Going to the class, seeing the same great people everyday, and making new friends that would push me to new levels in my workout made it a great environment. And to top that, I could do it all side by side with Nicole. We would share in the joy of each other’s successes, as well as the mutual misery of a grueling workout. Either way, we were pushing ourselves to levels we never before thought achievable. Most of my fitness journey has been a pattern of intimidation, followed by discomfort, followed by breakthrough. I was intimidated by Matt, and uncomfortable in his class. I was intimidated by all of the other men and women hefting larger weights than I could. But as time went on, I was able to swing a 25 lb kettlebell, and then a 35, and 45, 50, and so on. I attribute most of my success to group formats, and to working out with Nicole. She’ll call me out if I’m phoning it in. I’ll grab a weight that’s too light and she’ll say “You can do better.” And she’s (usually) right.
Working in a group format has been really helpful in keeping me motivated after major setbacks. When I had surgery for plantar fasciitis, or when I messed up my wrist after a fall, going back to the group training kept me driven. Even when I took a couple months off and lost what felt like 90% of my progress, everyone else working hard around me kept me motivated to do better and to be better. It creates a sense of friendly competition that I know has helped me advance much faster than I would have on my own. It has been an incredible experience for me thus far, and I can’t see it stopping any time soon. There is nothing better than beating a personal best, or cheering Nicole on as she does the same. Those incredible moments, like finally being able to do pull-ups after years of trying, make all the 5 am classes, all the intimidation, and all the pain worthwhile. I don’t think any of it would have been possible without the incredible guidance of Matt and Julie, the support from my fellow classmates, and the constant motivation and inspiration I get from Nicole.