"I had gained weight. I was so focused on my family and work, I just wasn't finding time or motivation to do anything about it. Until a visit to my doctor led me to re-think where I was heading with my health.

My first day. It's a few minutes before my first class and I am nervous. I hear a cool 8os song as I open the door.  Two coaches are talking about the upcoming session.

I noticed a library of books ranging from Chinese breathing techniques to prison workouts to the history of European sword fighting. What a nice collection of varied interests, I thought.

As I warm up, I see a couple finishing up their private session. They chalk up their numbers on the chalkboard wall. I see that one chalkboard is filled with quotations, comments and words of encouragement written by various members. Another board describes the 'theme' for the day: Stamina.

The coach instructs us to get into a circle.  The mild chatter quiets down as the group begins with a twisting and breathing exercise as ‘Simple Minds’ gets us into the mood over the gym’s sound system. This is pretty cool, I thought.

[Post 60 Day Challenge update!]

It's been a hair over two months since I've joined Gymnasia. I clocked in at 228 pounds the day I signed up. Today I am 202 pounds. 26lbs in 2 months, I can't believe it. Twice the results, half the time. At the risk of sounding cliché, this isn't a regular gym. After a few workouts I found myself crawling on all fours, doing planks, swinging kettlebells, hurling sandbags and performing an endless variety of floor work. The exercises and workouts are always changing.

What is key, is that even the group sessions are small. You get a lot of attention from the coach. There are always two or three alternatives to each type of exercise. An experienced member might perform a more difficult version of a pushup exercise while a new member might do them inclined along a wall. Gymnasia recognizes that each person is different. Another thing which is cool is that the community at Gymnasia is very fun, social and lively. They organize many other fun events such as runs, hikes, obstacle races, Olympiad test days, parties, workshops, challenges and a Clean Eating Program in which I am currently involved. There is a great deal of interaction which is seldom if ever found at other gyms.

I am simply flabbergasted as to why I don’t see a lot more people doing natural movement exercises like the kind found at Gymnasia. I've done Kung Fu and lion dance for 13 years and I feel stronger than ever before. The other night I was crawling so fast I felt like a honey badger! Given my results I would never step back into a 'regular' gym—not if being strong and balanced, moving optimally and losing weight were my goals. I can't wait for my doctor to run the follow up tests!"

~Marlon V