top of page


diana evans

RISE back to you 2020 challenge runner-up

Diana Evans.jpg

Working in healthcare, I saw firsthand the fierceness of the pandemic in March. My team was working day and night to save end-stage COVID patients. We saw pulmonary and cardiac failure at its worst, with the higher-risk factors being obesity and Latin descent. Introspectively, those two risk factors added fear and anxiety about my own health. Fearing my life, the health of my team, the safety of my family, emotionally supporting everyone around me - everything was weighing on me and the future felt dismal.

My family always made fitness a priority, but it became obvious that it was more important than ever to be physically and mentally strong. We made a house rule that we had to workout everyday during Quarantine. 


Then, in came an email from RISE offering LIVE Zoom workouts and a Quarantine No15 Challenge. I scored a set of weights from Amazon and added toilet paper, cans of beans and a broom to my at home arsenal as I started doing Zoom barre in my dining room. 


As spring went on and we were still at home, I tried more classes, progressing to cardio boxing and even kettlebell. RISE always provided me with modifications and alternative ways to keep moving during class. I was working out consistently and actually enjoying it; I felt really sore but also really STRONG. The variety of classes at RISE allows you to challenge your body in many different ways, and while the classes haven’t gotten easier, I know I’ve gotten stronger. 


Dumbbells and toilet paper aside, the biggest jackpot item I found during this time was RISE and its community. The instructors are motivating, inspirational and some of the strongest women I’ve seen and come to know. At home on Zoom, I would talk back to them, swear and shake my head in pure amazement at the ways they orchestrate the exercise series. I left my camera on to keep myself accountable but sometimes, just when I felt invisible or that they couldn’t see me, they’d find me and motivate me. “YOU CAN do this.” “Don’t give up on me. I won’t quit on you!” “Set an intention. Why are you here? You don’t HAVE to be here, you GET to be here!” Zooming into Rise provided a much needed physiologic and psychologic oasis during such a challenging time. 

In June, Phase 4 reopening allowed RISE to host small patio workouts, including cycle, which allowed me to try even more new classes. I was really nervous to go to an in-person class, like being the new kid at school, but quickly felt welcomed meeting these faces I knew only from Zoom. While I had become super dedicated to my workouts, I wasn’t seeing changes on the scale and I knew that it was my diet. The six-week Back to You Challenge in September was exactly what I needed. Rise provided a roadmap with structure and support, and as a challenger, I had to become accountable for building daily habits one at a time.  

The changes I made during the RISE Challenge helped me to finally see changes on the scale, a decreased BMI and a lower resting heart rate. Even now, as I continue with my healthy habits learned during the challenge, I continue to see positive changes in my wellness and in my life. While this journey is one of the hardest things I’ve done for myself, I don’t ever feel like I do it alone...I do it with RISE, my family, my challenge partner Miesha and my friends. RISE is a place to be inspired, motivated and empowered, and you feel that every time you finish a workout at home or at the studio. Thanks to RISE I feel healthy and ready to take on whatever the pandemic brings.


RISE back to you 2020 challenge winners

Eric and Mary Ellen.jpg

Mary Ellen - This wasn’t your first Rise Challenge. How was this one different for you?

I loved the two other Rise Challenges that led me to the Back to You Challenge in 2020. Eric, my husband, was pleased to see the progress and the dedication and the challenge behind Rise.  So, this time, he was ready to join me and it really made a huge difference to be focused on our health together. We both care about health individually, but with this Challenge we could invest in ourselves together.  


Eric - Perfect points is an incredible feat! How’d you succeed on the days where you just weren’t feeling it?

Daily 9s and 10s was the agreement Mary Ellen and I made when signing up for the Rise Challenge. Once I had a couple perfect weeks going I wasn’t about to let a point slide here or there. 


What was the BEST new thing you tried during the Challenge? 

HIM: Going to Rise! As a first timer heading into the Challenge, all the classes were fresh to me. Bag to Boot was my favorite new workout. 


HER:  I finally got Eric to try green smoothies—thank you Rise!! I tried the Joy Bar Cleanse again and was reminded that giving my body resets like these is always possible. As far as a class, I loved PD’s Yoga detox class with the much-needed stretches. Carin’s Bootcamp is always challenging but the amazing weather and the positive feelings throughout the day kept me going back. And for a new habit, I started drinking Kombucha in the evenings after dinner as a treat.   


2020 has provided a lot of togetherness. What would you tell other couples considering a Rise Challenge? 

HIM: Make it through a Challenge together and you can make it through anything. Mary Ellen and I are super competitive between each other so it's a nice change to pair up and compete against others and to see how in shape of a couple we can become!  

HER: I think committing to health together is an awesome opportunity for couples. It really is the best gift to give your partner and I have tried other health binges or diets and they don’t work!  The Rise Challenges do because they cover all the bases-  accountability, community, mind, body, health!


Challenge habit you’ve kept up:

HIM: Pushing myself to eat a more plant based diet. I immediately feel like crap when eating crap.


HER:  We still buy so much spinach and kale!! I love my Vitamix and the healthy smoothies that refuel my body after a workout and fuel my mind for the day ahead. I also treat myself to Joy Bar juices and salads when I need to kick-start my veggie consumption!


Favorite At-Home Challenge recipe: 

HIM: Green smoothies.


HER: We love Carin’s Sausage sheet pan recipe as an easy weeknight recipe. Andylu sausage, sweet potato, peppers, mushroom, broccoli, onion with rice or whatever we have on hand. Also the energy balls with dates are a necessity to curb a sugar craving. The Rise team provides incredible healthy but delicious options and everyone is so helpful with tips and strategies!


BOTH: The silver-lining of 2020 is that we are both working remotely and can help make dinner together. We both know what healthy choices the other one likes and can be sure we get enough veggies in!  


