January Member of the Month (Kirkwood) – Ksenia!

Our January Member of the Month is Ksenia! Ksenia is a rock star in the evening classes with a great story that includes an Olympic torch and Siberia and losing dress sizes. Coach Maddie has this to say:

“Ksenia has been a dedicated member at the Kirk for over a year. We can always count on her to show up, work hard, and have an awesome attitude. She continually hits personal records from holding a 3 minute plank to improving her mile time and getting stronger.  She is constantly smiling, cheering others by name and giving EVERY person in class high fives. This is what the FitWit community is all about. Great work Ksenia!”

Hometown: Moscow, Russia

Age: 34

Occupation: Marketing for NCR

When did you first start FitWiting? July 2016

Tell us about your sports & fitness background: My father was a professional swimmer and marathon runner, so I was always pretty active in sports. I did a lot of water and winter sports growing up. In college I learned that group classes work very well for me as I pushed myself harder and was more likely to show up to class. Throughout the years I tried a lot of different group classes – yoga, TRX, pilates, spin, barre, cardio, bootcamp and weights, but I would not commit for a long time. In 2009, I signed up for my first Olympic triathlon with Team in Training. I always had a lot of endurance, so long-distance races were the right fit for me. I completed 6 triathlons and 2 half marathons, but I had to take a break from racing and working out for almost three years due to injuries. After that I struggled to get back to shape and get strength back.  When my husband and I moved to Candler Park in 2016, I started looking for a gym in the neighborhood as I knew it was time to start taking care of myself again.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting FitWit? I keep track of the assessed workouts, so it is amazing to see the progress that I have made in last 18 months. I doubled the plank time. I am able now to do a full push up. I could not even attempt an assisted pull up when I first started, but I now feel much more confident with it and my goal for this year is to do my first full pull up. I went from 20lbs kettle bell for my swings to 35-40lbs. Thanks to mobility exercises, warm ups and cool downs, I managed to stay away from my old injuries.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like FitWit that were totally unexpected? When I first signed up for FitWit, my goal was to lose weight. I was getting very frustrated when I did not see any results on my scale that I was checking weekly. Then I realized that I needed to stop looking at the scale and let my clothes and mirror show the progress. My weight did not change since July 2016, but I dropped two dress sizes and a few inches off my waistline. This was a big aha moment for me.

I also did not expect that after commuting to Duluth for work last 3 years, I would be able to commit to regular workouts in the evening. After a long day at work and exhausting commute, the last thing I wanted to do was to workout at 7:15pm. I had my ups and downs. I had to take time off here and there to regroup and get some rest. However, my progress, challenging workouts, encouraging coaches, and supportive community made it easier for me to show up every time. Before I was finding the excuses to miss a workout, now FitWit is part of my weekly routine that I’m committed to.

Why do you FitWit? I like challenging workouts that push me out of my comfort zone. I love the coaches who made an effort to remember my name from day 1 and who are our biggest cheerleaders. I’m excited to come to class and see familiar faces of fellow campers who give high fives for pushing each other or who encouraging each other when it is needed the most.

Favorite workouts? I always enjoy partner workouts, even burpees are more enjoyable doing with a partner. I also love doing slam balls after a tough day at work.

Least favorite workouts? Anything burpee, especially “100 burpees in 12 minutes” workout…It is always a mental game for me when we have burpees on the board… However, lately I started noticing that I’m getting much stronger and more confident with burpees and actually look forward to doing them.

Three words to describe you: Adventurous, positive and empathetic

Any favorite FitWit moments? Team week, of course! So much fun!

Fitness Goals? 4 min plank; 2 unassisted pull-ups; 20 double unders; 7-minute mile; progress to Red challenge level; get a 2-yr FitWit t-shirt in the end of this year.

Words to live by (Favorite Quote)? 1. A little progress each day adds up to big results. 2. The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.

Something cool we don’t know about you?

  • I’m Russian by birth, American by choice.
  • I have an MBA from Sorbonne in Paris and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
  • In 2014 I traveled all over Russia with the Olympic Torch Relay team and had an opportunity to become an Olympic torchbearer in 4th largest city in Russia.
  • I’m afraid of heights, but I did skydiving once.
  • My favorite TV show is The Amazing Race.
  • I lived in Siberia in the 80’s where my parents worked on the Trans-Siberian Railroad project.

Anything else you’d care to share? Thank you to all FitWit staff for everything you do on a daily basis! I have not experienced anything like this in any other gym that I belonged in the past. The sense of community is very addicting and is one of the main reasons why I FitWit.