Group Fitness Success, Health, and Friendship

“Working out and losing weight is a struggle that I have battled my entire life. Trying different fad diets and detoxes weren’t methods that I was specifically drawn to in order to lose weight. Instead, my challenge was trying to find a place I enjoyed working out. I felt that once that happened, weight loss would be a breeze. In the past I had tried other gyms that I found to be inspiring and motivating, but then slowly lost interest. It wasn’t until I came to RVC that a new part of me was awakened.

Growing up I was always the overweight, athletic girl. I enjoyed basketball, volleyball and other sports. Unfortunately I also enjoyed honey buns and pizza along with them. My first drastic weight loss was when I was a freshman in high school. It almost happened by accident, as a result of my parents getting divorced and having to move. I lost about sixty pounds just from the stress and anxiety I was going through at home, not to mention I was just starting high school which can be traumatizing enough.

Once I started college, personal fitness was first introduced in my life. Through a scholarship program, I was able to workout free of charge. College stress brought on its own set of challenges, and I always tried to use exercise over food and alcohol to relieve myself from it. I’m not saying I never hit the Ben and Jerry’s during finals, but for the most part, exercise helped me get through those years.

The summer of 2011 I made the big move to the Upper Valley. Fresh out of college and on my own for the first time, I knew I wanted to get involved in the community. I joined a pick up adult volleyball league for the winter at the Hanover middle school. After two seasons, I realized I needed more of a workout and decided to join a local gym. After about six months, I quickly lost interest. It was just a gym. I didn’t feel like they cared about me and instead just wanted me to renew my membership every month. I eventually left in search of other options.

A year ago last March, I made one of the best decisions of my life; I joined the River Valley Club. The variety and quantity of classes they offered was one of my main reasons for joining. I started with Spinning classes, which were challenging and exciting. Then I walked by Studio 1 and saw a class with people punching and kicking. It was a Les Mills BodyCombat class. Ready and prepared to try something new, I took a class.

My first class went as most other first-time participant’s Combat experiences go. I was uncoordinated, not doing the moves correctly, and about three steps behind everyone. But the music and instructor advisement and encouragement kept me coming back. At first it was once a week, then I worked my way up to two, then three times every week. With each class I saw improvement. Punches became stronger, kicks became higher.

Next on the class docket was BodyPump, another Les Mills program. My first Pump went similarly to Combat; I completely underestimated the intensity of the class. Unaware, I started with five pound weights. My arms were jello by the end of the class. This was a good feeling though. It gave me a purpose to improve and set goals. Body Pump is based on low weight, high repetition strength training.

Starting off slow, I gradually worked my way up in weight and repetitions. The combination of cardio from Combat and resistance training from Pump was the perfect recipe for success.

Being a new member to RVC, they offered me a fitness consultation. Body measurements, strength, cardio, and the thing I dreaded the most: body fat percentage. The way they laid everything out on a spread sheet snapped me into reality, and I knew I had to be 100% dedicated and committed for this to work. I knew to achieve my weight loss goal I would need to monitor my calories.

The MyFitnessPal app on my phone became a blessing. Being able to search and find almost any food and exercise became a daily game I wanted to beat. It was so easy to follow as long as I was committed. There are days I skipped adding foods and skipped the gym, but you need those days too.

There is no special pill or secret juice that will magically drop the pounds. It’s pure and simple: dedication + willpower = success. Stay within your daily calories and get a great workout in. This is what has worked for me. I have lost 30 pounds so far. I feel stronger, my mind is sharper, I’m not tired at work all day, and I only want to get better. A new type of hunger has awakened in me. I aim to feed it by pushing myself to do more and always being open-minded to new health and fitness goals.

RVC has introduced me to some inspiring and great people. Encouragement from friends I have made at the gym and instructors has significantly contributed to my success. I can’t express how grateful I am to have that support. Never give up on yourself. You deserve to be the best person you can be.” Wendy Mikolyski

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What our members say

 Jennifer Packard
Jennifer Packard

Whether you’re just starting out, trying to get back into a routine, or are feeling frustrated with your current regimen: Your fitness journey is your own. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

 Terry Hall
Terry Hall

‘Can’t’ is no longer in my vocabulary, and I have a sense of pride in my ability to work toward a goal and not only achieve it, but often exceed it.