Jen Shetler

I started at Gym Rats a little over a year ago.  I had never done boot camp or had a personal trainer.  It wasn’t the curiosity about these that got me to go, but rather a friend inviting me.  I absolutely hate working out alone, so I went with a friend and tried it out for a week.  I never imagined I would end up signing up after one week.  It was further away from my home compared to the gym I had “occasionally” gone too and it was much harder than anything I had done before.  Yet, I loved the environment and wanted to continue going.

There were several things I loved about this environment.  First, the people are all friendly – which I think is rare for a gym.  The trainers are very knowledgeable and encouraging.  When you walk through the door there is a plan already set up for you.  This takes the guess work out of it.  The plans also change so it doesn’t get boring.   There are all types of people that go there and they range in age and fitness level.  Regardless of your fitness level or whether you are trying to return to the gym, I have never seen judgement passed.  Only encouragement to start up again and stick with it.  I have made several new friends.  I always have someone to work out with regardless of my irregular work schedule or the time I show up.

As for my personal progress, I have definitely seen and felt improvements since I started.  Back in high school, I was very active and played many sports.  Into my early 20’s, I stopped doing a lot of physical activities and lived on a small budget (mostly fast, cheap food and beer).  While I have never really been overweight, this took a toll on me being fit.  Into my late 20’s and early 30’s I tried many times to get on a workout plan, but never stuck with it.  I hated going to a gym!  I would only go with a friend and even then, I never really pushed myself.  Plus, having two small kids at home limited my time and desire.  I started running a few times a week, again with a friend that pushed me too.  I couldn’t even go one mile straight when we started.  It was a slow and agonizing process, but I got up to five miles at one point.  I continued the running while my girls were little.  Now that they are in grade school, going to a gym is possible again.  When I first started Gym Rats, I went about 3 days a week.  I could barely make it through the hour and was always so sore after.  I have increased that to 4 to 5 days a week.  I also gave up some of my free time in order to make time for the gym.  This includes late night TV, which I got to myself, while the entire family was sleeping.  Now I go to bed early so I can get up REALLY early to fit in a workout before work.  A year ago, I would have never believed I would be doing that!  I even completed a 10 mile Tough Mudder event with other members of Gym Rats.  I never imagined I would dedicate that amount of time to working out, but I got a taste of the benefits and am truly trying to make it a lifestyle.  Plus, having many encouraging friends in class helps keep me motivated to stick with it.  I am still learning to accept the things I cannot change and to be happy with the progress I have made. I am also taking the time to learn more about eating better.  I don’t want my girls to see me obsess over my looks or weight.  I want them to see me balance a healthy life with a fun life and understand the importance of being healthy.  I still enjoy beers / barbecue with my husband and friends, and I enjoy taking the kids out for ice cream.  But this has become more of an occasionally thing versus a regular.

I am so glad that Ashley invited me that day to workout with her.  I am also grateful that Andy started a gym with this friendly environment.  There are so many gyms and boot camps to choose from, but this place is nothing like the others.  I have nothing but positive things to share about Gym Rats.

-Jen Shetler