Not only did I learn (and understand!) leaps and bounds more about fitness and nutrition than I ever knew before, I found a PASSION for fitness that I didn’t think was possible. - Ninja Ashley
I don’t remember the FIRST time I was made to feel ashamed of my weight, but I do remember many, many other times when I was. I’ll probably never forget the joy I felt when I finally made the cheerleading squad, joy that quickly turned into something much darker and hurtful when I overheard our coach whispering about whether or not there would be an outfit that would actually fit me. Or the time I worked all summer practicing so I’d be good enough to make the varsity volleyball team, only to be pulled aside by the coach and told I should wear different shorts than all the other girls because “no one is going to want to see you in spandex shorts.” When I was invited to prom by an upper-classmen, and then cried in the department store dressing room because nothing fit me the way it was supposed to. Those are specific memories, ones that go alongside the countless times I was mocked, teased, or whispered about, all because I’d struggled with being overweight from a very young age. The most mortifying moment may have been when, while on the phone with my boyfriend at the time, his friends who were with him began to moo. Loudly. I’m not sure if I was more upset with his friends for being so needlessly cruel, or to him for not sticking up for me (he was dumped the following day, don’t worry).
Memories like this, coupled with cruel children and teens, adults who didn’t know how to equate greatness with anything but the size of your waist, and the constant barrage of images within our photoshop-happy society telling you to be a certain size OR ELSE, made me grow up hating myself, ashamed for how I looked and not being able to change it. Mirrors and scales became my enemy, shopping trips an anxiety attack because I’d inevitably end up in tears; I spent countless hours, years even, looking into reflections and wishing, desperately, to look different. But I did more than just wish; yo-yo dieting, inconsistent fitness, and trying every pill, powder, diet, workout plan, accountability group, frozen dinner, do it yourself at home workout known to man, all of which lead to failure, and lead me to believe that all I would ever be was fat, unhappy, unhealthy, and unappealing. Watching the scale tick up, up, up, year after year, never knowing how to stop it, hitting weights I told myself I’d never allow myself to hit. Then surpassing them, and hitting even higher numbers.
As I teetered my way into adulthood, I attempted to start making healthier life choices – cutting out soda and fast food, attempting NOT to give into my sweet tooth every single day, leaving processed foods behind – none of these were necessarily in an effort to lose weight (because again, I’d already decided that I was just always going to be the fat girl) instead, they were an attempt to keep myself from dying young, or developing diabetes. I’d try new fitness regimes when they came out, inevitably get injured or frustrated or deem them too difficult, give up, and the cycle would repeat itself. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Mind you, none of this was changing anything about the way I saw myself; I still hated mirrors. I still avoided shopping. I had learned my fate and accepted it as gospel.
But then, the magical, ridiculous, extraordinary humans at Mark Fisher Fitness changed everything.
After years of trying, struggling, and failing, there were results. And not just a few results, there were RESULTS. In just six weeks, Snatched did for me what years upon years of struggling couldn’t do – it worked. 15 pounds? 5 inches from my waist? 3 inches from my hips? What WAS this magical elixir they were giving me?! I couldn’t believe it when it first started happening, in fact I was convinced that my brand new scale was broken and that I was, somehow, using my measuring tape wrong. I just couldn’t be true that after trying everything, that this was now working. But it WAS true. And it was magic; the special brand of beautiful magic that each person, each ninja, at Mark Fisher Fitness possesses.
Not only did I learn (and understand!) leaps and bounds more about fitness and nutrition than I ever knew before, I found a PASSION for fitness that I didn’t think was possible. These incredible people have the ability to make sweating your ass off so much fun, you don’t even realize how hard you’re working. They show you how to make eating right interesting, and how to give your body what it needs instead of the garbage that we often THINK we need. They turned someone who continually struggled for motivation and desire, into someone who can’t wait to keep going, learn more, and reach all new mountain tops.
But more important than the physical results, are the mental and emotional ones. Twenty some years of emotional trauma ride around in these bones, words and insults and stories that years upon years later, I still can’t shake. Ideas about who I was and what my worth were. Snatched and Mark Fisher Fitness shattered them ALL. Not a day went by at Mark Fisher Fitness where I didn’t feel safe, loved, and cared for. When I needed support, there was always someone there. When I had a question (big or small) someone was always there with an answer and then some. When I was freaking out or having an emotional breakdown (which happened a LOT) there was a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen, and pep talks to clam me down and keep me going. More importantly than learning how to treat my body physically, I learned how to treat myself emotionally. I learned that all the horrible things I said about myself and all the wishing I could be someone else was ridiculous, because I am incredible, I am strong, I am wonderful. I am not broken, I am strong. And that’s what they do; they remind you of all the good stuff you’ve let yourself forget or let get beat out of you. They remind you that who you are today is a great version of you, and if you want to get better, then hey, let’s get better! They instill in you a strong sense of self, love, support, and community. Snatched works not simply because the program is incredible and this team of very smart, very talented, very sexy people knows what they’re doing, but also because this group of people is insanely caring, wonderfully warm, and truly, completely, care about YOU.
Snatched was one of the most incredible journeys I have ever taken in my life. I had no idea that six weeks could completely alter my life or who I was, I had no idea that I’d learn more in six weeks about fitness and nutrition than I have in 27 years of life. I had no idea that a “fitness challenge” could change my life. But it did. I showed up. I got 1% better. And I am continually 1% better, every single day, because Mark Fisher Fitness showed me how to love hard, dig deep, and go for more.