One year ago, they walked through the doors of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, a dozen moms from the Avon area, all with the same goal – to lead a healthier life.
“It’s a bunch of dance moms from the studio I work at,” said Colts cheerleader, Hannah. “And one night, they were all sitting around and I was like, ‘Why don’t you guys get in a studio and work out? Better yet, we have a free fitness class, just come and see how it is.’ And they were all like, ‘Oh, no. No. No.’”
Hannah’s mom, Andra, also works at the studio. She signed up and convinced the others to sign up – and then show up.
“That day they were texting each other, ‘Let’s not go. Let’s not go.’ And my mom was like, ‘You are coming.’ And I was like, ‘You are coming!’ So, they all came – so nervous,” said Hannah. “They were in the beginner group and I stood over there with them and I just basically modified everything I knew how to modify. And if they had to stop, they stopped. Then after the class, one of the moms was joking, ‘Wow. I feel so much better. Can we do this like once a week?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, we can!’”
And they’ve been doing it ever since. The group fluctuates from 12 to 20 women and even when they’re not working out with each other, they still find ways to motivate each other.
“She started a Facebook page for all of us and sent encouraging quotes and ideas and diet plans and answered any questions that we had. And that was very encouraging,” said Karla Bodie.
“She didn’t push us beyond what we could do. She modified everything for us and she made it ok,” Andra said. “And we all left there feeling like we had accomplished something.”
Along the way, they started to see results.
“Just to get texts from the moms saying, ‘Wow, look what I did today on my own.’ Or, ‘I just fit in a size medium shirt.’ That is what made me feel so great about what I’m doing,” Hannah said. “And I know how much they appreciate it and love it.”
“I got motivated. I felt better about myself. I had more energy,” said Missy Dugle. “My husband made the comment, ‘Hey, you’re shrinking.’ That felt really good.”
At one point, the group was down 150 pounds collectively. For some, life happened – as it always does – and they gained some weight back.
But last Thursday, they walked through the doors of the Colts complex once again.
The Colts Cheerleaders held their second annual Cheers to a New You fitness class. It’s where their journey began 12 months ago. Only this time, it was a little easier. Not the class – but getting there.
“I’m not scared to walk in here today,” Dugle said.
Asked about Hannah and the impact she’s had on them, she started to cry.
“You just think of all the stuff she does throughout the day – she’s graduating a year early, she does the Colts stuff, even at Easter, she went around and hid Easter eggs with little quotes in them to encourage other people. I don’t know how she has the energy to do everything that she does and then give of her time to us as well.”
“I couldn’t say no because fitness is a passion of mine and working out and helping others,” Hannah said. “And I saw how much they wanted it. And that inspired me to want to help them be better and to be better for them too.”
She gave her time and energy to a group of women who give most of their time and energy to others. Now, they have a little more to give. And a little less to lose.
“I’m glad that I could get them started and inspired to work out and be great again and use their free time doing something for themselves instead of always for their kids,” she said.
For a group of dance moms from Avon, 2016 was the year they started to invest in themselves.
And it’s an investment that will pay off for the rest of their lives.