Just Breathe. Be Brave. and carry on.
When I first walked thru the door of GH2, I had no clue how incredible this chapter would be. Buzzers... Burpees... Bulgarian Bag Lunges... ??? I barely knew which direction to move! Yet, from day one everyone there told me what a great job I was doing... clearly they had me confused with someone else! What I quickly learned is that I was part of a whole new kind of team.
In those early days, I asked anyone and everyone how long they'd been coming... it gave me hope to know they kept on coming back, no matter how challenging the workouts. A little voice inside kept telling me to keep going... slowly I believed. And eventually, something clicked into place. I can still remember the moment I began pulling hard for myself (it was the band from the wall) - not just to keep up with anyone else or to be sure I was doing it the right way when a trainer was watching. I was stronger. I could feel it. I believed. Eventually I could smile thru workouts. Before I knew it, I was telling newcomers, "Great job today! Keep coming back!!" I believed it myself... suddenly I was lifting weights in Strength classes - heavy ones! - and running in the same circles with strong, dedicated women. Covered in chalk with callouses on my palms... I love it!!
Amazing women have inspired the way for me at GH2 - Heather Baker, Dawn Panarello, Helen Bibeau, Carolyn Chandley - and SO many new friends there supporting each challenge! Yes, I've dropped a few sizes and lost many, many inches... but I'm much more proud of what I've gained there - strength, courage, confidence, and a love for new adventures. Warrior Dash - why not? Running a 10-miler, Triathlon, Half Marathon - I'm in! There's so much I've learned about myself over the last year at GH2 and I'm grateful for the love and support of Heather and the special team she has chosen to be at her side - each of these strong, beautiful women with their own talents and abilities to inspire... to help us all Believe. And then do it. Anything we set out to, really... Heather has a way of just "knowing" - what we all need and when we need it. She has this unique way of bringing out the best in people, even when they're not feeling it. So if you lose your momentum - which I did - Heather is still right there pulling for you, bringing you back to where you need to be your best self.
It's been an amazing year of accomplishments that I could truly never have even dreamed of. But today I know this athletic girl who loves adventure has been inside me all along. Finally, I'm not looking over my shoulder... it really is me. Comfortable, after all these years, in my own skin and my own ability with the drive to do it - all in! I can do it because Heather and my GH2 family showed me how to Believe... And so will you!
- - -
The other day Heather Baker sent me a text with a photograph of my original worksheet from when I first became a client in early September 2009. It had my name and weight on it; Anne Michelson, 173 lbs. I remember that day because my doctor had recently pointed her finger at me and told me to get more exercise and I found (my husband found actually) her business card at On the Rise Baking. It got me thinking about the long road I’ve traveled in the past four years as a client of GH2.
I was 46 years old and had put on weight steadily a few pounds a year, not really paying attention to my body. I won’t lie, those first few months of getting out of bed an extra hour early to exercise were not easy, and I like my sleep. But, Heather’s passion as a trainer and for her clients can be felt immediately. Now I can’t image not getting up early to take a class and start my day!
That first year I gave up the sugary food, took two or three classes each week, and started spinning. I lost 20 lbs and two sizes. For the next two years I consistently took three or four classes a week, improved my physical fitness and increased my strength. She inspires me to keep active every day, whether I am in the gym or doing something else.
This past December I was looking at the calendar and thought about my 50th birthday, which was in March 2013. I weighed approximately 154 lbs and wanted to get below 150 for my 50th birthday. I knew that was a small goal but didn’t know how to reach it on my own (after all, I had already given up the junk earlier). Heather was holding the 100 Day Challenge in January and although I had never chosen to participate before, I decided to join in. I assumed it was going to be more of a traditional diet along with exercise but I could not have been more wrong, it is so much more. It completely changed the way I eat and, added bonus, I lost almost 20 lbs! If you had asked me what I expected to lose in this challenge I would have said ten as a high estimate. I followed it up with the Paleo Challenge and lost another 5 lbs. Three more clothing sizes down. I am still amazed at how it works.
