Over the course of the last several months, since I opened Turn & Burn Fitness, this question has come up several times. Why did I decide to open a fitness studio? Why now? Why would I venture into a business area where my only experience was in teaching fitness classes and taking them?
Of course, those questions have also popped into my own head as I try and brainstorm ideas of how to get people through our door and to be a part of our community. It has been a constant battle in my head about how to establish ourselves in a new community and to offer an amazing experience to each and every person who gives us that chance.
So, WHY? Well, let me first start by saying that despite some moments of stress since we opened in late December of 2017, I am thoroughly enjoying this experience. I feel so fortunate to have built the most amazing team of instructors and front desk staff that are giving nothing short of 110% of their time and effort every single day. But even more importantly, the members, the drop-ins, every participant has brought me so much energy and light that it is enough to propel me on the days when I have that creeping feeling of wonder if I made the right decision to take this leap.
In November of 2015, I was running my pediatric therapy business as I had been for the previous 15 years. I taught group fitness classes several times a week and enjoyed the stress relief and the exercise at the same time while also being able to offer others a similar outlet. My world was turned completely upside down with a diagnosis of an extremely aggressive and rare form of cancer, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, right after Thanksgiving. A small lump in my breast ballooned from the size of a dime to 12 centimeters in length within a week and suddenly, I was trying to navigate the world of oncology, chemotherapy and all kinds of medicine that I would prefer to never see again.
It was through the power of my family, friends and community that myself, my husband, and our two sons made it through this journey. Six rounds of chemo, 6 spinal taps, 1 cerebrospinal fluid leak, 1 ambulance trip and stay in the ICU, and a month of daily radiation…it was a long and sometimes arduous journey but it opened my eyes to many things. The most amazing thing throughout the process? PEOPLE. The people that supported us came out in droves. Some were those that were already near and dear and some were friends that became closer but there were also some that I barely even knew that were willing to step forward and offer not only support, prayer and kind words but also meals, childcare, gifts of all kinds. If I felt sorry for myself and my medical situation one minute, the next minute I would realize that I was overwhelmingly blessed by a community of cheerleaders and support staff. There was no way that I could possibly give up with the team of people that I had pulling for me.
As I came to the other side of the C-word journey, I started to seriously think more about how I wanted to spend my time and energy. I love being able to provide therapy services to children and their families and continue to do so through the therapists who work for me. But I wanted to think more on the idea of creating a space for people to build their own community of support. Fitness has always been a part of my life even while growing up in Winnipeg, Canada and skating on the frozen pond in our backyard (and yes, it was cold). I was fortunate that my parents afforded myself and my siblings opportunities to play on countless teams and various sports which ultimately led me to play Division I Women’s Ice Hockey in college. I know from personal experience that there are special bonds built between people when you work hard together, have common goals and sweat together!
With the support and blessings of my husband and family, the stars aligned such that we found the studio space and I fell in love with the location and the idea. Fast forward through the logistics of getting the space up and running, and here we are!
Turn & Burn…Our tag line is “Fitness, Friends, Fun”. That was my vision for the studio. To build and help create a space where people can work out to get stronger and fitter but more importantly to build relationships and a community where each person feels safe and comfortable to come and reap the fullbenefits of group exercise, both mentally and physically. And of course, we want it to be FUN, because who wants to work out if it’s fun?!
My best moments at the studio thus far, and only a few months into it…seeing people exchange phone numbers in the lobby and make plans for later to hang out when they may never have crossed paths outside of the studio…hearing that the hour class is something that someone looks forward to or that it was the highlight of their day…seeing people getting stronger and healthier…getting to learn more about each person beyond just a face and a name…I could go on and on. I am ecstatic that we can be a positive part of someone’s day but what they don’t realize is that each person, each story and each shared success is the best part of my day. So when people ask me “why”, I have many reasons and each one of them has a face and a name.