I first found the YMCA when I was a teenager. I left for some time, and returned after having my first son. I was in desperate need of a lifestyle change, and knew I needed help. The Y seemed like the perfect fit for my family, as there was affordable child care I could utilize while I exercised. The children’s programming was second to none in the city – I knew this was the perfect facility for us!
The staff were nothing less than amazing. Despite feeling intimidated by the prospect of classes, and working out in front of people, they made me feel welcome and helped modify anything I needed. If ever my son needed me, the staff found me. It was so comforting knowing he was never far away, and that his needs were being met.
I got pregnant with my second son, and soon after we moved outside of Winnipeg. I found it harder and harder to attend the gym, and soon found myself again, leading an unhealthy lifestyle. I became isolated and so desperately missed the community at the Y. We made a choice to move back to the city. This is where my journey really got started!
I began attending classes every day, I utilized the help of a trainer, and set small goals to work toward. Things that I could never do before, were suddenly being done with ease. I was moving around with less pain, more energy and was more confident than ever. There were days that were hard, days I wanted to give up….but I knew I had to keep going!
After 2 years of hard work, I lost 95 lbs. To this day, that number shocks me. That number shocks me because I never thought that was possible. I never thought I’d ever achieve that. Though losing weight was a bonus, I had really tried to place my focus on how I was feeling, how my body was gaining strength, and how I was able to complete classes that once left me sitting on the side lines trying to catch my breath. Last year, I ran my first half marathon, and I have since run 4 more – an accomplishment I would never have even dreamed of achieving, just a few short years ago. I am registered to run my first full marathon in 2019!
People began commenting, asking questions, wanted to know how I did it. People were asking *me* for advice. The same questions I remember asking others. It felt SO good. I began seeking information to become certified as an instructor. I wanted to make the same difference in people’s lives, that other instructors made for me. I wanted people to know, no matter where they were in their journey, anything was possible. I got my certification at the end of 2017, and I have loved every single second of it! I look forward to going to work, and I feel so fulfilled in what I am doing.
Today I feel better than ever. I love sharing my story, I love showing others what they are capable of, I love seeing my attendees make strides week to week. Most importantly, I love the community. It is not just another gym, it really is a family!
There aren’t words to explain how the YMCA has improved my life. My life has literally been changed; the person I am has been changed. There isn’t a single aspect of my life that hasn’t improved since joining the YMCA family! I am healthier, happier and more confident than I have been my entire life. My kids have learned, grown and developed skills from all the amazing programs offered. They have made some of their best friends and enter the doors with confidence everyday.