I was an athlete as a kid and was passionate about my sport; there is no way to train six and seven days a week without that emotion. I lost it somewhere along the way in my adulthood and Heather Baker gave it back to me, being passionate about my physical self, knowing what I am capable of becoming and challenging myself to get there.
I could go on and on about the classes, trainers and facility but all of that has been said before, what I am saying is to trust me and walk in the door to check it out. Heather Baker is a tremendous person and trainer, and leads an excellent team of trainers whose sole focus is to improve the life of every person who walks in the door.
I am now a few pounds away from “50 by 50” (losing 50 lbs by the age 50 – or 51 in my case) and I know I can make it AND if I need help there are people and a place that support my effort 100% and more. Now is the time and GH2 is the place to be.
- - -
I’m writing to tell you – It can be done at any age!
I was ready. Ready to change the number on the scale and the number on the clothing tag.
Ready to change the image in the mirror staring back at me.
But none of those things were nearly as important to me as finding a way to get back to the person I was.
Hell, I gave birth to two 9-pound babies with no epidural or drugs! (Perhaps my "biggest achievement":) And 12 years later, I'm proudest of my kids: they are big-hearted, friendly, funny, brave and smart.
I started a challenge almost 8 weeks ago. I get weighed and measured tomorrow, but that doesn't matter nearly as much to me as the fact that I have trained every single day since this challenge started. That was huge for me- just showing up every day.
No excuses, just do the practice and I did. I was the queen of avoiding working out because I thought I didn't like it. Turns out, in the right environment, with the right support, I like it!
ALL things are possible with the right mindset and in the right environment. For me, GH2 is that environment.
All you trainers have helped me rekindle my spark and find my light again!
- - -
My experience with GH2 Fitness began as a 43 year old married mother of 3 fabulous daughters ages 20, 21 and 25. Self employed in a high stress job and squeezing into a size 12 pants, all the while pounding it out at aerobics 5-7 days a week and doing the whole “yo yo” diet thing. I was counting points and starving myself. I had tried it all! Not to mention living on Tums, Pepto and having constant Acid Reflux. I was what they call a Metabolic Mess!
It has always been important to me to look my best. Easy to fix the hair and make-up then cover the body with a great oversized outfit, but that was not going to cut it for me anymore. Something happened. Let’s say a light went on in my head and I decided I was working way too hard at trying to get in shape and not achieving what I wanted...Something had to change.
The first time I walked into GH2 it was mid class. The trainer welcomed me to sit and watch. The energy was amazing, music pounding, clients cheering each other on, trainers supporting them and helping to push them to the next level. That’s all it took!
Shortly after joining I met Heather Baker and to be honest my first words to her were, “I am afraid of you.” Everyone kept asking “have you taken her class?” or “have you met her yet ?” I THOUGHT, "WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?". She welcomed me with her warm smile, handed out her instructions ended with her infamous “CLEAR?" and from that day on she has pushed me to levels I never thought I could get to because she knows I can. She constantly reminds me I can succeed at my goals and get that lean body I have been striving for all these years.
I decided to really kick it up and had a nutritional consult with Heather… next thing I know she has me on the scale (That number was one of my dark secrets.) and is taking measurements. I sat listening to her all the while being totally impressed and thinking this girl knows her stuff and has it all figured out. If I don’t take this opportunity and these tools she is giving me, I am crazy. I took it and I have been running with it ever since, dropping the excess weight, building muscle and completely re-shaping my body into what I never thought was possible. All while I was feeling all this amazing energy and always looking forward to my next Met Con or Strength class, not to mention no Tums, Pepto, or Acid Reflux since being on a healthy nutritional plan!
