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Our Member's Why's

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Why Do YOU Exercise? Find YOUR Reason At Saint Mary's Fitness Center!

Katie Grimm

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Group classes; small group, reformer Pilates, boxing
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Dana
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? Flow yoga & stretch class
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Longevity

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I have been a member for years using the treadmill, elliptical or stairs and weight machine. My routine was scattered with months between visits. I joined a Quick Fit class in April 2015 which put me into a routine 5-days/week and kept the daily schedule ever since. I find that I need to have a specific time scheduled in which people are expecting me to ensure that I actually go to the gym so classes work best for me.

Marilyn Bennett

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Water Aerobics, Elliptical, Rowing, Weight lifting machines
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Tasha Rossi
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? Water Aerobics with Marlene and John
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Grandchildren

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I have been an intermittent exerciser all of my life. Most of the time I would rather not bother but I soon realized I would like to be healthier and lose some weight. One of my main goals was to get in shape so I wouldn't experience so much physical pain. In 2008 I got serious about it and lost 35 pounds. I was feeling great and wanted to continue this healthy lifestyle – and then I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

With the rigor of the treatments, the exhaustion of the chemo and radiation, the strangeness of the way I now reacted to different foods, and my natural inclination to not want to exercise, I gave up again. I came to Saint Mary’s Fitness Center after working through the class “A Time to Heal” that was offered through Saint Mary’s for breast cancer survivors.

I was 3 years out from my cancer diagnosis and felt like I was getting used to my new normal (which included putting back on the 35 pounds I had lost previously, with some extra). My oncologist was not happy about that and made sure that I knew that obesity could cause a re-occurrence of my breast cancer, leaving my grandchildren without a grandmother. This was pretty motivating to me. He also let me know about resources that were available to me, including the Time to Heal class, where I got information about the Fitness Center’s program for breast cancer survivors. When I started to feel that I couldn’t even walk down a hall without threatening to fall over and my bones and joints were hurting constantly, I finally broke down and asked for some help.

I started with physical therapy and then moved in to the Saint Mary's Fitness Center for exercises. Along the way I have taken classes on healthy eating, Tai Chi, and cardio exercise. I have worked with Eren, Stacey, and Tasha as trainers. I find myself motivated by group activities like the Tuesday/Thursday Water Aerobic classes and special programs with specific goals such as Mom’s on the Run’s Workout for a Cause. My trainer and I fight against my natural inclination against exercise and I set goals for myself that include healthy eating, consistent workouts, and weight loss. I am nowhere near finished yet!

Mercedes Burkavage

Exercises’ of Choice: Walk, Core training
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: no, but would love to
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: Massage
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: Not yet!
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: to be healthy! Age in good shape
Tell us YOUR personal story:

I wish I had more time in one location to start a routine. I am very busy traveling back & forth to Vegas on business.

Karla Sullivan

Exercise of Choice: Body fit training
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Iain and Mark
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: Small Group
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Fulfillment

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I began working out with Iain about 4 years ago. I started out with individual training sessions. The first few months were difficult because I was out of shape and I was not used to the weight lifting and conditioning exercises.

When I found a group of friends who were in similar shape I decided to join them in small group training sessions. We have a strong bond /friendship and the girls and my trainers help me stay motivated.

I look forward to our classes and I always leave with a sense of fulfillment.

Jamii Uboldi

Exercise(s’) of Choice: SPIN
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Nebojsa, Mark
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: Swim lessons, Mark's Small Group
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: Yes, spin & boot camp
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: ME

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I do this for me because if I’m at my personal best, everyone around me gets to experience my personal best! I also want to get healthier for health issues I’m now managing.

Mechelle Bradshaw

Exercise of Choice: Stairmaster intervals, doing anything my trainer asks me to do!!!
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Mark Zarubi
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: Small Group
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: Spin
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Family

Tell us YOUR personal story:

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mechelle Bradshaw. I’ve been a member since 2006 and an employee since 2010.

In 2006, I took a trip to the Doctor and found out I had high blood pressure and he labeled me as obese! This of course devastated me. I knew I had to make a drastic change. That is when I discovered Saint Mary’s Fitness Center. Since then, Saint Mary's Fitness Center has not only changed my life, but it saved it! I have lost over 100lbs and my journey is far from over. Thanks to the staff and my wonderful trainer Mark Zarubi, I have a lot to be proud of!

