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women's fitness spa

Women’s Fitness Spa

“I moved to Bristol two years ago and after months of unsuccessful searching, I stumbled upon the YWCA’s website.  It looked like it could be the perfect fit for me.  A fitness spa for women that was affordable, offered personal training included in the monthly fee, presents different options each month for group classes, and employed a skilled fitness staff.  I did the free week trial and was extremely impressed with the facilities, how welcome I felt by the staff and what great structure the classes provided me.  I began to develop new friendships with great ladies, both with the staff and other members.  Little did I know what a life changing experience I was about to have.

            In September of 2011, the YWCA held their annual Turkey Trot 5K Training.  I had never been interested in running.  In the past, I had always been active in some way but had no desire to run.  This stemmed from many failed attempts to become a runner.  Before that time, my last attempt was a miserable one.  The gym I went to had an indoor track and I would run around and around just to get one mile in.  I honestly hated it.  It was so boring going in circles all the time.  Plus I had terrible shin splints that required daily icing and ibuprofen.  So you can imagine when Sara Guinn and Katelyn Carswell, two of the trainers at the YWCA, approached me about enrolling in an eight week 5K training program how unenthused I was.  I told them both I had never been a runner and that when I had tried; I had failed and had given up on the idea.  In the weeks prior to training, I received gentle coaxing from both trainers.  They encouraged me by saying they knew I could do it.  I had been attending several classes they offered throughout each month and they said I was definitely in good shape to try.  A bit begrudgingly I signed up for the training.  The training was set up for every skill level.  We started out slowly by running for 30 seconds and then walking a minute.  Each day of training we would increase our running time.  The trainers were so patient and gave me fantastic support every day.  Amazingly, I was feeling no pain and was thoroughly enjoying my time while running and taking in the scenery as we ran different routes outdoors!  By week eight, I couldn’t believe it but I was able to run the whole 3.1 miles without stopping or walking.  Motivated by this newfound ability not only did I run the 5K Turkey Trot but I ran another 5K race the very next day!  With the help and guidance of the trainers, I kept running 5K races and sometime in March 2012 ran my first 10K.  I was astonished I was able to complete 6.2 miles.  In August, Sara, I and a few of the other YWCA ladies got together and decided we were going to train for our very first half marathon. 13.1 miles!  The task ahead seemed difficult and I wondered if it was a goal I could achieve.  Once again, Sara came through and motivated me every step of the way.  We persevered and completed our first half marathon October 27, 2012.  Less than a year since I started running.  Their constant encouragement and support truly made it possible for me to achieve what seemed like a farfetched goal to me.

            It doesn’t stop there.  We will start training for a full marathon this year.  I cannot wait to have those 26.2 miles under my belt.  Running has become a favorite hobby of mine.  It clears my mind and makes my body feel incredible.  A level of health I’ve never felt before.  My life will forever be a healthier, happier one and it is all thanks to the YWCA.”

-Catherine Schaack



            “I don’t do anything by myself, so it was a major step for me to join the YWCA when I really didn’t know anyone. Sara was the first person I had contact with and she made me feel welcome from day one.  All the staff (Katelyn, Sara, and Sarah) encouraged me to join in the group classes and they assured me that the things I absolutely could not do would come in time.  They reminded me that persistence and hard work would pay off.  Through these classes, I have had the opportunity to get to know a great bunch of women who are happy for each one of our accomplishments.  It makes working out something to look forward to.  I have achieved more than I ever thought possible and I truly couldn’t have done it without the guidance and encouragement that all these wonderful people have provided me.”

-Annette Wesley




            “I love being a member of the YWCA.  It is a wonderful place to work out.  I like the staff; they are very helpful and friendly.  Since I have started exercising and watching what I eat, my cholesterol has dropped from the danger zone to a safe zone.  I have lost several pounds as well.  Now I can fit into my favorite clothes!  I look at this as a lifestyle change.  It is something I do for myself.  When I go to work out I want to make it as much fun as possible.  It is amazing how time flies by when you put fun into a work out.”

                                               -Joyce McCracken