riser of the month - didi dirard


What do you like about RISE?

My favorite part of RISE is the location. I can walk or ride my bike, which is critical when my kids are home since our drivers outnumber our cars. I also love that I can grab a birthday gift or stocking stuffer on the fly at RISE.

What motivates you?

I grew up in very large (8 kids) active, athletic family. I was always involved in sports so I have an inherent need to keep moving. I’m not gifted with a fast metabolism so I really work hard to maintain a healthy weight. I also have three girls who live in a world with an obsessive focus on weight and appearance so it has always been critical to me that I emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle with a focus on strength and not size. This is a journey I’m on regularly and I hope through my example they have an easier path.

What are your workout goals?

In the short term, I want to continue trying new classes and push myself out of my comfort zone. For instance, spin class has been the bane of my existence. I tried it many years ago and despised it. But recently I forced myself to give it a try at RISE. Halfway through the first song, I was positive I still hated it and promised myself if I lived I would never do it again. I now try to go to at least two classes a week. In the long term, I want to be doing this when I am 80 and hope to be rocking the RISE arms at the senior living facility!

What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?

As a family, we have always been active by biking, hiking and sports. Working exercise into the schedule (whether a run or a class) is seamless.

What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?

Making sure I sign up before class is full!

What do you like to do with your spare time?

I read a lot. And I am embarrassed to say this but my guilty pleasure when I am on the treadmill is watching the Real Housewives—they are such a disaster that it fascinates me.

What’s your favorite junk food?

I love bread!

What’s your favorite healthy food?

Roasted veggies of any kind--though I could eat roasted brussel spouts every single day!

What has been your very favorite vacation/trip?

My father was from Ireland, so when I was growing up we would go back “home” as he liked to say. This was well before it became touristy so it wasn’t uncommon to run around the castles, graveyards and even cliffs unsupervised. Guardrails, fences and safety nets were nonexistent at this time which is why it’s a miracle no one fell to their death! I have great memories from each of those vacations—as well as memories of some epic fights as you can imagine!

Any tips you’d like to offer someone who is on the fence and needs that extra nudge to start a workout routine?

I would have to say the thing that works for me is scheduling. It’s as important as a doctor’s appointment. I also find if I do it in the morning, I am less likely to cancel.

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