Four months ago I gave birth to my second child, and two months later I was at my heaviest weight, on 11 pills a day to treat hypertension and diagnosed with chronic kidney stones. I was extremely depressed and upset with my body for not being strong enough. I cried for nearly a week straight because I was terrified of the possibility that if what the doctors told me was true, I was going to have a stroke, be stuck with high blood pressure and have to take pills for the rest of my life. I was terrified that my life was going to be cut short, that my heart would fail by the age of 50 like three others in my family who faced the same illnesses. I want to see my children grow up, go to school and become their own people… so something needed to change. After being on close watch for a week at the hospital after my daughter was born and finally being sent home on my birthday (best present ever), I started to do some research. After seeing 4 doctors daily, I was told I needed to go on a very restricted diet, ingest no more than 1500mg of sodium a day and to avoid foods that are high in oxalates. I needed to lose the weight and start cardio exercises, all of which I knew had to happen, but if it took 10 months to put on the pounds then it was gonna take time for it come off. So I decided that something needed to change and that I would have to take control of my body. If I was gonna go down, it wasn't going to be for a lack of trying! So like the majority of people I took it to the infamous Google machine and typed “best cardio exercises.” Amongst the many suggestions, cycling popped up. I then Googled “best cycling in North York” and came across a cycling blog which suggested The Uptown POWERSTATION.
I instantly checked out their website and saw that they offered an intro class to cycling every Sunday at 10am. The next morning I called at 8am and right off the bat I was greeted by a very warm, friendly and encouraging voice. She was very knowledgeable and gladly humoured me as I peppered her with questions. She encouraged me to come in for that day’s class and reminded me that the first class was free. This seemed like a no-brainer to me… I replied with “see you soon.”
This was the best decision of my life.
I arrived 30 minutes before the class started. I instantly noticed how clean, professional and unique the space looked. I was immediately greeted with a warm welcome from the front desk and, “You’re the one who called earlier? I’m glad you decided to come in!” The immediate vibe was very relaxed and not an aggressive “you already have to be in really good shape to work out here.” The receptionist then got out from around the desk and gave me a tour of the gym. There was a cycling room that looked like a party waiting to happen, an open TRX studio that looked a bit intimidating and a very relaxing yoga studio in the back. Before I knew it, it was time to start the class, but before I went in the receptionist gave me a heart rate monitor to wear during the ride, which was a neat bonus. This is where I met my first instructor, Colleen. She took the time to show me the bike, how to properly set it up and made sure I felt comfortable. She then let me know that she would give instructions during the ride and to start at my own pace. After 45 minutes of my very first cycling class I was exhausted! I knew I was out of shape but I didn't know it was that bad. But at no point was I ever made to feel self-conscious. I then made my way out of the room and was ready to go home, when there was another class about to start in the TRX area. It was a busy place but still a happy and positive energy. I handed the heart rate monitor back and amongst all the hustle and bustle going on I was asked how I liked the class and that she hoped to see me again soon.
The next day I was so sore! Everything hurt, with emphasis on my legs and butt. I knew that I wanted to go again but decided it was best to go when my body wasn’t so sore. A week later I was getting restless and wanted to go back. I quickly popped on the website and saw that they were offering a two-month unlimited membership promotion - click, boom, done! At that point I made a promise to myself that this wasn’t going to be like any other gym membership. I wasn’t going to go hard for the first two weeks and never go back, that this time it wasn’t about getting the ultimate bikini body… this time it was for my heart… this time it’s for my kids, my husband and for my life. I booked gym sessions every other day for two months and some days I even booked two classes back-to-back. Alright, here I go……………….
If I booked a class I went, regardless of being up at random hours all through the night because of my little ones. I found the motivation to go because I knew it would make me stronger, healthier and get me off those blood pressure pills. Trust me, I had days where I didn’t want to go in, or didn’t want to feel sore for the next couple of days, but a promise is a promise. I took every single class the studio offered and fell in love. As cheesy as that sounds, I did. ALL, and I mean ALL the instructors are wonderful, passionate and caring people who really know how to kick your butt during TRX and Cycling. They know how to get you relaxed, feeling good and in your zen zone during Yoga and TRX Flow. They took the time to learn my strengths and weaknesses and were able to modify the workouts and sessions to benefit me the best while still in a class with other people. They even took the time to listen about my struggles and relate to me as a person, not just a client who takes their class every Thursday or whenever. During all of these classes I found that I responded well with Cycling first and then TRX Flow right after. These two classes complement each other really well and as a bonus the owner Niki teaches them frequently. Niki took the time to really hear my story and help guide me onto a healthier lifestyle, even with all my restrictions. She even suggested I try some WELO Juice which they have for sale right in the studio. It’s super yummy and good for you too. She’s the prefect motivator and pushes you to go in the right direction.
Fast forward to two months later, I had an appointment with my blood pressure doctor yet again to see how things were going. At this point I had been able to wean down from 11 pills a day to 0 in under 4 months since giving birth, which is AWESOME. This appointment was the best I had ever had. My doctor told me that I had lowered my blood pressure by 12 points from my last appointment and that I had reduced my chance of getting high blood pressure again down to 30%. When I was lying there in the hospital bed for that first week after my daughter was born, my readings were as high as 161/114. I should've had a stroke - thats how serious it had gotten. They told me that I had a 70% chance of it staying for the rest of my life and if it didn’t, it would come back for me sooner than later. I didn’t want this to be true so I put in the work. I put in the effort to be in better shape to strengthen my heart. I had a good team supporting me and pushing me to go a little further each and every class. With each push it made my heart that much stronger. I am now down 15 pounds, doing it the right way with proper diet and exercise. My high blood pressure is gone and I’ve dramatically reduced the risk of it returning in the future and I couldn’t be happier. My life has changed for the better, I had my “ah ha” moment and I found my drive, my team. One thing you should know about the cycling class at the Uptown POWERSTATION is that you’ll always hear their slogan, “It’s your time, your ride, your power,” which is 100% true. I know it’s my time, which I’m choosing to spend there, I know it’s my ride and they're right there to help push me and it’s my power which they help me find. I’m choosing to spend my time, ride and power at the Uptown POWERSTATION, how about you?