Pawel Lorkiewicz Testimonial

My BAREfit adventure started about a year ago. A friend of mine asked if I wanted to try out a really cool gym. I was more than hesitant. I thought, "I don't need a gym". I was working out 4-6 times a week to my DVD programs. It also didn't help that I never liked "conventional gyms". I found them intimidating and boring. The prospect of running on a treadmill, having "leg days", using those weird machines to isolate this muscle or that muscle was just beyond unappealing. I was also against any type of "CrossFit stuff" - I never liked the brute force character of CrossFit workouts, which can easily lead to injury and burnout. So, armed with my opinions and very low expectations, I went to my first BAREfit class. It was a whim day workout on a hot and muggy Friday evening. There was no traditional gym equipment, no polished and carefully cleaned treadmills, static weight-lifting machines, or boards with words like 'AMRAP' and 'WOD'.  I saw a friendly group of people, who I could identify with. I was greeted warmly by a cool dude with a man-bun, who looked like a human-person, who also led in an encouraging and fun way with a 'can do' attitude. He demonstrated all the workouts and their modifications in an easy to understand and funny way. I remember doing each exercise in the circuit and saying (or almost screaming) "this is so much fun!!!”. The workouts were new, dynamic and exciting! They were challenging, never boring, or high impact. And did I say fun!? All my expectations of what BAREfit could be, were shattered in a good way, and I was hooked from day 1… And it only got better. Since the beginning I have regularly attended pack workouts 3-4 times a week. I really appreciate the push-pull-whim day format. Even though you kind of have an idea of what the workout will be like, Curtis, Susie and Anthony always come up with a new exercise, or a different spin on something familiar. There are always modifications, which makes BAREfit so good for everyone. No matter if you are just starting out, or are advanced, workouts will be adjusted to meet your level, to challenge you and help you progress.

And speaking of progress… BAREfit has truly changed me and let me grow on more than just a physical level. I have gained strength, stamina, agility and endurance. I can move, flex, lift awkward objects, climb and balance well.  I had so many "I can do this???" or "This is me?" moments. I overcame many fears and anxieties that have been pestering me for years - especially traversing the log/net while hanging 5-8 feet above the ground made me face my huge fear of heights. Plus jumping, vaulting, climbing on top of tires that are higher than me… Those things were out of the question a year ago, and now I can do all of them.

But wait - there's more. BAREfit is not just a gym. I have to mention it every time I describe it to someone who doesn't know about BAREfit.

First of all, everything that BAREfit promotes - opting outside, making the world your playground and living the adventure are not just empty slogans. They really practice what they preach here.
After joining BAREfit I found out that activities outside the gym were encouraged. Doing stuff outside and outbound challenges were simply part of the BAREfit routine. I thought, ‘Why not?’ and quickly incorporated these in my schedule. It is pretty much a habit now for me to have an "outbound day". I go on a hike, go climbing, swimming or just simply walk around the park (recently, I started looking for trees to climb on, logs to lift and branches to hang on and traverse). I also love our monthly Earn Your Beer challenges and other adventure group outings (the adventure day at the Jefferson Memorial Forest was the best darn thing that happened to me in years). This is where you get to hang out with cool people and really make the world your playground (one can argue that it is a workout, but it feels like too much fun to really call it that).  For the adventure part, we actually get to do a workout specifically designed to prep us for a particular activity (paddling, climbing, and biking to name a few). Yet again, these are not just some motions that we go through. During one of the outdoor challenges I got to do paddle boarding for the first time. And guess what? I got to use every single skill that I specifically trained for in the 8-week program. Seriously! You won't get that anywhere else.

When talking about BAREfit, I have to mention our community. This also appealed to me from day 1. We know each other here. We work out together, we build friendships, people talk, laugh, interact. Our members and trainers are courteous, helpful, and friendly, and most of all no one will ever judge you. Quite the contrary - members praise other members for their accomplishments and progress. There's plenty of encouragement and true respect.

The BAREfit concept wouldn't happen without Captain Curtis. I truly admire how much work and thought Curtis puts into creating our workouts. He doesn't just come up with a set of exercises. He does a lot of research to enhance the program and constantly improve, and incorporate new elements. A good example was the set of workouts he developed for 8 weeks of adventure-ready/paddle-boarding. As I mentioned before, these were specifically targeted to improve essential paddle-boarding skills. For this very purpose he also built (!!) workout equipment (he repurposed some old, random junk, which was pretty bad-ass!!!) and even loaned rowing machines from another gym just to make things happen. Curtis puts a lot of work into planning all of the Earn Your Beer challenges and other outside events, and it truly makes for a unique experience (way beyond a simple workout).

