Small Steps Daily

The legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, said it best: “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” Significant, impactful change in our lives does not occur in a day. No, it requires a process that is achieved through a series of small decisions and investments. What is it that you want to achieve? Is it lowering your body fat percentage? Is it being able to play with your kids? Is it gaining muscle mass? Living a long and healthy life? A personal record for deadlifts? Participating in a race?

Whatever the goal, the same steps apply:
1. Define the goal. Be specific when identifying what you want to achieve. Yes, “Be healthier” is a goal, but it can be taken a step further—in what ways do you want to be healthier?
2. Make a plan. Now that you have identified the goal, work backwards from what you want to achieve. What will it take to get to where you want to go? Again, be specific and apply the SMART plan. Is your goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound?
3. Write it down & share it. Write everything out—pen on paper, then share it with someone you care about! Give them updates (even if they don’t want to hear it!) on your progress.
4. Take the first step. You have a well-crafted plan to achieve your goal, what’s next? Simple, just start following the plan, having the confidence that each step is taking you closer to your goal.

As you move along in this process, don’t forget the big picture! Some days you may take steps backwards—when that happens, don’t freak out! Simply reorient yourself with what you want to achieve, recall what motivated you to make the goal, and review the plan you have set in place. Remember that that small consistent investments will lead to big returns. Having a similar mindset, John Wooden was able to take his UCLA Bruins to 7 consecutive NCAA championship wins because he understood that it is in the details where success is built. Trust the process, taking small steps each day.

– Austin Pauls –

Check out Austin on Instagram! @tailored.fitness805

Austin is one of our new trainers at Give Fitness. Austin was a shy individual until a P.E. teacher and mentor during high school helped him develop confidence and find his voice. He hopes to pay it forward by using his experience, expertise, and passion for health and fitness to make meaningful connections through intentional and authentic relationships. One of Austin’s life mottos is “take small steps daily toward lifelong growth.” He believes that health and fitness are achieved every day through action-oriented tasks and routines. Austin is almost done with a B.S. in Kinesiology with minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Cal Poly SLO; he is also working toward becoming a certified personal trainer through NASM, a nationally-accredited organization. He loves to be outdoors and has interests in hiking, trail running, and cycling. Austin wants to help you develop life-long health and fitness through your unique abilities and interests.

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GIVE Fitness Celebrates 3 Years

GIVE Fitness just celebrated our 3rd Anniversary with a FREE Open House style party with appetizers, drinks, magic and photobooth fun! As we welcomed members, guests, family, friends and community partners, we handed everyone a small stone with the words “Thank You” written on it. Curiosity ran wild as people wanted to know what the stones were for or what they meant. The GIVE Fitness team officially welcomed and thanked everyone for sharing in one of the gym’s favorite nights of the year: a chance to celebrate together, appreciate staff and members, and to really highlight the mission and vision of GIVING.

In 2016, at the 2nd Anniversary party, there was mention of GIVE Fitness forming its own Foundation and shifting the type of giving that we wanted to be involved in. We introduced the Garcia family and were able to help them out of homelessness into permanent housing. At that time, we contributed $5,000 toward our “Foundation” even though it was not actually formed or operational yet. Throughout the year, we still operated as though we had a Foundation and gave toward a wide variety of causes:

  • A Scholarship at Atascadero High School
  • GoFundMe Pages: a community member’s house burned down, and a member had a tragic motorcycle accident
  • Helped provide and hand deliver roughly 1,000 Christmas gifts to underprivileged children in the jungle of Costa Rica
  • Sponsored a local veteran to go through and complete the Mighty Oaks Warrior Program
  • Sponsored Lifewater International’s Annual BBQ fundraiser
  • We made contributions to local women battling Breast Cancer as part of our October Campaign
  • Pound for Pound competitions with food donations totaling 1325 pounds
  • Local academic and athletic sponsorships
  • We were introduced to another local family in crisis, homeless & sleeping in their car during the very cold winter months. We were able to get them out of that situation and assist in finding them permanent housing.

