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'You're stronger than you feel'

Step into Elevate Cullman

Rachel Eidson opened Elevate Cullman, a barre and yoga boutique, five years ago. The intimate studio is thriving on Cullman’s southeast side, self-described as “a place for you to rest, recharge and challenge yourself to reach further than you ever thought possible.”

Eidson opened Elevate in June 2017. “I tried some beautiful facilities in the Cullman area, but there was nothing like the studio experience I had grown to expect. I realized I was addicted to the small specialty studio where the staff greets you by name and takes time to learn how to challenge you and what type of modifications you need. I knew that I wasn’t alone and women in Cullman just needed a place to claim as their own!”

We all know January is the time for resolutions, and Eidson is quick to point out the benefits of regular exercise.

“We know that people who exercise regularly sleep better, have more energy, live longer and are at lower risk for major illnesses. With all those fabulous benefits, would it surprise you to hear that only 1 in 5 Americans actually do it?” she said. “In general, we put exercise on the list of ‘would be nice’ activities like washing the car instead of essential activities like brushing your teeth. I think there’s actually a good reason for that. Somewhere along the line, most of us accepted the idea of ‘no pain no gain.’ Any reasonable person would dread something like that! The sad thing is it simply isn’t true; the real benefit to exercising is in being consistent over time. You get more benefit from going for a 1-mile walk every day for 10 days versus running 10 miles one time. There’s less recovery and less risk of injury, and you’re far more likely to keep going.

Eidson said the “secret sauce” at Elevate is making your workout something you actually enjoy, not dread.

“In the long run you’ll usually find a way to do what you love and an excuse to avoid what you don’t,” she said. “One of my favorite things to hear clients at Elevate say is ‘I can’t believe I just did that’ when they start learning. We love to remind people ‘You are stronger than you feel.’”

Elevate is perfect for someone new to fitness, according to Eidson, because the workouts involve low-impact movements.

“We kick off our shoes and work barefoot or in cute grip socks most of the time,” she laughed. “This is a strong signal from the ground up that you are moving your body with purpose. You’d be amazed at the toning you can do with your own bodyweight. It’s effective and accessible!”

Eidson has advice for those who might be new to fitness and wary about getting started.

“If you are brand new, my best advice is to find a friend who wants to jump in and will hold you accountable. Encouragement from a friend makes all the difference! If you don’t have a willing friend, come into Elevate and make a new one; that’s the most fun part of this place!” she said. “The best time to start your fitness journey was six months ago, and the second best time is now!”

Eidson’s pro tip? “This isn’t easy for anyone; you get better as you go!”

Something she said she hears a lot is people believe they need to lose weight or get in shape to go to a gym. “Everyone starts somewhere and the BEST way to make progress is in a community of encouraging people.”

Said Eidson, “Making changes toward a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming. With the New Year most fitness goals focus on exercise and nutrition. To find focus, start small and give yourself a measurable goal focused on being consistent. I love to think of ways to enjoy rewards along the way. For example, ‘When I take my 30th barre class, on or before March 1, I’m getting the white boots I’ve been wanting.’”

She encourages you to be open to new experiences and foods. “Find veggies, herbs and seasonings that pack real flavor instead of salt and sugar. Try cooking at home two nights a week (and make enough for leftovers so you can save time). Focus on eating nourishing foods that give you energy and allow less room for junk food. Consider investing in a nutritionist’s advice or a studio membership to keep yourself on track,” she said. “Above all, give yourself grace! You will mess up, you are human, but you're stronger than you feel, don’t quit!”

  • Elevate Cullman is located at 220 First Ave. SE.
  • Workouts at Elevate Cullman focus on low-impact movements.
  • Elevate Cullman Owner Rachel Eidson is all smiles during a workout at the studio.