YAC Fitness Member of the Month: Rica Amity

Each month we like to put one member in the limelight so that more people can grow familiar with the spectacular individuals that make up our communities at both the Yakima Athletic Club and YAC Fitness.

Some have gone through tremendous transformations, some are in the middle of their transformations, and some are simply hard working individuals who may inspire more people, to get more active, more often!

Read about our January Member of the Month for YAC Fitness: Rica Amity!

Where did you grow up/ go to school? I grew up outside of Washington, DC and have spent my entire adult life living in the west (WY, AZ, MT, OR, WA).

What is your favorite style of training? Cardio of some sort is most important to me. I also lift weights regularly. In [a] perfect world, I would be outside hiking, biking, running, snowshoeing, or x-c skiing everyday for cardio. The gym is a priceless alternative when one works full-time.
Do you prefer working out in AM or PM? I do my cardio before work because I can then go about my day knowing I “got my cardio in.” I use my lunch hour for lifting most days. I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to take a late lunch and be at the gym when it’s pretty quiet.
In your opinion what is the biggest benefit of exercising? In addition to its well-documented physical health benefits, I deeply value exercise for maintaining my sanity. I also know exercise offers cognitive functioning benefits.
What advice would you give to someone who recently joined/ someone who has similar goals to yours? My advice to someone who just joined YAC/YACFit is to make exercise a habit, and start at whatever point is manageable for you. Avoid making yourself so miserable starting out that you dread going back. The bad news is it’s hard to change habits, so if you’re not currently exercising, it will be a challenge to get out of your current patterns. The good news it’s hard to change habits, so once you have incorporated exercise on a regular basis, it will be easier to maintain the habit.

What was your intended goal when you first joined? When I first joined, my intention was to maintain my fitness. Joining was one of the first things I did upon moving to Yakima. I have almost always been active. As a kid and through high school I played various sports, and I am lucky to have developed the habit of exercise early. In my mid-30s, I spent two summers training for and competing in regional sprint triathlons. At 40, I ran (quite slowly) my first marathon, and two years ago I ran my first half marathon.

What obstacles did you have to overcome along your journey? The biggest obstacle I have overcome along my journey has been myself. I have tended to be a very competitive person with a bit of an addictive personality. After a period of being away from regular exercise in my early-mid-20s, I resumed exercising and it became a compulsion. As an addict might do, I was arranging my days around my workouts. I would become extremely irritable if I did not get my exercise “fix.” Some of you may be saying, “I wish I had that problem.” In the big scheme of things, I agree, it is a “good” problem to have. It also takes all the joy out of exercising. Being enslaved by a habit, even a fundamentally good habit, is still enslavement.

It took me a long time to become more balanced. When a co-worker encouraged me to try triathlons, I was terrified of doing any type of competitive athletic activity or event. Would I be good enough (my own competitive nature)? Would I become obsessed and undertake training to be “the best,” sacrificing other people, activities and possibly my own health?

What was your proudest moment/accomplishment/breakthrough during your journey? An experience that was surprisingly fulfilling was winning ribbons my first summer of triathlons without becoming obsessed about training, and then not winning ribbons my second summer of triathlons even though I maintained the same level of training as the year before, and being okay with it. Similarly, I was happy to finish firmly in the middle of the pack in the marathon I ran. Though there are certainly days I wish I were a faster runner, had more toned legs, could lift more weight . . . and wish my aging body did not have a mind of its own, I am grateful to have a full, balanced life in which exercise remains an integral part of each day.

Remember – it’s a lot easier to stick with a routine than to get out of it and have to re-establish it.

If anything, in what ways have we here at YAC Fit helped you to get this far? At YAC Fit, I appreciate that the front desk staff know my name. It’s just nice to be acknowledged. Being a member at YAC Fit is the first time I’ve been a member of a gym that is accessible 24/7. That has been a real positive for me. I love being able to work out before work, and having the flexibility to work out virtually any time I want.