RISE back to you 2020 challenge runner-up - Diana Evans




Working in healthcare, I saw firsthand the fierceness of the pandemic in March. My team was working day and night to save end-stage COVID patients. We saw pulmonary and cardiac failure at its worst, with the higher-risk factors being obesity and Latin descent. Introspectively, those two risk factors added fear and anxiety about my own health. Fearing my life, the health of my team, the safety of my family, emotionally supporting everyone around me - everything was weighing on me and the future felt dismal.

My family always made fitness a priority, but it became obvious that it was more important than ever to be physically and mentally strong. We made a house rule that we had to workout everyday during Quarantine.

Then, in came an email from RISE offering LIVE Zoom workouts and a Quarantine No15 Challenge. I scored a set of weights from Amazon and added toilet paper, cans of beans and a broom to my at home arsenal as I started doing Zoom barre in my dining room.

As spring went on and we were still at home, I tried more classes, progressing to cardio boxing and even kettlebell. RISE always provided me with modifications and alternative ways to keep moving during class. I was working out consistently and actually enjoying it; I felt really sore but also really STRONG. The variety of classes at RISE allows you to challenge your body in many different ways, and while the classes haven’t gotten easier, I know I’ve gotten stronger.

Dumbbells and toilet paper aside, the biggest jackpot item I found during this time was RISE and its community. The instructors are motivating, inspirational and some of the strongest women I’ve seen and come to know. At home on Zoom, I would talk back to them, swear and shake my head in pure amazement at the ways they orchestrate the exercise series. I left my camera on to keep myself accountable but sometimes, just when I felt invisible or that they couldn’t see me, they’d find me and motivate me. “YOU CAN do this.” “Don’t give up on me. I won’t quit on you!” “Set an intention. Why are you here? You don’t HAVE to be here, you GET to be here!” Zooming into Rise provided a much needed physiologic and psychologic oasis during such a challenging time.

In June, Phase 4 reopening allowed RISE to host small patio workouts, including cycle, which allowed me to try even more new classes. I was really nervous to go to an in-person class, like being the new kid at school, but quickly felt welcomed meeting these faces I knew only from Zoom. While I had become super dedicated to my workouts, I wasn’t seeing changes on the scale and I knew that it was my diet. The six-week Back to You Challenge in September was exactly what I needed. Rise provided a roadmap with structure and support, and as a challenger, I had to become accountable for building daily habits one at a time.

The changes I made during the RISE Challenge helped me to finally see changes on the scale, a decreased BMI and a lower resting heart rate. Even now, as I continue with my healthy habits learned during the challenge, I continue to see positive changes in my wellness and in my life. While this journey is one of the hardest things I’ve done for myself, I don’t ever feel like I do it alone...I do it with RISE, my family, my challenge partner Miesha and my friends. RISE is a place to be inspired, motivated and empowered, and you feel that every time you finish a workout at home or at the studio. Thanks to RISE I feel healthy and ready to take on whatever the pandemic brings.

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