If you spend any time at all around Elevate, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Kelly St. Cyr. And before you see her, you’ll probably hear her, shouting encouragement to a private training client, urging members of a Spin class to dig a little deeper, or just sharing a laugh with a fellow club member. Kelly’s smile and positive personality are part and parcel of Elevate, yet just a few years ago, you wouldn’t have found her anywhere near a gym.
Q: As little as five years ago, fitness, exercise and eating healthy weren’t a part of your daily routine, and now you’re a fitness instructor and certified personal trainer. What started you on this journey?
A: I have two kids and one day I realized that I was a bystander in their lives. When they were playing, I was sitting on the sidelines because I wasn’t in good enough shape to join them. The only time I played with them was when I could sit on the floor, and then it was tough to get up. I decided I wanted to be more actively involved in their lives, and I knew the only way I could do that was to become healthier and fitter.
The team at Nutrition in Motion helped set me on the path to health. They taught me how to eat foods for fuel and educated me as to how to eat well. Then I began to feel great by putting good foods into my body.
Q: What was the scariest part of starting to work out?
A: To be honest, I wasn’t scared to start working out at all. I’d been doing a bit of dance exercise, so I’d broken the ice in that way, and then I met Jeff Cushman, a great trainer who also works at Elevate. He changed my fitness life – he set me on the path to success, encouraged me and taught me how to train safely and effectively. And now he’s a colleague at Elevate!
Before too long, I started taking Spinning classes and I really enjoyed them – it was a great cardio workout that didn’t kill my knees like running did. Then I began to think, ‘I could teach these classes.’ I knew I didn’t look like the typical Spinning instructor, but that just fueled my ambition to try, because I want to show people that ‘fit’ can come in many different shapes and sizes. So, I got my Spinning certification, and then my personal training certification, and here I am!
Q: What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed since committing yourself to a fit lifestyle?
A: Honestly, I still struggle to see changes in my body – I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be either.I feel so much better. Before I started working out, I didn’t think that I felt badly, but now I realize that I did.
The biggest changes I’ve experienced, however, have been mental rather than physical. I’m a lot stronger person – I need to be there for my clients and for myself. It sounds crazy, but bicep curls have helped my brain. When you are working out and you get to the point of exhaustion and think, ‘I’m done, I can’t do anymore,’ and then you manage to do two more, you’ve just grown a little bit.
Q: You’re clearly a very positive person and a big advocate of support and encouragement. How does that attitude synch up with the environment at Elevate?
A: I know it sounds like a cliché, but Elevate is special – it’s not your typical big-box gym. When I walk through the doors, I don’t feel like I’m in some sort of competition and I don’t feel embarrassed. I just feel like I can be who I am, at my level, on that day.
I always tell my students, ‘Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s you against yourself, and no matter where you are in your journey, you’re going to inspire someone else.’ Everyone at Elevate is rooting for each other – it’s just a fantastic environment.
Q: What would you tell people who say, ‘I’m just too out of shape to work out’?
A: You have to allow yourself to be a beginner. Find your strengths – because everyone has them – and also find what you need to work on. I try to show people their strengths and encourage them to build on their success, even though progress may seem slow in the beginning. I like to focus on ‘non-scale victories,’ and by that I mean don’t focus on losing weight alone. Think about how you feel and enjoy growing stronger, becoming more flexible, noticing that your clothes are a little looser this month than last.
Whatever you choose to do, stick with it and challenge yourself. Make the commitment, but also allow yourself the time to grow and change. It’s worth it!