I’m 29 years young and already suffering from arthritis around my hips and constant low back pain. I’m a former college athlete who fell into the trap of “I can get back into shape easy” and “I can lose that winter weight no problem.” Occasionally jogging and weight lifting. Diet supplements. Counting carbs. Recreational sports (beer leagues, of course). This was not doing the trick, and I had to even start doing physical therapy because the hip pain had gotten so bad.
So I finally committed to creating a healthier lifestyle; I joined Forward Fitness in November of 2015, and I am truly thankful I did!
I am happy to be a part of the Forward Fitness community. I remember the first class I ever took was with Mike. As I was struggling to get through the finisher where we painfully had to ‘bear crawl,’ I remember him saying to me about the workouts, “It’s not going to get easier; it’s going to get better!” He was right. These workouts have challenged me, but it has gotten a whole lot better! I still suffer through the bear crawl, but now I have gotten to know a whole lot of other people to suffer through it with me. I have great trainers that watch my kettlebell swings to make sure I have proper form and that I keep my core engaged during wall sits. They often challenge me to lift more weight and sprint faster when I feel like I have no more energy to give. I have truly enjoyed getting to know the wide range of people that come here to workout, because they bring a lot of the positive energy that make the 45-minute Fit Camps fly by!
Nick talks a lot about the importance of increasing mobility, but what I did not realize was the huge impact it would have on nearly eliminating my daily hip and back pain. The foam rolling we do pre-workout has helped me tremendously to loosen up my IT bands and glute muscles that were the cause of so much of my hip pain. I can even tell that by continuing to practice good form and increasing weight on exercises like goblet squats and kettlebell hinges that I have been able to regain some range of motion I thought I had lost from the arthritis. Focusing on my deep belly breathing and keeping my core engaged throughout the circuits keeps me from firing the low back muscles that use to cause me so much pain when I lifted on my own. Now I’m completely sold on the idea that increasing mobility will help with my range of motion and eliminate pain.
Not only do I feel more educated about the proper way to breathe, stretch and exercise, but I have also learned a great deal more from Suzanne about the other part of a healthy lifestyle—sleep and proper nutrition. This spring, I joined the “March into Health” and “Spring Forward Fitness Challenge” that included evening nutrition chats with Suzanne. These nutrition talks have covered info on how to properly read food labels to “eating the rainbow” of fruits and veggies for all of your essential vitamins and nutrients to getting the proper amount of sleep that your body needs to recover. I now meal plan every week, schedule my workouts in advance, and cook more than I ever have in my life. I used to joke with my husband that unless it said “Hamburger Helper” on the box then I wouldn’t know how to cook it. Now instead of eating terrible cereal for breakfast, Suzanne has gotten me hooked on eating red swiss chard in my morning egg scrambles. Who knew!
So I will be approaching 30 in a few months, and I finally feel like I’ve created the habits to stay on track with this healthy lifestyle change. Forward Fitness has helped increase my mobility, gave me the knowledge on how to eat properly, the skills to exercise effectively and the community of support to maintain it.
I’ve finally found what works for me…Have you?
–Katie Pilgram-Kloppe, Maplewood, MO
Last year’s spring challenge was my first experience with Forward Fitness – and it was a great jump start for becoming a healthier version of myself! By the end of the 8 weeks, I was stronger, felt more energetic (and less stressed!), was sleeping better and had a better handle on my nutrition. Plus, not only I could see a difference in how my clothes were fitting but my friends and family started noticing too.
The best thing was that the challenge was just the start for me – Nick, Suzanne and Mike have helped me continue toward my goals inside the gym and out. I always feel encouraged and safe while working out, which is a big deal because I’ve never described myself as athletic or sporty. It’s really reassuring to know that someone’s helping make sure I do every exercise the right way, so the hard work will do what it’s supposed to do. Plus, eating right has always been tough for me. Even though I know what I should be eating, cooking and prepping has never fit with the reality of my days – but Nick and Suzanne have been incredibly supportive and creative in helping me find a routine that I can actually sustain.
