November will mark my 6th anniversary of joining The Edge Fitness Clubs in Hamden, CT. When I think back on my fitness journey, I am so thankful to see how far I have come. Seven years ago, I had a hip replacement and the doctor told me if I did not lose weight, I would need another one. There was no way I wanted to go through that again. My boss came to me and said that if I joined a gym, he would pay for my membership. It took me a year to finally drive to The Edge Fitness Clubs, but once I got there, I sat in my car for over 25 minutes talking to myself, afraid to go in. I was over 225 pounds and couldn’t face going into a co-ed gym. I finally did go in, and from that day on, I never looked back. I was 60 years old when my journey began, my son was getting married, I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and no confidence in myself.
I worked with a personal trainer who changed my life forever. We were the perfect fit! When I first met Derek Janko, I told him I was a catcher on a softball team for years growing up. Because of that, I had a hip replacement and arthritis in both knees. I was also suffering from IT Band Syndrome and was in a lot of pain. Derek said he could help with everything. He made me believe in myself, and showed me I could achieve my goals. Before this I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror. When I brushed my hair, I would only look part way in the mirror. I could not find clothes to fit me, I was so unhealthy and ashamed of myself.
I began to learn how to to eat right and workout. I also started to do the Edge Challenges and take Edge Strong Classes. About two years ago, at an Edge Challenge event, I was going to get up and speak about my journey with Derek. When Jimmy Sansone got up to speak, he told a story about needing surgery. He remembered a woman coming up to him at one of the Edge Challenge events and telling him how she sat in her car for 25 minutes afraid to go in, and how the gym saved her. He said that story changed his life and he started his weight loss journey, preventing him from needing that surgery.
Before this, Derek had asked me at the start of The Edge Challenge what I wanted to accomplish that time around. I told him if I could inspire one person that would make me happy. I did not realize it would be the owner of the gym who I inspired!
One of my goals was to climb Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, by the time I was 65 years old. I achieved that goal with my gym family by my side. It was hard, but my trainer and the Edge team helped me, and I will never forget that. I became fearless, zip lining, indoor sky diving, lots of hiking and flying in a two-seater plane.
I now train with Kevin Gregory. and Kevin is all about strength, motivation and oh my favorite…posture! Kevin even got me to do the Terrain Race at Rentschler Field, and jokes with me about doing a Spartan race at Fenway toward the end of this Edge Challenge. That’s not going to happen due to needing a shoulder replacement surgery. I am putting the surgery off for a while and Kevin is helping me through the pain and getting my mind and body ready.
This gym is home to me, it’s my happy place and I am so grateful to the people working there and my gym family that I love. All the trainers in the Strong classes help me every day. I get up and go to 5am or 5:30am classes Monday-Friday.
My life has changed forever and I don’t know how I could ever thank everyone at the Edge. If this is your first time coming to the gym or your first Edge Challenge, just take one step at a time. I always say baby steps, and you will see and feel the difference. I truly believe if I can do it as a soon to be 66 year-old, anyone can do it! Make friends, workout together, and don’t be afraid to talk if things are not working out. I too have my ups and downs, but I pick myself up because it’s worth it!!
See you at the gym,