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Finding your Fitspiration

by Erika Slife Hostetler | Dec 18, 2018


Every day, hundreds of people come through the doors of Galter LifeCenter. Some shuffle in. Others burst. Some enter with heads down. Others meet our front desk with wide smiles. But while we all have our own unique entrances into the gym, one thing unites us as we walk through the front door: a motivation to be here.

Indeed, one of the inspirational signs in the membership parking lot tells us, “You’ve won half the battle: getting here.”

But what’s the other half of that battle? What’s the other part of the story? What drives people to come to Galter? And more importantly, what, or perhaps who, inspires them to exercise? We decided to ask some of our members and the answer, it seems, is much deeper than simply to look good.

Reem Al-qaysi

For Reem Al-qaysi, Galter LifeCenter has been a life-changing source of support for her after she received the shocking news in 2016 that her 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

“Everything changed for me,” said Reem, while holding her phone close to her, as she always does, because it tracks her daughter’s blood sugar levels. At the time of her daughter’s diagnosis, Reem had been pursuing a master’s degree, but, “I just stopped everything…and all my time and all my energy was for her. So I really had bad days.”

With a husband who worked and studied long hours, and their close family members back in Baghdad, Reem struggled alone to not only care for her sick daughter, but a new baby as well. By the time she joined Galter in 2017, she had gained weight and was tense with stress and worry.

“My emotions were so roller coaster,” she said.

IMG_F1532A90C010-1 Her first class was Group Fight , a mixed martial arts-inspired, cardiovascular workout, with plenty of punches and kicks – a seemingly perfect class to air out her frustrations.

“After I finished that class, I just started to cry,” she said. “I just needed that energy. I said to my husband, coming here is going to be my therapy. Ever since that day, everything changed for me.”

Reem made Galter a routine part of her life, with Group Fight, Group Centergy and Group Groove among her favorite classes. And the improvements were remarkable, she said. She not only lost weight, and felt stronger, but she became more confident in the care of her daughter, Missy, who is now 7.

“Before, I used to avoid talking about my daughter, but now I can talk, and believe it or not, I’m proud that I can handle it,” she said. “Now, I’m trying to help other moms who are going through it… Coming here, I swear to God, was the key."

Sinane Goulet

Sinane Goulet, 49, has been a member of Galter since 2000, but she’s been a dancer since she could walk.

“I’m Brazilian and it doesn’t matter if it’s Easter, or Thanksgiving, or friends drop by, Carnival parties, we just always have different kinds of dance going on,” she said. “Dance was always a part of my life.”

So the devastation of being diagnosed in her mid-20s with non-rheumatoid arthritis, called ankylosing spondylitis, was profound, she said.

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“That was a huge blow, that was hard,” she said. “I had trouble walking, a whole host of medications. My husband and I couldn’t start a family right away.”

Sinane felt blindsided. She was in the prime of her life, but instead of hitting the dance floor, she was in physical therapy, worried that her joints would someday fuse together. She was put on medication to help slow the progression of the disease.

After her diagnosis, she spent the next several years getting acclimated to her new normal, adjusting to medication, and devoting herself to physical therapy. But she had important goals: start a family and dance again.

“I wanted to be clean,” from medication, she said. “That was my goal.”

It took her 1.5 years to safely withdraw from the medication, but with the help of physical therapy and a nutritionist, she was able to carry two healthy pregnancies.

She started medication soon after, and was able to lace up her dancing shoes.

“The ankylosing spondylitis, as it progresses, the risk is that your joints fuse and the main thing that stops that is movement,” she said. “So between flexibility and activity, that’s what is most correlated with avoiding fusion. Yes, medication stops the progression of the disease in some ways, but really, staying active is going to stop the fusion."

She continued, "Or, if you’re going to be fused, ok, but let’s keep you strong and flexible so that if your joints do fuse, you’re in the optimal position. So that was very motivating. And for me, I just want to dance again!”

She said Galter LifeCenter has been an important source of support for her as she continues to battle her disease. She had a full knee replacement surgery in July, and is now starting to make her comeback.

“I’d like to add how awesome the (Galter LifeCenter) instructors are,” she said. “They always offer adjustments for different health needs and are so committed to each person’s individual health needs and abilities. They seem to embrace each person’s fitness goals. And the community of people is so supportive.”

Rachel Kabance

Rachel Kabance, 40, is all too familiar with mobility issues. She grew up watching her mother suffer from osteoarthritis, which Rachel said began very early in her mom’s life.

“I’ve watched her range of motion steadily decrease over time. This was my original motivation for exercising,” she said. “I live in fear of what is to come.”

She said, as a teenager, she would find her mother “lying on the couch because of muscle spasms in her back.” Her mom had multiple surgeries, beginning in the joints of her toes, and progressing to her knees, hips and two areas of her spine – all before the age of 70.

As a mother of four children herself, Kabance makes Galter LifeCenter a priority in her busy life. A member since 2017, she takes Fluidity Barre, Group Core and Group Centergy to build strength, balance and a greater range of motion.

“Whenever I take a break, my body is sure to remind me of the importance to keep going. It doesn’t take long for aches and pains to set in that remind of those days I would see my mother lying on the couch in pain and unable to move,” she said. “Those physical reminders that my body sends me are far more painful than any soreness of any class I take. So, I keep going because the more I move, the better I can move. That is worth everything to me.”

Jim Greve

For Jim Greve, 69, he just wanted to feel better in retirement.

“I decided I need to get in shape and lose some weight,” Jim said.

He’d heard about Galter LifeCenter from some friends, and decided that since he had the time, he had no excuse not to join. So he did in 2011.

“And it totally stuck,” he said.

He became addicted to the gym’s aquatic classes, such Aqua Mix, Aqua Blast and Aqua Zumba, and his dedication helped him lose 65 pounds. He said he spends up to three hours a day at Galter, going to classes, and socializing with friends. 

“I want to feel good, and I want to feel better,” Jim said. “It’s the biggest thing I do in retirement.”

Chris Richter 

Chris Richter also joined Galter LifeCenter after she retired.

“I joined when I retired because I was so out of shape. I thought I have the time now, I’m three minutes away, there’s no excuse for me not going,” she said. “So I came here.”

Chris, who gives her age as “ageless,” joined Galter 2012. It became an essential part of her life.

She lost 30 pounds with the help of Galter classes, including Group Fight, Group Groove, Group Power, All Body Conditioning, ViPR, Power Plate Synergy and TRX.

“Over the years I’ve made some really wonderful friends. I love all the trainers and the staff, as well,” Chris said. “I come here to work out, as well as socialize. That’s a big part, and I love (it).  It usually takes me a half hour to get in (and out), because I have to greet everybody in the offices, and then when I leave, I have to say goodbye to everybody!”

And she said, thanks to her Galter habit, “I feel wonderful.”

And that is true inspiration. Fitspiration.

What’s yours?


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    "My life has changed since I joined Galter LifeCenter because I'm firmer, stronger and more optimistic." - Stephanie