I have been on this ”new path of life” for 7 months and I have achieved more than I ever thought possible. The relationships built and the ongoing support from fellow GH 2’rs astounds me. The trainers effort to always be there to help, guide me, or push me just a bit further is all part of my success. The tools I have been given are an amazing gift I will carry for life. GH2 has changed my life and for that I am so grateful, not to mention my new fit and fabulous body.
- - -
Having completed the Lean and Clean in 2013 Challenge, I was compelled to write about my experience. All I can say is, I'm a believer. I'm a believer in the 80-20 split (that's what I like to call it), and that mantra rang through my head repeatedly from early October to mid-December. Anytime I was feeling the need to splurge on sweets, I would remind myself of the 80-20 split, meaning 80% of what you look like is diet related, 20% is the result of your workouts. Having the knowledge I have learned from Heather and her team throughout the challenge and applying it to my daily life has made me leaner, stronger, healthier, and more fit.
I started at GH2 in March of 2012, I am an avid runner and exercised at home a few times a week and thought I was in pretty good shape. I will never forget my first GH2 Met Con class, I loved it! It pushed me to work hard, knowing Heather was watching, much harder than I would ever push myself working out alone in the basement. I added more Met Con classes each week, I loved the variety of the workouts, the great trainers, the positive attitude of everyone involved! I decided to kick it up a notch and register for the Lean and Clean Challenge in October. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect, I have always been the tall, skinny body type, but never really muscular or toned. I really didn't expect to see the results I have achieved, but with strength classes, sprint classes, as well as Met Con, I have become leaner, stronger, and faster! However, the biggest part of this whole puzzle is the food. I would always reason my "treats" by telling myself that I can indulge in sweets because I work out. Little did I know, that with each bite of chocolate, I was undoing all of the hard work I was putting in at the gym. The knowledge I have gained pertaining to diet has truly helped me to achieve a better physic and a healthier body.
Maintaining a "clean" diet is the most challenging part of achieving results because you are accountable to yourself 24/7. Temptations are everywhere, but as I learned from the challenge, if you shop well, and think ahead, and be prepared, you can avoid falling to temptation. Don't get me wrong, it's okay to splurge once and a while, but remaining faithful to clean eating takes dedication and will power. Next time you leave the gym after a tough workout, look up at that big red stop sign, "You can't out train a bad diet". This my friends is so true....and when temptation strikes, just repeat that mantra in your head...
- - -
I had been driving by that GH2 sign for weeks wondering what it was all about, until one day I finally decided to check it out. I looked it up online and read the testimonials people had written and thought hard and long about what it would entail. That’s when I decided. For my birthday, December 27th I was going to give myself the best birthday present I could ever give. My health! My first class was on my birthday and by the end of it I was tired, out of breath and I felt like I wanted to collapse; but I knew this is what I needed. Heather was a rock star and she knew when to push and when to back off. She was not going to let me fail! I’m sure my hidden cues were the norm for her newbies, but for me it was totally out of the blue, a shock to the system but one needed shock!
I should tell you a little about myself so you know what I am up against! I am 37 years old and the mother of twin girls who are now 12. I have been overweight ever since my pregnancy when I put on 50 plus pounds of not just baby weight. I suffer from high blood pressure and have been medicated for it for the past five years. I am challenged by food as I see food as a good pleasing mechanism for my mind and my depression. I have struggled with different exercise routines, different gyms and have even fell captive to the dreaded DVD’s that say you are supposed to look like them by the time you are done. What a bunch of BS. Besides, doing the same routine over and over is BORING!
I’m not sure about any of you, but I know I needed someone to hold me accountable for the work I was going to be doing! I needed the push and still need the push to get me through each and every workout. That is why GH2 has been the best decision I have made for my life, for my health. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to go to the gym with and work out with. I have made so many new friends and have learned so much about myself in such a short amount of time. I have kept my blood pressure below normal and have gained strength both mentally and physically that I never thought I could. I am working hard for not only my life, but for my children’s as well. It is great to be a positive role model for my girls!
