me and boysOur August Client Spotlight is on one of our long time clients and our 2014 Fab Fusionista – Emily Cowden. You’ve probably seen her around the studio, noticing at first her svelte, sculpted body and stylish dark hair with blunt bangs. And if you’ve ever talked to her you’ve no doubt seen her gorgeous, kind smile – she’s one of those women who exudes originality and a genuine interest in others so that you just can’t help but to feel good around her.

Her dedication to almost daily Fusion classes (“when you find a fitness routine you love, you’ll prioritize it”) made her the perfect candidate for our Fab Fusionista – but even more so, her positive and supportive attitude towards the women around her is a characteristic to be celebrated. As a wife, mom of three boys (6,9, and 11), and part time Nurse Practitioner in children’s oncology, she shows us that it can all really be done if it makes you happy - we sat down with her learn more about her family, her healthy habits, and what she enjoys outside of getting her sweat on at Fusion.

How did you end up in Kansas City?

We bounced around before settling here – three kids born in three different states – but eventually landed for good as my husband grew up in KC and wanted to be close to family. Having lived in Boston and Seattle I really appreciate how little traffic we have here! I am also still, after eight years, floored by how friendly everyone is. It’s the default-mode to be nice, polite, and neighborly. Even the sullen teenager will look you in the eye and say hello and hold the door for you. I love it!

What are some of your favorite family summertime KC activities?

We’re a bit of a soccer family. Two of the boys play year-round and we are big Sporting KC and FCKC fans (the women’s pro team) so have season tickets for both. We also like to travel & do fun road trips, hang at the pool or over at my in-laws house. We can walk over to their house and love that they are so involved in our lives.

hospital hill

Hospital Hill

Where do you and your hubby like to hit on date night?

When my husband and I have a date, it’s usually a long run, tennis at a local park, a Sporting KC game or trying somewhere new to eat.

You’re a busy woman with your career and family life – is it hard to find time to exercise?

Working part-time helps, but I also make it a priority because it’s important to me and plus, I just love my workouts. I think that’s really the key – you have a million different options for a workout, and when you find one you like, it becomes a priority rather than a task. In the past I’ve found when I have trouble sticking to a routine, it’s because I’m not really enjoying it. I look forward to going to Fusion pretty much every time – it’s been a lucky find for me.

Why is fitness something you choose to include in your life?

It’s my mental time out, and I feel accomplished if I get it in. My day can go however it’s going to go, but if I’ve worked out I feel like I got what I needed out of it.

Has fitness always been a part of your life?

Fam in NYYes, it really has. I was competitive in gymnastics and trampoline when I was younger. In high school and college I was a rower (“crew”). I also ran cross-country in high school. My Mom and sister are also really active. At a time when most people are slowing down and well into retirement, my Mom still teaches 9 yoga classes a week. I hope I have her genes!!

How did you first find Fusion? You’re one of our long timers.

I started coming to Fusion about 6 months after it opened. My youngest son was almost a year old. A good friend told me about it – I remember after my first class I could hardly walk down the stairs. Actually I had the same can’t-walk-down-the-stairs experience a few weeks ago (Sadie!).

What made you come back after your first class?

I just knew that this method would work and get me into shape. I had no doubt about that. It was so hard, I thought, how can this not be effective? It took me a few months to ramp up and go as frequently as I do now but once I did, I was hooked and dropped going anywhere else.

What sort of changes have you seen, being here since the beginning?


Winning Fab Fusionista 2014

There has been tremendous growth. Both with the physical space(s) and the number of clients. Despite this though, I’ve never felt “just one of the crowd.” I think Darby and the instructors have a pretty unique way of making everyone feel like they are an important part of this community.

If you were to tell someone who’d never heard of Fusion to come to their first class, what would you say to them?

I’ve never tried to recruit, actually. I don’t want to guess what suits people as far as workouts as it’s such an individual fit. When people do ask, I tell them that it’s hard, but if you stick with it, you’ll suddenly realize that you’re getting through a class without feeling like you are modifying the whole thing… then, I say, don’t look back!

Do you do anything else outside of Fusion?

I do like to run. It’s such an efficient and convenient form of exercise that it’s hard to ignore it as an option when you want to mix things up, are short on time, or traveling. I also like to walk – like, power-walk I guess you’d call it. I love that I can walk with a friend and be social and active at the same time. I was so sad when my kids outgrew strollers because I walked all the time with them when they were little – for hours – we just loved it. At one point I had two in a double stroller and had one strapped on in a baby carrier. I was determined.

Are you a pretty healthy eater?

Rafting in CR

Rafting in Costa Rica

Everything is relative but I’d say I’m more or less a healthy eater. You won’t find me eating much dessert, but I know I could do better with decreasing carbs and increasing lean proteins. My husband and I are about 90% vegetarian, I eat masses of fruit, I love tortilla chips and I’m addicted to coffee. I don’t know if I’d call that healthy, but again, everything is relative!

Do you find it hard to keep healthy meals on the table for your family?

It can be a challenge to make sure everyone eats well, but it doesn’t rule my day. I have one kid who is super-picky and one who likes Indian, Asian and Mexican foods (no PB&J for him!). If the kids have been served a meal but are still hungry afterwards they can have a fruit, vegetable or protein. They protest, but are used to hearing my line. We don’t go out to eat very much and rarely “drive-through” but they definitely eat their fair share of ‘junk’ nonetheless! We could do better with healthy eating, but we could certainly do worse.

Where’s your favorite place to grocery shop?

I grocery-store-hop all over town. Trader Joe’s, Hen House and Whole Foods are probably the places I hit most often. I’d love to go to Whole Foods more, but I walk out of there with half a bag of groceries and am down $80 bucks. Happens every time.

What’s a favorite treat you like to eat?

Tortilla chips. Seriously. I could eat them all day. Just straight out of the bag. If I’m in the mood for something sweet I’ll dig into trail mix with chocolate chips or “convince” the boys to go to TCBY… :)!

Do you have a favorite go-to meal?

For breakfast, or even lunch, right now I’m totally loving oatmeal with Trader Joe’s Omega trail mix and fresh fruit. Fish tacos is a go-to meal for dinner. We put out all the ingredients and do it family-style: fish, guac, salsa, cilantro, cabbage (Mexican-style), rice, lime, etc. Super easy and everyone finds a combo they like. We also make homemade pizza a lot with dough from Trader Joe’s and whatever toppings each person wants. Again, an easy way that you can customize the meal to everyone’s tastes.

Ropes course

Ropes Course with the Hubby

How do you make healthy choices when on-the-go with the kiddos?

It can definitely be challenging. If we are out and I haven’t packed anything, we typically hit Chipotle, Pizza 51 or Planet Sub. I don’t really know how much better these are than some of the other fast-food restaurants, but I pretend they are!!

As a mom, what’s one thing that’s surprised you about motherhood?

I didn’t anticipate how different each child needs to be parented. I knew they’d have different personalities but I’m realizing they aren’t a little package-of-three that we can parent on auto-pilot. Each kid needs completely individualized approaches and I have to stop and remind myself of that all the time. This is something I’m still figuring out!

Being a mom – even just a woman in general – in today’s society can start to feel competitive. How do you keep your confidence and self esteem in check?

First off, I think the main thing in being a mom/wife/friend – is that you do what you are comfortable with, and when it doesn’t feel like you – don’t do it. I try to surround myself with loyal and supportive friends; I try to internalize when someone says something complimentary; I don’t own a scale; I love my family; and I try not to take things for granted. Easier said than done, I know.

How do you deal with society’s “beauty” standards? Going back to yourself as a teen – what do you know now you wish you’d known then about this subject?
As far as beauty standards… well, you’ve got what you’re given. All you can do is emphasize what you like and play down what you don’t. I’m pretty low maintenance as far as beauty stuff and anti-aging (we’re talking the occasional hair trim and a moisturizer with sunscreen!) As I get older, I know I’ll continually re-evaluate how I’m feeling about it and decide what I want to do about it, if anything. The teenage years weren’t my fave. Childhood into young adulthood is a process of discovering who you are… in fact, I’m finding that it’s probably a life-long journey… But I think the most important piece of advice I try to remember is “listen to your gut.” I think that gut-instinct is very powerful and shouldn’t be ignored. If something doesn’t feel right, makes you uncomfortable, or, the opposite, feels like the right decision no matter what anyone else says… listen.

Tell us something not everyone knows about you:

I’m not a US Citizen! I was born and grew up in Canada. I didn’t move to the US until I was 24 – I can’t vote and get nervous every time I cross the border, even though I have a green card and I’m legit.

Lastly, what does being healthy mean to you?

Working in oncology, I have to say that healthy to me is ‘the absence of disease’. I can’t help it. I feel fortunate every day for my family’s health.

The Fun 5

Favorite Restaurant: Chai Shai at 59th &Holmes. If you like Indian/Pakistani food, this is amazing. Little place tucked into a residential neighborhood. So delicious.

