Student taking a break from weight training in the Ford Fieldhouse

Student Testimonials

Angie Sutherlin's story:

Angie Sutherlin is a former GRCC Student who is now a mom and a certified yoga instructor! Angie was sent to the YogaFit Level 1 training on a scholarship from the Wellness Department last year, and is now teaching Yoga in our community!

I’m so grateful that my instructor’s at GRCC encouraged me to take the level 1 yoga instructor class through Yoga Fit. I didn’t exactly intend on being a yoga instructor initially when taking the class. In fact I was only introduced to yoga less than a year before. My degree I’m studying is Nutrition Science and I knew it would look good on my resume when eventually looking for a new career.  I decided after a year of completing the certification that I wanted to put my certificate to good use. I’ve been working at a gym now for 3 months. After the first month of my new job, my boss brought up the idea of adding yoga classes to our gym. I’m teaching every Tuesday night at 6:30pm. I love having a skill and new found passion that I can share with people. I also appreciate the challenge and skill I can call my own, especially being a new mom. It’s helped me develop more confidence in talking in larger groups and helped me get back into shape after having my daughter. I recommend taking the certification class to anyone. Even if yoga isn’t something you’re too familiar with just yet because they teach to all levels!

Douglas Dunning's story:

My wellness journey really started years ago as I’ve always been interested in weight training and getting in better shape. Though my successes were few, I have always tried. With the Wellness Department at Grand Rapids Community College, I gained more than just some moderate success but also a vast array of knowledge. I learned that strength training can include so much more than just “pumping iron.” Even though the tae bo type workouts and the yoga absolutely busted my tail, I find that I’m stronger in ways I hadn’t been before. Other than that, I felt that my instructor, Cheryl Floyd (Sarge) really thought we had it in us to do even better. She always encouraged us to go that extra mile but never got down on us if we didn’t. I believe that this program really emphasized personal achievement over reaching some predetermined goal for the program. I would certainly recommend that any student at CC should definitely invest some time in the Wellness Department.

John Garner's story:

At age 48, I find myself being more health conscious than I was in my younger years. I have had to overcome many obstacles in my life as early as six years old, when a growth was discovered on my right hand (my dominate hand) that turned out to be calcium deposits that had to be surgically removed; The last of three attempts at age nine left my index finger of my right hand to be permanently immobile. I learned to do many things a different way using modifications to account for my limited use of my hand and finger. Learning to write, grip a baseball bat, or even pushups took some creativity on my part.

However, as I approached 40 the calcification became arthritic. My range of motion was becoming more and more limited, making it quite painful to do the simplest tasks like sweeping the floor, brushing my teeth, or simply putting my feet on the floor to get out of bed in the morning.  Having had two rotator cuff surgeries (L/R shoulders 1ea.), a knee surgery, and diagnosed with chronic Gout (uric acid buildup that causes inflammation of the joints) I felt as though I was losing my independence.

When I enrolled at GRCC in 2010 I took a weightlifting class to try and strengthen my joints. This worked for a while, but during the semester breaks I would have periods of being inactive resulting in the return of the pains and limited mobility, so this semester I decided to give Yoga a try. I enrolled in the class not really knowing what to expect, yet based on the things I heard about it in the past like the therapeutic value it has. I came in with an open mind, and I now have a new respect for Yoga. It is helping me to build strength from the inside out, and to renew my thought process not allowing outside interference to limit my progress during those fifty minutes on my mat. My mat is like a magic carpet, and when I am on it becomes my new place of serenity where nothing else matters. As a result I am rebuilding myself from within, and I am becoming more focused and in tune with every part of me, Physical, mental, and emotional.

Rus Towne's story:

When I started PE 203 The Obesity Epidemic online class, I had been out of college for a number of years and forgot the stressful Life of College. The weekly assignments from 5 courses, working as a Full Time Firefighter, Part-Time Swim Instructor/Lifeguard and running a family, puts a strain on your body and mind. You forget the important things in life, mainly your health. Professor Gee's course has helped me realize what my priorities are. I am taking the course with my wife, Debbie and we help each other with assignments. A healthy body isn't just having muscles, but what is inside your body and being there for your family. Strong Heart, Strong Mind equals a Healthy Balance.

Debbie Towne's story:

Returning to college with 9 credits after twenty plus years, and carrying a full time job was a bit scary for me. Thankfully I have my husband to help me stay focused on my education. Rus and I are taking the PE 203 online class together. It started out as, a fun idea to take a class together considering it was the start of the New Year, and better yet, I could take this with my husband. I would say now, this class is becoming a great learning experience together.