Bob Benson

Exercise of Choice: Free weights – Progressive Resistance
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: No
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: No
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: No
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Happiness

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I have been involved in athletics most of my life. In high school I participated in football, basketball and track. While in the U.S. Navy I was on a Base Boxing Team. In college I was involved in playing football and wrestling. Upon graduation from college I coached football, basketball and track. I was head football coach at Reno High School for 8 years. After my coaching career ended I became the athletic director at both Reno High School and at McQueen High. After I retired from the Washoe County School District I became a personal trainer at a local body building gym.

Helen Benson

Exercise of Choice: stretch machine
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: yes, my husband
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: No
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: No
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Fitness

Tell us YOUR personal story:

When I was teaching school at Hunter Lake I would jog two miles a day, then jump rope for about 10 minutes. Then one day I leapt off the curb at Plumas & McCarren and my knee gave way. That was the end of my jogging.

I knew I had to do something to stay fit so I started using a weight machine my daughter had. I didn’t know how much weight to use, so my husband said “why not come with me to the gym & I’ll help you work out?” So I did – that was 20 years ago. Along the way our gym closed & we had to find another one. My husband heard about Saint Mary's Fitness Center opening – so he checked it out and we joined in 2005. In 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have surgery. That was June 1, 2006 - the doctor said I could start working out July 1, 2006. I’ll never forget the lat pull-down. It was so difficult with my left arm. However, soon I was back to my regular work-out routine.

So, to sum it up, I owe it all to “what better way to spend your time & money than staying fit & healthy?”

Barbara Owens

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Spin, Pilates, Cancer rehab Program

Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Betsy and Tasha (in Cancer rehab Program)
Do you use any of our other services, or smal l groups? If so, please mention here: Massage
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: same as exercise of choice
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: LIFE

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I have to admit, 4 years ago I wasn’t healthy. I ate the worst foods and exercise was sporadic if at all.

Less than a year after my 4 children’s father passed away, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Right then I knew I had only ONE option: TO LIVE!
I had to survive. Period.

After the plan to get rid of cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation – I took on exercise, on a regular basis and eating healthy had begun for me months earlier.

Chemo left me very sick + extremely weak. I remember my first trip down the stairs at the gym. Wobbly, holding on for my life to the rail, sometimes with two hands. I wasn’t very strong and had horrible balance.

But, persistence pays! I can RUN up and down the stairs with no hands! Other members in class often comment on how strong I am. I encourage them to keep at it and one day this will be them. After all, at one time during chemo, I was too weak to open a simple water bottle. I love inspiring other members.

Finding one word to describe my “why”? Wow that’s tough. I have a bundle of whys! You pick one :)

  • Family
  • Life
  • Inspiration (inspiring)
  • Spirit
  • Attitude
  • Health
  • Group support (this might be off topic, but the cancer rehab program is indeed a “support group”)
  • Conquer
  • Role model to my kids
  • Umm ... there’s more! :)
  • Bottom line: Breast cancer may come and go, but I choose life :)

Amy Christensen

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Functional cross training
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Iain Dykins and Mark Z.
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: Small Group
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: Iain/Mark small group
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Quality of Life (more than 1 word, sorry)

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I am close to 50 than I want to be, but at the same time, I feel really blessed to be leading an active lifestyle. I have an 11 year old daughter (can you say tweenager?), a husband who loves travel and adventure (can we please stay home this weekend?), and 2 large dogs that require daily exercise (does anyone else know how to walk these dogs?). I am also in the healthcare profession and fully aware of how lucky I am to enjoy good health.

I have been active most of my life, with intermittent periods of less vs. more. Life happens, and there were times when it was hard to fit activity in the mix. Studying, starting a new job, a new baby who doesn’t sleep, and recovering from thyroid cancer, are times I recall struggling with making time for fitness. Such is life. But then there are times when it seems easier and I go for it: military basic training, dating my husband and hiking every weekend, or training for my first half marathon at 41 years old, are times when I could really focus on fitness.

Recently, I have been more careful with my diet. I decided to be more mindful of what I eat after reading an article by a nutritionist for Olympic athletes. He stated, “it’s 75% diet and 25% exercise”. The saying “you can’t out train a bad diet” is true, especially as I get up in years. I, personally, find utilizing a personal trainer extremely efficient. The busier my life becomes, the more crucial exercise is to me. It keeps me sane and feels like something I do for myself. I always joke with my friends that I’d rather spend money on a trainer than a manicure.