I am truly amazed at the transformation I have gone through. I am blessed with confidence of mind, body and soul. Without a doubt, GH2 has saved my life and I thank each and every one of the trainers and members that I work out with each day. It is an honor to know you!
- - -
In Nov of 2011, I started a fitness routine at home. After several months of working out 5 mornings a week I was very discouraged. I was not losing any weight. My goal was to shed 5-6 lbs that were still hanging on after the birth of my third child. In Feb of 2012, I began attending the Met-Con classes at GH2.
Before the first class I was nervous and a bit intimidated that I would not be able keep up. Heather and her staff are fantastic. They are welcoming and try to understand your fitness level and limitations and will work with you. There are people at many various fitness levels at each session and the workout challenges at many levels. The workouts are fast paced and each day is something unique. In the 7 months that I have been attending the Met-Con classes at GH2, I do not think there has been a repeat of the same work out. It is challenging and the varying format keeps it interesting. You will not be bored! I started one day a week in the beginning and I am there 4-5 times a week. The best part is I have lost 10 lbs and have kept it off. I have been very pleased with the results. Heather has created a wonderful environment of respect and hard work. The facility is clean and bright with lots of equipment.
- - -
I started running back in 2008 when walking with 3 young children waiting for me at home just took way too long. I had never been a runner and started off doing the fast paced walking, running between phone poles, and eventually sprinting down hills. I was excited that I had found an exercise that I convinced myself had little associated cost and I could do it whenever I wanted without having to go to a gym or facility. A short time later I had a number of races under my belt and completed three full marathons.
It didn't take long before the "low cost" associated with running was actually becoming quite an expense, with new sneakers being purchased every three months, outdoor running gear for those cold winter months, and fees associated with races which at the marathon level can be in the hundreds. And of course it wasn't long into the running that my body started to yell FOUL! Shin splints, bunyons, labral tears, blisters, and stress fractures, which brought on the real expenses with medical services such as doctor's appointments, x-rays, MRI's, cortisone injections, physical therapy treatments, a heavy dependence on Ibuprofen, and as a last ditch effort, chiropractor visits...Which brings me to the GH2 experience.
As you know the chiropractor is located right next door to GH2 and that proximity along with a good friend mentioning that she attended Ross & Heather's classes piqued my interest enough to contact Heather and see if GH2 might be a good fit for me. I was eager to start my trial, feeling relatively fit but unsure how my hips would respond to the type of workout that was offered. Surprisingly squats, lunges, swings, rows, and jumps didn't cause nearly the amount of pain I would experience after a 5 to 8 mile run. My dependence on Ibuprofen was becoming a thing of the past and my new addiction was trying to get into as many Met Con classes as possible. The varied workouts, fast paced atmosphere, the punctuality of the trainers and knowing that I was working to my fullest capacity is something that I began looking forward to every day. When I was running my weight was pretty stable but I wouldn't say I was extremely toned. In fact, looking back at pictures I thought I looked pretty loose considering I was investing so much time into running, along with the elliptical and the stationary bike at home, and the occasional Jillian Michael's DVD. Now that I have added the strength classes along with the Met-Con classes, I am still the same weight as when I was running, but I am more toned, stronger, and even more cardio fit than ever. Running is no longer my go to exercise but because I am staying so fit with the GH2 classes. When I do run, I run stronger, and I'm less sore afterwards. When I ride my stationary bike I go for the highest level of resistance because my legs are stronger and I can.
There are so many other positive things about GH2, the location, the cleanliness, the small class sizes, the trainers, the constant rotation of varied workouts, I am in my sixth month and have rarely experienced a repeat class if ever. I am so grateful that GH2 has become a part of my life. It's still not easy but if it were than I wouldn't be working as hard as I should.
I am often asked who taught the class today and my answer is always, it doesn't matter. The workouts are set for the day, the trainers are all awesome in their varied and diverse approaches, and at the end of the day it's all what I as a participant bring to the table. Heather, Carolyn, Helen, Dawn and Ross have all contributed through their actions and encouraging words that they have a strong belief in my potential which makes me feel obligated to step up each and every day so that I know I have given 110% even if I'm not always the fastest or the strongest, anything less just wouldn't be acceptable.
