Hey #teamOCTO! Meet Desiree Bennett!
What brought you to Team Octopus?
It’s kind of a long story, but I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible. I have been playing ice hockey in the Atlanta Amateur Hockey League (AAHL) for the past 8 years, the last 5 or so as a goalie. I love being on the ice, but I knew I needed to add something new to my routine that would break me out of the fitness rut I was in and also help me regain the drive for optimal health and fitness. I chose to finally try out kickboxing because it was something I always wanted to do and I felt it would be vastly different from what I have ever done.
With that set in my mind, I ended up looking around on Groupon and saw the offer from Team Octopus. There were other offers, but this one really drew me in. I knew immediately after my first class that I had made the right choice.
You started out with Kickboxing. How was your first class?
My first class was really something else! I ran late that day and I was so nervous but very excited. I ended up finding out quickly why you do not want to be late for Coach Mark’s class. I had to do 50 push-ups before I could join in! I could barely do five the last time I could remember doing them, but I knew they had to be done. I did those push-ups, and I couldn’t have been happier.
It was all a bit intimidating at first, especially since I didn’t have anyone I knew to come with me. However, the atmosphere at Team Octopus is extremely inviting and friendly. Within minutes, I had fellow members encouraging me and cheering me on through the workout whenever I struggled.
The workout itself was absolutely the best I had done in years! I truly thought I was in pretty decent shape before, but this worked muscles I didn’t even know existed! I was absolutely hooked that day, and about a week later, I made sure I was signed up full time.
What changes have you made outside of the gym to encourage your new healthy lifestyle?
I definitely have made lots of changes. I have become much more mindful about what I eat, drink and snack on, as well as my portions. Learning how to properly fuel myself with healthy and tasty foods has also encouraged me to seek out healthier alternatives to some of my favorite foods so I am always trying out new healthy recipes.
Running has also become a new favorite activity! I recently ran my first ever 5K, and since then, I have been running no less than 4 miles, usually twice a week. I hope that by the end of the year to run my first half marathon!
The most important thing I have changed is really listening to my body and resting when I need it. I’ve played through some tough injuries before that cost me more time off later. I love the strength I am building and how my body has changed drastically in only the past two months, so I make sure to not to push myself too much so I can keep enjoying being so active.
What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning at Team Octopus?
Be prepared to sweat! The workouts are tough and will always challenge you. You will not get bored here! Also don’t be afraid to ask the Coaches to repeat anything or to guide you through the moves slowly until you get it. They are there to help you and truly do want to see you succeed. Team Octopus has a lot to offer, so I would advise to definitely try out the other programs as well! Especially the Muay Thai classes, as they focus a lot on technique and will help you perform better during the Kickboxing classes!
You will get out what you put in. You will surprise yourself with what you gain by training here.