Theresa in the Big Room and the Cycle Studio.
Get Ready to Be Inspired
You know you’re a fan of your gym when you run into the owners of that gym while out grocery shopping, and you stop right there in the produce section to introduce yourself and thank them for running such a great establishment. That actually happened to me a few weeks ago. I had recently returned to Fitness Incentive after a five-year hiatus. Let’s go back a little further before I get into all that though.
In 2005, I was a reluctant runner. I ran to lose weight, but I hated it. I decided to join a gym, and Fitness Incentive made sense because I had just moved into an apartment in Babylon Village. I used the treadmills mostly. The classes looked like so much fun, but I didn’t know how to just jump in. I had just started dating my husband, and he was an avid cyclist. He recommended that I try Spin so that I could “keep up with him” when we went mountain biking. I was cursing him 20 minutes into my first class. It was brutal! Luckily, there was a wonderful instructor named Carmella teaching the class. She came over to me after class and encouraged me to come back. “You may even get addicted,” she said. Boy, was she right.
A year later I was training for my Mad Dog certification to become a spin instructor, but unfortunately, I sprained my ankle shortly before the certification test and never followed through. However, my husband Kurt now had to keep up with me on the trails! During this time in my twenties, I started to get some episodes of a rapid heartbeat that would sometimes lead to fainting. I went to three different cardiologists and took several tests, but nobody could tell me what was wrong. Shortly after my daughter Hanna was born in 2012, I was warming up for a Spin class, and I had one of these episodes. I almost fell off the bike. Luckily, Carmella was the instructor, and she knew something was off right away. She helped me out of the room and got me some water. My heart rate returned to normal, but I went home to rest. I didn’t go back to the gym after that day. That incident had scared me away.
In 2015 during my 2nd pregnancy, I was hospitalized several times. At nine months pregnant with my son Van, I was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia. The doctors hoped that the condition would alleviate itself after my son was born, but shortly after his first birthday it came back worse than ever. I was afraid to do any physical activity. Even bending over to pick up a toy off of the floor would trigger an attack.
In November 2016, my heart rate hit 300 BPM. When I got to the hospital, they told me that I was on the verge of having a stroke. Two weeks later, I had ablation surgery to correct the condition. The surgeon said that my case was the worst he had ever seen, but luckily it was a very successful surgery!
This past January, I was cleared to go back to the gym for the first time in 5 years. I procrastinated, but on Valentine’s Day, I had a bit of an awakening when I stepped on the scale and weighed only 6 pounds less than I did 18 months earlier when I was nine months pregnant. I rejoined Fitness Incentive the next day. I felt like I was home again. Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging. I am there almost every day. My kids love the daycare, and I love that there are so many classes to fit into my busy schedule. I am an artist, and I have my first solo gallery show in September. My goal is to lose 50 pounds by then, and in less than three months, I am already down 23 pounds thanks to a routine of spin several times a week, mixed with hot yoga and strength training.
I absolutely love the color-changing spin bikes. It’s so great to be able to track my improvement. Gina’s Hot Yoga Express is a favorite of mine, and Jourdan’s Strength Challenge has pushed me out of my comfort zone to see real toning results! The young girl who was afraid to step away from the treadmill now attends 6-7 classes a week!
Six months ago, I was afraid to stand up or bend over without sending my heart into a frenzy. I never imagined that I’d be cycling 50-60 miles a week, sweating it out on a yoga mat, or planking and weight training. It brings me to tears every time I think about it.
That is a true testament to the wonderful instructors at Fitness Incentive and to the family atmosphere that is provided there. I could not imagine going to any other gym. So when I saw Ken and Cor that day while food shopping, I understandably got emotional and felt compelled to tell them my story. I hope that everyone reading this feels inspired to get out of their comfort zone and do something that you never thought you could. You just may surprise yourself.
About the Author
Theresa Christensen is an FI member and artist who is having her first solo gallery show in September.