The day I became an "Athlete"

 Cheri had never considered herself athletic, much less an athlete. A few weeks ago Cheri competed in FemSport, an empowering Women's Strength and Fitness Competition. While Cheri placed 3rd in her category, her greatest joy came from the atmosphere of women encouraging other women to give it their best;  whatever  their best may be.

Cheri had never considered herself athletic, much less an athlete. A few weeks ago Cheri competed in FemSport, an empowering Women's Strength and Fitness Competition. While Cheri placed 3rd in her category, her greatest joy came from the atmosphere of women encouraging other women to give it their best; whatever their best may be.

I began at Encompass in October of 2016 when I joined the KickStart Program. I lost weight and learned how to eat healthier, but what really impressed me were the workouts. At Encompass, the workouts were fun and challenging! If I wasn’t ready for the most difficult version of an exercise, the coaches provided an easier option so I could still be successful. And, best of all, I was surrounded by great people who were enjoying the workouts, laughing and groaning along with me. Every time I left a workout, I was dripping with sweat, but I felt fantastic. I was hooked. I upgraded from 2 workouts/week to unlimited to get more of them.

One day, Kim made the suggestion that some of us should participate in the FemSport Women’s Strength and Fitness Competition in August of 2017 in Moose Jaw. I had never even heard of FemSport, but somehow I got myself talked into joining a team with two other Encompass members: Trina and Karla. We came up with a team name: 40STRONG, because we were all in, or approaching our forties, and the fittest we had been in a long time. Kim not only encouraged us, but she helped us every step of the way to prepare for the competition. We began training specifically for the event and every Tuesday night at 7:15 we flipped tires, did box jumps, and carried water jugs. On Sunday nights, we went to Fresh Air Fitness and dragged tires over the grass and pushed my car around. These practices were a blast. The nine of us cheered one another on and bonded as we worked together.

On the day of the FemSport competition, I was beyond terrified. I kept thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing here? By chance, out of 57 competitors, I was number 1. As I stood at the starting line, my legs were shaking and I thought I was going to throw up. But when I started, I heard the cheers of the crowd around me. Everyone wanted me to succeed. Somehow I managed to make it through the obstacle course, right up to the car. I put my hands on the bumper and was amazed by how easy it felt to move it. When I pushed it across the line 60 feet later, people were cheering, hugging me, and high-fiving me. Coach Kim was so proud of me, that she was crying! That felt amazing. That feeling continued all day, and I continued to surprise myself. I was having a blast! I was an athlete! Everyone there was an athlete! There were women who could do 50 box jumps in record time, and women who did 3... and everyone cheered for each of them!  I refused to look at the scores because they didn’t really matter that much. I was too busy cheering on the other eight amazing ladies from Estevan. At the end of the day, I saw my scores and they were actually pretty good. I flipped the 260 pound tire six times in 18 seconds!

I have never considered myself to be athletic, but thanks to Encompass, I am stronger and more confident than I’ve ever been. In October of 2016, I was afraid to jump up on the box jump. The first time I did it, Coach Thomas had to hold my hands. Ten months later, I did 50 box jumps at FemSport in 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Karla, Trina and I have already started planning for FemSport next year. We are going to start preparing even earlier, and our team name is going to be 40STRONGER.

Come and join us! You may just discover that you’re an athlete too!