Dedicated Girl

This morning, as I went out to warm up the Saabaru for the morning trek to the gym I noted the temperature that my little buggy cheerfully provides: six degrees.  It occurred to me that perhaps I had finally reached Dedicated Girl status; that enviable gym rat status that I had always hoped to attain and admired in a lot of other people, but had never quite nailed. Typically I would attend faithfully for several weeks, sometimes months and then sort of taper off in boredom.

The last two years have been different, though. Shortly after joining Gold’s a tall, gorgeous black woman came up to me at the gym,  thrust out the most amazingly sculpted arm and introduced herself as Crystal Joy Brown.  She gave me a quick rundown of her classes and said she hoped I would join her. A few weeks later my gym buddy Maryann told me she took one of Crystal’s classes and it was fantastic, so of course I had to give it a try.

The classes, part tent revival and part sweat fest, were amazingly intense but somehow Crystal managed to make it fun. She made funny faces, clowned with the class and made a point of knowing nearly everyone’s name.  Someone from the class would invariably be called upon to join her on stage for part of a set to the cheers of the entire class. I was hooked. I later learned that Crystal had once weighed in at nearly 400 lbs. making me realize that gorgeous arms might actually be in the realm of possibility for a mere mortal like myself.

A couple of years ago Crystal posted a Holiday Fitness Challenge on Facebook whose goal was fairly simple: do something active every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  We were encouraged to post our progress on the wall for everyone to see and cheered for one another along the way. Being accountable to a bunch of people turned out to be just what I needed to get myself into the habit of going to the gym on a regular basis and I began removing the obstacles (real or imagined) to getting to the gym.  It has worked out well, and I’m happy to say that I’m a morning regular at Gold’s.

Dedicated Girl status has had some amazing benefits.  I’m healthier than ever before, have an amazing amount of energy and working out on a regular basis is a fantastic confidence builder; pushing myself to the limit in a Spin marathon or surviving a Sunday morning Boot Camp without hurling made me realize I could do pretty much anything. The relationship between exercise and maintaining a balanced and sane life is very real, and I have come to believe that exercise is pretty much the Cure for everything that ails humanity. A sort of side bonus in all of this is that I have made some amazing and inspiring friends who are on the same journey of self discovery; birds of a feather do indeed flock together.

I’d better get to the gym now…



  1. Arlene Webb said,

    February 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    You give me hope that a person who’s steadily avoided any sort of organized labor for 55 years can learn to change.

  2. July 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    […] really began to run at the encouragement of Crystal Joy Brown, our personal trainer and friend who is an amazing person in her own right having once weighed in […]

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