We shared that these are the types of things that GIVE loves to be a part of and support. And really: These are things that YOU are a part of, because it’s all of YOU that truly make the giving possible.

The GIVE Fitness Foundation is formed and operational – we officially have a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The intention of the Foundation is not just to be a pillar in the community, but more than that: a RESOURCE to our community: THE WELL. The Foundation logo was revealed to include a well, made from stones. We gave everyone a STONE that says “Thank You” because each person in attendance was and is a stone in the foundation of our business. Members, staff, friends, family, vendors, community members, ALL of you are individual stones that make us who we are – the foundation of our business.

A Well is a place that people go to when they are thirsty to have that need met. We want the people of our community to know that they can come to our “well”, The GIVE Fitness Foundation, to have their needs met. It’s for the hungry, the thirsty, the sick and tired, those that need clothes or shelter, or love. Another reason we chose THE WELL as the logo for our Foundation: To build a well, it takes many individual stones to create a solid, permanent fixture and the stones we provided are a representation of that as well.

The stones are a Thank You for being a part of the foundation of our business that provides the foundation for our new Foundation!

The GIVE Fitness Foundation is 100% financially sustained by GIVE Fitness. The Foundation will not have any paid positions or officers; it will not have any expenses. 100% of the money put into the Foundation will be used to meet the needs of our community. Anyone interested in getting involved with the Foundation or financially contributing should contact

GIVE Fitness made another $5,000 contribution to the GIVE Fitness Foundation in order to jumpstart this year’s giving efforts. Also through the Foundation, we will continue to support and partner with local non-profits. To begin 2017, we launched our Challenges for Charities program that was driven through social media and hashtags: #GIVEc4c. We offered 10 Challenges, each attached to 10 different Charities. $1 was raised by each participant that completed the Challenge and posted a photo/video with the unique hashtag. We invited all 10 non-profit organizations that participated in the campaign to set up information tables at the party so that attendees could learn more about their services or how to get involved. We had over 100 people participate in the program overall, with 25 people completing all 10 challenges to receive an EXCLUSIVE Challenges for Charities t-shirt! Additionally, those 25 people were entered to win 2 Disneyland Park Hopper Tickets and Charise Holcolm (our longest standing member) was the winner!

Each Charity/Non-Profit Organization was presented with a donation of $1,000 from the Give Fitness Foundation:

  • El Camino Homeless Organization (E.C.H.O.)
  • Jack’s Helping Hand
  • Lifewater International
  • Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs
  • RISE
  • Family Care Network
  • Lighthouse
  • The Link
  • Parents For Joy
  • Atascadero Printery Foundation

Donations for the evening totaled $15,000 and it was a great night of celebration!

We have the “Thank You” stones available at our Front Desk and would like to encourage all of our members to take one! We are grateful for each and every person that helps provide the foundation to our business… that provides the foundation to our Foundation! Together, we can make a difference in our community: You Get Fit, We GIVE Back.

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A New Year and A New Approach to Resolutioners

It never seems to fail, year after year as January 1st approaches, countless Americans pledge future allegiance to health & fitness. The notorious “resolution” that coincides with the calendar, wanting to start a New Year with a new approach and fitness-related goals are almost always near the top of the most popular New Year Resolutions. As a gym owner, and previously as a manager or even as a membership salesperson, I often hear the phrase “You must LOVE January.” And while my answer is yes, I do love January…My love does not stem from the reasons assumed in the question. See, I don’t find it surprising at all that fitness-related resolutions top the charts in America, because we live in a country that continually suffers from and succumbs to a severe obesity epidemic. So when January rolls around and mass amounts of people decide that they actually want to attempt to DO something for their health & fitness, I absolutely love it. I am a true believer in fitness being able to improve the quality of lives, to extend lives, and to save lives! I cling to the hope that as an industry, we can continue to combat the obesity epidemic and spur change. The assumption though is that fitness professionals love January because everyone gets to bathe in money like we are all Bill Gates for the first two months of the year. In all honesty, January really ends up being more of a love-hate relationship and let me explain why.

