Gretchen Cole

Accomplishment Ran the Chicago Marathon
Weight Lost 30 Lbs

How long have you been exercising at Portland Team Fitness?
A little over a year.

What made you get started?
My friend Stephanie suggested I try out a class as a way to continue my weight loss journey.

Do you remember your first class? Can you share that story and what it was like?
My first class was a 20-20-20 class with Christina Buzby. I was exhausted after the warm up but somehow managed to finish the class. Christina had organized the class to focus on arms one day and legs the next. I can’t remember which one we worked that day, but I definitely knew I was out of shape, and needed something like this to get me back on track.

Why did you come back?
I had to balance out the work I did from the first class. Of course, I overslept and was 20 minutes late, but I still went. And if I was really serious about making my physical health a priority, then I needed to make this a habit.

Why do you keep coming back to PTF?
I love the classes, the trainers, and the results from all the work I have put in. There is also a fair amount of peer pressure when you know that you will get a text message from your friend asking why you weren’t there.

When did it “click” for you? When did fitness become habit you couldn’t live without?
When I realized that I enjoyed the challenge that came with each workout, and that it was leading me to adventures I couldn’t have done before. I never understood how people could get enjoyment out of running long distances, or doing burpee challenges, but now that I have put in the work, I get it. And I continue to try and find ways to challenge myself to push the limits.

What are your biggest achievements? Weight Loss? Inches lost? Races completed? Big competitions? Increase in speed, agility or athletic performance? Personal best achievements?
My biggest achievements are losing 30lbs, getting back into shape for playing soccer, running the Cascade Lakes and Hood To Coast Relays, running the Chicago Marathon, and completing a handful of local half marathons.

How do you feel different since you have been working out at Portland Team Fitness?
I feel stronger both physically and mentally. And far more confident in myself than I have for years.

What are the positive benefits of coming to Portland Team Fitness?
Besides the challenging classes, I think the PTF community is the biggest benefit. It takes a lot to get to a class before the rest of my house is awake…but I know that if I go, I will get to participate in a workout that will push me in a way I would never be able to on my own, and I will get to do it with a great group of people!

What is your favorite exercise?
Single leg dead lift

Which is your favorite exercise that you actually don’t like?
Plank with a row. And anything focused on triceps…especially Shannon’s ‘tiny tricep’ exercises.

What would you tell someone that is just beginning on their fitness journey? WHY should they chose PTF?
I would tell them that the first few weeks are the hardest, but once you get over being sore all the time, you start to enjoy the journey. And that the results will be surprising and catch you when you least expect it. They should choose PTF because the classes are challenging, the trainers are fantastic coaches and motivators, and the community is very supportive and caring.

What has been one of the most influential steps or changes you have made in your overall lifestyle that has helped you meet your goals?
I kept a food journal for a long time to get a handle on what I was eating and started tracking my workouts. One piece of advice I was given was that ‘food is fuel for your body, and not every bite needs to be a party’…this has shaped how I view food, and how I use food throughout the day.

What is something that you have done recently that you NEVER thought you could have done?
Running a marathon was never on my radar. Ever. So when my running partner suggested training for one, I thought she was insane. But I never back down from a challenge, so knew I was in. Crossing that finish line was a mix of emotions, for sure! But I knew that we had trained well, and had succeeded in finishing something that many people never even attempt.

What is something you are training for or looking forward to in the near future?
This year is going to be a maintenance year. I am focusing on maintaining a base level of fitness, and will run three half marathons this spring. I am also plotting my next marathon, but it won’t be until 2016 at the earliest.

If you could pick one piece of exercise equipment AND only one song to sweat to on a deserted island, what would they be and WHY?

I have enough ‘prison cell’ exercises that I wouldn’t need a piece of equipment…maybe a bosu if I had to have something. And the song is easy…Bulletproof By Le Roux…it’s super cheesy, but I feel like I might be a bit more bulletproof after all the hard work of the last year!