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How’d you find The Studio (MDR)?
My friends -- Kristin, Andrea, Helen and Aaryn – raved about the workouts, and I knew where (MDR) was because I drive down Washington all the time. I don't know why it took me so long to join, but I haven't looked back since! The Studio (MDR) is my outlet, my drug of choice, my addiction.

What was your starting point when you took your first class?
When I first started, I was feeling pretty "blah." I didn't feel great about my body; I wasn't overweight, but I knew I could be in better shape. I was in a rut. I was 160 pounds, a size 8 or 10, and I could barely fit into my jeans/work clothing. I was a die-hard spin lover, spinning for 10 years almost three times a week. I was also taking yoga classes, but not very often. I thought if I did more cardio my body would become more lean. While that is true for some, my body hit a major plateau. Plus, my lower back was in constant pain. I needed a change and I needed it ASAP. I wake up at 3 a.m. for work and I was struggling to find places with classes early enough for me to take. I am not a big gym person (been there, done that) and it was hard finding a gym or studio to accommodate my lifestyle … until I found The Studio (MDR).

How tough was your first class?
I took my first class in July 2013 with Mary. I was very nervous because everyone was so fit and I thought, "What if fall on my face?" The class was so difficult. My entire body was shaking and I was pouring sweat within 5 minutes. I was light headed after class and could barely speak; my hands were shaking too! Mary was so nice to me before, during, and after class. She has such amazing energy! I thought, "Wow, whatever she is on, I want some!" Everyone else was so nice to me as well. Lisa was sitting at the front desk when I walked into the studio for the first time and said "Hi Jean!" with a big smile. I had e-mailed her prior to class to ask a few questions and the fact that Lisa knew who I was meant a lot to me. I even remember it being one of Elizabeth's first days at The Studio (MDR), and she's been greeting me with her smile and sweetness ever since.

What challenges have you faced, and what were some of your big (and little) victories that kept you motivated?
My main challenge during my transformation process has been fatigue. Since I wake up so early for work, I get tired very easily. In the very beginning, I took four classes in one week and I learned my lesson! I realized I can't do that -- I need to let my body rest. Now I take three classes a week and I am consistent. I truly believe that dedication and consistency are essential! The biggest victory for me has been being able to hold plank without dropping to my knees. Also, my focus and breathing has changed since I've started taking classes at The Studio (MDR). Of course I have good days and bad days, so I set mini goals for myself. You have to be realistic or you will set yourself up for a letdown when you don't accomplish something. Someday I will do "Saw" without dropping to my knees. Someday I will get through the entire lunge series without holding the black bars. These goals keep me strong and motivated. It’s all about the baby steps.

Have you changed your diet?
Yes! I am much more conscious of my eating habits. I do not believe in dieting or restricting myself from anything; I’m more of an "everything in moderation" kind of eater. If I want a cheeseburger, guess what? I am going to have it! I will just eat half of it and save the rest for the next day. I don't beat myself up for enjoying food. If I have a bad day and pig out, I enjoy it and just work out that much harder to work it off.

How far have you come since that first class, and what are your new goals?
Right now I’m at the point where I probably need to buy new clothes because my old ones are too big for me! I am also in a great place mentally, physically and emotionally. I love my family, friends and my job (the three most important things in my life). My biggest goals now are to complete the infamous 8-minute plank, complete a class without taking a single break, and to encourage others to get fit! I have gotten five other girlfriends to sign up for classes at The Studio (MDR) and they love it.