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August 2019: Brielle Smith University Hills Shredder | Denver, CO

August 2, 2019

“I’ve lost an additional 65 pounds (now down a total of 150 lbs), but what’s even more remarkable is what I’ve gained – strength, confidence, community, and a love for moving my body that I didn’t think existed.”

Technically, my Shred415 journey began 6 months ago, but if I’m being honest, my whole life has been gradually leading me to this moment. I was about 8-years old when I first remember being different than some of my friends (i.e., being overweight, wearing bigger clothing.) During my childhood it caused me a great deal of anxiety, but to cope with it, I found volleyball. I played volleyball year-round (and every second I could) beginning from age 10 and through college. Volleyball kept me active and though I was still overweight, it allowed me to enjoy exercise for many years. College ended, rigorous PA school came, and adulthood threw me for a loop. Flash forward 6 years and I found myself somewhere I never thought I would be. 

A little over a year ago, I saw a number on a scale that absolutely terrified me. I hadn’t weighed myself in a couple of years in fear of what I would find, but looking back now it was that fear that ultimately prompted change. I decided that as a healthcare provider, counseling people on healthy habits daily, I needed to let my actions speak louder than my words and I needed to make some significant changes. Fad diets can work for a season but I needed to change my life. I started working with a dietician and took some steps to begin losing weight, but I felt scared to start working out again. So many emotions and thoughts began to flood my mind- where do I start? How do I start? What exercises should I do? Am I going to be judged or look stupid? What if I don’t succeed?

About 10-11 months ago, I was scrolling through social media and came across a post about a new gym opening near my house. One of my friends Leslie was sharing her experience with Shred415, how much she loved it and that she was going to be an Instructor once it opened. This sparked an interest but my insecurities got the best of me and I was too afraid to pull the trigger. 
A few more months passed by, the 24 hour gym membership I signed up for still unused, and I saw another post about Shred415 from Leslie. Something in me decided that I was ready to give this a shot. At that time, I already lost 85 pounds, which was a wonderful accomplishment, but I knew it was time to start making exercise and fitness a priority as I continued working toward 
my goals.

The first day I had signed up to go to a class at Shred415, there was a blizzard. I almost canceled and the fear and doubt creeping into my mind told me I should. Leslie was teaching the class that evening, and she continued to encourage me to come. I finished that first class and immediately knew I was hooked. Initially, I wanted to only go to a class if I knew my friend would be there but found that was an unrealistic expectation. I went to a few classes on my own, trying to remain hidden in the corner, however I quickly realized that every single person in that room was not judging or comparing but rather encouraging and uplifting one another. The front desk staff knew my name which made me feel at home and welcomed every time I walked in the door and the Instructors have been absolutely incredible in facilitating a physically challenging yet friendly and fun environment. I started out only being able to walk during the treadmill portions of the class and now I’m running and increasing my pace regularly. Me? A runner? What is this life?

I’ve been at Shred415 now for almost 6 months, and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love the variety that each of the Instructors brings to the table and that I can show up, even on my worst day, and gain something from being in that dark, loud, room for an hour. I’ve lost an additional 65 pounds (now down a total of 150 lbs), but what’s even more remarkable is what I’ve gained: Strength, confidence, community, and a love for moving my body that I didn’t think existed. My fear has been replaced with joy and my self-doubt transformed into excitement for my life. I am so thrilled to continue my journey to a happier, healthier lifestyle and even more grateful to be part of this Shred415 family.