Here is another phrase I hear quite often: “I am your favorite type of member, I pay but I never go to the gym.” This statement and its sentiments make me cringe because it is another widely accepted assumption about fitness professionals when in fact: it is completely false. For me, the member(s) that pay their dues but do not attend the gym are very close to making a decision to quit…and once they quit, because they no longer perceive any value in their membership – the likelihood that they re-join somewhere down the road is slim to none. On the other hand, the member that uses their membership on any kind of consistent or semi-consistent basis is likely not even considering relinquishing their access to the gym. We open our doors at GIVE Fitness every morning with the hope that as many of our members as possible are actually utilizing what they are paying for and making an effort to improve their health & fitness.

Now, back to the “Resolutioners” and why January can be summarized as love-hate. Most people making a resolution are well intended when it comes to fitness but not so well educated. The majority of society does not look at fitness as part of their lifestyle but rather as something that is start-stop with a beginning date and an end date. As a result, we find people coming into gyms & health clubs seeking the cheapest option for membership, refusing any training or guidance and heading straight for the cardio room. This creates several layers of problems: first, there is a lack of connection within the gym and the perceived value of the membership immediately diminishes. Additionally, the cardio room (or area) is typically the most crowded area of any gym or health club, which quickly creates frustration. But, arguably the biggest problem associated with the large number of new gym members showing up in January: THE BEHAVIOR & CONDUCT OF CURRENT MEMBERS.

January somehow seems to empower the regular gym goers to plant their noses high in the sky and act like they are completely superior to any “newbie” walking in the door. It’s like a group of large bucks standing proudly and sneering at baby fawns stumbling while attempting to walk and it’s totally disgusting – hence, the hate part of the love-hate relationship with January. Gyms and health clubs are intimidating places for most people; exercise is associated with pain & suffering. Sometimes it requires true courage for someone just to walk through the door, let alone becoming vulnerable by beginning to exert energy in ways that are completely foreign to them. Shouldn’t our seasoned fitness enthusiasts or veteran members be lending encouragement & support instead of judgment, ridicule and further intimidation? Let’s get over ourselves. That’s my challenge to the gym members that say I hate January and/or all the new people. So what, we may have to wait a few extra minutes for a treadmill or that favorite bench, or maybe your class is a little overcrowded. How about striking up a conversation with someone that looks new or offering some guidance to someone that looks like they’re struggling or lost. It was everyone’s first day once, and I’m sure many of us were intimidated – let’s have a little sympathy and think beyond ourselves.

I hate that as an industry, our systems fail the people that make the decision to get off the couch, join a gym and put in effort. This failure comes as the result of MOST gyms & health clubs simply loving January and focusing only on piling people into the gym, not caring where they go or what they do or how long they stay. We won’t do that at GIVE Fitness, your success is our success. We want you to be comfortable, we want you to use your membership and we want you to stay. We don’t run sales promotions or specials: our prices are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and they are all available online, you don’t need to call or even come in. If we end up being a good fit for anyone making a fitness related resolution, we will welcome you with open arms and do our best to assist you in the pursuit of your goals. We will make our Personal Trainers available to you for a complimentary Health Assessment: an opportunity to talk specifically about what you’d like to accomplish. They can help explain how cardiovascular exercise is an important aspect of fitness as well as the need to build lean muscle and incorporate proper nutrition. Our ultimate goal though, will be to communicate that making a resolution to get fit does not end in March and that fitness is not start-stop but part of a lifestyle.

For those of you making fitness-related resolutions, good for you! I encourage all of you to pursue them whole-heartedly, stick with them when it gets difficult and you want to quit. For those of you already active in the gym, possibly dreading the onslaught of newcomers, take a different perspective: obesity is killing people. Don’t be part of the problem by turning people away from a gym with your attitude, be part of the solution by welcoming them and breaking down barriers.


