As I approach 45 I’m unquestionably in the best shape of my life and getting stronger, both physically and mentally, every day. With doing 9 or 10 classes a week, doubles most days, saying that I’m addicted to Endorphin is an understatement.

My road to fitness was a rocky one.  I’ve always been passionate about the outdoors and love hiking, snowshoeing and cycling, but I was never really in good shape.  I was active in sports as a child, but as I got into high school, sports and physical activity took a back seat to other interests.    In my late 20’s I transitioned to a desk job and had kids. It became harder to stay active. I got lethargic and put on some very unhealthy weight.  After I got divorced, I had several years of mild depression and was trying to figure out my life. I decided at the end of 2012, at the age of 42, it was well past time to get in shape.  I started slowly at my local rec center walking a few times a week, then started doing the elliptical, and after a while added in some rowing.  When spring came around I started cycling regularly, doing 40 miles rides on weekends and commuting to work when I could.  I was feeling like I was getting in pretty good shape. Then in July, I was invited to a boot camp style workout with Qi at City Park.  It totally killed me. The next day I could barely walk and realized, while I was in better shape, I still had a long way to go.  I continued to work out at the rec center and cycling, getting up to 60 miles.  As the weather got colder and the days got shorter, it was harder to cycle and I was hitting a plateau at the rec center.

Throughout my journey to fitness, my co-worker Kate and I would talk about our workouts; mine at the rec center and Kate’s HELLth classes at Endorphin (hers sounded much harder than what I was doing).  Around my 43rd birthday I decided to try a Sunday HELLth class.  This was the second group exercise class I’d ever taken.  After 1 hour and 45 minutes of HELLth class, I was sweaty from head to toe, destroyed, and totally hooked.  I still owe Kate a debt of gratitude for getting me to take that first class, even though Chris Lindley told me months later that Kate’s instructions to him were to kill me.  Over the next few months I bought a couple of 10 packs and went to every HELLth class that I could make it to.  I felt like I was rationing my classes and not trying any of the other classes Endorphin had to offer; it was time to commit to a membership.  As I started taking more and different classes, all the instructors encouraged and pushed me.  Now I take cycling, HELLth, HIIT, rowing, Warriors, Stink and Drink (my favorite class), boxing regularly, and practice yoga occasionally.

I became friends with other members and was so motivated by them that I set the first fitness goal of my life: to cycle a 100 mile “century” ride.  At this point, the farthest I’d cycled was 60 miles and I’d only done that twice.  With a lot of encouragement from my Endo family, I completed the Pro Cycle Challenge Citizen Experience century ride in August of 2014 and it felt great.  Shortly after this some Endo friends started a team to do the Tough Mudder and I joined.  Doing the Tough Mudder or Spartan Race was in the back of my mind as a goal for 2015, but I figured I’d push up that timeline.  It was an amazingly fun day of team work and camaraderie with my Endo family.  This year I’m signed up for the Spartan Sprint in May, the Spartan Beast in June, and the Tough Mudder in September and will probably work a century ride in there as well.

While the workouts and classes are amazing and push me to my limit every time, the community at Endorphin is the best part for me. I’ve made so many great friends that I not only workout with, but also do things outside Endorphin with.  Every class I take has at least one person I consider a close friend.  When I miss a few of my regularly scheduled classes there’s always someone who asks me where I’ve been and makes sure I haven’t been slacking.  I’d always seen fitness as a solitary endeavor until I realized how other like-minded people push me to work harder and make a workout much more enjoyable.

My 10 year old daughter Maggie loves to come to classes too, she regularly went to Sunday kid’s classes and boot camp at Stanley, and started to bring her friends along.  You can still find Maggie at the occasional cycle/row class on Sunday morning.  She’s super excited to go to Endorphin summer camp.

Endorphin has changed my life in so many ways, and shown me how strong I am, how much drive and determination I have, and taught me that exercise is the best anti-depressant.