When I created Pending Fitness, I knew right away that it was a great idea. My eyes lit up just talking about it and sharing the concept with others made me grin with pride. I knew that the primary goal of offering fitness classes to those who don't have easy access to health and fitness programs was significant and worthwhile. I knew that offering these fitness classes would bring contentment and satisfaction to me personally, and hopefully, happiness and a sense of accomplishment to those who received them.
But here’s what I didn't know. I didn't know that those who received the fitness classes would want to pay it forward to other groups. I didn't know how powerful it would be for a teenager or a woman surviving ovarian cancer to try something new, and have fun with it. And I surely didn't know that I would feel overwhelmed with emotion with each class I have taught.
I have conducted several Pending Fitness classes since launching the initiative in December. All have been wonderful, including the ones offered to the groups/businesses that have “donated” the classes to others. I want to share just two of the classes that stick out in my mind as having a real emotional and powerful impact on me.
The first class was donated by MEC and the North End Runners. This group, by vote on the night of their spin class, chose Hope Blooms as the recipient of their Pending Fitness class. The vote, in and of itself, was highly emotional. But when those 7 kids came into the gym a few months ago, bounded into the Annex with excitement and wonder, well, my heart runneth over. The plan was to offer a Barre class - and we did for a bit - but they saw the TRX straps and wanted to try them, and so, why not?! To watch the kids’ faces light up when trying TRX (something that clearly they had never done before) was magical! But the best and most moving part of the afternoon was when the program coordinator came up to me at the end of the class and told me that he thought the program was so wonderful that he was going to get his group to donate a class to another group. Wow - “pending fitness” in its truest and most honest form.
The other night I hosted a Pending Fitness class for the ovarian cancer community. This class was donated by Southwest Properties who have been so generous and receptive to the Pending Fitness initiative. I knew that going into this class, I was going to feel emotional. What I didn't expect was for one of the women to come up to me before class and say “I just came from chemo.” Can you imagine how strong this woman must be to have gone through such a gruelling and taxing ordeal and come to do a Barre class? That same woman and I spoke after and she told me that being “on point” actually made her feel good (lessening the sensation that is brought on by neuropathy). My heart started beating really fast and I needed to take a break so I left the room for a few moments. I don’t know this woman but I could tell that she was not the type of person who would want people to “feel bad for her.” She talked about how fitness has helped her through her treatments, and somehow, when others are just too tired or too sick to move, she found resolve and strength to keep active. She readily agreed that that solution was not right for everyone, but can you imagine how inspired I felt?
I knew that I would feel gratified by launching and offering Pending Fitness classes. I knew that people would respond positively to both giving and receiving the classes. But I never truly knew the profound impact that these classes would have on me and my perspective on the notions of “strength” and “compassion” and “inspiration”.