- - -
GH2 has literally changed my life. Before I started working out here I could barely get off of my couch. Moving around was torture and my self esteem was at an all time low. I reached out to Heather when I finally hopped on the scale and saw my all time high weight number staring back at me.
I was nervous that I would be just too big to work out at GH2. I couldn't have been more wrong. I started out taking personal training sessions with Heather. After 6 weeks I joined the gym and started taking the Met-Con classes. It was a big step for me personally. It is daunting being a severely overweight person and walking in to a gym. I was afraid that I would be made fun of (as I had been at other gyms, sad to say).
I could not have been more wrong. The members at GH2 have been nothing but kind and encouraging. The workouts are a challenge but I have never felt like I could give up. If something is out of my range right now, the exercise is modified so that I can still work out like everyone else in the class. It is empowering for me to see how far I have come and to visualize just how far I can go! I never thought I would love going to the gym like I do! My whole outlook on life has changed, I am a happier person, mother and wife and I feel like I have the best support network around. Heather has always encouraged me, always made me feel like I can do the work and always pushed me to try new things with confidence. I have since worked out with all of the other trainers at GH2 and they are all equally wonderful. I truly have nothing but amazing things to say about this gym. You owe it to yourself to try it and see what the hype is all about.
- - -
I work full time, I am a mom, I don’t have time. These are just a fraction of the excuses I had why I could not exercise. I was full of excuses and full of envy of others who did exercise. I am the stereotypical person who would join a gym, then go for a month and never go again but continued to pay because I was too ashamed to go back, still overweight and cancel my membership. When I did go to the gym I would go on the treadmill maybe do a little weights and think I just got in a good work out.
Last November I was over it, my lifestyle, being overweight and making up excuses and realized I needed to do something about it. My friend had been going to Heather and looked incredible My envy got the best of me so I decided to take a class. Right there and then I joined because if I knew I was making a financial commitment, I would make the commitment to myself. I can honestly say it has been the best decision I have ever made. I have learned what it means to work out.
At first I was nervous, but Heather made me feel like I could do it and at my own pace, but with a little push. Then I noticed I started to push myself, and with time making little milestones (actually running a mile was a huge one for me!). As time goes on, I look and feel better. To finally get into those jeans (we all have them in the back of the closet) or actually look good in that shirt is a feeling I cannot describe, and yes it did bring me to tears sometimes.
I cannot say enough about the staff at GH2. They actually care about each and every one of us. The camaraderie I have received from the others in the classes is incredible. I was never part of an athletic team but here at GH2 that is what we are. We are one big team where the goal of winning is getting healthy, stronger and looking good.
- - -
In November of 2011, I weighed 232 pounds and I was not working out at all. I was hoping and praying that some day I could get down to 210 pounds and maintain that weight. I own a tent company so I worked outside pounding spikes and continuously lifting rental items. I thought maybe at my age, 52, that should be enough to keep me in shape. Today, after a little over 3 months of hanging out at GH2 Fitness, I weigh 199 pounds.
My wife started attending Met-Con classes, and the results were very noticeable within the first month. Day after day, my wife would say, "You should try Heather. She's the best. She will straighten you out." After hearing it over and over again for 6 months, I thought I should give Heather's class a test run. I thought that if my wife could do it, how hard could it be?
I tried out Heather's Met-Con and Strength classes at GH2 Fitness in Holden. Early on I looked for every excuse not to go, however, I had to prove to my wife that if she could do it, I could do it. After 3 weeks, I was hooked. I now work out faithfully 5 to 6 times a week. I feel great and I find myself wanting to eat better every day. I feel young again.
I am now confident that I can push myself to reach the many goals that are available at GH2 Fitness.