I’m not quite to my goal yet but I’ve lost a lot of inches and pounds in the past year. It hasn’t been hard to keep on the path that started with the challenge because the positivity I feel while I’m at the gym stretches into the rest of my week!
-Rachel McInnis St. Louis, MO
I started going to Forward Fitness during April 2015 in order to participate in their Spring Challenge and I immediately knew Forward Fitness was different than any other gym I had been to before when they schedule an appointment to evaluate how my body moves. Suzanne, Mike, and Nick have created a very welcoming, non-intimidating atmosphere, while making sure everyone gets the extra encouragement they need to push themselves. I love the Forward Fit Camp classes because everyone can work at their own pace and because the workouts are fast paced and never boring. And, they definitely work… I lost a total of 10 inches (chest, waist, hips, and thigh) during the eight-week Spring Challenge! In addition to classes and private training, Forward Fitness provides nutritional counseling. Suzanne has really helped me focus on eating a healthy, well-rounded diet emphasizing eating lean proteins, healthy grains, and vegetables at every meal (even breakfast). Since I started attending classes at Forward Fitness, my quality of life has greatly improved… I am stronger, more flexible, more energetic and generally healthier. I am so grateful to have found a gym where I actually love the workouts and a dietitian where I don’t mind admitting that I may have over-indulged in a few too many cocktails.
—Kelly Williams, St. Louis, MO
After not working out for more than three years, I decided to get back into the swing of things by joining the Spring Challenge 2015. I knew right away I would continue going to Forward Fitness after the challenge. The Fit Camp classes are different from anything I have done and provide great results. I’ve lost weight and inches, built muscle, and feel more energetic. The classes are customizable which makes them great for beginners and for the more experienced. Mike, Nick, and Suzanne are always providing tips on ways to improve and reach your goals. They stay on top of the latest research and incorporate new techniques into the classes. I actually look forward to going to the gym now!
—Laura Williams, St. Louis, MO
My experience at Forward Fitness has been nothing but positive. The staff (Mike, Suzanne and Nick) is everything you want from a workout facility: warm and welcoming, encouraging, knowledgeable, and engaged in your success. Additionally, they know exactly how to push you beyond where you think you could go in a way that makes you feel good.
For me, when I work out, I want to be held accountable so that I am able to see growth. The staff at Forward Fitness excels here, making sure they are instructing me on my form so I am doing exercises properly. In addition to strengthening my body, they want me to understand how my body works so I can take the best care possible of it. I appreciate that. I never feel dumb asking a question about anything from nutrition to form because I know Mike, Suzanne and Nick actually care about me and my health and want to see me succeed.
The facility itself is also worth mentioning. It is incredibly clean and well kept, with encouraging quotes on the wall to motivate you during your workout. It is well stocked with kettle bells and free weights and other equipment necessary to strengthen your body. The atmosphere is just right.
Each time I leave Forward Fitness, I seem to have a little extra spring in my step and confidence in myself for what I have just accomplished. I attribute that feeling to both my own hard work and to where and with whom I am working out. Thank you, Forward Fitness.
—Chelsea Williams, Manchester, MO
I personally don’t think you could find a better group of people for your training and nutritional coaching than Mike, Nick, and Suzanne at Forward Fitness. No matter what your experience level or what your fitness plans may involve, they are going to help you reach your goals. They have you covered from start to finish so you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished. The group training is a great way to get a good workout and burn calories. For that extra help, I really recommend the personal training. They will make sure you are exercising at your optimal potential. If you want a full body exercise class that is different, try the Kettlebell, it is one of my favorite and Mike is the best instructor you will find in the area. The very best thing about all these trainers is that they are so great to work with. You are able to really work hard but also have a good time, which is paramount with me. Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.
—Charles Bryant, Brentwood, MO