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It had been five years since giving birth to my youngest son and I still had not lost much of my pregnancy weight. I felt fatigued most afternoons, which I attributed to having young children and not much uninterrupted sleep most nights, and I had begun to have trouble with pain in my left knee. A visit to my doctor resulted in having bloodwork to find out if any other underlying causes could account for my health issues, which included increasing respiratory episodes with asthma and hypothyroidism. In general, I felt a mess and wondered if this was just my new normal.

Yet, in the back of my mind I had a quote dancing around to remind me that “the definition of stupidity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” I was doing the only things I knew to keep going, but the results were the same. I wondered if there was something different I could do? My husband and I talked about what we could do differently. We made a commitment to each other to find new ways to improve our health and we actually put it into our budget. We figured we were either going to need money for doctor visits and prescriptions, or something else.

This is when I found Jan Baker and Fitness Fusion. I was looking for an exercise program that would take me where I was at that moment – low energy, no previous exercise program experience, bum knee, crunched time-schedules and all. Jan offered personalized counselling and small group work-out experiences where I could observe and participate at my own pace. I was completely intimidated to walk in for the first visit. I wasn’t sure I could keep up, and certain I would humiliate myself with my inability and ignorance about pilates and exercise. I knew Jan was knowledgeable and inspiring, but I did not know if I could make it.

My first visit pleasantly surprised me. I liked the work out on the GTS reformers right away. The instruction was clear and Jan adjusted the level of difficulty to meet my abilities. She taught me about proper form and safe movements for my body from my very first visit. I have never endured an injury as a result of the movements we do in class. Although, there have been plenty of stiff and sore muscles!

The other people in the class were kind, and (gulp) encouraging! I didn’t hear any fake comments like “Oh, good job!” I heard other people tell me things like “even if we don’t get it, we still have fun!” or “I couldn’t work at this level when I started, it takes time and eventually it will happen.”

The culture of this studio is about growth and encouragement. The people are open and inviting, and I am sure it is related directly to Jan’s philosophy and vision for her studio. Fitness Fusion is a healing place. I know we come to improve our fitness abilities, but what actually happens is a whole lot more.

I have been working out for 2 ½ years now, and I am so grateful for this experience! My body has begun to change. At first, the only changes were achy muscles and better sleep at night. I had to get used to simply fitting exercise into my life. My children were school-aged, I was teaching part time, my husband commuted about 40 miles everyday to work, and finding time to accommodate everyone’s schedules took cooperation. I am aware that my commitment to fitness originated with my husband’s promise to help me make it happen. But the payoff was also a benefit for us all. After the initial 6 months, I began to have less fatigue and increased energy. I set goals with Jan, added some supplements to my lifestyle and gained some strength.

After the first year, I added a cardio class into my two-day pilates program. This is when I began to see and feel some actual changes beyond a pound or two of weight loss. It was a challenge to jump into a cardio program, but I believe the strength I gained in pilates helped me persist, and even begin to trust the process I had begun. The process did have some hiccups along the way, however. I developed plantar fasciitis in my left foot, and consulted with Jan about how to continue meaningful exercise while adequately treating the injury. Jan modified routines and gave me options for specific exercises in order to keep me moving AND healing.

One of the biggest changes came when Jan and I discussed trying to reduce inflammation (a big component of plantar fasciitis.) My husband and I decided to work with Jan to go through a cleanse program for one week. Our hope was to begin a re-set for our body, and find ways to reduce inflammation in our diet. By this time, I had been working out for 2 years and was ready for a little more change – still recalling I could not revert to “stupid” thinking. The cleanse has really been a re-set for my body, but also my mind. I am open to changes in my diet and my life that I was hesitant to consider before. My family is receptive to the changes we need to make to keep us all healthy and fit because we have seen progress.

Progress is really the word that describes my journey at Fitness Fusion. My fitness level has improved, my knee no longer bothers me, I have lost some weight gradually and it hasn’t come back, my energy is doubled, and I have new challenges to press into. Jan Baker has a special gift for helping you bring change into your life. If you are willing to stop doing the same thing you have always done, this is a great place to start something new. I am forever grateful I did!

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