Favorite Place to Drink a Glass of Wine: I don’t drink wine (I get a headache almost immediately, too bad) but I’ll take a Margarita on a patio, or a Pacifico beer/limeade combo poured for me by my husband.

Inspiring Book: Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

Beauty Tip You’d Pass Along: Nourish your friendships. It helps with inner beauty.

“I Find My Confidence In…”: My family. Both immediate, and extended… and I include my friends in that group.

fusion barre small

Emily with the Sweaty Sisterhood



Wondering if Fusion is the right fit for you? Check out these testimonials from clients – whether you’re just starting out or have been working out for years, Fusion is the place to be. Aside from giving you the best workout in KC, we’ll make you feel comfortable and welcome in the most positive and supportive environment full of clients all coming to do the same thing: sweat like a motha.

Nancy Griffin, 59

When is the last time you’ve been challenged – required to step outside of your comfort zone and do something really difficult – stretch yourself phyically, mentally, and emotionally and ask yourself to do something you’ve never done before?

I was just moping around the house, mourning my losses: my Dad had just died in September after a long bout with Alzheimer’s, my Mom had many health problems and was living with us, our geriatric dog developed diabetes(!) – and worst of all, I had retired from a long and happy teaching career to try to take care of everyone. By Christmas, I was just eating and drinking myself into a massive weight gain, and bemoaning the fact that I would be the Big 6-0 in August of 2014. My daughter Lizzy – a Fusion all-star – said, “Ma! You need to get out of the house and sign up for the Fusion Amp Camp starting in January. It’ll be good for you.” (I’m so grateful for my daughter and her good example.) The rest, they say, is history!

Sure I was scared – I had nightmares before the first class, thought I was going to throw up, etc., plus the fact that I was old enough to be everyone’s mother, at least – maybe even their grandma! I think it was the age thing that scared me more than being overweight and out of shape. I thought – what the heck am I doing here?! But I immediately felt welcomed by the girls at the front desk, by the other nice ladies in my camp, and especially by my teacher, Jos. I would be remiss if I didn’t give her most, if not all of the credit for my remarkable transformation. She is just an awesome teacher (and I know teachers!) She knew exactly when to challenge me (“Why aren’t you jumping?” You know, I didn’t know why I wasn’t jumping – I thought I was too old, or couldn’t – but her encouragement helped me realize I could!) She knew when to be supportive (“You are right where you’re supposed to be right now.”) She is extremely motivational! She uses her sense of humor and picks great music for our spin classes. (I’m probably the only soon-to-be 60 year old whose favorite song is “Talk Dirty To Me”!) She sends us great recipes, cardio workouts and motivational pick-me-ups (It’s as if she knows when I’m about to eat a chip or drink a Martini!) She is passionate about her subject matter: eating “clean,” working out hard, and gaining inner strength, not just stronger muscles. I think this is what Fusion really is to me: A strong core (heart!)

The Amp Camps are great! Sure I’ve lost 25 pounds, (20 in my first session and 5 so far in this one), and dropped two dress sizes. I can actually do planks and “man” pushups now, and I’m getting some great-looking muscles! I don’t eat sugar anymore (still drink occasionally!) and cook my husband, mom and dog healthy meals. I can do Fusion workouts with my daughter. But most importantly – I know I can do anything I put my mind to. Nothing is going to hold me down. I am strong, I am invincible. I am an almost 60 year old woman. I am a Fusionista!

Ali Blake, 29

Walking into Fusion Fitness for my first class post-baby was tough, but I was determined to lose my remaining baby weight through the 8-week Weight Loss Bootcamp. Pre-pregnancy I was a long distance runner and had popped into the studio for a few classes. Even with my running strength, I experienced the “I’m going to vomit” Fusion moments during class so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into this time around – I was so wrong.
Fusion Fitness challenged every fiber of my being – muscles, lungs, and most of all, my perspective. My affirmations quickly changed from losing the weight to more meaningful, positive thoughts. Any time I struggle in class I look in the mirror and tell myself I am a strong mama. Fusion makes me a better mama. I am happier, am more productive and probably could do mountain climbers in my sleep! For the first time ever I am actually comfortable in my swimsuit too. Sounds crazy post-baby, but truly the mental and physical strength I have gained at Fusion have transformed how I feel about myself well beyond what I see in the mirror.
The accountability, nutrition advice, and convenient daycare all take the guesswork out of regaining your strength as a new mom. I love that all the instructors have their own take on classes and are constantly working hard to switch it up. That paired with the options of studio or spinning classes ensure you get toned and sculpted while also getting in a huge blast of cardio. Whether you are looking for a killer workout, or a community of people determined to make positive changes in life, Fusion is the place to be.

Jessica McCarty, 35

I am passionate, outspoken and a little crazy…about my family, eating healthy, and a really hard workout to name a few. I have been a competitive athlete since I can remember (so I wonder why my four kids don’t have an aggressive bone in their body) –  I was a dual athlete in college in volleyball and track while I received my Master’s in Nutrition. I continued my love for fitness after graduation, becoming a personal trainer and certified indoor cycle instructor. I taught five to six classes a week until the day before I delivered my first, 14 days late, weighing 10lbs 7oz…no wonder all of my ‘regulars’ were nervous with me up on the bike! After my third child, when there was no more room in my double jogger, I joined another gym. I was working out two hours a day trying to get my cardio and weight training in – but I soon realized spending this much time at the gym was no longer feasible with my growing family - plus I was getting burnt-out on the same ol’ classes. Then a friend told me what an awesome workout Fusion Fitness was – we only described workouts as awesome if they were hard as hell and left us sweaty and tired – and after one class, I was sold and immediately cancelled my other membership. It was intense, sweaty, had great tunes, included cardio and weights…all in 60 minutes. I loved how the instructors moved around and challenged some of the gals to stop modifying or to do more… EXACTLY what I needed with one, three, five and seven year olds at home. 
But here’s what I love as much as the intense workouts: the female strength and support system throughout the entire studio. You walk through the doors and feel empowered – it’s not about being a size two – it’s about being the best YOU you can be, and the instructors encourage this attitude continually. I’m not a sorority girl, but I think this is as close to one as I’ll get.
I have definitely become stronger since coming to Fusion, but the mental strength is what I notice far greater than the physical strength of holding a plank for a couple minutes. As we often hear in class, it’s only 4% of your day spent at Fusion. However, it is the mental toughness and mindset during that 4% that prepares us for the remaining 23 hours and obstacles we encounter. My husband insists our entire schedule is planned around Fusion – but we all agree I’m a much happier woman after I get my hour in…so we’ll keep doing what works…AT FUSION!

Teresa Oehler, 36

“You chose who you are” is one of the first things that Jos said as I nervously sat listening to her at our AmpCamp orientation. I was nervous, overweight, and wondering if I had made a mistake doing this. However, the more I listened the more I realized that this was a journey to a healthier life and not just a temporary commitment. The next 8 weeks of the journey were filled with motivational quotes/thoughts, recipes, tips, tricks, butt bustin’/sweat drippin’ workouts, and answers to many questions. Aside from accomplishing my original goal of weight loss, I was even able to do a move during a workout that I never thought I would be able to do – I almost jumped for joy – and the first person I wanted to tell was Jos, who celebrated right along with me! She was always there for us to laugh, cry, dance, workout, hold us accountable, and just be our cheerleader. Nobody wanted us to succeed more than Jos. While I did successfully lose weight on this journey, I also gained confidence, great friends, a different outlook on health, and a new view on my life choices. We only get one shot at this crazy thing called life….why not make it your best and a healthy one.

Amy Shortall, 56

My love affair with Fusion Fitness began 15 months ago. I’m 56 years old and a mother of two and have been active most all my life until four years ago when I had foot surgery that didn’t go well. Shortly afterwards I broke my wrist and had to have surgery, then I was diagnosed with a heart condition called atrial fibulation. After three years of not being active I was feeling down on myself and feeling old. I thought this may be my future. Then a friend told me about the great results she was seeing from coming to Fusion Fitness. One class and I was hooked! It’s not just an exercise class with excellent instructors – but more of a family. Everyone is so supportive and it makes you want to work really hard to succeed.
The energy in the studio is electric and Darby the owner and the teachers give back so much. Since I began coming to Fusion Fitness I’ve lost 15 pounds and am probably in the best shape I’ve ever been. My self-confidence has increased, my energy levels are off the chart, I no longer have episodes with my heart condition and I am truly one happy camper! A day without Fusion is like a day without sunshine….Love it!

Sara Britton, 30

I have attended Fusion classes in the past when I have wanted to switch up my normal gym routine. I have always found the classes to be demanding, with great music to keep you going.
I have not attended classes in a few months due to being diagnosed with breast cancer. Last night, I made my return to Fusion, and attending my first spring class- Kristin’s Journey Ride. The music was positive and uplifting and not only inspired me throughout the workout, but gave me the added boost needed in my personal life too. Thank you Kristin and Fusion for continuing to inspire females in more ways than you know!

