Friday, March 22, 2013

Importance of a Support System

Three years ago I was weighing in at 226 pounds, my hair was falling out, I had no energy, slept all the time, and felt hopeless. I was warned that my lifestyle was leading to a path of diabetes and I didn't know where to begin on getting better. I started researching diabetes and how one can change their diet. I was also afraid to go to a gym because that's where all the fit buff guys workout. I had made fun of myself for so many years that I just knew that's what people would do if I tried to go to the gym. So what did I do? I started by walking. I would walk early in the AM or or late evening so no one would see me there. I started reading oxygen magazine and any fitness reading I could get my hands on just to educate myself on a fitter lifestyle. My passion grew to better myself as I began to feel better.

Fast forward one and half years later and 90 pounds lighter, I moved to Salina, Kansas. I began working out at Genesis Health Clubs to stay in shape. I chose the club because it was the only club I had been to where group fitness classes were included in the membership fee. I started attending the cycling classes ritually and eventually got my certification through Body Training Systems. I became the person who then taught those 5:15 am classes that I once attended. And after a year of being an instructor part time and working retail at the Buckle full time, I was offered to join the personal training department. I humbly accepted the job and they have been working to educate me on biomechanics and anatomy so I can train my clients safely and effectively. Then just a few months after becoming a full time personal trainer, I pursued my certification in Zumba. The director for Genesis Health Clubs in Group Fitness urged me to go to the training in Omaha and I've been teaching Zumba since July of 2012!

But who would have thought all that would have transpired? Definitely not me! And as many of you who keep up with my journey through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, know that I just recently went to Las Vegas for the IHRSA Convention with the company I work for. It was a huge honor to go with Genesis Health Clubs to meet and network with so many amazing individuals in the fitness industry. I was able to see the newest and latest gym equipment as well as listen to amazing speakers who have been apart of the fitness industry for years. The individuals who spoke at a seminars had so much wisdom to offer someone like myself who is just starting out in this field. I was able to take away so much from each of their individual stories.

So what was the biggest lesson I learned at the convention?
The importance of human interaction! The reason why I wasn't successful on my own for the numerous years I tried to lose weight is because I tried to do it alone. I didn't know where to start. I needed a support system, a group of people who supported and believed in me, and that was what I received from training with experts. They kept me motivated, encouraged, and accountable. No matter where your gym is or what amazing gym equipment there is, we NEED people! We want to be noticed and we want to know we matter. And that's why I love the company I work for. The Genesis staff always welcomed me with open arms and they wanted to see me succeed from the time I joined as a member, to my current status of Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, and soon to be Nutrition Specialist. They care and want to see me grow because I care. As a personal trainer for Genesis Health Clubs my ultimate goal is to love the people who walk through our front doors. No matter if they're my clients or not, they're apart of a community. And our community is all working towards one ultimate goal, to better ourselves one day at a time. And that's my vision! I desire to see the people in our gym be inspired and encouraged to get moving and living healthier lives!

Challenge: chose someone you regularly see at your gym, get their name, and encourage them!

***Lastly, huge thank you to Genesis Health Clubs! Thank you Mr. Rodney Stevens, Mr. Johnny Stevens, Mr. Preston Petersen, Mr. Joe Humiston, and Dr. Mark Slavin who believe in me. Thank you for investing in me and for allowing me to be apart of such an amazing team. You all have touched my life in ways I'll never be able to explain.


  1. Awesome Blog! So true that support system and encouragement is where it's at! Those of us who start our fitness journey significantly overweight are apt to try and do this on our own. It's tough to be the fat girl trying to keep up in any exercise class. If not encouraged, it's easy to think the group would rather not have us there. I'm all huffing and puffing and taking breaks... I was so embarrassed. So, why did I keep going back to that Zumba class? Because Eva Shurts and Alison Hager encouraged me! They were excited every single time I showed up to workout with them! For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I would be MISSED if I wasn't there. I'm not perfect,I did great and I did not so great. I have fallen down and I still have a LONG way to go (about 80 pounds) but with Alison and Eva by my side to guide, motivate, encourage, lecture, hold me accountable and cheer me on... I will succeed, because I am crazy enough to think I can.

  2. Really enjoyed this blog entry Alison! Well done! You are so positive and caring. I really think highly of you and let's continue to stay in touch. You rock!