Josh Donovan
Managing Partner
GIVE Fitness

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New Mobile App Available

Download our GIVE Fitness mobile app for your chance to go to the Magic Kingdom!


GIVE Fitness has gone mobile! As part of our commitment to provide the best service possible, we have established new partnerships that allow us better opportunities to meet the needs of our members and prospects. First, and probably less exciting, we have changed our club management software provider and billing company: ABC Financial is an industry leader in these areas and we are very pleased to be working with them!

What does this mean for our members?

  1. Automatic payments from your accounts/credit cards may look a little different as they will now come from: ABC*GIVE FITNESS
  2. You may be contacted directly by ABC Financial regarding declined/past-due payments or to update your billing information.
  3. Our staff/management team will have more time to focus on providing better service and continually improving our product.

Because ABC Financial is an industry leader, they too have established strong partnerships and led us to Netpulse Inc., a mobile app provider for gyms & health clubs. We have worked with Netpulse to create a fully functional mobile app that is now available in the App Store & Market for both iPhone and Android.  The app fully integrates with ABC Financial (as seen on the list of features below) so members can access and update their member profile, to include billing information, through the mobile app.

We are so excited to introduce everyone to our app, which is why we have included a DISNEY GIVEAWAY in our launch! There are 3 simple steps that you can follow to be entered to WIN TWO (2) Park Hopper Passes to Disneyland/California Adventure:

  1. Download our GIVE Fitness Mobile App
  2. Open the app, select “SIGN UP” and create an xID log-in into the app
  3. Log in and record at least one workout before 7/31/15 (see list of features for more info on recording workouts)

We want to encourage everyone to explore and play around within the app to get familiar with it and realize the capabilities.  Feel free to ask ANY of our staff at the gym if you would like guidance or have any questions about the mobile app. In the meantime, we thought it might be helpful to create a list of some of the features we think will be useful & fun:

GIVE Fitness Mobile App:

  1. Use the App to Check-In at the Gym. Tap the barcode button in the top left corner of the app; select “ADD BARCODE.” You will then enter the barcode that is listed on the back of your GF membership scan card and save. Now you can use your phone/app to check-in!
  2. View the Class Schedule. Using the “Find a Class” tab, you will be able to view our full Group Exercise Schedule. The mobile app links with our website so the information will always be current and live.
  3. Receive Notifications. We will be able to send notifications through the app to help keep you updated and informed about things like class schedule changes, special programs or offers, holiday hours, new gym locations, etc.
  4. Update Your Member Profile. Using the “My Account” tab, you will sync the mobile app with your ABC Member Profile (one-time) and be able to make necessary changes: address, phone number, email, billing information, etc.
  5. Sync with Wearable Technology. Using the “Connected Apps” tab, you can link your GF Mobile app with your wearable technology like FitBit, Nike +, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, BodyMedia, MapMyFitness and more!
  6. Record & Track Your Workouts. Using the “Record a Workout” tab, you can manually enter a workout or if you have linked with your wearable technology: it will do it for you! You can also use your smartphone to capture a photo of the screen on any cardio equipment and the app will automatically record the workout for you! The “workouts” tab will allow you to see and track all of your workouts.
  7. Encourage Each Other and Stay Accountable. Using the “Club Feed” tab, you can view all workouts that are being recorded through the app. We can use this tab to “applaud” each other for great work, make comments and keep each other accountable. You also have the option within the settings to make your account private so your workouts will not display in the club feed.
  8. Refer a Friend. Using the “Refer a Friend” tab, you can quickly set up a friend or family member with a guest pass! And when they join, don’t forget you will receive $1.00 OFF of your membership FOREVER for every referral until you lower your rate all the way to $14.99/mo.
  9. Participate in Challenges. Using the “Challenges” tab, you will be able to participate in national challenges among other users as well as any challenges that we set up at GIVE Fitness.
  10. Request an Assessment or Trainer. Use the “Training” tab to request a FREE health assessment or Request a Trainer if you’re interested in taking your fitness to the next level.