I want to thank my wife, Laurie, for believing in me and the GH2 fitness members for their continuous encouragement. That teamwork concept comes naturally to GH2 members.
Lastly, I want to thank Heather Baker. She cares about her members and it shows. She teaches with patience and respect and somehow knows everyone's confidence level, abilities and limitations.
- - -
I can hear my doctor now saying, “Helen, you have diabetes.” That is the sentence that woke me up from the 3 year coma that I had put myself in by working crazy hours, not eating right, and not exercising AT ALL !!! This is not me. What the heck am I doing?
I had a lot of questions but did not want to talk to anyone about them. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had ballooned into such an unhealthy weight. I had no choice but to draw a line in the sand and do something about it. But I knew it was not going to be easy. Then, a friend suggested a friend of hers, a trainer, Heather Baker. She said that Heather was great and that she would help me get back on track. I took the number but was chicken to call and also could not imagine any personal trainer out there looking forward to working with someone as out of shape and messed up as I was.
Well, I could not have been more wrong. When I did NOT contact Heather she contacted ME, which was amazing. She talked to me for a bit and told me that she had been told about me and she was interested in helping me out on a journey back to getting healthy. I agreed to meet with Heather at On The Rise Bakery on Pleasant St in Worcester, over coffee…. come on now… no pastries… haha.. . At that meeting Heather made me feel very comfortable and told me all about herself and about GH2 Training. “Go Hard Go Home” is her motto. We made a schedule to meet a couple of days a week to start off, with me doing other things at home on my own.
I started my training January 26th 2010. It was hard but I really liked it, even though I did get my butt kicked! You can train and you can train your little heart out but if you do not take a closer look at your diet it will all be in vain.
The sign at Heather's gym reads “You cannot out train a bad diet” . So in order to turn this fabulous training into great results you have to balance out your diet along with training. Well, I have tried all kinds of diets here and there and they really never worked. You have to eat the things that you like or else you will gain all the weight back the second you go back to eating the foods that got you there in the first place. So I wanted a diet where I could eat well but also not be exiled from pizza, ice cream, cheeseburgers etc.. you get my drift. So Heather had me make a list of foods and snacks that I like. She then made me a log to keep track of all that I ate but also had a list of approved foods that I like. I was given allowances to eat them at certain times. I had to eat smaller portions several times a day, which takes a lot of preparation and is a pain in the royal butt, especially if you are single. But, it is totally worth it! I followed this plan for several months and lost 20 plus pounds. I was soo happy! Plus, I felt better.
I cannot say enough about GH2 and metabolic conditioning. It is great. You work hard for 30 minutes and go home and get all the other things you need to get done in your life. It is amazing.
After a year I had lost 65 pounds and gained so much stamina and felt so much better it was crazy. Heather told me to jot down some goals that I would like to achieve. She said you should always have a goal. One of my goals was to run a 5k. I chose the Celtic 5k, held on the day of the St. Patricks Day Parade. Get this - Heather RAN IT WITH ME !!! She coached me and kept me going the whole way. I came in at 39 minutes and 32 seconds - under 40 minutes which was good for me as I still have a lot of weight to lose. It was so cool. I just don’t know what to say, just amazing. I was so proud of myself. I think I smiled all day long! What a great day! A year ago I would not have been able to run to the end of my street.
I also started attending classes with GH2 a couple more times a week which I was afraid to do, work out with others – but Heather kept telling me I was ready and I could do it. Well I did, and have been going to classes ever since. They are awesome and cheaper than private classes – so I thought omg what a great trainer! She is encouraging me to go to classes and she will lose money – what the heck – I know why though – because Heather was in it to help me to get healthy. She said it when I met with her and she meant it. Its like she was saying move on GRASSHOPPER you can do it…… lol…… So I gave it a try and once again she was right. I was fine and as a matter of a fact it made me work harder when there are others around, especially ones that may be better and faster. It made me work harder, give it that extra push, so it was very positive.