5. Muddy Monk Trail Runs
Even on my bad days, Muddy Monk runs are fun and challenging. This trail running organization is headed by a couple who dedicate their spare time to finding us some amazing bits of trail year-round. So far, I haven't found anything like this in Cleveland, certainly not with the consistency of the Muddy Monk. Honestly, with all the Metroparks around here, I might have to consider starting a group...
4. Class Pass
This is a catch-all heading for the insane diversity of fitness classes available in Chicago - and the ease with which an interested person can discover all of that exercisey goodness! One membership, over a hundred gyms/studios/whatevers, and dozens of different class styles all over the city. It's hard to find gyms at all here in Cleveland, let alone awesome boutique fitness studios like AIR or Exhale. I'm finding some interesting things here and there, but for the most part, I think it's going to be up to ME to bring the excitement to Cleveland's group exercise scene.
3. Gratitude Yoga
Piggy-backing on Class Pass, I simply have to mention Gratitude and the lovely Lisa! My first class with Lisa (via Class Pass, of course) changed my outlook on yoga, and gave me the courage to dive into yoga practice whole-heartedly. She also influenced my courage levels in general, and through both her classes and the at-home practice she inspired, I found the strength and self-belief to make some major and much-needed changes in my life. It hasn't all been smooth sailing ever since, but the general trend of my life is increasingly moving upward - it all started with Lisa and the path she helped set me on, which still guides me today.
2. Chicago Running Bloggers
Technically, I'm still a CRB member, and of course with blogging the community is still there in the online presence, but even though I knew very few of my fellow members in person, everything was so... relatable. I was part of a local community, and my place in that group helped me establish not only my blogging presence but a deeper sense of purpose in the fitness world. Without their support and encouragement (and their fabulous leading-by-examples) I probably would never have started blogging, let along stuck with it so long. And that means I'd have missed out on just about every opportunity I've had in the past year to make my life so much better...
1. TAM Fitness Classes
No link for my #1 - this one is all experience. I taught group ex classes at several locations in 2014, but it wasn't until the start of 2015, when I found a home at the TAM facility in Niles, that my fitness career really took off. It was my first opportunity to teach ZUMBA Step, which quickly became one of the center's highlight classes. As my class (and my popularity) grew, I was given the opportunity to add more classes, including regular ZUMBA, strength classes, and even yoga by the time I had to depart. But it wasn't just teaching the classes that made my time at TAM so important - it was the connections I made with my amazing students. We connected mind, body, and soul, and those women have touched my life permanently. Through them I learned how to connect with my classes, and I'm having plenty of success here in Cleveland with my new classes, but they'll never be quite the same as those gals back at TAM, who believed in me, celebrated my successes, and helped me grow. Thanks so much ladies, you'll always be in my heart.
What places or events in your life have left a lasting impression on you? What makes you homesick?