By Jennifer Hmielewski
I had always wanted to try kickboxing, so when I stepped through the door I felt a nervous excitement envelope me. Inside was a beautiful woman who greeted me with a sincere smile and a sweet hello. After a few moments with her, I was completely at ease. As Celeste went over my goals with me, I began babbling uncontrollably about how I’ve taken my health from one extreme to another. I told her how I felt my body was stalled out and I couldn’t seem to go any further with my weight loss. She waited patiently for me to finally shut up and then said they were not only going to help me reach my long-term goals but were also going to teach me valuable skills (self defense) and encourage me along the way.
Not knowing if I was going to love it or hate it, I started out with the promotion they were running at the time: three classes and a set of gloves for $19. I couldn’t go wrong; even if I completely hated it, I wasn’t out much. My first class was rough. Celeste and her husband, Ben, taught us, and I thought I was going to puke or die, or both. The training was intense, but they wouldn’t let me give up. The reward for such diligence? Being so sore I waddled like a 9-months-pregnant woman for three days — they’re not playin’.
I remember my second class just as vividly. When I arrived Ben, was on a ladder hanging up a banner outside. As I approached, he looked down and said, “Well hello there, pretty lady.” I looked behind me to see who he was talking to. No one but my husband had called me pretty in at least 16.5 years, but to my surprise, he was talking to me. It wasn’t just an attempt to sell me a membership or to schmooze me, either; it was genuine kindness, and he probably had no idea how much I needed that.
Mike was teaching this time, and he kicked our butts just as hard as Ben and Celeste had. During class, he pushed us, yelling “You’ve got this” and “Don’t give up on yourself.” This class was just as exhaustive and just as intense, and ever since I’ve been hooked. The instructors at BreakThru Kickboxing are for real some of the most fun, genuine, loving people I have met in my life. The students are equally as amazing: We laugh, we cry, and we push each other past our perceived limits. Together, they have been the additional support I’ve needed to help repair and rebuild my broken spirit. Two years after doing a complete 180 on my nutrition and activity level, I am finally getting beyond that brokenness. There have been lots of steps along the way, but I know the wonderful people at BreakThru will be there to see me to the finish line when I reach my final goal.
I am generally a very quiet person. I don’t speak much, and when I do, I am verbally awkward. So, more likely than not, these awesome people don’t know the feelings I have for each one of them. I’m working on this, and they are helping to build my confidence and replace my negative self-talk with plans, goals, and a far-gone optimism. I still have a long way to go, so I plan on continuing to go to their studio for as long as they’ll have me. I can honestly say because of them I’ve had a breakthrough that has changed my life forever … and it’ll only get better from here.
As for that husband of mine who has always thought that I’m pretty, now I can believe him.