Jackie Felton

To Michelle,

This letter of appreciation is too long in coming. Remembering back to when I relocated to Florida due to a promotion as a supervisor with a Federal law enforcement agency. With the responsibility of a supervisor’s position came an overwhelming stress level that consumed me within a short period of time. Subsequently, I began my search for a fitness facility and a trainer to whip me back to my own perception of “fighting form.” I found my future trainer, Michelle.

I learned early on in my law enforcement career that physical exercise was the one thing in life that offered significant stress relief. In my profession, the day’s events could be completely out of my control. However, physical exercise was where I controlled the environment. I controlled the variety of the physical exertion, the duration, and the intensity. The end result was the confidence to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of in my workout. Of course, I am not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I am consistent and truly enjoy being active. Within the first three months of my arrival to Florida, my workouts had all but completely vanished and my stress level was off the chart.

As soon as I entered Fitness 21, I was approached by Michelle and another trainer, two of the youngest trainers on the floor who appeared to be having just too good a time. Having had my share of personal trainers in other locations, my initial thought was that the two young trainers were certainly not ready to deal with the level of fitness I wanted to enhance and maintain. I spouted on about how important fitness was to me in my professional life and more important, my personal well-being. The initial conversation was more to determine who was as committed as I was to being healthy. I left believing that I would need to spend a bit more time trying to find a suitable trainer. However, that next evening I received a telephone call from Michelle who talked me into just one training session. I hung up the telephone believing that the “skinny, young thing” would not be able to keep my interest for one session. During the training session, “OH MY WORD!!” Michelle blew out my quads, put me in a sweat from head to toe, and left me completely out of breath!!! What a humbling experience. For a moment, I lost confidence in myself and was ashamed of how quickly fitness can pass. However, despite my bruised ego, Michelle encouraged me to continue and believe that I could surpass my own physical and mental expectations.

To this day, I struggle with my career and the daily demands that are required of me. My original goal for the loss of that magical five to seven pounds is no longer important. Even though I have lost 10.25 inches and lost 12% body fat, that is a total of 17.5 lbs of pure fat loss and a gain of 10.6 lbs of lean muscle. What has been the most valuable element learned in my training session is how find “balance.” For me, that is a strong body, good nutrition, and being mindful to appreciate each day with as little stress as possible. My training session goes something like this…….Michelle greets me with a big smile, pushes me well beyond my perceived pain limit, and queries me about my previous week of attaining “balance.” To Michelle’s credit, there have been many occasions when I began the session in one sour mood and subsequently, I lacked the energy to believe I could complete our training session. No matter, Michelle implemented the “laughter factor,” kicked the session into high gear, and we were off to an incredible work-out!! An exemplary trainer, such as Michelle, has the capability to recognize a client’s mental and physical state at any given moment. The ability to recognize and overcome a client’s lack of confidence or physical weakness has made Michelle, not only an incredible trainer, but an incredible human being as well.

To Michelle, and now to me, it is all about “balance.” No trainer has had me in better physical shape, nor provided me with as many options in proper nutrition. She is my constant reminder of the valuable lesson of “balance” and to finish strong in all aspects of life.

Thank you for your patience and persistence to keep me on the right path to fitness and “balance”….. my “skinny, young trainer,” Michelle.

Jackie