What motivates me to exercise? Partly, I am trying to be a good role model for my daughter, and my mother once told me “kids are more likely to do as you do, than as you say”. But the bottom line is I Love how I feel when I’m active and hate how I feel when I’m not, and that spills over into all other facets of my life.

Barbara Lee Hunt

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Brisk (very brisk!) walking and a mix of aerobic and strengthening exercises in small group classes and on my own with several of the machines on the second floor. I like to be challenged and to feel my muscles working.

Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Not recently. I worked out with Betsy for several months in individual training sessions ending about three years ago when she invited me to join her M-W small group exercise class, which I still attend. Several years ago, I worked with a trainer named Bill, who no longer works at St. Mary’s Fitness Center.

Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: I’ve used at least two packages of sessions with the dietician (Elise), was a member of the first and second offerings of the “eating”/”food” support group a couple of years ago (Sue was one of the facilitators), and have been in Betsy’s M-W small group exercise class for at least 3 years. I’ve been part of the first two offerings of the boxing classes. I also participated (and actually won the prize of a free massage!) in the Horses and Heroes fundraiser last May.

Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: Not recently. In the past, I’ve participated in a few Tai Chi classes, a few of the cycling classes and some of the large group classes fo r seniors. I find that I like smaller classes better.

In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Independence

Tell us YOUR personal story:

Although I have always been reasonably active, it was after my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes in April of 1995 that I became truly committed to a healthy lifestyle. While healthy eating and insulin are essential to managing diabetes successfully, exercise is such a powerful “treatment” for diabetes that I find it as important to my diabetes management as healthy eating, and even insulin. The three are the critical components to keeping me healthy and my diabetes in good control. I enthusiastically agree with health experts who say that exercise is one of the best medicines there is and if it were a pill, it would be the best selling medication in the world!

The first few years after my diagnosis, I did a lot of brisk walking almost every day, usually with a friend. About 15 years ago I joined a gym, and in addition to working out on the machines and with weights, I worked with a personal trainer for close to two years. When St. Mary’s opened, I joined it within a few months of its opening nearly 11 years ago.

Now, twenty years after my diagnosis with diabetes, at almost 70 years of age, I find that I want even more from exercise than good blood glucose control and the other health benefits of exercise. I want to be strong enough to continue living alone and being able to do everything I want and need to do without having to impose on others. Like so many older people, I am determined not to “become a burden” on anyone else, but more than that, I want to get as much out of life as I can and give back as much as I can for as long as I can. The stronger and healthier I am, the better I can do that. The better my balance, flexibility and strength, the more likely I am to avoid falls, serious osteoporosis and muscle atrophy, things that all too often sideline older people. In a word, I want to maintain my independence for as long as possible!

Another thing I do for my overall health is meditate for twenty minutes twice a day. I’ve done this since January of this year, when I first learned to meditate. I also strive for good sleep, which can be challenging at times.

I love to eat and am very attracted to sweets, another of my challenges. Mostly, however, I stick to a healthy diet. The big difference since my diabetes diagnosis is that eating for health is more important to me than eating to be at an “ideal” weight. Happily enough, though, eating healthfully achieves both objectives.

Belle O’Neill

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Elliptical machine, octane bike, weight machines.
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Yes- Cassie Goodman.
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Well- being.
Tell us YOUR personal story:

In April of 2014, I had been thinking for over a year of joining a small exercise group, but I hadn’t followed through because I was concerned about the cost and time to dedicate to it. I saw a box placed in the hallway that announced a raffle for two free small group exercise sessions. I filled out the slip and a week later, I received a phone call that I was a winner. After the two free sessions, I was hooked! I loved doing something for me that wasn’t connected to my job or family- it gave me my own identity!! The other woman in my small group dropped out, so I continued on alone with Cassie, my personal trainer. Cassie was the original trainer of my small group as well.

Then, I started setting more goals. If I was going to work this hard at exercise, I wanted something to show for it. I cut out sugar except for once-in- a while celebratory events like birthdays or anniversaries.

The weight came off slowly, but it did! Today, 1 ½ years later, I have lost 12 pounds, dropped 2 dress sizes (from a size 8 to a size 4!!) and my cholesterol has dropped as well. I notice less colds and tons more energy. But best of all, I have this special training time I devote to just me!!

