Debbie joined Iron Tribe Fitness in August 2015 and has seen tremendous results since then! At age 55, she has regained her confidence and taken control of her health and fitness. Read her full story:

Why did you join ITF?

My initial goal was to get stronger in hopes of increasing the distance of my golf drive.

Tell us about your first class — what was it like? Was it different than what you expected?

I will never forget my first class. Erin literally had to push me to join. I was convinced that afterward I was definitely unable to perform most of the movements.  But somehow between her explaining they can scale everything down to meet me where I am and my determination to learn, I joined.  However, the night before my first class, I was completely unable to sleep because I was so anxious.  However, I couldn’t have been more wrong about my perceptions.  I still wasn’t able to do many of the exercises and definitely always felt like the weakest member, but I was shocked at how accepting and friendly everyone was.  It’s amazing when everyone in the class is cheering you on just to get finished.

What were some of your goals when you initially joined?

Other than my initial goal to get stronger, I hoped to lose 42 pounds.  I had allowed myself to reach my heaviest weight ever. I was even heavier that I was when I was 9 months pregnant with both of my boys.

How much weight have you lost?

Finally 40 pounds.  I lost 10 pounds during my first month, then a total of 35 pounds by my first year anniversary date.  But then the second year was a complete yo-yo up and down 10 pounds at least 3 times — until finally during this last fall challenge, I reached the 40 pound mark.  Now the hard part of learning to truly maintain and lose the last 2 pounds!

What’s something you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

It is amazing the things I can do now that I couldn’t do before.  My squat range of motion was a huge barrier initially due to a hip injury from a car accident 3 years prior to joining.  Initially I was unable to run or jump rope.  But the thing that has changed the most is my self confidence.  I’m sure there are still many things I can’t do, but I’m no longer afraid to at least try.  A few things I have done since joining, that I would have never considered before, are the Tough Mudder race and kayaking.  My new outlook has me searching for things I’ve never done before to at least try once.

How has ITF affected other areas of your life?

Iron Tribe definitely gave me the confidence to leave a bad relationship.

What are some of your goals now?

To continue to get stronger and truly learn how to maintain my weight.

Anything else?

This is the first time I have ever stuck with any fitness routine in my life.  I credit this to two reasons.  First, I love the format of the classes. Each one challenges me to finish the workout in the fastest time, or build to the heaviest weight.  And secondly, the accountability I have gotten from my coach, Erin.  It never fails, if I’m out of the gym for a week, I’m getting a text asking me what’s going on.

Also, I’m shocked how much I have learned about nutrition.  Not only are they concerned with teaching me new exercising techniques, but they stress the importance of proper nutrition.  The crazy thing is, I was positive I had tried every diet out there.

The other thing I gained was simply a side effect — the tremendous friendships I have made.  I consider everyone a supporter, however there are actually numerous women I have socialized with outside of the gym and have built strong lasting relationships.   

Words of advise:  Use it or lose it is REAL. Don’t wait until you’re over 50 the way I did.  Don’t let workouts intimidate you. A coach will make it doable for you wherever your fitness level may be.  And the slogan ‘We are more than a gym, we are a community’ is TRUE!  We are a true TRIBE and everyone is welcomed and included immediately — regardless of size, shape, sex or race.                                                                                                       

 My membership is by far the best thing I have ever done for myself my whole life.  At least so far!