I was by no means a stranger to the gym or exercise. I always loved lifting weights and any success I ever had losing weight involved cardio and weight training in tandem. I was also a firm believer in lifting heavy weights and making sure each workout counted. So after my first month of focusing ONLY on my diet, I headed back to the gym. I referred back to my bible…my workout journal from 2002 when I had been serious about the gym and had a trainer who really taught me about the proper techniques and form to get the most out of my weight training sessions. I started back at the begining of the journal to workout number 1 and used my journal to startrecording my workouts/progress again. (I continued to journal my workouts for over 3 years and continue to record them occasionally on my phone to keep myself in check).

With 2 of the 3 kids still at home with me all day, I needed to go back to a gym that had childcare. I had been a member of Goodlife Fitness before (actually I was working out up until the last week of my third pregnancy), so my kids were used to going to the daycare there. However tough it seemed to get the kids ready and out the door with the stroller, diaper bags, snacks, gym bag, and winter apparel, I forced myself to do it. If it was really cold or snowing…too bad, if the kids were cranky…too bad, if I had been up all night and was tired…too bad, too bad – suck it up and get it done. On the days when it was a PA day and all three were home, I made arrangements the day before to reserve three spots in the daycare so I wouldn’t miss a workout because the daycare was full. Aside from making sure that my kids were taken care of and I was eating properly, my exercise routine was my number one priority. Nevermind becoming a habit, completing a workout became an addiction, an outlet, a place of solace and comfort. It felt like home in a way that I never experienced or expected.

Now let me make it very clear, I am in NO WAY employed by GoodLife Fitness or receiving any special considerations or free memberships/promotions for writing this next part. I can honestly say that the woman’s club at the East Mall Location in Etobicoke was pivotal in changing my life in so many ways. Although never a fan of classes because I preferred to do my own thing, I decided to try a BODY FLOW® class because I had always wanted to try yoga and I had heard great things about the class at this location. My first class with Susie Bianco was like a religious experience. I actually think I might have teared up a bit that first class with her. There was no judgement and no expectations other than to keep an open mind to giving the class a chance (to this day I feel most beautiful and at peace with myself when I catch myself holding a pose or going through the movements in this class…it really is life changing). Not all instructors are the same and I FULLY credit my love of BODY FLOW® to Susie and four years later I still attend her class, in fact I currently hold memberships at two different gyms because I could not live without her class after I had to give it up while training for the fitness show.

The next reason I could not have changed my life with out my particular Goodlife Fitness Club was the women who worked in the daycare. I felt like my kids were in a safe environment with caregivers who were well trained and competent. The longer I was there the better my relationship became with them as well as the kids, to the point where the kids would be asking to go to the daycare. Although my kids are now all in full time school, the daycare made it possible for me to fit in working out while juggling all my family responsibilities.

Lastly and almost as important as changing and improving my health, was finding women who were just like me and building amazing friendships with them, most which have remained strong and continue to grow to this day. A core group of us found each other taking SH’BAM™ (another class that Susie taught) and our love of dancing turned into a bond that has resulted in Christmas parties, playdates with kids, nights out dancing, salsa lessons, cooking/baking parties, coffee/lunch/tea dates, and so much more. Bottom line is that I got so much more than I had bargained for when I joined Goodlife Fitness, not only did I get a better life by changing my body, I found a better life because I found people to share that journey with.