“I didn’t play ANY sports in high school…” “What sports did you play in high school?” It’s the first question EVERYONE asks when they start training with me. To their surprise, I tell them I didn’t play any sports in school. In fact, I dreaded structured exercise. I was that kid in middle school gym class that would try anything to get out of running the mile in the fitness tests. Everything changed my freshman year in high school. During a casual game of softball, I remember swinging the bat and I immediately had the worst pain in my back I’d ever felt. That evening it got worse. It spread to all of my major joints—hips, knees, shoulders...I was immobilized in bed. I bounced around from doctor to doctor and none of them had an answer for me. One finally told me I had a rare virus that had set into my joints and would last for up to 9 months. That doctor said exercise was going to be critical for me. After laying around for months, I finally felt ready to get up and try some movement. Months of slow, steady progress had me feeling like I was ready. It was daunting to start something though, and I was so sure it would be the worst thing EVER. I owe great thanks my mother, who encouraged me to come to the athletic club with her and attend a group exercise class. Frankly, I just thought it sounded way better than going for a run around the track. I LOVED it. I felt like I'd found community! It was fun. I WANTED to go to my workouts. I felt crabby when I MISSED it. These were all feelings I NEVER expected. I did kickboxing classes, weight classes and step classes. It was fun going with my mom and before long I convinced three of my best friends to join me. Suddenly the gym was the “cool” place to be after school...well, to ME anyways. :) After graduation, I decided to follow my passion and start training and get into the fitness industry. I was a little nervous since I’d heard it’s hard to get started, but I was ready to work hard to get my foot in the door. I’m grateful to have had a whole team supporting me on my fitness journey and now I’m excited to be part of a team to support YOU in YOUR journey! I know how hard it is to try something new, and it's important to remember that the first step is always the biggest. My experience of being in the same shoes as many, many others out there today gave me a unique perspective and a window into how to best provide the same community of support that my mom, instructors and friends had given me. After all, together we are stronger. And if I can do it, so can you! Danelle is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. Her commitment and goal at Healthy Simple Life is to help everyone enjoy fitness as part of their active lifestyle and/or as a way to reach their health goals. Contact the HSL Team to set up an appointment with Danelle today.