Marie-Eve Racette | SOF

Marie-Eve Racette

“I first signed up for Soldiers of Fitness in June of 2014. After a winter of very little skiing (cross-country), I was the heaviest I had been in over a decade and I wasn’t happy about it. I had heard of SOF through word-of-mouth and though I liked the concept, I was hesitant to sign up for such a demanding class. But with summer upon us, I wanted quick results in order to feel confident in my summer wardrobe. Before making the commitment, I read over the entire Web site. As a middle-aged woman, I was not keen on being yelled at by some kid young enough to be my son. Nor did I want to be the middle-aged deadweight in a pack of overeager upstarts. But the testimonials all spoke of a supportive environment, so I took the plunge. Yes, it was physically brutal. I ached all over like I was coming down with a flu. I slept all the time : three naps a day, and still in bed by eight. But it was not psychologically brutal, far from it. The instructors are stern, but kind, and the group is diverse, good-humored and supportive of everyone, even the feeble newbies who don’t pull their own weight – especially them! For the first month, I dreaded the next workout. I spent a large part of my day trying to convince myself not to go back: You can’t hack it. It’s just too tough. You’re just not strong enough, you don’t have the muscle mass. But the other little voice in my head answered, Just take it one day at a time. So what if you can’t do it – what’s the worst that can happen? You’ve paid for the month – surely you can hack it for one month of your life. By the end of the first week, I was already seeing results. I had new muscle bumps. My pants fit better. The rebars didn’t feel quite so heavy. By the end of the first month, I was so pleased with my progress that I thought it a pity to not see how much further I could take it. In the end I stayed on from June until the end of August, and the following year I signed up in May. An added value that SOF gives me is the military ethics. For example : The stronger members of a group help out the weaker ones. Nothing more than your best is expected, but nothing less either. No-one is done until everyone is done. I have applied these principles at home, with my family, and it’s improved our quality of life. Two years on, I still hate, loathe and detest getting up so early in the morning to go out and suffer. Every day it’s the same routine : drag myself out of bed, feel sorry for myself, go through my list of excuses (It’s too early, It’s too hot, It’s too cold, It’s too wet, It’s too dark, I’m too tired, Now I’m late). But I go, because I know I will love how I will feel after the workout and for the rest of the day. I’m still one of the weaker members of the group, but I am stronger than I have ever been and I’m down to one nap per day. I don’t go in the winter – I go cross-country skiing instead – but my skiiing has improved thanks to my summer « cross-training », as I call it. I plan to sign up as early as April this year, as soon as the skiing is over. Another unexpected benefit of SOF is that it drastically reduces my drinking : my body can’t take the punishment of both strenuous exercise and wine. And it turns out I’m not the only middle-aged woman in the group; in fact, middle-aged women with children seem to form a simple majority. I won’t speculate on the other women’s motivations, but I know that when I go to SOF, I feel good about myself; I feel like a strong, empowered woman. ”