We are excited to announce that Vivian is our Rebell of The Month for June!! Vivian is one smart cookie and came in with a lot of nerdy background about anatomy, which was super delightful to talk about for our coaches. Vivian has come a long way in just a short amount of time and has become very skilled in learning how to restore her strength. Here is her story!
Tell us about yourself
I’m a law clerk for a judge up in Granite Falls. I don’t really have a training background to speak of before joining Restored Strength in March of this year. I’ve always had a more sedentary, book-learning focused lifestyle, and never played any team sports or anything growing up. I’ve had some active hobbies but never got into them seriously enough to require physical training; e.g. I’d go swing and ballroom dancing socially here and there, but never competed. Similarly, in school when I had free fitness classes available to me, I’d usually get super ambitious at the beginning of a term but drop things once work started ramping up (the exception being a free beginner-level ballet class that I attended consistently for about a year and a half).
Me relaxing on the couch with my cat Bella
Thought about strength training before/after becoming a Rebell
I’ve been interested for a while, but was kind of scared to try and get into strength work by myself as a newbie. I’ve seen and heard some scary things about getting injured due to improper form. While I would say that I have a pretty good awareness of my own body overall, I was still worried about small adjustments to posture/alignment that a trainer would be able to see and that I wouldn’t. After training at Restored Strength, I’m much more confident now about knowing my own limits and understanding how a lot of important, fundamental exercises should feel in my body.
Obstacles you overcame
I had an unrelated fall and broke my elbow at the end of April. The coaches were all super accommodating and creative so that I could continue to train the rest of my body while it was in the cast. Once it was out, they also helped me work back up to my normal strength. I feel like a lot of gyms would either have been unwilling or unable to think creatively around such a big mobility limitation, so I was really pleasantly surprised!
Vivian working on power cleans with the Ultimate Sandbag
Achievements you accomplished at Restored Strength
I’ve only been going here for a few months, but I would say I’m pretty proud that I’m starting to notice some better tricep and hamstring definition already!
What changes have other noticed
I’m more confident in my body. I’ve kind of had body image issues on and off through my entire life. In recent years, I was striving for a body-neutrality kind of approach, where I basically tried not to think about my body and so ended up not really caring too much how I dressed, etc. But lately, I’ve been actively showing off progress, and have found myself genuinely appreciating (and bragging about) the strength I see as well as feel. It’s a new feeling but one I don’t ever want to lose!
Me flexing in a changing room - this was back in mid-April, and was one of the first times I really noticed some muscle definition in my arms.
What do you tell your friends about RS
As I said above, I was very keen on having a coach for my first foray into strength training. Meeting with William and Saara and realizing how knowledgeable they both are regarding biomechanics and training principles made me feel very assured that this gym would be both safe and effective in getting me stronger. I also really appreciated the fact that the team of coaches is small enough to “swap notes” so that the gym as a whole understands where you’re coming from and any limitations, instead of having to stick with just one trainer for that kind of personal history. The other, more prosaic reason is that I also live in Marshall so it’s relatively easy for me to get to.
What’s your favorite thing about RS
The welcoming, positive atmosphere for sure! I always feel really valued when greeted at the beginning of class. All the trainers have a wonderful warmth and openness that makes me feel supported, never judged.
Bella taking a nap
Results you’ve gotten from our gym
The biggest benefit is actually mental and emotional health. Since starting to train, my mood has been so much more stable and happier overall than I’ve ever felt it in my life. Other than that, my groceries seem easier to carry up to my second-floor apartment these days. And as mentioned above, I really enjoy the visual changes I’m seeing in my body’s muscle definition, and I can’t wait to see that continue over time!
Why is RS different
Like I said, I haven’t really done much training other than Restored Strength, so I can’t really speak to that. I will say I really enjoy having the measurable, tangible achievements written down in our workout books. I know some people use apps to track their strength progress, but there is really something so satisfying about holding that physical record in your hands and flipping through it to see the steady increases.
I guess I’m not exactly the target audience for Restored Strength, given that the Instagram page says it’s aimed for age 35 and up, but I honestly can’t stress how much I’ve enjoyed being a member anyway! In fact, I find it really inspiring to come in and see more mature people pulling (to me) insane amounts of weight in their deadlifts. It’s really a perfect antidote to the general cultural obsession with youth and looks - coming in and working out with everyone else genuinely makes me forget all of that superficial shit, because I’m just so starry-eyed at what real-life strength really looks like and at all of the cool and inspiring things that a mature body can still do. Just another way in which joining this gym was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my mental health as well as physical :)