All coaches at BAREfit are fantastic. I have worked out with Susie, Anthony and Nils (no longer living in Louisville) and each one of them has a different style of coaching. While the core of each pack-workout stays the same, the coaches make some modifications to specific movements, or change out particular exercises. That actually adds variety and I have noticed that it has helped me progress further.

Overall, BAREfit has truly transformed me. I found a place that feels like a playground, rather than a gym. I will keep coming with the same energy and curiosity to find out what new adventures and challenges are awaiting. 

Vicki Meares Testimonial

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I have been at BAREfit for almost 4 years.  I started working out there in May of 2013, back when Curtis used to run it out of Snap Fitness in J-Town.  I have had the privilege to truly see the business grow and blossom.  I wouldn't want to work out anywhere else.

I originally came to BAREfit after a shredded meniscus and arthroscopic surgical procedure threatened to end my career as a distance runner.  I had competed at long distance running for years and was not quite ready to hang up my shoes, so to speak.  Both of my doctors and my physical therapist said running long distance (especially my favorite distance the half marathon) would be impossible with my level of injury.  But there is always a way.  We just have to find it.  And unfortunately, I knew the solution probably lay somewhere within the realm of strength training.

It was later during a bemoaning conversation about the tedious boredom of weight lifting, with my massage therapist when I mentioned that I was considering hiring a personal trainer.  After all weight-lifting had to be the most boring activity since the dawn of activities.  Perhaps I needed someone there beside me making sure I didn't skip that last cumbersome set of bicep curls.  Then my massage therapist said, "Well if you are thinking of hiring a personal trainer, I think I know one you might like."  

I emailed the much ballyhooed personal trainer, explained my sorry predicament, and asked rather nonchalantly if he thought he could help me.  The emphatic yes I received was quite intriguing especially after 3 medical professionals had already told me that what I sought was impossible.  So I laced up my cross trainers, pig-tailed my hair, and ventured all the way to J-Town to meet this believer named Curtis Hall. 

The workouts were tough, intense, innovative, strengthening, and just what I needed.  Curtis seemed to be able to break just about any movement down into steps that seemed to resonate.

I had 2 major fears about working out with a trainer.  The first was that he would not be sensitive or knowledgeable about my injury.  Lacking a meniscus will forever limit the movement that particular leg can achieve.  This fear was put to rest immediately as Curtis proved to know exactly how far to push the knee and when it was time for a modification.  He was filled with injury preventing modifications, and was always attuned to where my body was in my fitness journey on that particular day. 

My other fear was that I held a fixed stereo-type of the proverbial personal trainer.  I imagined working out with the over muscled, mirror staring, buzz cut, whistle-blowing, loud mouth, whose penchant for motivation involved more pushups and calling my mother names.  Much to my relief, Curtis was the exact opposite of this silly stereotype.  I always jokingly say, “My personal trainer nices you to death.”  What I mean is that his belief in me is so profound, and his approach so genuine and kind, that I felt as though I might break his heart if I didn’t live up to his angelic view of me.  So when he told me to do a Nosferatu (a move where one starts flat on ones back, with a rope dangling overhead, then using only ones arms the person shall pull himself straight up to a standing position without a bend in the torso.  If seen from a far it might look as though a person were rising straight up as a vampire in a Bela Lugosi movie would rise from the grave).  When this move was first described to me, I informed my enthusiastic trainer that I didn’t think I was physically capable of this move.  His response, “Vicki….Of course you can.”  And at those words what else could I do.  It may not have been beautiful, but his words were no less correct.  I could do it.

Since working out at BAREfit I have not only seen increased strength and muscle tone, but my confidence has increased as well.  And back to my original reason for joining BAREfit, so I could run a half marathon again.  The doctors and physical therapist were not wrong.  I have not run A half marathon since my injury.  To date with Curtis’s help I have run 2.  The plan is to soon be completing a 3rd. 

It is so hard to pin-point one favorite thing about BAREfit.  But I have to say the fact that two young men started a business with what began as a few tires, some ropes, and a believe in me attitude, were able to take an aging, injured, weight-lifting hater, confidence dwindling non believer like me, and give me the power (both literally and figuratively) that I lacked to do what I loved once again, was quite a delightful journey.