Lisa Witcher, 33

I decided it was time for a change and to lose the extra 10 pounds that had found me over the past several years. Although I’d become a barre and pilates enthusiast and a cardio junkie, I wasn’t making the progress I’d hoped for, so I decided to mix things up and join AmpCamp – a bonus came when a friend decided to take the challenge with me. At first, I won’t lie, I was extremely intimidated. When I walked into the studio, I was surrounded by what I perceived to be mostly young thin girls and an instructor with a rockin’ fit body, and I thought “how in the world am I going to do this?” Then I heard about the nutrition change and thought “for sure these people are CRAZY!” After I managed to not vomit during my first class, I walked out feeling exhausted but strong and empowered. Each week I found myself working harder to prove to myself that I could, that I had grown. Each week I looked forward to the at-home workouts and even more to the weekly group workouts. Joscelyn was amazing. She was completely dedicated to helping me establish faith in myself and supporting me throughout my journey. She responded to emails promptly, offered tips willingly, and spoke words of encouragement during each encounter. With her commitment and guidance, Joscelyn made the journey possible and my goals attainable: I dropped 11 pounds, lost 10 inches, and gained tone and strength that even surprised me!

With session one over, I realized that I wanted to do another eight weeks. Although I’ve found myself busier than normal and haven’t completely stuck to the program (wine has touched my palate more often than it should), I’ve continued to build strength and endurance and have seen continued transformations in my body and my attitude about “healthy.” The AmpCamp program, along with Joscelyn, has had such a positive influence on me: I think before I eat. I crave exercise and water. I want to be better, and now, thanks to AmpCamp and Joscelyn, I know I can continue to achieve my best.

Kristin Brinkman, 34

I can’t say enough about Fusion. Between Weight Loss Boot Camp and the life changing results they have given me and so many other women I will be a member for life! It is still crazy to me to have lost over 100lbs with Fusion. After spending way too much time being too intimidated to walk through those doors I quickly realized those instructors are the sweetest most supportive women I know. They are all there to help you get to your best self. I love the diverse clientele at Fusion – after thinking it was all tiny ladies I realized they welcome everyone and push you to your limit no matter what your age or size. At almost 34, I’m doing more physical activity now then when I was at 14…not kidding.  Before Fusion I would never have attempted to run so many races or do a Triathlon. They have given me the strength and courage to try anything because I know I can do it. The self confidence and pride you feel when you start accomplishing your goals starts positively affecting every aspect of your life – it is amazing!
I have been fortunate enough to not only participate in several boot camps but also assist Shawna and Regan with the newbies coming in the door. It’s amazing when you find a place that pushes you harder than you ever thought possible yet keeps you wanting to come back day after day, week after week. No class is the same and no instructor is the same. Working out is no longer something to dread.  This place is like a mini social hour in the morning right before you get your butt kicked – I leave a much healthier and happier person every time. This year I was given the opportunity to start teaching spin in the Fusion Fly room. It has been life changing! I love new clients coming in a little scared and leaving that room dripping in sweat and walking out with such a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s the best feeling in the world seeing people improve week after week.

David Wetzler, 50

I was a lifelong runner and then morphed into competing in multiple iron distance triathlons. While my cardio system was strong, I suffered from chronic back problems due to disc degeneration in my lower spine. The pounding of multi-hour training sessions worsened my symptoms over the years – after turning 50, I knew I needed to pay attention to developing my core strength. So about two years ago, I began attending Fusion on a regular basis (usually five times a week) – my goals were to improve my core strength, flexibility and balance. The first month was tough, but over time I developed better core strength and really enjoyed the challenge of all of the different types of classes – even the barre class!

Being the solo guy in the 5:30 am class is awkward at times, but I’ve learned to chuckle when the teachers remind everyone that their back muscles will look great in a strapless dress and that bikini season is only weeks away. The intensity of the workouts and unique movements have truly reshaped by lower spine – to the point where I can get out of bed without taking advil and can play golf without pain.

Fusion is truly a family affair for us -  my wife (Lisa), daughter (Sophie) and niece (Lauren) are all regulars at Fusion as well. Most importantly, all of the instructors have been great role models and mentors for Sophie and have taught her the importance of exercising to be healthy and developing a healthy body image.

Laura Baker, 29

I am a Fusionista.

I started attending Fusion 35 pounds overweight, according to the healthy ranges on the Weight Watchers website. For some that are out of shape, like my formal self, it might take a little bit of time to really feel like you belong. The people were amazing but I simply was well behind the group. It took me two months to graduate to the 2 pound weights – I had to use the 1 pound weights because it was the only way I could make it through a class. But each class I would try to incorporate 2 pounds weights a little more. Sure enough, I don’t even grab the 1 pounds anymore! My next goal is to conquer the one armed side plank. Each class I try to hold it a little longer, and still have to do it from one knee most of the time. Sometimes I catch myself in the mirror during class. I catch some definition in my shoulders or in my back and almost break into tears – tears of joy and tears of pride.

Since starting my journey, I have lost 17 pounds. If you stick to it, you will have a place you look forward to every day. A place that feels like home.

I am a Fusionista.

Christy Schoenfeld, 38

I came to Fusion almost 3 years ago after encouragement from my friend Erica who teaches there. I had just had 4 babies in 4 years and fitness was on the back burner for me. I had been active all my life, sports and ballet in high school and even dancing in college. After college I started running and finished a handful of marathons and half marathons. I went back to running after my 4th baby was born and it just wasn’t cutting it for me. I lacked the motivation to get up early and run and it was not much of a break to take a double stroller and our dog on my runs! I never thought Fusion was for me, it seemed like I wasn’t “fabulous” enough for it and didn’t have the right workout clothes (I was a runner, I wore gym shorts and race t-shirts!). When I found out Erica taught there, it interested me because here she was, pregnant with her 3rd baby and in fabulous shape! I remember standing on the soccer fields while our boys were playing saying to her, “I can run 15 miles but I probably can’t do a push up,” and she told me to come give it a try. I started slowly going maybe 2x a week and pretty soon was coming 3-4 and now on a good week I am there 5-6 times a week. At first I didn’t understand how anyone could take 5-6 classes a week but I look forward to my 5:30am Monday class with Darby and my 6am Tuesday with Erica. It starts my week right and it is my happy place. I love how I feel after a workout and I love being a good example to my 4 children.  Especially my daughter – I want her to see her Mom as strong, healthy and happy. Since my slow start, I have now participated in an Amp Camp, gone on the Fusion Fiesta Trip to Mexico, completed the 30 in 30 challenge and consider myself a Fusionista! My husband has also starting coming to Fusion Fly and we make Fly with Your Guy classes our dates every now and then. Aside from the amazing workouts and the change I have seen in my body, I have made some really great friends, reconnected with old friends and can’t imagine not having a place like Fusion.

Jane Parsons, 52

Why do I choose Fusion Fitness? The instructors. The instructors put a lot of time, energy and thought into their classes. Every class is a new challenge. The instructors enjoy what they do. They take each other’s classes. Your success is their goal. They inspire me to work hard and try my best every class I take. Another reason I go to Fusion is the people I have met there. I am 52 years old and have shared classes with teenagers, very pregnant women, new moms, busy mothers with their toddlers in tow, people older than 52, beginners to group exercise, people dealing with health and or weight issues, as well as veteran athletes, iron man and marathon competitors. Something for everyone. I am happy to have a fun and supportive place to improve my fitness. Thank you Fusion Fitness!

Scott Schmidt, 35

So why do I love Fusion? Well my story is more about motivation and being in a positive environment. Exercise and fitness have been a big part of my life since I was in middle school, and I even work in the fitness industry today. I needed a change in my exercise routine and needed to do something different. My good friend Annie suggested I come in and take the noon spin classes on tue and thur for one week just to try it out. Before this I had taken maybe 2 spin classes my entire life and had never really liked them. So I showed up on a Tuesday thinking I was in good shape and when the class was over I knew I had found an awesome place for me to go to get pushed beyond my limits and leave feeling better about myself and my life. I never knew 3-lb dumbbells could feel like giant boulders and I literately had to sit in my car for 15 min after class just to feel normal again. I also think both my arms cramped up from the push-ups at the end of class as well, but I pushed myself to that limit. Everyone’s limit is different and you push yourself to where you want to go, for me to be challenged again like Joscelyn did was a rush that I have not felt in a long time. Even though If felt like I was dying and my muscles and lungs burned I was happy mentally and emotionally. Joscelyn hooked me, and I’ve been going every Tuesday and Thursday since. It gets me off the boring treadmill and gives me some variety from my other exercise routines. I have also noticed that Fusion Fitness is just a great place to go to be surrounded by positive and motivating people. Just being in this environment for a few hours a week really does make a difference on how I feel and helps me stay motivated on being a more positive and happier individual.

