Member Success Story: Melissa Gill

Before I joined Artemis, my body felt like an obstacle. After years of avoiding any kind of exercise I was pretty out of shape and even more self­-conscious about it. I started noticing I was unable to do things that I wanted to and felt I should be able to and eventually admitted to myself that I couldn’t just avoid exercise forever. As a recent college grad with a new job and no other responsibilities, I realized there was never going to be a more ideal time to take action.

I tried joining a gym, but uncertainty and self­-consciousness kept me on the cardio machines which left me counting down the seconds until I was done. Doing workout videos at home gave me access to a wider variety of movements, but it was hard to keep consistent and I became discouraged when I wasn’t seeing any improvement.

There were two major flaws with these strategies: their schedules were not procrastination­proof, and I had no idea what I was doing.

Artemis was close by and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try a free class, so I woke up one Saturday, set aside my uncertainty, and dragged myself in for my first fundamentals class. What I found there was a variety of exercises and modifications for any level, trainers who were attentive and invested in ensuring the class was successful for everyone, and an incredibly encouraging and inspiring group of women.

I quickly realized that shame and embarrassment are irrelevant at Artemis. Everyone is at a different fitness level and has their own individual challenges. No one is there to judge, they’re there to work towards their own fitness goals and to celebrate each other's progress.

As a beginner, the personal training sessions were incredibly helpful in really jump-starting my fitness journey. I don’t know why I had previously expected myself to know how to start working out effectively after years of inactivity but personal training made it obvious that I was entirely clueless. I needed explanations of the correct form for every exercise, and modifications for most. I learned something in each session that I was able to apply to the classes and that was very rewarding.

Initially I often found myself halfway through class doubled over, struggling to catch my breath and wondering how everyone around me seemed to be able to carry out conversations during the thirty second rests, but with some stubbornness, encouragement, and time I started to notice improvement.

Over the first couple months I found that I was able to sustain effort for the full thirty seconds more and more frequently, and that I no longer needed the entire rest to catch my breath. My form and strength were improving as well and I found that I needed fewer modifications. There was no better motivator for me than seeing my effort produce results.

I’ve now been a member at Artemis for almost a year and I have never felt better or stronger. There are definitely days when it’s difficult to convince myself to go to class, but there are also days that I look forward to going and celebrating where I am now by pushing to progress further.

I still have a lot of work to do to reach my original goals, but I have already achieved more than I realized I could. Finding Artemis has enabled me to become a better version of myself. I am excited to continue improving and trying new things. I no longer get embarrassed or frustrated by my limitations because I know I’m working towards overcoming them ­ I am strong and can be confident despite them. I am proud of myself and I am proud of my body.