As an athlete for nine years, I naturally look for a workout that is going to push me to my limits, push me to get stronger. However, by the time I graduated from college, I had stress fractures, falling arches and a possible labral tear in my groin. Needless to say, I knew it was time to admit to myself that I needed a break from sprinting and running all together really—but the idea of never running again scared me if not a little depressed, so I decided to try transitioning myself into distance running (so much for taking a break, right?). But running on the treadmill wasn’t my cup of tea and I knew based on the fact that I never ran more than 200 meters, that I was never going to be into distance running; running a 5k for me was only going to happen under severe peer pressure. In reality, I was tired of running—I had done it for 9 years after all—I wanted to continue being active because it was important to me but I wanted a new challenge.
After two years at Planet Fitness, I decided that I wanted more. I wanted to be able to do squats NOT on a Smith machine and take a class if I wanted to. And there are plenty of gyms out there, you have Genesis, the Y, and other various local gyms around the city but I found Zone 6 Fitness in Northtowne. Zone 6 opened in December with a mission to change the way people view going to the gym. Sure, it sounds nice if not like a pipe dream, but the employees at Zone 6 do care. I joined Zone 6 having left Planet Fitness where there is no a “no gymtimidation” policy. And there isn’t anything wrong with that policy, but there’s also nothing wrong with a buff guy taking his work out seriously even if that is intimidating to you. Yeah, the vibe is different at Zone 6; there is no pizza at the first of the month, the trainers remember your face if not your name and they are more interested in making sure you reach your fitness goals than they are in getting your monthly membership dues.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little weird going to Zone 6 the first couple of weeks. I forgot what it felt like to be around other athletes that felt the same intensity I felt every time I stepped into my blocks at the beginning of a race; that idea of victory in mind. Zone 6 isn’t a gym that’s only for athletes, but it is a haven for former (and current) athletes who still want to remain active and still be pushed to their limits. Since joining Zone 6 Fitness, I have taken nothing but group classes. And I love it. I like being able to embarrass myself in Zumba or simulate surfing during Juvo board class, I like getting my vinyasa on in Yoga class and I like beating out the day’s frustrations in pound class. It’s not running, but all of those classes challenge me in ways track never did; my shoulders usually burn after Juvo and Yoga and Zumba is a new type of cardio that doesn’t involve a finish line but challenges my coordination.
I may not be a runner anymore but I am still very much an athlete; just a different type of athlete. I’m a versatile athlete that pushes herself to be her strongest version of herself, whether that be holding Warrior 2, popping and locking harder than my pounding heart or paddling across the wooden floor that is my ocean even when my shoulders are screaming. I’ll never look the same way I did when I was running track— beastly shoulders and rippling muscles all the way up my leg—and for a long time that idea scared me, but I’m reaching a point in my life where, frankly, I’m okay with not looking the way I did during track season. For one I felt like I looked a little scary, but as I get older, I realize that my body needs a break and there are plenty of ways to get in shape and stay in the shape I want to be in without worrying about whether or not I’m gonna blow a knee cap or tear my groin if I extend just a wee bit more. Right now, it’s about loving my body for its capabilities and its potential and I’m getting there; with Zone 6 Fitness.