Hospitality in Fitness: How REFIT® Welcome me into a REVOLUTION
Author: Kelley Cathcart
When I moved to Oregon, I decided it was once again time to lose that nagging 30 pounds. The gym shopping began. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t searching for a gym, I was searching for a place to belong. I was searching for community. I visited my local YMCA and it seemed fun. People there were kind to me and my children. I joined. My life began to change. I snuck into the back row of a barre class I liked, and made friends with that instructor. She became my invitation to a whole new view of myself.
About six months into our friendship, she took over a cardio dance fitness class. She was nervous about this and asked me to go to the class. I went because no friend of mine does scary things alone. She also asked me to go to a REFIT training event, and assured me that I didn’t need any fitness experience to attend. I figured, if anything, they’d teach me to dance a little better. Then, the week before the event, my instructor friend couldn’t go. I’d paid, but I waffled between going and not going. Then I was reminded of a promise I’d made to God, “Give me a class, and I will teach.” So I went, and I LOVED IT. I still love it. I love it so much I teach it every week.
So what is REFIT? REFIT is a life-changing fitness program that views the heart as a muscle AND a soul. The first thing these people said to me was, “Welcome Home.” They invited me into their community of fitness instructors and were the sweetest people I’d ever met! But they didn’t know what a weirdo I am! Didn’t they SEE me trip 8 thousand times on the fitness floor? Didn’t they see my 15 pounds that won’t go away? They liked me anyway. They pulled a chair out from the proverbial table and asked me to sit down. They introduced me to a new kind of mirror, calibrated to bring out the real me, and to show me what I needed to learn. It was the best message I’d ever sat through. (Sorry to all my excellent pastors, BIlly Graham, Beth Moore, but it’s true.)
What did I learn? Well, it was not how to dance. It was how to change fitness for myself and others. It was how to create a safe space for others with challenges to dance and become friends with their bodies again.
COMPASSION. EMPATHY. ACCEPTANCE. That is what I learned that day, for myself and for others. And at the end of the day they told me I was LOVED and ENOUGH; a REVOLUTIONARY and an OVERCOMER. They said, “Congratulations Kelley Cathcart, you are a fitness instructor.” I looked at them and was baffled. Me? A fitness Instructor? I’m all of those things? Catherine looked at me and said, “Believe it.”
The Revolutionaries and I are ready to welcome you to the space we’ve been saving for you. This is a fitness community for the willing, not simply for those who are already in shape. If you are willing, you belong here. YOU. BELONG. HERE. We are a bunch of regular people making a difference in each other’s lives one week at a time. Fitness is the byproduct. Community, friendship, and connection is our goal. We laugh, we have fun, and we move.
I’m Kelley Cathcart and I’m a REFIT instructor.