**Be sure to check out the other features like goal setting in the Goal Center, Club Extras where you can stay connected to our parent company and other sites, Deals where we may post special offers, and Social Media that links to our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Channel.

We look forward to connecting and communicating with everyone through our mobile app and we welcome your feedback! We know that in most instances, fitness needs to be a part of our lifestyle in order for us to achieve our goals or be successful. We feel that our mobile app is a great tool/resource for integrating fitness and our workouts into our daily lives. Download it today and follow the steps above for entry into our DISNEY GIVEAWAY!

You Get Fit. We Give Back.

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She’s Definitely a Tough Cookie


When you are a barely 40-year old female in otherwise good health, a weeklong headache is a reasonable cause for concern. But like anyone else, after taking appropriate action and receiving a clear CT scan – Danita Raminha felt as though it was safe to assume everything was fine. So only a few months later, in April of last year, she couldn’t formulate an explanation for why her vision was blurring. Danita was working a fundraiser at the Elks Lodge in Atascadero and participating in a fashion show. She had ordered a round of drinks but began blanking out and experiencing blurred vision. Unsure of what was going on or what to do, she decided to step outside. When she didn’t return and it was getting close to her part in the fashion show, others began to inquire about her whereabouts. Her boss went looking for her and ended up discovering Danita facedown on the of side El Camino Real. Paramedics arrived without knowing what had took place, but it would later be revealed through an MRI that while walking down the road, a golf ball-sized tumor in the frontal lobe of Danita’s brain burst that night and she had a grand mal seizure. She was taken to Twin Cities Hospital but was quickly transferred to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. Doctors performed a craniotomy and prescribed six weeks of radiation as well as one year of chemotherapy. Unfortunately though, after just three weeks it was discovered that Danita is one out of every five people that are allergic to chemotherapy and things started to get worse instead of better.

Her family was in shock; Danita’s world was turned upside down. She was not allowed to drive a vehicle for over six months. Some of the residual effects of her allergy to chemotherapy led to the bone marrow in her body collapsing and severe chest pains, her red and white blood cells diminished, her platelets continued to lower creating an inability for her blood to clot. Ultimately, all of her blood vessels burst and she began to develop Leukemia. She ended up receiving care at the University of California, San Francisco. At one point, Danita was told by one of her doctors: “If there’s anything you want to do, you need to do it.” She said her immediate response to that was, “I’m good. I’ve lived a good life, done what I want to do, and there is nothing I need to squeeze in. Plus, I’m not going anywhere.” She was given a 50% chance of being alive in two years and told her doctors, “Great! See you in two years.” She shared with us that to her, 50% are good odds: “I’ll take it!”

“It is intrinsic for me to be this way,” Danita says in response to her obvious strength and tenacity. Her family has always looked to her for strength, which was probably why they so quickly rallied together in her battle. Danita’s parents and in-laws were a huge help to her, she said her husband Jeff stepped up in so many ways and when her son began to struggle at school – the administration and teachers were all supportive. As a faith based family and woman of God, Danita was never afraid to die. “My belief in God as our Savior carried me through this tough time.” She said that she looked at her experience as a pit stop or freeway exit, “but I always knew I was getting back on.”

