When I joined NW Women’s Fitness in November 2009, I had just moved back to Portland and was looking for a place for just me. I had moved back in with my parents while working from home, which meant I had no space for quiet, solitude, fitness or self-care. As a native Portlander, I had been aware of the gym for years, but had never explored becoming a member. But when I was in the midst of this challenging time in my life, I took a tour and was instantly taken by the community and the welcoming environment. Once I joined, this special place became an oasis just for me and I consider NW Women’s Fitness a sanctuary that helped me through a challenging time of transition.
Little did I know, this would be the first of many gifts this place would bring me. Yes, the great ‘spa like’ locker room, light room, sauna and amazing classes (especially Sunday am Yoga) and the women only environment is fantastic, but it has been the trainers and staff that have really changed my life. It started with Carol’s “Learn to Run” class five years ago when I began to see myself as an athlete. Her simple, and encouraging approach allowed me (as someone who had never run) to learn a new way to be in my body and experience fitness differently. Running became a friend that I have returned to repeatedly to deal with stress and life challenges. In the last year I was able to return to my running and start from the skills Carol shared and lose thirty pounds of workaholic stress.
Losing this weight has given me a new perspective on fitness and at 43 I can proudly say I have found my inner athlete. I wanted to push myself to the next level and when I saw the flyer for Raina’s Track class I instantly knew this was my next challenge. I was nervous that I wasn’t fit enough, but I told myself she would be patient and guide me through to success. I was so right! I am someone who had never run a 50 meter, let alone 800 meter, but Raina was a top notch coach in every way. Her simple, encouraging approach allowed me to learn new warm ups, become comfortable with the track environment and push myself in a way that I never thought possible. I found a new way to run, sweat and see what I’m made of, and I am eternally grateful for the new skills she shared. NW Women’s Fitness isn’t just a gym, it’s a sanctuary to find yourself, your inner athlete and see what you can do with a community of amazing women cheering you on!