Amy Louttit prior to 2015
June 4th, 2015 will be a day that I will always remember as one that was a turning point for me in my life. It was my first appointment with Sara at what was known then as Sara and Nathan’s Garage Gym, 5 months later it would expand and become Southwest Strength. I had lost 40 lbs and kept it off for over a year by then, I exercised a few days a week, mostly doing cardio from at home dvds. But I was neither fit or in shape and I felt I needed to be by January 2016 for my triennial. It’s a weeklong physical testing for my job including shooting, take downs, ground fighting, burnout drills, etc. I was lacking upper body strength, it even exhausted me to hold my gun stretched out in front of me for moderate periods of time. That is where Sara came in. I started personal training with her once a week, then when the garage gym expanded to Southwest Strength, I started group classes 3 times a week and within 3 months I had an unlimited membership and was there at least 4 times a week, fast forward to now and not only am I going a minimum 5 times a week, but we have an unlimited family membership and every person in my household attends classes or does personal training. Not only did I pass my triennial in January 2016, but I rocked it and in the process gained a confidence about my body and what I was capable of, that I had never had before.
Southwest Strength changed my whole attitude of exactly what it meant to be fit. I always associated being fit with being skinny when the 2 things have nothing to do with each other. I was always trying to change the numbers on my scale, I thought the lower the number the better person I would be and the better I would feel about myself. It’s not true. I now know after having Sara and Nathan as coaches and with the community at Southwest Strength that the scale is just one of many numbers. More important numbers are did I increase the weight on my back squat this week or do more reps, was I able to do one more burpee in 30 sec than I did in the tester 4 months ago or can I swing the 53lb kettle bell instead of the 45lb now. Nathan and Sara plan and teach the workouts like this, because they want every single person that goes to the gym to succeed and get better. It may be something like PRing a movement like a back squat or Deadlift, or moving through the different scaled versions of a movement. Every day/week they are there encouraging you to push yourself just a little harder than last time so you can see the best that you are capable of. Even if you didn’t believe you could, they did! They greet you with a hello when you get to the gym and you always get a high five after the workout before you leave. If Sara and Nathan were not the encouraging, and flexible coaches that they are, I don’t think I would be where I am today in terms of my fitness. They understand that I work shift work and have two busy teenagers, I sometimes can’t make it to a class (and I hate to miss, just ask Chris), Nathan will send me an adapted workout I can do at home or one we can do on the road in our hotel room.
I’ve learned to focus on my little improvements to get to big ones, I love being able to look back in my journal and see the progress that I have made doing things that I never would have dreamed were possible. My biggest accomplishment to date, would be doing my first pull up on my 39th birthday and even better yet, less than a month later being able to do 30 plus pull ups a week. (Remember my lack of upper body strength I had only 2 years ago)
Along with being fit in the gym, I have also come to terms with what needs to be done in the kitchen to make that happen. I asked Sara one day for help on this. She made some suggestions and set me on a path that has been successful for me in the last few months. I’m losing my last 10 stubborn pounds but at the same time becoming leaner and stronger. And she checks in on me, out of the blue just to see if there is anything that I have questions about or how I’m doing with things. That not just a coach, that is also a friend. I no longer look at how many calories are in food, I look at what is it made of, what the breakdown of the marcos are. I have also learned that it’s not just what you eat but when you eat it.
There is support from other gym members about this as well. We share recipes and talk about new products that we have tried, all usually during warm up or between sets, lol.
The atmosphere at Southwest strength is so relaxed and friendly. It is one of the best parts of going there each day. In a given class the ages of the clients can range over 50 years from the oldest to the youngest and yet everyone is doing the same thing (within scaled variations), you are never forced to do something that you are uncomfortable with doing. If you are thinking you need a change in your life or exercise routine or have drove by and thought I should do that. What are you waiting for? Contacting Sara or Nathan is your first step! Or contact a friend who maybe a gym member and come with them to a free class. There is always laughter in the class, no pressure that you can’t do something. You will look back in 2 years like I am now and wonder, why you waited so long.
Even on my worst days, as soon as I walk in the door at Southwest Strength, it puts a smile on my face. As the door closes behind me, I take a deep breath and I know that the next hour is just for me and it will be what I make of it.