Issaquah fitness studio mending bodies, minds, hearts | Community recreation feature
September 25, 2012 · 12:24 PM
For Christine Koester the reality was sobering, frustrating and upsetting all in one.
An Issaquah resident since 1978, Koester had undergone 26 surgeries to help alleviate the pain and stress she felt in her back, hip and shoulders after dealing with the stresses her entire life after a childhood bout with Tuberculosis. But even modern medical advancements and the repeated procedures couldn't keep her from the ominous diagnosis from her physician, who said she would likely spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
"As you get older, it's harder to get over surgery," Koester said. "I needed to lose 50 pounds, but I didn't know how the hell I was going to do it because I couldn't walk."
Then she found Fitness Together.
When Juliana Jade started the Issaquah franchise in 2004, her goal was to connect with people like Koester and help them regain the functionality and strength that allowed them to maintain an active life. In the eight years since, she and a passionate group of trainers have used a one-on-one approach to fitness in order to get people back on their feet and healthy.
"I had great aspirations about making a difference in the world," Jade said. "It's something I can do now."
Koester said when she first began at Fitness Together, she would sit in her car and count the number of steps it would take her to get inside in preparation for the herculean task. She was unable to stand for more than 30 seconds, used a cane and was certain there was no hope for a future of walks with her dog and a pain free life.
"Within a month, I was off the cane," she said. "Now I take my dog to the park for an hour every single day."
The key for Koester (who has lost 45 pounds in addition to reclaiming her back and joints), and countless other Fitness Together clients, is the one-on-one training and private studio environment, which Jade said allows her staff to focus all of their attention on the workout. The opportunity to train in a focused, personal setting without the distractions of other patrons or the fear of being left without a plan in a room of intimidating equipment was what originally drove Koester to Fitness Together and nearly two years later, the results speak for themselves.
"I had terrible back pain, a shoulder that had been replaced and another one that needed to be replaced," she said. "Now, there's nothing because my muscles have been built around the joint."
While the results have been life-altering for Koester, Jade said continuing to reach people who are injured, overweight or both is now her life's mission. The studio will soon move across the parking lot from its current location to the suite housing Verizon Wireless, which will allow for more private training areas and allow her to continue offering a new perspective on health and fitness goals. Jade also owns and operates a location in Sammamish.
"Even a disillusioned person wants to make a change," Jade said. "We're convinced we can make a difference and help people make that lifestyle change."
Christian Koester has found new life after joining Fitness Together. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER
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