In the fall of 2012, putting my running and mountain climbing days behind me, I realized that I needed to find something to replace the training that has been a part of my life for the last 35 years. Jumping into the pool at the Y and swimming a few laps in 12 minutes, it seemed that Coach Doug’s swim class was a good place to start. What surprised me was his ability to coach a group of a half dozen people, and make it feel like one was receiving a private lesson. Coach Doug’s other major accomplishment was to build a very real community with the training group he created there. Weekly newsletters, social gatherings, and reaching out to others in the group’s community were at the core of the program he developed.

While swimming that fall I noticed Coach Heather who worked with the more advanced swimmers. Somehow she was able to enable the swimmers to “have fun” while putting them through workouts designed to challenge them. The other thing that caught my eye was the number of folks who would stay after their workout to talk with her. She always made time to be there until the very last question was answered or concern shared. It was clear she was more than a coach; she was their companion on a journey to holistic living.

When Coach Heather became a certified personal trainer, her client list filled quickly and fortunately there was room for me. Little did I know that two months later my wife’s health would take a turn for the worse, and what became a year-long journey back to a fullness of health. My weekly training sessions and “homework” ;-))) with Coach Heather became one of the most valuable parts of the support system that helped me in mind, body, and spirit survive the most challenging year of my life.

Learning that Doug and Heather had named their new venture “Phoenix Fitness and Training” made me smile. For through their personal commitment to holistic living, coaching skills, sensitivity and compassion, they empowered me, and I dare say many others, to “rise from the ashes.”

That’s why I’ll be signing up as soon as the doors at Phoenix Fitness and Training open.