Michelle MacDonald

I am honored to be invited to share my story in this month’s Member Spotlight. I hope I can find the words to adequately express how much being a part of the 212 family for the last 3 years has changed my life.

My fitness journey began when I bid on, and won, the 5 Week Introduction Class at a silent auction for the K-Rob Foundation.  I kept that gift certificate on my desk for a full year before I actually decided to use it. I lacked the confidence to even set foot in the door. I made excuses because I was afraid.

Eventually, I convinced my husband, Fred, to come with me and we started working out together with Kerry. This was how we spent “date night” for those 5 weeks. I’m pretty sure some of those band exercises are really marriage/ trust-building activities. Soon, Fred went back to his own routine (triathlons for fun – anyone?), but I kept going.  I have to admit, there were days that I cried in the car on the way home after a training session.  I was pretty sure I’d let down either Colin or Kerry. In my mind, I thought that because they were used to training people that were better at this than me, that I must be such a disappointment. I’m just a wife, a teacher, a mom. I’m not an athlete. However, the more I went to the gym, the more my mindset began to shift. From the quotes on the chalk wall to the daily Facebook posts and wise words from the trainers, all seemed to have the same message – YOU CAN!

Many months later, my body was stronger, but it looked the same. My weight was a little lower, but not much. Kerry asked me to send him a food log. He told me I didn’t eat enough. I didn’t really take him seriously. So, he said it again a few months later when I complained about that darn scale. He was gentle, though and never pushed me.  It took another year before I finally signed up for the Jeans Challenge with Alicia.  Of course, Kerry was right. Apparently, I can eat more and lose weight. I decided that I want to have a body that when people see me, they know I don’t just belong to a gym, I actually go!

I would be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to say thank you. First, I have to thank my family – I have the full support of my amazing husband, who makes it possible for me to get to the gym. Without his willingness to chauffeur the girls or cook dinner while I’m working out, I’m not sure I could pull this off! My parents, who tell just about anyone they know that I go to one of those crazy gyms where people swing sledgehammers and flip tires, pitch in with the girls, and constantly provide words of encouragement to keep doing whatever I’m doing. My daughters, Hannah, Grace, & Lilly who have come to realize that all of the hours and effort put in at 212 make me a stronger, happier mom. I hope they see my level of commitment and know that they can do anything they set their minds to.

I have to thank Kerry, not just for my 212 experience, but more importantly for teaching me about creating balance in my life.  You said it once when I first began training with you and it really stuck with me. It’s taken a few years, but I seek balance and working out and eating clean consistently have become a huge part of that.

Thank you to Kerry, Colin, Steve, Kim, Sean, and Alicia for reshaping both my body and my mind. You’ve pushed me – sometimes gently, sometimes hard, to go beyond my perceived limits. You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. 

Thank you to all of the people who have said hello, given an encouraging smile, or repeated to me how many reps we’re supposed to be doing because I wasn’t paying attention. Many of you have become my 212 friends. It reminds me that I’m not alone in this journey and working out is more fun with all of you! You “turn it up a degree” which inspires me to lift more, do more, be more. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to see such determination, strength (both physical and mental), and perseverance on a daily basis.

I am stronger than I have ever been. I have found a piece of time in my day that is all mine. It has been a long, slow process to find what works for me and to put all of the tools available in place, but I am truly grateful.