I have been dancing with Neda for over two years. The first time I walked into her class, I was intimidated, but her energy, the community she created amongst her students, the empowerment she gave to women lured me back. Now, I dance with her four to five times a week. I have seen amazing changes in my body, in my strength and in my life since I have faithfully been coming to her class. But I had never been put to the test the way I had this weekend. The nine hour certification with Juicy Athletic Moves (JAM), Neda's hardcore conditioning dance workout, was brutal. Even though I had been working out with her for a while, she got very technical, enforcing us to do the moves correctly over and over. I must have done five hundred squats that day, and by the end of the certification, every muscle was on fire.
As she handed me my certification certificate, she whispered in my ear, "I'm so proud of you, Theresa I knew you could do it." She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and that was what got me through the day. Here was a woman who trains the rich and famous on a daily basis, yet she took the time to invest her belief in someone like me. That shows great integrity.
The next morning, I felt amazing. I woke up at 4am, ready to conquer my second day of certification with Kaia F.I.T. This was more of a boot camp based workout. I was in a room amongst a group of much younger women, most of whom were already fitness coaches, all of them fit and strong. The faith Neda had in me radiated throughout, creating a confidence I never had before and I plowed through the day fearlessly. I did moves and strength training exercises I didn't even know my body was capable of, and I did most all of them with ease. I had no idea my body was that strong. Neda did though. She had known all along.
We all need someone like Neda Soderqvist in our lives, we all need someone who believes in us and pushes us to believe in ourselves. That's one thing many women lack, which is why so many of us have low self esteem. What I love about Neda's class and the class I took with Kaia F.I.T is that these are two very different workouts with very similar philosophies. We are all there to support each other and not compete. We are there to believe in each other, encourage each other and this is what leads to success.
I don't like to go to the gym. I feel very isolated when I do. I can be in the same class with the same people month after month and never know anyone's name. I don't experience this with Neda and I didn't experience this with Kaia F.I.T. After this weekend, I will no longer let my age deter me. I now know I am incredibly strong, but I couldn't have gotten there alone. It took someone else to believe in me, someone else to push me beyond the limitations I created for myself for me to realize that I'm worth believing in. Now that I have this understanding about myself, I know I'm pretty much capable of anything.