Allison Tapp, 21

I remember the first time I came to Fusion five years ago. I was a junior in high school and one of my friends suggested that I come try it out with her. It was during soccer season and I remember thinking that the class was going to be a piece of cake because I was already in “soccer shape” – the next day I could barely run at practice because I was so sore and I quickly understood why they call Fusion the “most challenging workout in KC.”
Since I am now a full time nursing student, I am constantly trying to squeeze in a class whenever I can. Whether it’s sprinting from a clinical at the hospital, or pulling an all-nighter to study for a test, I strive to make Fusion a priority. I can honestly say I have never left a class feeling like I didn’t get a good enough workout – I am constantly challenged each time I walk in those doors to push harder and leave my daily stresses behind while I take advantage of the 60 minutes of “me” time.
Since coming to Fusion I have gained a whole new perspective on what beauty is. Weight and appearance was always something that bothered me through high school and college – sensing the “beauty” mold of today’s society – but at Fusion, I am constantly reminded that beauty is not defined by what size of jeans you wear, but by your heart and determination.
I’ve come to realize that Fusion isn’t just a bunch of group fitness classes, its a bunch of inspiring, strong, women who are striving to be the BEST version of themselves. This community encourages each other, pushes each other, laughs with each other, and supports each other. When you join Fusion Fitness you aren’t just going to get a stellar workout, but a community that is going to come along side of you and help you achieve your goals.

Alicia Ayer, 25

After much deep thought and a few days of thinking about how to describe what Fusion has done for me, this is what I have come up with: I have been going to Fusion for a little over a year and a half now. I remember my first class with Katie Hirleman – I stopped three times and thought I was going to get sick. My son had just turned a year old – let me emphasize, I was only 23 years old, had always been in good shape and involved in athletics of some kind or another – and for lack of a better word, that first class kicked my ass! There is no other way to describe it. I was sad because I didn’t feel like I did well, embarrassed that I couldn’t get through the workout, and let down. But little did I know it, that night I was introduced to another universe. Had I only known then how incredible this would be for me, my life, my soul, my happiness! It’s hard to start new things, it is SO hard to get up and workout when you’d rather relax after a long day of work, or even get up before the sun is up when everyone is still comfy in their beds. But I began to ask myself, what is it that I’m doing for my LIFE? This ONE life that I have to live? I didn’t think this way before I came to Fusion – I was living a normal life with a child, almost married and working a normal job. But because of Fusion, I now think this way everyday. What I did to change my life after that terribly challenging class with Katie, was KEEP GOING. And I have been going ever since that day of January 17, 2013.
This studio is nothing less than my happy home away from home. I mean this wholeheartedly: Fusion is my therapist, my anger management, my sauna, my girl time, my yoga, where I learn to believe in myself every moment in my struggle and every moment in my success; it is where I laugh, cry, hug, celebrate, PUSH THROUGH on those terrible days and kick ass on those great days. It is so much more than just a fitness studio. It’s a soul-cleansing plethora of diverse instructors, classes, techniques, people – and it is always changing, keeping it new and fresh.
As much as I try to explain Fusion in words, it is difficult unless you have gone. It is where I found myself again, where I found my soul and where I learned to LOVE and APPRECIATE my body more than I ever have. I truly don’t know what I would do without it. So if you’re sitting there saying to yourself that you want to/need to make a change – go to Fusion, believe in yourself every moment of every day and through every minute of your workout! One day, you will look in the mirror and see a changed person. I am changed because of Fusion. I am stronger (inside and out), happier (inside and out), sexier (inside and out), and most importantly, I believe in myself – and for that, I am forever thankful.

Kim Knape, 34

The best version of myself – that is what Fusion has allowed me to become.

In my nearly 35 years, nothing has changed my life more than becoming a part of the Fusion community. I’ve been a member for over 2 years now and I have never been more strong, proud, mindful and happy as I am today. I never thought when I walked in the doors for the first time, that I would become so passionate and so dedicated to my health, working out alongside so many I call friends today.

I fell off the exercise bandwagon a few years ago – as it happens sometimes in life, especially when the exercise or mode of fitness doesn’t quite excite you anymore. I’m an all or none person – why do something halfway – so when I was “off” of the bandwagon I was truly OFF. I was indulgent in food and fun and though I knew I didn’t feel great about myself, nothing really pushed me to want to change. After settling into my new life I decided it was time to face the music and peel away the extra pounds that came with the limbo world I had been living in while going through a divorce and transitioning into a new chapter. It was now time to become healthier both inside and out.

I will never forget the first class I attended – I literally looked around the room thinking, who are these people? I remember doing an exercise that is so simple today but barely being able to lift my leg at the time, let alone do all the reps required. Well, let me say the whole “shock your body” tagline is legit. I work full time yet attend class nearly every day and I can say that each time, I still have that fire to work harder than the last time and to push myself to the limit.  Don’t be scared of the challenge because it never gets “easy” – it’s not supposed to! The reps do get easier, the weights sometimes do get lighter but the challenge of pushing yourself to a level you never thought you could enter is always present! Never once have I attended a class and heard the same playlist, done the same sequences; the awesome instructors are consistently changing what we do which keeps the energy level so high and the body working at its ultimate max.

I am so grateful to have this community of strong, like-minded women who only see the best in each other and push one another to be better than they were the day before.  I genuinely see and feel the world differently – stronger not only in body but also in mind.

Kathy Grant, 46

I’m 46 and have been coming to Fusion since 2010. I started with once-a-week classes, and thought I was going to die! My spin teacher at a different studio referred myself and a couple of my friends (who also still come to Fusion), so we had been working out for a while, but not like that! We worked our way up from 1 to 2 times per week and within a year I was coming to Fusion exclusively.
My weight has gone up and down my whole life and it’s really hard for me to keep it down – Fusion has helped with that more than anything I’ve ever done in the past. It’s really more than that though, it’s about the mental benefits of the workout. I’m a therapist and all of the research shows that after talk therapy and psych meds exercise is #3 in having benefits for depression and anxiety. I feel so good since I’ve been coming to Fusion – many days I don’t feel like going and the first 10 mins I’m thinking, “I knew I didn’t want to do this, it’s hard!” But that always passes and I feel WONDERFUL and accomplished when I’m finished.
Working three jobs, it’s difficult to find the time to workout but I get in over the lunch hour and on weekends. I can’t say enough positive things about Fusion and the staff and teachers. It’s such a great group of people who work and workout there and want to be better not just physically, but mentally and maybe spiritually as well:). I feel supported and appreciated and it’s a very positive atmosphere. Lastly I have done the 30 in 30 challenge twice now successfully and that’s been a great accomplishment for me! I’m proud of my hard work and I feel great mentally, even when there are lots of stressors in my life, Fusion is one of the best things I can do to help me manage my stress and health. Sometimes co-workers say they can’t believe I go get sweaty at lunch every day and wonder how I do it with what else I do in my life. I tell them I CAN do it because I get to go get sweaty at lunch every day! I’m not the hardest body in the place, but that’s okay, I’m pretty strong and have good endurance and always surprise myself, especially when I’m around other people of my age group who are complaining about aches and pains, etc., that I don’t have and I know that’s in big part to coming to Fusion for so long.

All of our classes provide a total body workout in just one hour – and if you’re looking for a structured program, check out our 12-Week Weight Loss Boot Camp and our 8-Week Amp Camp. You can also read about our instructors and class descriptions – then schedule your first class and come give us a try! The only thing you have to lose is a whole lotta sweat…

Email us at with questions!



Check out our results from our 8-week Weight Loss Boot Camp Blast – a few of these ladies even completed two 8-week sessions in a row! Don’t spend another summer uncomfortable in your own skin – our next sessions of Amp start June 7th and our next WLBC, the 6-week Summer Slam, starts July 13th!

Read on for inspiration, and don’t second-guess yourself – sign up for your own session here.



Lost 27.4 pounds total (10.6 this session)

Down 4.5 inches total from waist (2 inches this session)

Down 4 inches from the hips (1 inch this session)

Down 5.6 inches from the chest (2 inches this session)

Her pushups went from 25 on her toes & 25 on her knees to a full 63 on her toes!!!



Lost 62.9 pounds total (26.2 this 8 weeks!) Woah!!

Down 12 inches from her waist (5.5 inches this session)

Down 7.75 inches from her hips (4.5 inches this session)

Down 7.5 inches from her chest (3.5 inches this session)

Pushups improved from 22 on knees to 25 on toes and 25 on knees!

Situps improved from 22 to 33!

***********Ali ***********


Lost 21.8 total (7 this session)

Down 4.5 inches total from her waist (1 inch this session)

Down 5.5 inches from her hips (1 inch this session)

Down 3 inches from her chest

Pushups improved from 20 on toes & 13 on knees to 30 on toes and 15 on knees!

Situps improved from 19 to 43!


Our WLBC’ers weren’t the only ones kicking buns & taking names… Our 8-week Amp Campers were also hard at work! Check out these ladies from Regan’s Amp!


photo-38Marissa lost 8.4 lbs 

Down  3.5 inches total from her waist 

Down 3 inches from her hips 

Down 3 inches from her chest 

Her push-ups went from 30 on her toes to 44 all on her toes!

Her sit-ups improved from 24 to 32, and her plank hold went from 1:38 to 2:00. Wow!


photo-39Ali lost 8.1 lbs

Down  2.5 inches total from her waist

Down 1 inch from her hips

Down 1.5 inches from her chest

Her push-ups went from 20 on her toes to 26 all on her toes!

