, knowing I wasn’t alone (I was surprised to learn that one day a week, Boot Camp was held in the Training Room!).
A few years in to Boot Camp, a friend suggested I try team training with Lisa Andersen. I tried it one morning. Eight years later, I can still remember how sore I was after that first workout! But I also remember I wanted to go back. I was so impressed with the workout Lisa prepared. I was amazed that even though she was training a group of people, Lisa was able to focus on each of us. Although we each had a different skill set or level of strength and fitness, we motivated, encouraged and pushed each other. In spite of training a group of people at the same time, Lisa had, and continues to have, a remarkable way to make it unique to each individual. When a shoulder injury impacted what I could do (no more pull ups), Lisa was quick to not only find other exercises, but along with physical therapy, to help my shoulder heal and gain strength during the process.
As my time doing the team training with Lisa continued, I felt myself getting stronger and doing things I didn’t think (or know) I could do – things like push-ups and pull-ups. When I look back on some of our old workouts (I have many of them written down), I can see the progression I have made in how much weight I use and how my endurance has improved. When my life as a parent and a hospice social worker became more stressful, I started team training with Lisa twice a week. I recognized that for me, the benefit of team training with Lisa wasn’t just physical, but emotional too. Her workouts helped to keep me grounded, feel strong and empowered to face challenges. After I start my day working out with Lisa, I feel that I can tackle what the day has in store in for me. An added benefit of Lisa’s workouts is that they are “portable.” When I travel, I take the work out I have written down and repeat it while I am away. Even if I do not have access to a gym, I can always do some element of a Lisa workout.
I mentioned that I stepped up my workouts when I turned 40. As I approached 50 a short while ago, I was ready for another change but wasn’t sure what that was going to be. By chance, a conversation with Lisa generated that change. Full disclosure, I say by chance, but Lisa might disagree. She has long been an advocate for healthy eating and fueling the body properly. I have always heard her words but never paid too much attention or made any changes. Apparently, I was paying attention in one particular conversation. I mentioned to Lisa that in my late 20’s, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid). While my thyroid levels have always been managed, for years I suffered from other debilitating effects like exhaustion, pain and constant stomach distress. Lisa mentioned the negative impact things like gluten and diary could have on my body given the Hashimoto’s. She mentioned a book about Hashimoto’s disease, and how nutrition (among other things) can help manage symptoms. I purchased the book the next day and three days later started making changes that have resulted in me feeling better than I have in over 20 years. As I navigated a new way of eating and taking care of my body, Lisa was an amazing support. Now that I am in my “midlife,” I am sure her certification in Midlife Fitness for women will be an extra benefit/help for me as well.
To this day, I continue with my twice a week team training and often do a third day of Lisa’s workout on my own or with some friends. Twice a week, I take a spin class with Lenny Vicciardo – his knowledge about how to get the most out of a spin bike, his energy and his music make it a great class. And much to my surprise, Boot Camp taught me that I can do a Trainers Choice workout. I have a love/hate relationship with Vicki Tenaglia’s fun, energetic and intense Trainers Choice classes. The friendships I have made at Cornerstone (many of them through my team training with Lisa) and my regular workouts at Cornerstone help me to live my life more fully outside of the gym. I am thankful for the difference it has made in my life.
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