My journey started out as a desire to lose weight, but continued as a love for fitness. I started at Figures at the suggestion of a coworker. They had a summer special going so I figured why not give it a try. We had permits for Half Dome in Yosemite later in the year, and I was looking to drop a few pounds before the 16-mile hike so that I didn’t have to carry extra weight.

My first class was barre, but I quickly realized that the Strength and Conditioning classes were what I needed. Nicole and the other trainers made the classes fun, and I looked forward to them every week. I was building muscle and losing weight. But I wanted more. I needed someone to push me, hold me accountable, and help me achieve my goals. I had signed up for a 5k fun run and a scrambling class with the Mountaineers that required me to be able to hike up 3,200- foot elevation gain in 2.5 hours with a 35-pound pack to qualify for the class. Small group signups were posted and I was thrilled to see that a Myzone Cardio group starting up with Nicole. The small group challenged me, mind and body. At first the homework was hard, 20 minutes of straight “yellow zone” cardio. I didn’t think I could do it. My mind told me to stop. My thoughts were the only thing holding me back, though. I soon learned that my body was capable of completing 30 minutes of steady-state cardio and more.

My group has helped me succeed in my journey by giving me confidence and endurance. The weekly homework workouts keep me on track, helping me get into the cardiovascular shape that I needed for hiking and scrambling. The ladies in my group are always supportive and encouraging with a friendly dose of competition.

My weight has yoyoed over the past 20 years and I never had a healthy relationship with food.Always looking for a quick fix. This time I focused on eating real food and not “diet food,” adding in more veggies and limiting processed carbs and sugar. I was also working toward fitness goals this time and not just a number on a scale. I’m down 45 pounds, have more energy, and a lot less knee pain.

I just completed my first 5k and beat my goal of ‘running the whole thing’ by running 8:13 minute miles and coming in 11th (of 1156) place for my age group. Scrambling class is starting soon. On to the mountains I go!