Her sit-ups improved from 21 to 27, and her plank hold went from 1:37 to 1:52. Wow!

Speaking of our April Classes Bring May A$$es #30in30 Challenge – check out our latest 12 week WLBC’ers and their before and after results! Three months ago these ladies took their New Year’s Resolutions to the max and signed themselves up for a 12 week program that required huge self-discipline, a motivation to succeed and the ability to conquer the challenging journey ahead – and they did it! Getting through the early morning workouts, the two-a-day sweat fests, and the overhauling of their kitchens was task one – overcoming that little voice in their head that kept wanting to quit, give up, or try again later – that was the looming task throughout the entire 3 months. Congrats ladies!

Read these results, give these ladies a high five in the studio, and if this is something you’re considering, sign up for our next camp starting THIS SUNDAY April 5th.

You know you want to. Think about how it will feel looking back on this decision three months from now, and think of all the things in your life you can change once you take control – setting and meeting a goal is where it’s at. (And this camp ends right before 4th of July, so, you know, that’s helpful inspiration too.)

 ***** Sarah *****


Sarah lost 30.3 lbs!!!

Down 6 inches from the waist
Down 5 inches from the hips
Down 3 inches from the chest
She improved her pushups from 6 on her toes & 26 on her knees
to 16 on her toes and 44 on her knees!
Plank hold went from 1:16 to 2:01
1-minute situps went from 21 to 35

 ***** Amber *****


Amber lost 22.4lbs!

Down 1.5 inches from the waist
Down 3.25 inches from the hips
Down 3.5 inches from the chest

***** Jennifer *****

Jennifer Lost: 23.7 pounds!
Down 2 inches from her waist
Down 4 inches from her hips
Down 3 inches from her chest
She improved her 1-minute push-ups from 25 on her toes and 13 on her knees
to 37 on her toes and 15 on her knees!
Her 1-minute sit-ups went from 33 to 47
She started planking at 1:30, now she holds plank for 2:42

***** Jen *****


Jen lost 13.1 pounds!

Down 4 inches from the waist
Down 4 inches from the hips
Down 2.5 inches from the chest
She improved her 1-minute push-ups from 2 on her toes and 29 on her knees
to 10 on her toes and 37 on her knees!
She improved her 1-minute sit-ups, plank & jump rope as well

***** Cara *****

Cara lost 19.6 pounds in this session – she keeps continuing the WLBCs and looking amazing!!!
Down 5.5 inches from the waist
Down 4 inches from the hips
Down 3 inches from the chest
She improved her 1-minute push-ups from 16 on her toes and 14 on her knees
to 35 on her toes and 15 on her knees!
She improved her crunches from 36 in 1 minute to 45 in 1 minute

***** Chelsea *****

Chelsea lost 7.9 pounds!
Down 1.5 inches from the waist
Down 2 inches from the hips
Down 1.5 inches from the chest


We are so proud of the hard work you guys have given for three solid months. Keep up the motivation and sail right into summer!!!

Click here for more info about our next WLBC starting this Sunday, April 5th


Can you believe another Weight Loss Boot Camp has already come to an end? (I bet our WLBC’ers can!) We have the results, and if you haven’t seen enough yet, they’re always AMAZING!

As a result of first making the decision to embark on such a challenge, and then actually putting in the hard work of exercising at least 9-12 times per week (if you think regular Fusion classes are tough you should peek into a WLBC hour) and overhauling their diet to change old habits and start new ones all in the same breath – these women stand proud in their ‘after’ shots. (And notice the side-view lifted booties!)

As tough as it sounds, I always hear the same thing from these ladies: the changes make them feel so good that the toughness of it all is in time replaced by a new respect they find for their bodies. This new respect gets them to the studio early in the morning or after work, it keeps them out of the drive-thrus, it motivates their prep work in the kitchen, and they evolve into feeling empowered, not deprived.

For more info on our next sessions of WLBC and AmpCamp starting

March 25th 2014 – click here.



Bridget lost 8.1 pounds

She took 4.5 inches from her waist

7 inches from her hips (!)

and 7 inches from her chest (!)

Her one-minute pushups went from 9 to 20!

Her one-minute crunches started at 0 eight weeks ago and shot up to 21!



Starlin lost 19.5 pounds

She took 4 inches from her waist

4.25 inches from her hips

and 2 inches from her chest

She improved her one-minute pushups from 5 on her toes and 30 on her knees to 10 on her toes and 39 on her knees!

Her one-minute crunches went from 21 to 29!



Ali lost 12.4 pounds

She took 4 inches off her waist

5 inches off of her hips

and 4 inches off of her chest

She improved her one-minute crunches from 19 to 39!



Erica joined WLBC Blast on the heels of her first successful journey in the 12-Week WLBC –

This session she lost another 12 pounds!

She improved her one-minute pushups from 35 on her toes to 52 on her toes!

Her one-minute crunches improved from 23 to 32!


Feeling inspired? We have another WLBC 8-Week Blast starting next week, March 25th! For more info click here  - you’ll find all the details, plus information about our 8-week AmpCamp and 12-Week WLBC. We have every option you need to take that first step. 




“Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.” – Buddha


In honor of all the Spring Breakers chillaxing on the beach with their margaritas, going out to dinner every night and having the services of hotel housekeepers, let’s talk about happiness. Not for them of course, because duh they’re in paradise for a week, but for us Staycationers, enjoying our blustery Spring Break right here in good ol’ Kansas. ‘Ugh,’ you say, ‘yeah yeah the power of positive thinking, choose to be happy, blah blah. What are you going to tell me next, exercise releases endorphins? I know!’ So you’ve heard a lot about it lately, but after a recent conversation with our WLBC star leader Shawna, a need to share the inspiration we gave each other has arisen.

We were talking about how it’s our kids’ faults that we eat so damn much. Okay, (kind of) kidding. We were discussing how easy it is to rely on the same old excuses each time we’re tempted into eating junk – mostly when some sort of emotion is involved. How eating habits seem so engraved and overwhelming and unchangeable – but how they really aren’t. How all it takes to stop shoving granola bars in your mouth during the after school rush (the only time of day more splurge-inducing as bedtime) – all it takes is the mental strength to stop doing it. But the excuses are good (I’m stressed! The kids are driving me crazy! My blood sugar has bottomed out! It’s still 5 hours till bedtime!) and it’s easy to give in day after day – spiraling to the point of feeling out of control, discouraged, and broken down to keep giving in again the next time. Or shoot, even again that night. And this pattern can negatively affect everything from our eating habits to our relationships to the way we talk to ourselves in the mirror.

What we all tend to forget or ignore (or may honestly have never considered) is that we have the power to control the excuses – those endless streams of thoughts dictating our emotions. We ARE that little voice. When we worry, when we call ourselves fat, when we crave certain situations or fear the worst of others – this all seems to just “be” how it is and we accept it as our reality. But the good news is – everything is yours to choose. Even if you have to straight up tell yourself how it’s gonna be in the mirror. “I do NOT need another granola bar.” “I am NOT a failure because I already had two.” “I am NOT crazy for telling myself how it’s gonna be.” (Let your kids & husband stare – maybe they’ll ease up a bit with the stress-eating they’re creating when they think mom’s finally lost it.) Whatever you have to do to choose your thoughts, it’s time to take control of them and start choosing the good ones.

Read on for four ways to choose happiness (and no, none of them start with Kim Crawford.) (Okay maybe some nights they do.)

♥know yourself♥

“The better you know yourself, the better your life becomes.” Deepak Chopra

We hear it all the time – “love yourself, accept yourself, be yourself” – but before you can do any of these things, you actually have to file_101560_0_Baby_Mirrorknow yourself. Your passions, your strengths, your weaknesses. In a culture focused so intently on doing it all and being the perfect woman, we have this huge pressure to be better better better – but do we really know what we need to be better at? On Deepak Chopra’s website (tons of insightful and motivational articles & exercises here), I came across an article by Traci Porterfield about how to attract love. Not just in a mate, but attracting love into your life in general. And one of her first steps was figuring out how to make your light shine so bright that those around you will be attracted to, and touched by, your own special light. She suggested figuring out what makes you tick – what you’re passionate about – in order to build upon that little light and just let it shine.

‘Um, so how am I supposed to figure out my passions when I’ve got mouths to feed, bills to pay, yada yada?’ True – especially as women, we are very focused on taking care of those around us. But a question we were asked at the inspirational Girls’ Night In last month, was “how would my family/friends/life look without me in it?” Sober point right, but when we deny taking care of ourselves over those around us, we cause an endless list of health problems, both physically and mentally. So set aside a few minutes and ask yourself these questions from Porterfield – really get to know yourself and write in that empty  journal you bought yourself two years ago:

  • What do I love to do?
  • What would I do if I had all the money and time in the world?
  • What do I love to talk about, learn about, or teach to others?
  • What physical activities make me feel alive?
  • What activities spark my creativity?
  • What are the happiest parts of my life?
  • How do I love to spend my days?
  • What makes me smile?

