VIDA Member Profile: Natalie Aranda
Within seconds of sitting down with Natalie Aranda it’s impossible to not be inspired by her bubbly personality and positive attitude. Natalie, a regular at our Yards location, has lost a total of 40 lbs in only six months here at VIDA. She credits this remarkable weight loss journey to her VIDA family and by sticking to a decision she made about eight months ago to change her life through fitness!
Growing up, Natalie played softball, soccer, did swim team and was pretty active. Then, as most of us can relate, went to college and stopped working out as regularly. Living the usual college life of eating out frequently and being less physically active caused her to start gaining weight and getting off track from a healthy lifestyle. Aside from taking the occasional fitness class at her school, she says she just didn’t know where to start to get back in shape and the weight kept piling on. That is, until she moved to DC last year and signed up for her first gym membership at VIDA.
“I moved to DC about a year and a half ago for a job as a social worker. It’s a very high stress job and I knew I needed balance in my life. I kept hearing from friends about how great VIDA is, so when I got a raise I decided I was going to invest that money in myself and my health. I live one mile away so I joined at the Yards and decided this was going to be my year of change!” she says.
Since that day Natalie has not lost focus of her year of change (or #YearOfChange if you follow her on Facebook.) She started trying some VIDA classes and says before she knew it she was doing them 4-5 times a week, and even started running 5ks with her roommates!
“We all signed up together and since we live together it’s easy to keep each other accountable for eating healthy and not missing workouts,” she says.
When asked why she thinks she’s had so much success at VIDA, she credits it all to the group fitness classes and our instructors, most of which she’s became great friends with.
“Group fitness has always been my thing – I knew I loved Zumba so I started taking it with Alexx all the time. He gives such great encouragement and modifications for exercises that I couldn’t do right away,” she says. “All of the staff here makes it so personal; they all know you by name and are friends with you on Facebook. It’s super motivating – the classes really changed everything for me!”
A few of Natalie’s favorites are HIIT and iRide (especially with Joel!) and she’s been adding some Pilates and candlelight yoga to the mix recently as well. She still takes Zumba too, only now she goes straight for the front of the class rather than hiding in the back!
“I definitely feel more confident in the classes. I used to be a little self-conscious being one of the bigger people there, but now I know I can keep up and always go straight to the front,” she says with a smile.
Not only is she feeling more confident in classes, but she feels so much healthier in general, too. She says breathing is easier and that she’s able to walk faster at 40 lbs lighter. The only issue now is that all her clothes are too big!
“I really have the amazing instructors to thank for everything. They’re all so encouraging, they all want to celebrate in your victories, I just love it so much!” she says.
We’re so glad to have you in the VIDA family, Natalie, and can’t wait to see what else you accomplish in your #YearOfChange!