A Legacy of Fitness

Guest Post by Liverpool Member Kate Langlois

My name is Kate Langlois. I am the daughter of Ginny Ryan. My mom was a member of Elevate Fitness (Gold’s Gym and Sundown) for decades. While she always enjoyed sports and activities, she did not commit to her fitness until mid-life but once she made that commitment, she was all in. She became a fixture with the early morning crowd at the gym and we joked she was the “mayor”. She knew everyone and took a genuine interest in what was going on in their lives. Over the years, she nudged and encouraged me to become actively involved with the gym but I was “too busy”. I work full-time; my son was born and then came youth and high school sports. Who has time for the gym with all that going on? The truth was, I just wasn’t ready. On March 8, 2019, my family and I were devastated when after a brief and unexpected illness my mom passed away.

My sister-in-law, Jennifer, came to me approximately six months later and suggested we honor my mom by working on our fitness. While I agreed, I wasn’t sure where my head was at. I remember the conversation with Gil as we took our first steps clearly. We talked about how tangible my mom’s spirit
was around the gym. I could feel her everywhere. Through my emotions, which were barely contained, Gil heard me – not just my words, but my thoughts and feelings behind them. He was patient and supportive and in that thought about who would be the right trainer for us as we started this journey.

Enter Jonas…poor Jonas had no idea what he was walking into the day of our consultation. I was raw. I found myself sharing incredibly personal information with him about my grief, fears, insecurities, and dreams. There was no holding back the tears and from that first encounter, I knew there would be no judgment. Then we got started. I’m not always in the mood for a workout after a long day at work, but being committed to my workout partner, Jen, Jonas, and the process has been so positive for me. I can’t let them down and not show up, but more importantly, I can’t let myself down. My competitive nature comes out during the workouts and inevitably, I am glad I made the turn into the parking lot. Jonas keeps us doing new – more challenging things in each session. He motivates, pushes, listens and supports this journey, and for the first time, I really feel connected.

It’s been a few months now and the changes I’ve seen in myself surprise me. I feel better physically; the weight loss has been great – in the last 4 months, I’ve lost close to 40 lbs.; but more importantly, I feel better mentally and emotionally. A while into this, I realized that it is not only ok but also necessary that I’m a priority in my own life. I need to take time and energy and put that into myself. This is all very different and I’m a better person for having started this.

I still feel my mom’s presence in the gym every time I’m there but instead of being overwhelming, it lifts me up.g