Simple at first, right, but what if you really took the time to think about, write about, plan about the answers you come up with? How can answering these questions help you connect with yourself and get to know yourself better? Be careful to not lose yourself in your responsibilities. Someone once told me to “remember your inner child and treat her with kindness, acceptance, and love.” Think of yourself as the little child you once were, and give her the same compassion you give to your own kids and the rest of your family and friends – and embrace doing the things now that you couldn’t as a child. Once that little light starts to shine, watch out baby, because that’s when things will start to happen.

♥accept yourself♥

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not eliminating our weaknesses.” ~Marilyn vos Savant


Now here’s the kicker – once you take the time to pay attention to who you really are – stop trying to change it! Embrace your strengths and your weaknesses as who you are made to be. Accept your flaws as you accept those of your closest family and friends. Our overall love and acceptance of who they are shields us from the occasional annoyances they create – see yourself through this same lens and share your support with yourself as you would with a friend in need. Sure we can all improve in one way or another, but we are all different for a reason and for every trait you consider undesirable, you have another desirable trait inside you that makes your heart as special as it is.

Porterfield also reminds us to “embrace laughter, joy, and lightheartedness. The world is stunningly beautiful when you walk around with your heart and eyes wide open.” She (along with every other psychologist/self help guru/grandma around) insists one of the greatest keys to happiness is living in the present, not the past. She says to accept the people who have hurt you and be grateful for the lessons they taught you. Release them and all of the anger and hurt so it stops poisoning your body. Live in each moment. Stop wishing you’re someone you’re not – use the old mom adage that there’s always going to be someone prettier, richer, stronger, etc… (so what are you calling me ugly mom?) – and just be yourself.  There is only one best – the best YOU you can be.

Lastly, accept that you are not superwoman, no matter how hard you try. Porterfield asks, “do you need a mentor? Do you need to get rid of some energy thieves around you? Do you need technical help? Do you need someone to tell you you’re wonderful every day? Ask someone to tell you. Whatever it is, take charge and make sure you get it. We cannot do everything on our own.”

♥better yourself♥

“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” –Maya Angelou


“Like any other skill, becoming a positive, optimistic person takes practice to develop. Positivity is a muscle and you must build it every day if you want to see any tangible results,” says Porterfield. So instead of letting those useless, self-depreciating thoughts own your brain all day, practice a new mantra and fake it till you make it. “I am happy.” Breathe in. “I am happy.” Breathe out. Etc., etc., and etc. until you feel it.

When we aren’t striving to earn the “best” title from everyone around us, we can start giving ourselves to others to try and encourage their better.

When you focus your attention outside of yourself (this is after you’ve answered the questions above of course), you’ll find such joy and peace in making other people smile that you’ll naturally be smiling more yourself. Porterfield says, “remember that the smallest acts of kindness can have the greatest impact. And when you offer your light, your capacity to love expands exponentially. There are hundreds of things you could say throughout the day to show appreciation for the people in your life. Even something small, like writing a quick note or making a phone call to say ‘I’m thinking about you’ can make someone’s day.”

Why does it feel so good to help others? Leslie Goldman in Four Amazing Health Benefits of Helping Others, says, “when you read to the elderly, walk a 5K for cancer, or even plunk a quarter in the Salvation Army kettle, the reward center of your brain pumps out the mood-elevating neurotransmitter dopamine, creating what researchers call a helper’s high.” And we all appreciate a good high, right? Studies have shown doing nice things for others, even the littlest things, increase life expectancy, decrease chronic-pain, and lower blood pressure. If all of this is happening to you, just imagine what your good deed is doing for the other person.

♥choose yourself♥

“In the end, happiness is a choice—the frame through which we choose to see.” -Mark Matousek

I have an experiment for you : The next time you’re grumpy as all get-out, when you want to scream your brains out at the car in front of you or attack one of your children (with loving mom discipline) – try smiling. ‘Fake it till you make it’ is proven right here. The tiny act of turning the corners of your mouth up instead of down (really get into it, act like you’re smiling for a picture. Or at Channing Tatum.) and you will instantly release endorphins – creating that high we all crave without even a second’s worth of work. Even when you have to force yourself so hard you look like Jack Nicholson in the The Shining. (Again, this may help the kids & husband back down when mom pulls out her “crazy” smile as they may call it. Behind your back.)


So if something as quick as a smile can boost your mood and change your perspective, what about furthering that “taking control of your emotions” idea and applying it to your thoughts? “When you take control of your thoughts and choices you don’t feel deprived, you feel empowered – but you choose to feel that way [kittens.]” Our own Jos – Amp Camp leader and Fusion rock star – talks about being in control of your eating habits in simple terms that we may not always want to hear. “Just don’t eat it.” “Put that sh*t in the freezer so it breaks your teeth off if you do.” She tells us the answer day after day, it’s just up to us if we really want to apply it to our lives and get down to business. Do the dirty work. “But,” she says, “when you take one thing out, when you make a sacrifice, you’re also making room for something new and beautiful.” So out with the old and in with the new – be excited about it!

“Happiness is genetically influenced but not genetically fixed,” says David Lykken, PhD in Mark Matousek’s How to Choose Happiness on Because we are women. We are American. We’ve got to mention Oprah at some point. “The brain’s structure can be modified through practice. If you really want to be happier than your grandparents provided for in your genes, you have to learn the kinds of things you can do, day by day, to bounce your set point up and avoid the things that bounce it down.” Disproving Freudian and other  “you’re stuck with it” theories, recent breakthroughs in psychology, neurology, and chemistry – or the ‘positive psychology movement’ or the ‘science of happiness’ as it’s referred to – are finding our brains are a lot more powerful than we once thought. (Phew, I knew we all didn’t want to have sex with our mothers.)

As Jos said above, and what’s becoming our slogan around here anytime our holidays are tempting us to gorge ourselves: “You’re Empowered, Not Deprived.” Direct this powerful statement to anything in life – whether it’s your budget, your eating habits or the way you handle your emotions when you’re upset – and you can see how empowering it really is. Say no to that third granola bar. Shoot, say no to the first one. Damn it feels good to be a (self-disciplining) gangsta.

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” – Aristotle 


One year ago Courtney Craig walked into her first Weight Loss Boot Camp. Anxious but determined to change her habits and both her physical and mental health, she made the decision just three days earlier to dedicate herself to the next 12 weeks – she had finally reached the realization that something had to be done about her health.

Shawna Regan and Me

Regan, Courtney & Shawna on the WLBC field

On her one year anniversary of taking control, she has lost over 60 pounds, dropped all of her medications (to the shock of her doctor) and completed four WLBCs back to back. Though weight loss is the typical measurement of success, she is quick to emphasize that though she “watched the scale like a hawk” in the beginning, she began to see her accomplishments through the journey as even more important than the exact amount she had lost/continues to lose. “Like the first day I discovered I could touch my toes…WHAT?! Or the day I just put on my shoes to do a little warm up run before class, and discovered I’d ran 3 miles on accident. And when I went to my doctor who hadn’t seen me since I started this journey – when she entered my weight into the computer it kept bringing up error messages, saying the percentage of weight loss was too great and to re-enter the number. She was ecstatic!”

Courtney spent many years battling her weight – since middle school she was shopping in the plus sizes and says “I was never the tiny girl.” She was raised with healthy perimeters on TV time and “we were kicked outside to play all summer,” but says she never really thought about health and fitness growing up. By the age of 34 she was on the verge of diabetes, taking medication for it and also prescribed cholesterol meds. “Aside from those I had heartburn and headaches all the time so Tums, Advil, Pepcid, etc. were all staples in my medicine cabinet. I’m a numbers girl, so I recently added up what I was spending on medications, even after insurance, and I’m not kidding – it was enough for a down payment on a car!”

“I had always wanted to lose the weight but never wanted to do the work. I had seen other people do it, but it wasn’t until I watched my friend Allison complete a WLBC and saw her tagged in a WLBC Facebook post with her and all the other women’s results that something clicked in me. Finally I thought, this is it, I have nothing to lose. That same day I called Shawna and registered, warning her that I didn’t run, I was crazy out of shape and I couldn’t be expected to do everything Allison did, but if I lost 20 pounds I’d be happy. It was that day that I flipped my switch and three days later started my first WLBC.”

To say it was a rough start would be an understatement. “We started to do our assessments,” Courtney says, “and with our small group it probably took about 15 minutes – and being honest here – after I was done I felt so dizzy and gross that I had to leave the room to go throw up. I was completely discouraged and thought, if I can’t even make it through 15 minutes, how am I going to do an entire hour? A week? The entire 12 weeks? The next morning we met at the soccer field for our first “real” workout and after 30 minutes, boom, I was throwing up again.”

“But like I said I’m a numbers girl,” she says, “and at that point my biggest motivation was that I had paid the money so I was going to do it. Plus I knew if I didn’t go back and continue my plan, this was the end of the road and I would just have to go ahead and get super fat and unhealthy or even perhaps pursue weight loss surgery. Then I did my first Wednesday night with Jacqui and it about killed me. I was in tears. I couldn’t imagine 12 weeks of it and thought, why would I want to go back to that?!”

