More Than a Gym: How Fly Fitness Changed My Health Journey

Thanks to our partners at Fly Fitness for sponsoring this article and to Dani for sharing her experience with us!

fly fitness fargo

Looking back a year, I would not have seen myself waking up at 5:00 a.m. to intentionally make a sweaty mess of myself at Fly Fitness in Fargo.

Now, I get up five to six mornings a week to join in on a cycle, HIIT, Burn, and/or Barre class. 

Fly Fitness: It’s More Than a Gym

March 2021, I stepped on a scale, looked in the mirror, and was extremely unhappy about what I saw.

I have never been in particularly great shape. I was happily in choir in high school and college. No organized sports for me. Please, nothing with too much physical exertion.

Well, many years and five kids later, that lack of physical exertion had really caught up to me. I had been living reasonably comfortably in my plus-sized body. And I tried not to let the fact that I was big affect my confidence in front of my kids — especially my girls.

Unfortunately, I was simply masking the shame and guilt I held over my body.

I was bigger than I had ever been, was winded just trying to chase my kid across the street, and was on the verge of outgrowing another clothing size.

Overall, I had hit a breaking point, and knew I needed to start an exercise routine. 

In all honesty, I have a hard time sticking with things. This is where my diet and exercise always failed. I wanted to eat good food, so I did. I didn’t want to push myself too hard and be sore or red-faced, so I didn’t. And I tried various fad diets, but I never stuck with any of them. 

Also, I had tried (and I use the term ‘tried’ very loosely) various forms of exercise. Usually a video of some kind — walking, Pilates, yoga — in the privacy of my own home. In the evening, where no one could see me. And where I could work as hard, or not hard, as I wanted.

The problem was, I almost never actually did anything. I knew this wouldn’t be enough.

Enter Fly. fly fitness fargo

I was friends with the Studio Manager, Michelle. She is someone I knew I could trust. If she loved Fly, then I could check it out. She welcomed the chance to show me around the studio downtown.

It’s bright and clean and totally welcoming. I immediately liked it and knew I should at least give it a try (bonus: your first class at Fly is free!). 

Admittedly, it was out of my comfort zone.

Exercising at Fly Fitness meant I had to work out with a group of other people. Other people who exercised here regularly. People more fit than me, and likely more committed. That idea was terrifying. 

But, I did that first class anyway. Stepping out of my regular routine, I signed up for a class with Michelle. I sat in the back row where it’s dark and no one could really see me. Pedaled along, listened to great music, and wondered how everyone could follow all the ups and downs (and other movements) when I could hardly keep the beat.

After class, Michelle introduced me to another member, Annie. She asked if I had fun. No joke, I laughed in her face. How could that have been fun? She took the time to ask me about myself. I shared why I was there that day. She listened and encouraged. I may have cried (totally did).

She challenged me to come back. And I did.

I bought the two-week unlimited pass to Fly Fitness. I could try any classes that I wanted. The next class I went to was one of Annie’s. Yeah, she’s an instructor (an incredibly fun and encouraging one!).fly fitness fargo

As the two-week end date approached, I knew I had to keep going. 

Coming into a place where you don’t know anyone and making a sweaty fool of yourself seems like a ridiculous thing to do. And maybe it is.

But for me, this ridiculous thing has opened up a door into whole self well-being. The group fitness concept means that we are all sweaty and red-faced together.

When you feel like you just can’t push any harder, you can see the person next to you pushing and it’s an encouragement to keep going. At some point, you’re the encouragement to someone else, and that keeps you pushing, too.

Coming in on a regular schedule means I see many of the same people each week. I have so many more friends now than I had a year ago. I have more people to talk to. More people who are on a journey similar to mine. I have friends who build me up, who make me laugh, who push me to try something new.

And it’s all because of this incredible gym. 

I won’t go into the specifics of my weight loss here. Because weight loss, though initially my main goal, is no longer the reason I keep coming back to Fly Fitness. This community keeps me coming back.

I am healthier — as a whole — because of my time spent here.

My body and mind are fed with the physical exertion, music selection (which is incredible), conversation, and social times (time together after class, birthday parties, and nights out).

The Fly Fitness space welcomes you in and the community keeps you coming back. When I stepped past that first two-week trial, my goal was to try to come three days a week. Now, you can find me there five to six early mornings every week.

Overall, being a part of the Fly Fitness community has made it easier for me to step out and try new things. 

I’ll leave you with an almost quote from an instructor. He said, “It’s not about perfection in everything you do. We can’t be perfect. It’s about perfection in your effort.”

Will you try? I did. And it changed my life for the better. 
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Dani Tanner (not THAT Danny Tanner) is a Twin Cities native who has lived in South Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota again and now Moorhead. She married her husband Greg in 2009. Dani received her bachelor's degree in Consumer Affairs in 2013. She has chosen to stay home while supporting her husband through graduate school (and now as a professor!) and chasing their five kiddos! She has a few hobbies - cooking, baking, sewing, reading, crafting... though they never seem to be fully realized. Not while there are still kids at home anyway! She enjoys all things in the kitchen and loves trying new recipes and techniques. The current new thing? Cake decorating! Various craft endeavors take some other time, as well as reading when she takes the time. Oh, and coffee. All the coffee. If you want to find her, she's likely that mom pushing a double stroller with three kids on it trying to get wherever she's going before someone freaks out. She's so glad to be able to share some of her fun experiences with you!


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