Betsabeth Arrascada

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Small Group Training
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Iain Dykins and Mark Zarubi
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: Small Group Training
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Balance

Tell us YOUR personal story:
Over a year ago, after having two children and weight gain associated with my pregnancies, I became very aware of how my weight was impacting my physical and mental well-being. I was hospitalized for chronic and debilitating migraines. The doctors had no answers. I decided to make a commitment to physically improve myself and to address the various chronic ailments I was suffering from. Although I was self motivated because of my health issues, I sought out professional trainers to assist in my fitness needs. I began training with Iain Dykins and Mark Zarubi, as well as addressing my diet. My results were dramatic, I lost over 30 lbs. As a result of my commitment to fitness, all of my various medical conditions have resolved. I'm thankful for my trainers because of their knowledge and expertise to customize my fitness regiment toward my specific needs. I now have a new lease on life that benefits not only myself but my family.

Abbie Olszewski

Exercise(s’) of Choice: small group fitness, group classes, swimming, running, biking, hiking
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: 1st trainer- Catie Doucette, current trainer Janelle Dorangrecchia
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: small group 6 am class M/W
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: mostly the 5:30am classes but since they have moved to 5:15am, I have not participated in them. I used to participate in double-step, balletone, bosu ball, and cycling.
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: health

Tell us YOUR personal story:

From a young age, I participated in group sports of softball and volleyball and rode my bike everywhere. The group sports gave me a sense of accomplishment, discipline, and belonging. During college, “working out” was not en vogue as it is today. However, I took a weightlifting class and convinced a friend to workout with me at the gym. I continued to participate in some group sports as time allowed. I continued riding my bike; graduating from a banana seat bike, to a 21 speed, and then to a mountain bike. After graduate school and returning to my hometown of Chicago, I joined the Lincoln Park Athletic Club (LPAC). I attended group classes and regularly played volleyball at LPAC for 10 years. Outside of the gym, a couple of my friends and I golfed regularly and called ourselves the Crimson Tea Club. I spent many days riding my bike to Lake Michigan, the beach, and around town. I even completed my first triathlon in a Chicago suburb using a mountain bike! I say “first”, because I plan on doing more. I moved to Utah and got to take advantage of outdoor sports regularly. I enjoyed hiking and snowboarding. I completed my first half marathon in Utah. Six months after moving to Reno, I joined St. Mary’s Fitness Center. I returned to Utah to complete the same half marathon twice. Hearing about the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey sounded like fun and was on my bucket list. Because I was a member of St. Mary’s and I just completed my half marathon, I was recruited for 2015 Reno-Tahoe Odyssey team. I had the time of my life. At St. Mary’s, I attend “early bird” group fitness classes and spinning. After needing a change in my routine, I joined Catie’s small group and now am in Janelle’s group. I also have added swimming to my St. Mary’s routine and continue to enjoy outdoor sports. The members and employees of St. Mary’s have been truly inspirational to me. I love that I have made friends with people of all ages who continue to motivate me every day. Everyone is always so supportive and is focused on attainting their fitness goals.

I workout to be healthy, but there is really so much more. I workout to relieve stress, take my mind off work, and challenge myself to accomplish new goals. Working out teaches me more about myself and pushes me to grow physically and mentally every day. Working out at a gym gives me a sense of community and drives me to do so much more than I would do on my own. It’s my healthy social hour.

Dana Ayala

Exercise(s’) of Choice: Cardio (Cycle, Running , Walking stairs), boot camp, strength Training
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: Iain (sometimes)
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: Massage
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: boot camp, cycle
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: longevity

Tell us YOUR personal story:

I have been active and healthy all my life. I consider health a journey, not a destination. I have accomplished most all of my fitness goals in running, hiking, triathlon, cycling and obstacle course racing.

My life has changed since becoming a mom in 2007 and again in 2009. The challenges to stay healthy as a mom, wife and being employed full-time increased. It is a constant juggle to make the time for myself. I made a promise to myself that I would show my children what it means to be healthy. This must be done by example, not words.

To increase the challenge to stay healthy I was in a car accident in 2012 and hurt my back. I was unable to run, lift weights the way I use to, or stay on the cycle as long. This was compounded by every time I would feel like I was better; I would do too much and be hurt again. I had to keep reminding myself it is a journey….be patient

I have tried to instill the love of cycle, swimming, skiing, and hiking in my boys. This year we (as a family) complete the Wildflower (child flower 12 mile) in Chico, and Edible pedal 10 mile. Both of my boys (8 &6 yr olds) rocked it. I hope next year we will be at the 20-30 milers. I was told by a friend before my boys were born, “Get them interested in what you like to do, and you be able to continue to do what you love!” Best advice I ever received.