But go back, she did, and “I’m not gonna lie, I felt awful” – but she kept pushing and pushing until she says she eventually pushed through the wall she describes as her mental barrier – and now nonchalantly  refers to her “pre-Fusion” life in conversation, as it has so drastically changed her physical and mental self. “I started to make friends in the camp who were going through the same things, had the same feelings, and the same challenges. That kept me coming back. Eventually I started to feel better. And I have to say that Shawna and Regan were a big reason I kept showing up. I believe these two women saved my life this past year!”

12 Months Before After Front12 Months Before After

So tell us why Fusion has been the spot you chose to stick with – what keeps you here?

Fusion is my ‘home base’ if you will – as the year went on and I got more confident I started to try other workouts and now I like that I can include running (and also my friend’s studio Pole Fitness when I’m at our family vacation home in Michigan). But Fusion is my go-to because of so many things – the workouts, the women, the instructors, the community. Fusion is where a lot of my friends are now, and friends of mine pre-Fusion are now coming with me to the studio to hang out while we sweat together (and curse under our breath at times.) It makes my heart so happy! Lane was also a big cheerleader for me in my first WLBC, so I’m a loyal follower of her Fat Funeral on Instagram and Facebook and love seeing her accomplishments and continued success.

What would you say you learned here – why did it finally “click” for you?

The biggest thing I learned from my WLBC experiences is that my mind was the only thing getting in my way. I kept having negative, doubting thoughts and when I started to take the attitude of, “I can do this”, “I can do anything for a minute”, “I am the only one that can change my life” – then it all just clicked. I stopped blaming outside forces for my bad choices, I stopped making excuses (too tired, too busy, too expensive, etc.) and I said “Suck it up and get after it.”

What do you say to women thinking about joining WLBC – what has been your biggest gain from your camps?

I know the weight loss is huge, and it’s definitely the bonus, but the absolute best part for me has been getting my mind to a great place. About six or seven months into my journey I realized one day that I had not had a negative thought about my body or myself in months. Do you know how much energy and time I wasted thinking negatively about myself? It was so wasteful. It is so incredibly freeing to wake up and feel good about myself.

Have your family and friends been supportive of your lifestyle change?

Absolutely – my parents have been my biggest cheerleaders as well as my brother. This summer in Michigan I put my cousin through the ringer with bootcamp workouts and she did great – every morning we’d do it in the driveway with our yoga mats and an hour-long workout. We each had to burn 500 calories before we could have our vacation fun for the day!

I have to say my friends have been amazing. When I made the decision to do this, I wrote my best girlfriends (the Sisterchicks) a divorce letter of sorts. I told them I had decided to do this and that I was going to need to separate from all of my friends for a while because I had to put myself first and I knew it was going to be challenging. They were all so supportive and I am happy to report they all started doing healthier things for themselves as well! One was even brave enough to try a Fusion class with me.

Even my work has been super supportive. My boss and his boss both cheered me on all year and if I needed to adjust my schedule to make a class they both supported me – they knew I was a more productive and happier worker when I got to work out and having healthy employees makes the office a better place.

What has been an unexpected challenge during the last year?

Weeding out the toxic people in my life. I know it sounds harsh but honestly there are people in your life that pull you down and do not lift you up. And, as much as you want them to be as happy as you are, they are on their own journey and it’s not your responsibility to change their life for them. Some people drift away naturally and others may say some really cruel things on their way out – which actually makes it less of of a problem to turn away from them. I’ve learned it is out of their own insecurities and you have to choose to love them but let them go and pray they find their own way to a healthy life.

What has been something that has surprised you by being easier than you’d imagined?

Staying motivated! Right now I work out seven days a week (at least getting 45 minutes of cardio in per day) because I want to. Because I am a happier and more productive woman in all areas of my life when I move every single day. I aim for 10 workouts a week, or if I’m really pushing, like during WLBC, I’ll do 12. Honestly, if you can get through the first 4 weeks of WLBC then it becomes easy. Not in the sense that the workouts become easier or avoiding junk food gets easier – but in that your mindset becomes different. You have changed your life so drastically that if you try and slip back into old habits it really feels gross. One thing that truly has gotten easier is the 4:40a wakeup calls and 9p bedtimes. Heck, that’s why they invented the DVR!

What other parts of your life have improved?

The Green Jacket

One of my favorite hobbies is golfing – there are so many great courses in KC and I’ve always loved it and always played with my entire family – but I used to be absolutely exhausted after eight or nine holes. This summer I played 90 holes of golf in four days and had the best game of my life! Thanks to the incredible shape I’m in now, I even won my family tournament and the coveted green jacket!

I’ve kept a blog this whole time, I Refuse to Fail, so I could keep track of my own feelings and share them all with others going through the same things. Sometimes I’ll go back and read it, thinking about where I was a year ago, and wish I could just go back and give myself a hug. Both to say “it will get better” and to say how proud I am of the decisions I continued to make throughout each day, month, and now year. And to encourage others doing the same thing!

How have you learned to control your food cravings?

Water is huge and important. But, honestly if there is something I really want and am fixated with, I eat it. I just eat a bite or a small portion. Most of the time a bite will not taste good and I walk away. But this is life. Sometimes a girl needs a a piece of chocolate. I gave up fast food this year, I gave up cigarettes. But honestly you can have my Diet Coke when you pry it from my cold, dead hand! (That being said I did go from four or five a day to just one and often none. But it’s my treat.) I also thoroughly enjoy pizza, but my version of pizza has changed into a healthier way to eat it – thin crust, heavy veggies and chicken, and watching how many pieces I eat. It’s a balance.

What’s a favorite healthy snack?

Raw almonds or pistachios are my go-to, but I have to count them out and not binge. Half an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter is also a good one. I’ve been surprised out how amazing it is if you eat slowly and pay attention, how you can curb that hunger. I also love veggies and hummus, but again, it’s important to measure out the hummus beforehand and not sit down with the whole tub.

What’s a favorite breakfast to start your day off right?

Breakfast is when I load up, so to speak, and one of my faves is this egg scramble: half of a chicken apple sausage diced and cooked slowly (I remove the casing), then about two tablespoons of fresh pico de gallo (I’m too lazy to chop veggies in the morning so this does the trick), three egg whites, and a tiny bit of mozzarella. Voila. High protein keeps me going – and if I really want juice I’ll do a cup of Trop 50 cut with water. Yum!

What would you say is one of the biggest keys to eating healthy?

Planning, planning, planning. I make the most of my meals or plan my week of eating on Sunday afternoons – and the crock pot is a fantastic invention. My best weeks are when I have planned every bite and have it all in the fridge ready to go.

How do you get through the challenging days?

Oh, I’ve had rough days for sure. When I had the flu I was down for about a week, but 36 hours after the fever broke I was at the track with one of my WLBC girls walking laps. We had a traumatic loss in our family and all I wanted to do was eat and cry – but I kept thinking of our friend and how proud he was of me so I left the funeral and went straight to class – I cried the whole time but it felt so good to be there working out.

On the rough days, I think about who I was, who I am now…and who I want to be. And I know that based on my improvements so far that I am not too far from the woman I want to be.

The Fun Five

Favorite Restaurant: When I want to go big, the Plaza III! When I’m being super good Seasons 52 or The Mixx for something quick

Inspiring Book: All the Best by George Bush & My Life in Letters and Other Writings by George HW Bush – he wrote beautiful letters to family and friends through his whole life documenting his relationships, his children, his military and political careers.

Favorite Place to Drink a Glass of Wine: Actually my favorite beverage is a Hot Chocolate and I like to drink it walking around the Plaza in the winter. But, summertime patio sitting with friends is fantastic too!

Favorite Beauty Tip: My Grandmother Craig always told me to take care of my skin and stay out of the sun – that a tan wasn’t worth it! I will never be a super tan girl (unless it is sprayed on) but I won’t have leather skin either!

“I Find My Confidence In…”: …stepping so far outside my comfort zone that it makes it worth it when I succeed. Knowing I have a solid base of family and friends to support and love me makes it a bit easier, but confidence is built by pushing past the fear. The best part is looking back at those treks outside my comfort zone and realizing they weren’t so bad after all.

First Session

“Never for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experience or convictions.”

~Dag Hammarskjöld

 Think Weight Loss Boot Camp may be for you? Visit our page about both the 12-week Weight Loss Boot Camp that Courtney did, and our 8-week AmpCamp – both programs run continually and our new sessions start again in March 2014. Email us with questions anytime at

5594436-cherry-with-sugar-lips-between-woman-perfect-teeth-macro-mouthDid you know one can of Coke has more sugar than you’re supposed to have all day? Read below for a special blog post from Michelle Whitmore, our Registered Dietician for our Weight Loss & Amp Camps, and offering nutrition consultations for Fusion clients. For more info about Michelle’s background and detailed descriptions about each of her nutrition services, click here. As a special treat to you hard working Fusionistas, now through 2/15 she’s offering 20% off of any nutrition service with your 1-month unlimited Fusion purchase – use the code HEALTHY when you book your services online. Read on for more sugar info, and stop drinking that Coke!

