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There were 85 members who stepped up to the 2017 New Year Challenge but it was the second grade teacher from Pleasant Hill that blew everyone out of the water. Completing the 6-week challenge in three weeks, Rachelle Dow secured first place and the admiration of members and staff alike.

DAC: You’re a new member at the DAC. Why did you choose to participate in the New Year Challenge?
Rachelle: Yes, I joined on January 1. I like to challenge myself instead of challenging other people, so this really appealed to me. I looked at the Challenge and figured there was no excuse why I couldn’t get 2-3 stars every day. I just wanted to see if I could do it and I did.

Did it coincide with any New Year’s resolutions that you had for yourself?
No, I’ve been working on losing weight for a year now and I’ve made some significant progress. I’ve lost almost 100 pounds in the last year. I’ve been part of other gyms in town but I only ever used the pool. When I came on the tour here and told Jose (Vasquez-Olade) that, he said, “Those places are like high school. You’re going to love it here, you’re going to use everything.” That really resonated and I thought if I’m here I might as well use all aspects of the Club and see what it’s all about. But I’ve been on this journey for a little while.

What was something new you tried during the Challenge?
I absolutely love the Expresso bikes. It comes back to the personal challenge. I will not let my ghost pass me on the bikes. Actually, it has passed me one time but it was because I was sick. Other than that, I refuse to let it by.

Did anything stick now that the Challenge is over?
I still use the Expresso bikes and when I won the Challenge, I won a free month of dues which meant I could afford some personal training sessions. I choose to work with Darcie (Hill) because she has a nutrition background and it’s been wonderful. We’ve made some changes to my diet to go with the fitness workouts.

Why did you become a member at the DAC?
I moved to Eugene a year and a half ago and as I mentioned, I have been a part of some other gyms, but I thought this would be nice because there is the social aspect. Some people in the Spanish group I’m in are members here and they recommended it. Now as a member, I’ve gone to the DAC Book Club and you meet people just hanging around.

Is there anything you were surprised about once you became a member?
I love all the opportunities here and getting to know people. As a member you feel like you are known, not just among staff but the other members within the Club. You get to know each other. It’s not a place where people are just walking in and out, leaving without saying hi or having conversations.

Do you have any advice you would give to other new members coming in?
Try it all. I would say be willing to get out there and try different things. I would recommend a personal trainer, it motivates me to get here, especially now that the Challenge is over. Trainers show you different aspects of the gym, where to find things and how to properly use them. Be willing to try the classes and be willing to sit and hang out as well.

Thanks to Rachelle Dow for sharing her story.

Read the full newsletter here.