I just finished a Spartan race on October 4, 2015, up at Squaw Valley. I was not as fast as I use to be but I got it done and am proud to have been able to complete in this TOUGH obstacle course style race.

I remind myself daily to make good choices and minimize the bad ones. I embrace the journey and know there is never a destination.

I wish for longevity in all by sports of choice, and my body to hold up until the end.

Shelby Adams

Exercise(s’) of Choice: boxing, weightlifting, circuit training, walking, swimming, I really miss running but my hips won’t have it, cycling, stretching and hiking.
Do you workout with a Trainer if so, who: yes, Tasha Rossi and Erin when possible
Do you use any of our other services, or small groups? If so, please mention here: yes, start the boxing classes this week, enjoy the cycling and stretching classes and of course, the cancer rehab groups when possible
Do you participate in Group Exercise Classes? If so, which classes: cycling on Tuesdays and have done the stretching on Sundays
In one word WHY do you choose to live a healthy lifestyle: Accomplishing
Tell us YOUR personal story:

I was introduced to SMRMC Cancer Rehab program during my radiation treatment with my first breast cancer diagnosis. Before cancer, I was a very active person. I enjoyed weight lifting, swimming and ran every other day. I actually enjoyed exercise and there was the bonus of simply feeling and looking good.

Over the past year and a half, I have endured several surgeries including a rib removal and reconstructive breast surgeries which have greatly changed the way I view my physique. During that time and when I was able to exercise I would. I’d meet with Tasha and Erin and we would do together what my body would allow with gentle pushing. I remember before I knew my breast cancer had spread to my bones and I had a broken rib Tasha and would meet doing our best not to exacerbate the pain but ultimately knowing I would feel better after some kind of movement.

I am now diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. It has moved to my bones which includes my spine, pelvis and both hips. I have weekly chemotherapy treatments which require me to sleep for a couple days after treatment. Every cell in my body is fighting to stay alive and that takes a lot of energy, energy I don’t often have yet somehow find to live a healthy lifestyle. I have started juicing and thoroughly enjoy it. I have always been a healthy eater, loving vegetables, healthy grains and pure proteins. And of course I throw in the occasional nice glass of wine for balance! Between monitoring my cell counts, doctors’ appointments and weekly chemo I make it to the gym or walk outside as much as possible. I enjoy pushing my body because at the end of the day, WE FEEL BETTER and that in itself is an ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Carry Thomas

Carry's exercises of choice: conditioning and weight lifting
Trainer (s): Iain Dykins and Mark Zarubi

A couple of friends who are similarly aged and likeminded have started our own small group with Iain and Mark. We like to mix it up while still being pushed hard.

Why I choose a healthy lifestyle: ME

I am a 42 year old mother of two. I had always been active in some capacity almost all of my life. My father had his first cardiac episode at the age of 40, and my mother has a history of strokes starting in her 30's. I grew up knowing that I had to take my health into my own hands. I completed my degree in Health Ecology and have always been a seeker of health knowledge and information.

After I had my children, I struggled with losing weight and was eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disorder. The weight struggle was new to my life and I had to find a way to embrace my challenges. I have definitely gone on the rollercoaster ride of emotions about things that are out of my control and I try to affect that which I have the power to control. This is the reason I workout: I have control over my fitness! I cannot control what my thyroid does and I have some limitations from an injury (Did I also mention, I am in my 40's?), but I can control what types of foods I allow into my diet, and how hard I allow myself to work out at the gym. I want to fight hard to be the healthiest me I can be. I have children to raise and a life I love with my husband. Nobody else can do this for me. I am far from perfect, but I know the difference in how I feel when I am trying hard to be strong and fit.

I strongly believe in no shame in trying your hardest. I think that all efforts to improve should be acknowledged, even if you are the only one who sees what you do! Kindness is the key to all things in this life; starting with how kindly we treat ourselves.

Disclaimer: All information presented within the Saint Mary’s Fitness Center site are intended for educational purposes. Any health, diet, weight loss, success stories or exercise advice is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment. If you think you have any type of medical condition you must seek professional advice even if you believe it may be due to diet, food or exercise.