When Katie first came to exhale with a 30-day unlimited class package, she was recovering from a life-altering car accident and brain surgery. Here’s her incredible story of building strength and mindfulness at exhale – one class at a time.

First, please indulge me in some brief (kind of) background info. I was hit by a car while crossing the street in July 2016 which left me with a grade 3 concussion and a left hip injury from the impact. The injury restricted my physical activity. About six weeks later, in September, I underwent brain surgery to remove a colloid cyst. My neurosurgeon estimated it had about a 50% chance of killing me (and was originally identified as likely being cancer in January 2016). At 27 years old, this was a lot to handle – physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I know most of the world laments that 2016 was the worst year ever, and it was the most challenging year for me personally. Towards the end of the year, I began to regain some of my physical strength and began lightly working out again. Due to my recent health issues and injuries, I developed a determination I hadn’t had before.

In the past, I had typically been active and was an athlete previously, but had never been quite as driven as I was this time around. Although the major two health incidents that highlighted this year were completely out of my control, I was determined to take control of my body and health moving forward as best I could. However, due to my lingering hip injury (for which I’m still in physical therapy) I needed low-impact exercise. Friends of mine had spoken about barre and how great but intense it was. I did some more detailed research into it and found that it was an effective, low-impact workout that targets your entire body.

A little apprehensive, having heard the stories of how challenging these classes could be and how sore your muscles are after your first class, I signed up for Kat Steers’ Basic Level class at exhale Upper East Side with the New Guest 2 for 1 promotion.

About 2 minutes into the arm exercises, I thought, “Oh, so this is what everyone was talking about!” and figured I would just have to push through this class. I reasoned to myself that at least I gave it a shot, thanks but no thanks on doing this again. Kat was wonderful, though, and super encouraging with lots of much-needed hands-on corrections. She promised that each time you come back to class, you get a little stronger and it gets a little more doable.

After walking out of that killer first class, I felt amazing, energized, and empowered to go back. I took the plunge and went for one month of unlimited classes. I really committed to going as much as my schedule would permit (usually 6 days per week, sometimes twice per day) and quickly became addicted due to both the great feeling I had after class and the rapid results I saw in my body.

Today, as I approach the end of my 1 month of unlimited classes, I have lost about 12 pounds since beginning the month. But that number can’t account for the amount of muscle and physical strength I’ve grown, but even more importantly the inner strength and growth I developed by pushing through that first class and coming back time and time again, pushing myself to my limit each time. The calmness and serenity I felt after each class is something I’ve begun to chase each day. Kat promised in a month my body would be different and she couldn’t have been more right. I branched out past just barre classes into yoga and cardio ones as well, including the brutal duel Barre + Cardio, which each left me wanting to start the class over and do it again immediately after it ended. I often went into these classes with aching or sore muscles from the day before, but always walked out of the studio feeling infinitely better than I walked in. I really enjoyed each class I took and was impressed with every instructor as well as the front desk staff. I look forward to being able to try the Sport and HIIT classes once my hip is back to 100%!

Exhale markets itself as a sanctuary for total wellbeing: mind and body – which it truly is. The classes deliver not only on the promise of physical results you can measure on the outside, but the internal results as well. This month really did wonders for my body in so many remarkable ways, and I can’t thank Exhale enough for that!

Inspired? Discover our unlimited class options and start your transformation.