From the moment Jess Basol first set foot in the Factory for last May’s Women & Wine, she’s been giving 110%. We’re so impressed by her can-do attitude and commitment to her goals. And we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed—her hard work has inspired several family members to kick start their fitness journeys, too! We recently sat down with Jess to find out where her motivation and dedication stem from. Give her story a read and get your daily dose of inspiration!
So we heard that you walked into Friends & Family to try it out for the first time, but before you left that first class you already knew you were going to join. What made you so sure that this was the thing for you?
I saw the ad on Facebook for Women & Wine and asked one of my friends if she’d like to come with me because I was looking for something new and different. So we came—and I loved the class. And, everyone here was so amazing; I just knew right away that this was the right fit for me. That was when I knew I wanted to join.
That’s one of the coolest things about this place, everyone talks to everyone, everyone knows everyone. When you started up, what was the driving reason behind your desire to get fitter?
I’d been trying to lose the last bit of weight I gained when I was pregnant with Kairi, plus just trying to get healthier in general; I suppose trying to make myself as healthy as possible for planning to have another baby. So that’s where I was at, why I wanted to get more into a fitness program.
Absolutely. Have your goals evolved over the course of the past 7-8 months? Have you found new goals and motivation along the way to keep you going?
I came in just knowing that I wanted to lose weight and feel better, but after starting (I began in Fusion but then immediately joined the 8-week Challenge that was kicking off the week after I joined), when I joined the Challenge I thought things went really well. I did lose weight, gained muscle, lost fat, everything was great. But it made me see that there’s a bigger picture, it’s not just, “Oh, I need to lose weight.”
It’s not just a mathematical equation.
Right! It’s a long-term lifestyle. And I feel like everyone here has that same focus.
Agreed, that likemindedness is so wonderful. And do you think that mentality of long-term changes and maintenance is creeping into your nutrition and lifestyle habits outside of the gym, too?
A little bit, for sure. I noticed that my food choices (which were really focused during the Challenge due to all the accountability) have shifted. I choose to eat more vegetables and less fried food or carbohydrates, just more real food and less processed, because I know how I’m going to feel in the middle of my workout based on those choices. You can totally tell when you eat good foods that you have more energy and are able to get through workouts easier and feel better afterwards. That you’re not so tired or sluggish.
That’s so true. And speaking of lifestyle changes creeping into daily life, I hear that sometimes when you hit up yoga, your little one Kairi will actually be doing it on the side as well.
Yes! Kairi loves to come to class, she thinks it’s so much fun. She’s always liked doing yoga. I’ve done yoga at home forever, since she was a baby. I’ve done different workout tapes and she’d always want to follow along and so, she’s pretty good at different yoga moves and likes to pretty much do everything I do. And now at home, she’ll tell me, “Mom, I really want to exercise,” or “Let’s do yoga.” I’ll walk in the door when I get home, and immediately she’ll be like, “Mom, can we do yoga?”
That’s fantastic! You have your very own little workout buddy.
Haha yes! Every once in a while too, I’ll feel like I just don’t want to go to class that night, that I just want to stay home. And Kairi will say, “Mom, can we go to the gym tonight?” And of course I’ll say, “Oh yes, we can.”
So that’s the secret to accountability! Haha! And still on the topic of family and fitness, your mom actually joined our latest challenge, didn’t she?
Yes, my mom just started this last Challenge. She’d watched me over the course of the last few months, how I’ve lost weight but also become stronger and able to do more—have more endurance, things like that. When she made the choice to sign up, I don’t think she really thought she was going to be able to do everything, but of course the Coaches are awesome and can tailor the workouts to anyone, so she’s really excited about being part of the Challenge. She’s shown me how her squat has improved and she’s becoming more flexible. It’s been really fun. Sometimes, too, when they have weekend homework for the challenge, I’ve done it with her, which is a bonus WOD for me.
That’s so awesome. So your whole family is entering fitness mode, then.
Yeah, for sure. My sister actually just joined a CrossFit gym in South Dakota where she lives, too.
So you inspired her, too! It sounds like you’ve gained so much here, from strength gain to fat loss to endurance. Is there anything else you’ve noticed here, maybe less tangible gains?
I think that quality of sleep, particularly during the Challenge, has been really great. Being mindful of eating quality foods and going to bed at a time that allows me to get 8 hours of sleep, both of those things play a big part in being able to sleep well.
Beyond that, I’ve definitely gotten into a really good rhythm here. I joined in May, and this is probably the longest I’ve stuck with any one workout program. I’ve tried several workout videos, checked out different gyms and classes in the past, but always seem to wind up getting hurt or just stop going for whatever reasons. I think it’s really the community that’s kept me on this path, because there’s a consistent group of us in Fusion who are always there. We keep each other in line, call each other out if they’re no-shows. There’s been a couple times where one of us will have to say to the other, “Hey, where was my workout buddy this morning?” Especially when it’s a partner workout and your typical workout partner wasn’t there.
Everyone needs a workout buddy to keep them in check! Before we wrap up, do you have any last thoughts on this whole experience?
I think I’d say that when I first arrived at the Fast Factory, I was intimidated before I walked in. But once I got here, it was like all of those worries I had went right out the door. Everyone was so welcoming, there were so many people who were excited to have me there even when I’d never been there before and I didn’t know any of them. Even though I had my one friend with me, everyone else kept approaching us at Women & Wine to say hi. And the workouts themselves are completely doable, by anyone. There’s really no reason for anyone who’s nervous or intimated to be that way, because it’s a really welcoming place, so accessible. And the Coaches are simply amazing. They’ll modify the workout however you might need; they’ll make it work for you. Anyone can do it.