How Can I Control My Sugar Intake?

by Michelle Whitmore

Sugar, Sugar, Everywhere!  It seems like wherever we look, sugar is in everything! From our morning coffee creamer, to our salad dressing at dinner, we find sugar. But what are the differences in sugar and how much should you consume?

Sugar is naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Sugar is also added to many processed foods. Many foods with added sugar contribute to excess calories in your diet but do not provide any nutritional value. Unfortunately, the food label does not distinguish between natural sugars and added sugars, therefore, it is important to always read the ingredient list. (Ingredients are listed in the order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first, followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts.)

According to The American Heart Association, most Americans consume more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.  That’s equal to more than 129,500 calories of added sugar in a year! The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most women, that is no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. (Remember, most of us are consuming more than 22 teaspoons a day.) One teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar, so that means you want to try and keep your added sugars to less than 24 grams per day.

For example, when looking at the food label for a 12 ounce Coke, there are 39 grams of sugar. If you divide 39 by 4, you realize there are almost 10 teaspoons of added sugar in one Coke! You also want to look at the ingredient list for added sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, molasses, and cane juice.  Some hidden sources of added sugar are sauces, salad dressings, fruit spreads, cereal, bread, yogurt and sweetened beverages.

Take the time this week to read food labels and determine if you are consuming unnecessary added sugar. Are there foods you can eliminate from your diet that aren’t providing much nutritional benefit? Aim to eat whole, minimally processed foods, and you won’t have to worry about too much added sugar.

Happy Sunday, Fusionistas!

This morning at Overland Park we had a lot going on that really made me want to jump for joy about how amazing Fusion Fitness is for Kansas City. As I walked up the stairs I heard blaring music from both the spin & regular studios, instructors yelling, drumsticks banging, and finally, applause. Holy moly, I thought, that’s a hell of a lot of energy I’m about to walk into. All at the same time, Jodie was rocking out with her growing-each-week Pound lovers,  we were finishing up a spin class (Kristin Brinkman’s first EVER – she is one of our Weight Loss Boot Camp super alum’s – completing several camps and losing over ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE POUNDS on her amazing journey), plus we were gearing up the studio for over 60 women coming in to complete their orientation for our three new Amp Camps, starting today. Phew! (And this is just a Sunday.)

All thanks to Darby having a dream and acting on it almost six years ago.

So let’s talk about each of these three fun things happening:

 ***** Pound *****

193We were super lucky when Jodie Schnakenberg asked to bring Pound to Fusion – one of the two only places in Kansas City (she also teaches classes at City Gym) - to offer this have-to-do-it-to-understand-it rocking workout created by two cool chics in LA. Fusionistas may have been leary at first (we workout with drumsticks?) but between the sweaty workout and Jodie’s killer instructing entertaining instrutaining, her classes keep growing and growing and growing…

So if you haven’t popped in on a Tuesday or Sunday yet, come on in to try something new and I promise you’ll have a good time (and leave sweaty.) KC Fit Magazine recently interviewed her, calling Pound a “vicious workout” and emphasizing the feeling of freedom you get from it.

Intrigued yet? Register for your spot here and come release your inner Janis or Jimi or whatever rocker you young people listen to these days. Jodie’s always changing up the tracks, empowering clients with her complete abandon and self-confidence, and snapping photos of her little rockettes she’s just so darn proud of after class. You can also follow her on Facebook here!

***** Fusion Fly Classes *****

Okay so you know I love our Fly classes (even though that first class can be a little intimidating – you can read my first experience entitled Shock Your1511276_10152569526009896_1552098283_n Booty here - and no that’s not a type-0 and I grudgingly chose that title over Shock Your Vagina.)

But what I love even more is that Kristin Brinkman was up in the captain’s chair today, showing her stuff to a bunch of instructors and making her debut as a Weight Loss Boot Camp spin instructor! I love this so much because Kristin has come a long way, baby, and she’s such a kind, genuine person that shares her story and wears her heart on her sleeve because she’s so passionate about helping others that are stuck in the same place she was a few years ago.  She’s forever recorded her ups and downs here on her Facebook page with over 700 followers, and her scale numbers keep going down as so many other things for her keep shooting up.

Fusion Fly may be the perfect stage for her, as in each class the room is dark, the music is loud, and the personal challenges we’re all facing are right up in each of our businesses – there’s nowhere to run from your thoughts when you’re perched on top of your bike, feet literally locked (or strapped) into place, and people have been known to get emotional. (I swear not just me! But don’t worry because no one else can tell the difference between the tears and the sweat running down your face so it’s all good.) If you haven’t ‘flown’ with us yet you may be thinking ‘wtf?’ – but if you’ve been in that dark and steamy room facing any sort of personal challenge, you know the combination of the inspiring sayings on the wall, the powerful songs the instructors like to sneak in there amidst all the booty shaking music we love, and their shout-outs of “don’t give up now – if you give up here you’ll give up out there” and “keep pedaling through the pain, keep pushing like you do in your life – you’re all so strong and lucky to be right here, right now and you are here to challenge yourself” and “be stronger than your mind trying to stop you, just like you have to be in your daily challenges” etc., etc…. you know it’s pretty powerful stuff. So I can imagine the tidbits of wisdom Kristin will be throwing around to her WLBC friends and community. They’re lucky to have her, a woman who knows a lot about challenges and goals and accomplishments – and I was lucky to hear the applause of her first Fly class under her (ever-shrinking) belt. Go Kristin!

***** January Amp Camps *****

995012_10153675978745640_277934560_nThe last thing we were doing at OP today (before we had to be out for our sweaty hot Fire-lovers at 3p), was completing the orientation for over 60 women beginning our three Amp Camps starting this week. I’ve been posting the Amp and WLBC before/after photos for a while here on our blog, copying all the stats and raising my eyebrows in impressed recognition of how many pounds are shed each session and how great these women look at the end of eight weeks – and I’m not just talking about their bodies, but mostly the looks on their faces and their beaming smiles.

But being here on Day One was a really cool experience because I got to witness the nervous introductions, the excitement, the what-have-I-gotten-myself-into butterflies that were apparent in some of the newbies. Embarking on an eight week journey is a huge step, and some women had never even walked in the studio doors, much less completed our killer workouts.

I also got to see the alums, coming back for another session, and their confident walks and smiles of encouragement to others - the “this ain’t my first rodeo” strut coupled with the furrowed brows of concentration and motivation. I heard the heavy breathing and the grunts as women were measured on their minute sit-ups and push-ups, I heard the groans and the “time to face reality” epiphanies when recording their “before” weight, and I saw the excitement in their eyes as they gathered their notes at the end of class and told themselves “this is it, time to believe in myself.” It was a great combination of everyone gathered together for the same reason – to improve their health and find their best selves.

Shawna and Jos were there too, ready to lead another group of women into “battle,” dedicating their Sunday (and all other six days of the week) to teaching women about the importance of fitness and fueling their bodies with the nutrients that will help them accomplish whatever goal they want to set for themselves. Be it to lose 10 pounds or to get through a divorce, or to be a better mom or to wake up each morning with a grateful and strong attitude – our instructors are all about spreading their love of healthy minds and healthy bodies and the power we each have to achieve our goals. They’re human, too, as after Jos was done explaining the affects of alcohol and why it’s not the top tool in the shed for losing weight, she joked, “that being said, when you do drink alcohol, be sure to…” and made her campers aware that life is real, and this isn’t a deprivation diet or unattainable plan. “You should never be starving and you should always feel satisfied – this isn’t just another diet or eating plan for eight weeks, this is just the way your are going to eat now, from here on out.” And with their encouragement, the 60+ women walked out of our doors and into their realities, filled with new knowledge and a motivation to be better at whatever they do – and I did too.

So there you go, I was just really impressed with Fusion today, and my batteries were recharged on why I come to work each day and what it means to be a part of this supportive, loving, selfless community of women. Darby created an amazing place with her energy, her positivity and her passion.

We are lucky to be a part of it!



MFC.BCK_forblogOk, so we all need a challenge at the beginning of the year!  Join Fusion’s latest challenge !!

MFC.SHRT_forblogRide 300 Miles at Fusion Fly starting January 6th through March 6.
Those that complete the challenge will receive a Fusion Fly mile fly club tank or a cool T shirt for the guys!
Fusion will keep track of the milage at the studio!
Sign up at the OP Studio!


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Sweat_Lab_2 - EditThe professional mix masters have created the ultimate workout formula! You will be drenched in sweat during this one hour elite body shaping & mind-blowing class. Our combination of 1/4 Bikini Boot Camp, 1/4 Fusion Mix, 1/4 HIIT (high intensity interval training), and 1/4 Fusion promises to torch fat, tone muscles, and leave you in tip-top shape both mentally and physically.

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