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  • Writer's pictureDani Sauter


If you would have told me back in March that I was about to find strength and confidence from a Versaclimber machine, I would've called BS. But fast forward 5 months and here we are- Versaclimber obsessed and feeling amazing with a new found confidence I untapped at PULSE House of Fitness.

Admittedly, my first ever attempt at PULSE House of Fitness back in March, I left thinking, "I'll never go back." I came to a Fusion 45 class reluctant in my fitness abilities, and I thought I had miserably failed. I could barely even do the Versaclimber machine for the full 15 minutes during the CLIMB portion of the class, but I at least tried. I was filled with self doubt, which didn't feel good at all. A few weeks passed, and I reconnected with PULSE House founder, Shafer Minnick. He asked my honest feedback on the class, so I told him. He asked me to come back and take his class. I agreed, as I wanted to give PULSE - and myself - a second chance to succeed.

The second class was doable. It was still hard, but I made it through the 30 minute CLIMB class and felt good after. Shafer and I entered into a partnership (you can read more about the start of our partnership here), initially to get me ready for an upcoming trip to Italy, build my stamina, help manage my stress, and tone my arms- a part of my body I have struggled to love for many years.

I was on a schedule at PULSE to come in 4 days a week to take their various classes to help propel my fitness journey. Going to PULSE was never about dropping clothing sizes or shedding pounds for me, in fact, I don't even own a scale at home. For me, it was more of a test to myself to see if I could get past my gym insecurities that I would be judged or not accepted since I don't have the "perfect" gym body (WTF is perfect, anyways?).

As I climbed my heart out on the Versaclimber during Shafer's inspirational CLIMB classes over the weeks, I got better. I could eventually do all the choreography without second guessing myself. I could make it a full 30 minutes without stopping. I could make it through the LAB metcon classes with heavier weights and I could physically feel my body getting stronger. I started to look in the mirror and love my arms as I realized what they could help me accomplish. I tapped into a whole other level of body positivity I had never experienced before- honoring my body for what it allowed me to achieve at PULSE. I learned that the shape and size of my body has never been the issue with my gym insecurities- its what I was thinking to myself that was the issue.

I had made it so far at PULSE, but the one thing I still couldn't face was the fear of working out in just a sports bra. I have never in my life been a sports bra gym girl. Although I preach body positivity, this is one thing I was not positive about. Will people stare? Will my stomach be too jiggly on the climber? Will people think "she shouldn't be wearing that"? I had come all this way but was still battling this voice in my head. Then one day, I decided F*CK IT. I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of what I've accomplished here, and I'm proud that my BODY allowed me to get here.

Right before class, I shed my shirt and walked in the studio ready to work. Ready to face this insecurity head on and you know what? I did. No one in class cared that I wasn't wearing a shirt. In fact, one of the other girls in class shed hers too (Yas Christa!). I felt so empowered the entire class and I climbed my heart out. I now workout in just a sports bra on the regular without even giving it a second thought. It's amazing what you can accomplish - both mentally and physically - when you believe in yourself.

With Shafer Minnick, Founder of PULSE House of Fitness.

In my own journey I've learned that each person's fitness journey - like bodies - come in all shapes and sizes. Shafer and I have connected and shared our stories with each other over the months and realized the similarities in our journeys. Both of our journeys started with fear and insecurities stemmed from the gym and we want to change the way gym culture is viewed. PULSE House & I invite you to CLIMB over insecurities with us this Sunday, August 25 for POWER MOVES. As a community, we will build our confidence, honor or bodies - regardless of shape, size, or fitness level - and celebrate size diversity by working out together in our sports bras (or shirtless for the guys!). We will participate in a 30 minute CLIMB class, enjoy gift bags from Cera Wax Studio & Herbivore Botanicals, and cheers to our bodies and PULSE's brand restructuring to become DC's First Body Positive fitness studio with cocktails after class. See here for tickets and more event info.


Blonde in the District


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