What is your Y story?
“I have been a resident of Phoenix since the summer of 2013. Before that, I lived in Virginia and worked as a teacher. I married a man who lives in phoenix and retired and moved out to the valley. I was a member of the YMCA in Spotsylvania, Virginia. I have had orthopedic problems my whole life. When I was a kid, I was never the first one picked for the kickball team. I always felt like gyms weren’t where I belonged. They opened the Y in Spotsylvania and I knew that I needed to do something- I needed to lose some weight and get in better shape so that I could be healthier. I joined and there was man named John who ran the wellness center and he was so nice and made everyone feel welcome. He set the tone for an atmosphere that was welcoming and supportive.
When I moved to Phoenix, I really hoped to find another gym that was the same way. The Y was a littler further from where I lived than other gyms but I thought it was the better choice. I came in and the first person I met was Anna Cisneros– she is the person that everyone should meet first. The third time I came in she knew my name and I was floored– as many people as she sees every day, she made the effort to remember my name. I realized that I was in the right place. This is the kind of place where you see people and they are glad to see you, and even if they don’t know your name they will smile at you.
When I joined there was a sign up special and part of the special was a session with a personal trainer. At that point, for me, a personal trainer was someone that you hired if you were going to do a triathlon or be in a body building contest. I did not think of myself as personal training material. I was paired with Erik and it was not what I expected. We talked about my fitness issues and goals and we worked on a plan that would focus on core strength and balance. He gave me some exercises and suggestions and I signed up for a few sessions. For me now, I think of working out with a trainer as an investment in my future, the same as getting a college degree was. When I am 93, every day that I don’t fall down and break a hip, I’m going to thank Erik. He is the one that has kept me upright and keeps my bones strong and keeps me moving. As long as I keep training with Erik, I will stay mobile and strong.”
How has training with Erik helped you reach your goals?
The ability to stand on my left leg and take a medicine ball and move it across my body without falling down is something I never thought I would be able to do. I have one leg that is shorter than the other and before I started training with Erik, I was unable to stand on my left foot without feeling like was going to fall. With core strength and balance I am confident that I would be able to catch myself if I were falling. Training can be intimidating, but it is a good place to start if you are new to the gym. This the place that you can come where not everyone looks like they’re trying to be a model. People are here at the Y because they want to be healthier and because they like working out in a place that has a sense of community. People support each other, they are friendly, and everyone wants to see everyone else succeed and do well. That feeling is something that every day I come in here I know I’m going to see friendly faces, I’m going to see people who are glad that I’m here and glad I’m taking care of myself.
Please share one fun fact about yourself:
I have flown an airplane by myself. My dad wanted me to take flying lessons and when I was in college, he bought a plane so that we could go places as a family. My mother thought that there needed to be someone else in the plane who knew how to land it just in case. My parents put me through flying lessons until I was able to solo fly an airplane. I recommend it to everyone– do something scary and accomplish it, and you will realize how strong you are.