From a physical perspective, Danita says that fitness might be the #1 thing that got her through the battle. “It is so important to be strong: physically and mentally.” Currently, the oncologist classifies her as “cancer free” and that is sufficient enough for her. “I’m good today. I can’t control tomorrow.” Danita joined GIVE Fitness in September of last year just five months after her tumor burst. “I need this. I need to run, to exercise and be strong. It’s a release for me.” We are sharing her story now because this upcoming weekend, Danita is participating in the BT5K: American Brain Tumor Association Breakthrough for Brain Tumors 5k Run & Walk. She is the captain of her team: The Central Coast Tough Cookies. She said, “This 5k is everyone that held my hand through this battle. It’s a celebration and I want to raise money to increase awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle.” We see Danita in the gym on a regular basis, we were inspired by her story and wanted to support her efforts! By visiting her team page, we contributed $250 toward the fundraising efforts. If you would like to do the same, any amount is of course welcomed and the link is available here.

If nothing else though, join us in congratulating Danita for her fighting spirit and victory over a terrible disease! She certainly is a tough cookie and worthy of celebration! Good luck this weekend and we’re wishing you continued health!

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It is an old school hometown rivalry: Greyhounds & Bearcats and tomorrow night, the two high school football teams will compete for 1st place in their league! It is bound to be a night full of excitement, school spirit and we wouldn’t miss it for the world! GIVE Fitness will be there to support the Home Team by providing FREE signs to all of the fans. We will also be giving away TWO (2) Park Hopper Passes to Disneyland/California Adventure and entering the contest is fun & easy! When you grab your “Go Greyhounds” sign at the main entrance (see GIVE Fitness booth), you will customize it with something clever or your favorite player’s name/number. Then, you’ll take a creative photo with your sign(s) and post it to Instagram using the hashtag: #BeatPaso2014. At the end of the 3rd quarter, we will announce the most creative sign/photo as our Disney Winner!

We will also be making our way through the stands periodically tossing out FREE hoodies that have been exclusively designed with Greyhound colors! The photo we have included here shows both the hoodies as well as the signs. It is going to be a great night and an awesome opportunity for us to rally together and support our local high school athletics. The Student Body is working hard to promote an “Orange Out” so everyone is being asked to come out wearing as much orange as possible! At GIVE Fitness, we have a strong desire and commitment to be a pillar in our community and we love opportunities to GIVE back. Come join us, bring your friends & family, have a chance to win Disney tickets and GO GREYHOUNDS!

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Breast Cancer SUCCESS

These are the final days of October and Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) month is coming to an end. So far, we have had over 150 new members sign up this month with 50% of their card fee being donated back to breast cancer research. Additionally, we have sold 25 of our exclusive BCA t-shirts – again, with 50% being donated back. Which means at this point, we have raised over $1,000 and there is still time to be a part of this great effort! As tomorrow approaches, it is easy to get wrapped up with all of the Halloween excitement and maybe even overwhelmed with the upcoming holidays. We want to ask you to stay in the moment and help us see this PINK campaign all the way to the end. To assist us in doing that, we have an extra special story to share. The women we have previously celebrated have enjoyed many years of being cancer free, we now want to introduce you to someone who is just beginning her journey.

At 53 years old, Pam has not been a stranger when it comes to mammograms. Many years ago, it was actually a routine mammogram that revealed her condition of fibrocystic cists, also loosely described as “lumpy breasts.” Pam was accustomed to being told that she would need to be checked further, so she was not too concerned when the radiologist told her that there was a spot. Pam responded, “No, it’s fine. I just need to get a sonogram.” But when the radiologist said, “No, that’s not what we are dealing with, this needs to be looked at right now…” things began to change for Pam. The radiologist went on to say that she was likely dealing with cancer. With absolutely no family history of cancer, the news hit Pam and her family pretty hard. It was shocking and scary for her husband as well as her adult children. She had been running her own bookkeeping business and Pam decided that it was good timing to end her business and focus on herself.

It was just over three months ago that Pam underwent two surgeries and ended up having an apple-sized tumor removed. She was and is grateful to have escaped chemotherapy, but she has begun radiation. The good news though is that Pam has been cancer free for one month and says, “It feels really good!” Additionally, she has found comfort and a means of release by becoming a member of GIVE Fitness. “I started using exercise as part of my recovery from surgery, I had a training session with Cory and it was great!” Pam went on to say that her mental and physical states continue improving, as she knows that she is getting back in shape. “I was not in motion and I know that a body in motion stays in motion…if I can beat cancer, I know I can beat this fat!” Pam started by walking slowly on the treadmill here and there, but now she is in the gym early in the morning Monday through Friday.

