Today, January 7th, marks the two year anniversary of BODYpow as an official class! In the spirit of reflective celebration, I thought I would share how the class began on January 7, 2013. It was never a deliberate "I think I'll try to develop a workout program now" kind of thing.

BODYpow was unplanned and incidental in it's development. It was something I started to boost my strength and energy level, being a mom of 2 young children, and it ended up extending into a class with others with similar goals and interests in a very organic way.

A little credibility background about myself first :) -- I grew up in central Pennsylvania and was a competitive swimmer for 15 years. I graduated from Union, a Division III college in upstate NY, as an All-American NCAA swimmer and placed top three in all of my events (mid-distance freestyle and butterfly) at Division III Nationals. After college, I earned my Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and I began instructing kickboxing classes during that time. I ran marathons (7 total including Boston twice) in my mid-to-late 20s and I have been an avid fitness class participant (before, after, and in conjunction with running and swimming) for over 25 years. I understand mind-to-muscle connection and I know how the mind can help the body achieve.

In November of 2012, our family went on vacation to Hawaii with close friends from the Bay area. The other mom, my friend Heather (a bona fide fitness guru), and I decided to go to the beach every morning for an hour to workout while the dads fed the kids breakfast and got them ready for the beach -- a great escape and a personal motivator for me at the time... :). Heather introduced me to my first bout of a no-nonsense, bodyweight-only, whole-body exercise routine. I remember feeling that exercise-induced endorphin rush immediately after the first morning. My body was shaky but my energy was high. We ran into our husbands while we were walking back to the hotel immediately after the workout. They were with the kids and heading to the beach. As soon as we saw them, the first words out of my mouth were an enthusiastic and bright-eyed "I loved it!" before they even asked. That feeling has never changed.

As soon as the trip was over I started doing bodyweight exercises in the privacy of my own home 3 times a week, 45 minutes a time. I started researching more moves and began making a spreadsheet of exercises for myself. I was extremely sore in the beginning and remember thinking that I might just be too old to do this type of workout. I felt like a little old lady pulling myself out of bed each morning. I told myself that if I was sore then I was making changes so I made the mental commitment to stick with it for 2 months (with consistent effort) and to be patient with myself. I took the workout at the pace and intensity that worked for my body on each particular day. I didn't jump high, if at all. I didn't squat or lunge low, I did push-ups on my knees, and I often just held a plank steady even if the exercise called for more. I took it slow at first but I could feel that I was getting stronger. As I grew stronger I challenged myself a little bit more with each exercise and with each workout. I was pushing for that change.

The effects of the workouts came quickly. Within that 2 months of committed consistency my feelings of tiredness and soreness started to give way. The workout, coupled with cleaning up my eating habits a bit, (a blog post topic for another time), increased my energy levels and decreased my cravings for sugars and carbohydrates. I had kick-started my metabolism into high gear and it was starting to show. My friends began to notice a change in my physique and asked me what I was doing. I told them that I had stopped going to the gym and was only doing bodyweight work. I offered to show them what I had started doing on a basketball court at a local gym.

Two friends quickly turned into 12. We met for an hour twice a week for about 4 weeks. The gym then told me I was teaching a "class" and had to stop. I asked about the difference between girls working out with friends (we didn't even play music) and a guys pick-up basketball game in that same location. (I checked the scheduled and we only met when the room was empty). The answer was still no. I told the group that I could no longer work out with them and had every intention to just keep doing the workout solo in my own home again (although I had loved working out with other people during those few weeks!). But the girls asked me if I could rent a space so that we could continue! Renting a space meant that I had to start charging but everyone was on board and encouraged me to do just that.

Those two classes have turned into six across two towns with one additional instructor two years later on this date. I hope to incorporate more classes with more time slots and more locations with more instructors trained on the BODYpow system. Because it just works.

Thank you to all of my amazing regular BODYpow devotees, anyone who has ever taken the class, tried it out, provided feedback and input, or even just has it on their radar to try out in the future. BODYpow has become a real passion for me and one I plan to always continue, even if I end up doing the work solo again in front of the bathroom mirror. :) BODYpow has transformed my body and my mind. I am stronger, leaner, more confident and have much higher energy levels than I did 2 years ago - and I empower myself with each exercise in every class, 30-seconds at a time.

Happy 2-year anniversary!