We both love to eat, unfortunately there is about a foot in height difference between us. One of us doesn't burn the calories off like they used to. I love to eat home cooked meals, Rus loves to eat out. Chapter 9 "Restaurants vs Us" in the class book has excellent examples of a lot "don't, and ooh do you really realize what you’re eating" kind of material.

This class is finally getting both of us back on track eating correctly, and the effects it truly has on our bodies. Rus and I are very active, but it is not enough to stay healthy. This is a great class to regain positive energy from after a long day at work. Thank you for helping us get back on track Professor Gee.

Kristine Wright's story:

What started out as a required class has been a blessing!  I love feeling better, and my kids love it too. I haven’t lost any weight but I am a much happier, healthier person.  I have more energy now, and it’s a proven fact that exercise helps stimulate the brain (we can all use that for our studies).  I have 4 children at home who need me, and I want them to have my best.

Life happens, and the truth is that I’m ‘no spring chicken’ but I’m okay with that.  I play ball with the kids and we have a great time.  When I think they need to get outside and play, I grab a ball and they’re all smiles and ready to go!   As parents we need to set a good example and being fit is part of that.  I never have been a big fan of the boys playing video games!  We, as a family, have all benefitted from my wellness class.  My daughters see that a woman can be strong (mind and body) and nurturing.  They are 3 and 5 years old.  They call me ‘SHERA’ how cool is that!  Daddy is He-man, of course.  It is amazing the amount of energy I now have.  I can keep up with kids and that is no easy task! I have twin boys that are 11 years old, and we play basketball and catch often.  They still think mom is cool to hang out with.

The bottom line is… make the most of everyday, and start with yourself.  I cannot stress enough that I just simply feel better!  My family can see the difference and it has inspired my husband to want the same.  I have people counting on me to be here and take care of them and I don’t want to miss a single day!  Since I started exercising, I have had a few blips in the cancer scene. Three surgeries later, I’m good. I am the healthiest I’ve ever been.  And it all started from a required class.  A class that changed my life!

Stephen Syarto's story:

I am currently taking Aerobic Conditioning Program and Beginning Weight Training with Jodi Kuyt, Intermediate Yoga Tone and Stretch with Melanie Schiele-Gady, and Circuit Training and Physical Fitness with Lannie Collard.  After my second deployment to Iraq as an Infantryman with the Army, I had a yearlong break in service.  Due to a serious back injury from an IED I got really out of shape and nothing seemed to be working.  Thanks to the Wellness Department I now max my pushups and sit ups and run my 2 mile time at the top Army standard!  I set the example for fitness at my unit.  In my classes I also learned how to eat healthy, and my energy level has exploded!  I teach my four boys how to live healthy, eat healthy, and enjoy life.  I’m able to do more with them outdoors, including running and biking.  My youngest son has Down Syndrome which means he has low muscle tone.  I have learned exercises in yoga that will help him as he gets older to develop a stronger core and normal muscle tone.  I thought yoga was going to be easy but it turned out to be harder than any workout I had ever done.  Melanie has broadened my fitness horizons, helped me to be more flexible, and decreased my stress level dramatically.  Lannie and Jodi have managed to push me to my limits every single class and I could not believe it when they were matching me push up for push up, running me to my breaking point and forcing me to step outside my comfort zone in order to better myself.  I absolutely love how great I feel every day after class.  My family and friends notice the huge change.  I’ve already lost ten pounds of fat and I feel great.  My aerobics class and circuit training class have given me workouts that I bring to my soldiers, and have helped me feel better, sleep better, and be in better shape than my soldiers.  The weight training helps me stay strong while my cardio and flexibility keep getting better.

Lena McGruder's story:

I believe it has been an amazing experience taking beginning weight training, WE 141. Since the start of the semester I have lost a total of 8 pounds. The feeling of losing weight has made me feel good about myself physically and mentally. Physically, I am losing fat; mentally I am gaining confidence. Before I started the class…I would always complain about losing weight because I would eat all the time and later I would feel bad about how much I ate. Just having the confidence and believing that I can do it makes want to keep going. I won’t stop until I am at least 10 to 15 pounds less but afterwards I am going to continue working out and build more confidence as I go on. Just having that motivation about losing weight and feeling good about myself, shows that I’m developing as a strong person. Hopefully others will be able to experience the same motivation as well by starting to workout.