Her family is relieved and very proud of Pam’s victory over cancer. Personally, Pam is excited to remain in the fight by participating in cancer walks and/or support groups. She embraces the idea that her story may help others become more aware and could ultimately save lives. Her message to other women is: “Get your mammograms! No matter your age, no matter your health history…if you are a woman, GO!” We are so grateful to have Pam as a GIVE Fitness member and we are honored to share her story! As we close out Breast Cancer Awareness month, let’s remind ourselves that there are so many stories out there like Pam or our other incredible survivors. We also recognize that some have lost their battle. Cancer is an ugly disease that we all must continue to fight against. Thank you to those of you that have participated in our GO PINK campaign in any capacity – together, we all make a difference!

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WIN Disney Tickets at AHS Football Game


Tonight is Homecoming at Atascadero High School and GIVE Fitness would like to send someone to Disneyland, for FREE! The Greyhounds will be taking on Righetti High School at 7:00pm and the GIVE Fitness tent will be set up near the main entrance beginning at 5:00pm. We have made “GO GREYHOUNDS” signs powered by GIVE Fitness that are available to customize however you would like. The signs are provided for FREE and we want to see everyone get creative! Once your sign is made, you’ll take a picture of it and post the photo to instagram using the hashtag: #ahshomecoming2014

We will be monitoring the hashtag through the first two quarters of the game and at halftime, the most creative sign will be announced as the winner of 2 Park Hopper Passes to Disneyland/California Adventure! We want to see the bleachers filled with Orange & Grey signs and we’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with! Help us spread the word: It’s FREE and it will be a lot of FUN!

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This Single Mom Kicked Cancer

Terri cancer free

We are now halfway through October and Breast Cancer Awareness month. Our PINK campaign is still in full force and we have been getting a great response. With new members, t-shirt sales and even extra donations, we have already raised nearly $600 to donate back to breast cancer research. Some of our efforts have also prompted others to share their stories with us, and we are so grateful for that! We know that this disease is far reaching and has affected so many people. It is our sincere hope that we can all collectively strive to increase awareness and prevention. Today, we have a story of another victorious fighter and we are excited to celebrate her.

Things are different when you grow up knowing that your grandmother had fallopian tube cancer, that your mother also had fallopian tube cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. That is how she grew up though and Terri Ahfield knew from a very early age that she too had the gene putting her at high risk for all three types of cancer.  But when she felt lumps in her armpit at age thirty-five, she thought it was way too early. When she first visited her doctor, the direction she got was to stop shaving her armpits. Terri even laughed when sharing that piece of information because she knew it was something more. She pushed a little harder with the doctor and was able to receive a referral to see a surgeon. As soon as the surgeon saw her arm, he immediately gave her the news that she expected.

Terri had Stage 3 breast cancer as a single mom. She was not shocked by the news; she was surprised though at how far along it was. Her son was nine years old and her daughter was thirteen. Terri was working as a server at AJ Spurs and also as a dental assistant. She said when she met with her oncologist, she remembers walking right in and saying, “Do what you gotta do, I’m not done being a mom yet.” She had nineteen cancerous lymph nodes removed and endured eight rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. She continued to work and raise her kids, since she didn’t have much of a choice as a single mother.  She fought through the treatment and ended up receiving a double mastectomy. Two years later, Terri decided to have a full hysterectomy that would completely eliminate all body parts that her family gene targets. “I’ve always felt kind of lucky that I could just remove the parts at risk for me. If it were brain cancer, that would have been a different story.”  Her perspective is incredibly positive and admirable!

