“Where I was at when I joined Gymnasia: I had started working as an organic farmer again, I had just been through a rough breakup, I was 20 pounds heavier after a winter bakery job, and I had gotten into the habit of drinking every day after work. I didn’t feel good at all and I knew it was time to rid myself of the bad habits and bad thoughts that were weighing me down.

When I resolved to change my food and fitness habits I found Gymnasia, jumped right in, and started the 60-day Clean Eating Challenge. My experiences as a farmer had taught me a lot about food and healthy eating, but I wasn’t really ‘walking the walk’. Even though I had an unlimited supply of vegetables, I was only really eating them around dinnertime. My breakfast and lunches tended to be full of sweet treats– I was relying on sugar rushes to get me through my day, and I would feel really crashed (and frankly, pissy) by the end of it. I decided it was time to get more connected to my food and body.

The plan helped me create a diet for myself based on fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts/nut butters, eggs, fish, and occasional meat.  I quit eating processed foods and added sugars (including alcohol). I held myself accountable, tracked my progress, and told all of my friends about my decision. By eating more of my own vegetables I became a testament to the healing power of fresh, local produce. I grew the vegetables, and the vegetables grew me. I trained 3 days a week at Gymnasia throughout.

After 2 months: I can do 6 pull-ups. (I couldn’t do one before). I weigh 15 pounds less. I fit into my little sister’s jeans, I can lift more than my guy friends, and I have way more energy all day. I am more in control of my eating habits, more powerful, and more at peace with myself than ever before. I actually enjoy eating. I don’t feel anxious or guilty about food. I feel so free.

The 60 Day Challenge was the catalyst that helped me get myself in balance. By deliberately challenging my mental and physical self at Gymnasia, I am more prepared to deal with the physical and emotional stresses at my job. The repetitive motions, heavy lifting, kneeling, and long hours of standing don’t seem as hard anymore.

Gymnasia taught me this: Don’t underestimate yourself. Set intentions, take baby steps, breathe, love your body as it is, and move in ways that bring you joy. Nourish yourself, don’t starve yourself, and learn to forgive yourself. Embrace your power and nurture your unique God-given abilities. It feels good.

It’s an incredible fitness community that meets you wherever you’re at, and I am so thankful to have found it.

~Alison D