Terri said, “I feel like being young, healthy and active gave me an advantage in my battle.” She continues to be active today and maintains her health. While she doesn’t typically participate in many cancer-related events, she is happy to share her story with us and help increase awareness. Terri’s message to other women is “Know yourself and fight for yourself. No one will fight for you. If you know something is wrong, make them fix it!” Her story is also another good reminder not to assume that you are too young and that getting checked annually is very important. Terri has been cancer free for eight years now and her battle is firmly in her past.

GIVE Fitness still has exclusive Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirts available for sale at the gym and 50% of all sales will be donated back to breast cancer research. We will also continue donating 50% of all new member card fees during the month of October. Let’s keep working together to GO PINK this month and do our part in this fight against cancer!

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9 1/2 Years Cancer FREE

NANCY cancer free

October being “Breast Cancer Awareness” month means quite a bit more than the onslaught of PINK! While we are happy to join the cause and do our part to incorporate pink into this month, we would also like to take some time to celebrate victorious women in the hopes that their stories will further increase awareness and prevention of this awful disease. We further hope that any ladies out there currently battling breast cancer may find some inspiration from these women that have paved the way to keep fighting.

Nancy Normile was working as a medical assistant and office manager, as she does now in a pediatric office. She had a sixteen-year-old daughter, twelve-year-old son and also a two-year-old son when she first felt a small lump in her arm. Despite that both of her grandmothers had breast cancer, Nancy thought that at thirty-nine years old – it was too early, so it couldn’t be. She was even able to let out a sigh of relief when a biopsy came back negative and she was told to come back in six months. When the lump began changing, it was cause for concern and she attempted to return to the doctor early. Unfortunately, her insurance carrier would not allow her to be seen prior to the six-month waiting period from the previous visit. By the time she made it back to the doctor, Nancy had to have fourteen lymph nodes removed and eight of them were found to cancerous.

She began a rigorous schedule of chemotherapy and radiation that lasted around six months. Nancy says, “It was very important to me that my kids didn’t see me sick. I had to stay strong for them. I never stopped working and I never stopped exercising at least twice a week.” She went on to say that she attributes much of her success to maintaining a positive attitude. She said that staying busy and remaining positive is what helped her win the fight. She shouldered so much of the weight by herself and shielded her family from the pain that accompanies cancer. Nancy’s oldest daughter tells her, “I always knew you’d be okay” and that is simply a testament to Nancy’s strength and independence.

“It is something that used to stay in the back of my mind, like a shadow following me around.” That is how Nancy described the time after her treatment, up until about two years ago. She was getting biopsies every year and she wanted to rid herself of that lurking shadow. It was a double mastectomy and reconstruction that she says completely freed her mentally! Today, Nancy has been cancer free for nine and a half years and her doctor told her that the cancer road is a “dead end.” She decided after five years of being cancer free to get a commemorative tattoo and with ten years quickly approaching, she’s planning to get another!  Nancy is grateful for opportunities that create awareness and ultimately promote prevention. In years past, her family has participated in Relay for Life and she has also been a part of a Young Cancer Support Group for individuals under the age of 60. Nancy’s message to other women is “Don’t wait. Don’t assume you are too young, and trust your instincts. Go get an exam, go see a surgeon, do what it takes…check, check, CHECK!”

Maintaining an active lifestyle is something that remains important to Nancy and we are so grateful to have her as a GIVE Fitness member! Please join us in celebrating her and look for more stories of celebration in the coming weeks. Also, we would love to hear of other brave women that have battled this awful disease. We understand that not all have won the fight, so feel free to share your stories that honor, remember, or celebrate. More than anything, it is our hope that we can create more awareness this month that will lead to earlier detection/prevention and ultimately save lives! We have exclusive GIVE Fitness/Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirts available for sale at the gym and 50% of all sales will be donated back to breast cancer research. We will also be donating 50% of all new member card fees during the month of October. Let’s all work together to GO PINK this month and do our part in this fight against cancer!

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