Future fitness/health/wellness goals: 

HIM: Not falling back into old/ bad habits. Challenge was a much-needed fitness restart for my body and I need to keep it going!


HER:  I love the focus that Rise has given me to prioritize my workouts and healthy choices. I do not feel the same if I don’t make the time - I feel more anxious and worried and I need to burn the energy that we all have stored up in 2020. I do hope to make more time for meditation and mindful strategies - and I can’t wait to set up a punching bag in our basement this winter.

Lasting Challenge tips for success:

HIM: Life is better when you challenge yourself. It doesn’t take a lot of time to see immediate changes if you focus and make every day count.


HER:  Rise has truly given me confidence and community to take on anything. Before these Challenges I didn’t know how much a healthy focus better prepares you for what is in store with work, life and family. Rise has made a huge difference in my life and now Eric’s too. 



lauren riser.jpg

Why Rise?

The second I walked through the doors to Rise, I felt at home. I have been to many gyms before, but Rise felt different. There is a special sense of community at Rise that was unlike anything I've experienced. The instructors pour their heart into every single class and that energy is contagious. It is motivating and keeps you wanting more. They really take everyone's schedules and levels of fitness into account and there is something for everyone! There is no room for negativity at Rise - everyone lifts each other up! 


What motivates you? 

I am motivated by the energy you get from the strong women (and men) who surround you in class and the feeling you have walking out of the studio. There is a phrase often heard at Rise: "You GET to do this!" -- that phrase gets me every time and pushes me to work harder. I realize every day that I DO get to this - it is my choice and I am thankful every day for my health.


What are your short and long-term goals?

For as long as I can remember, fitness has always been important to me. My short-term goal would be to get back to TRX! I tend to stick with the things I am comfortable with, and I need to get out of my comfort zone and try new things! My long-term goal is to continue to educate myself on fitness and wellness and incorporate it into my daily routine.


What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (Challenges, community, instructors, etc.)? 

Rise keeps things interesting all year long - they have themed classes, community events, contests and a few challenges throughout the year. I've become a big fan of the Rise Challenge, which not only challenges you mentally, but helps you develop healthy habits to last longer than the challenge itself. At Rise, you are pushed to be the best version of yourself in the most supportive and inspiring way.


What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped? 

I love ALL the classes at Rise but the class that gets me feeling the most mentally and physically amped would be Bag to Boot. There is something about putting gloves on and hitting the bag that leaves me feeling energized (and physically exhausted) the rest of the day! 


How are you staying engaged and focused on wellness and fitness despite today’s challenges?

It's a very challenging time but what I do know is when I take an hour to myself to focus on fitness, I will be a better mom, wife and friend! It's so important to me to fit that in on a daily basis - even when my day is jam packed with things to do. Rise did such a great job (in a very challenging time) to keep us motivated by doing Zoom classes. When people couldn't leave their houses, we still had Rise to keep us going. It is what has gotten me through quarantine, and I am so thankful for all the work they have put into making this system work for us.  We have no excuses to lose our fitness routine! 


What’s your athletic background? 

I have always been an active person. My parents always pushed us to try new things and keep ourselves busy. In High School, I did gymnastics, soccer, track, cheerleading and dance. What has always stuck with me, is the desire to run!  Crossing the finish line to any race - or even the imaginary finish line at the end of a long run on the weekend, is the best feeling! 


What’s your best healthy tip?

Walk everywhere you can, smile often (it burns calories -- at least that's what Katelyn says! :) ) Spend one hour a day on yourself - even when you don't want to -- it's ALWAYS worth it!




Why Rise?

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be with RISE from the very beginning when Janelle Sullivan, a dear friend of mine, dreamt up this amazing community. I went to some of the first ever classes at the old Sunshine Studio, which is now M&Ems! The mission from the very beginning was to provide a community that oozed love and support while working out as a team. I loved it immediately! When Katelyn eventually took ownership, I was over the moon. Her positivity was infectious! Katelyn is one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. Her love for each client is obvious. She cares about everyone that walks through that door. Katelyn encourages us all to be more kind, supportive and STRONG! You always walk away with an amazing workout, but more importantly feel energized by the fellow Risers.  RISE is a place where you feel supported and you can show up and be the best version of yourself— that is JOY! I love all the instructors and I mean all of them. They are all rockstars in my eyes… and I sure love those rockstars! I also love to change it up because I know whoever the instructor is they will encourage me to finish strong!  


What motivates you? 

Surrounding myself with positive vibe tribes like RISE! The positivity that you get when you walk through the doors at RISE is addictive. I love working out with others and together feeling strong. My family motivates me as well. I have three active kiddos and a busy husband who all keep me on my toes. I focus on being healthy for my family while still having lots of fun. I am so grateful to be able to workout and be active. I want to show my kiddos that health is important no matter the age.  


What are your short and long-term fitness goals?

My short-term goals are to keep up with the great RISE classes, while continuing to change them up and get toned and strong. My long-term goal is to be healthy in body, mind and spirit! RISE will definitely help me do that, and I’m so grateful!  


What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (events, community, etc.)?

Without a doubt the two top things I love most is this amazing community at RISE and the amazing instructors! You feel supported and motivated. The instructors are all so awesome.  I love each and every one and class. I’m a bit of a RISE super fan. I know they will cheer me on and push me to be the best I can.   

I am forever grateful for RISE's Zoom classes throughout the quarantine. I’m not sure what I’d be like without it. It gave me an outlet to burn energy, release stress/uncertainty and focus on sweating with familiar faces. It’s just like being at a concert, only with friends and working out. Ha! It was so nice to hear everyone's voices and see all the RISERs continue on!


What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped?

This is hard because I love them all. I can’t even pick!  Ahhh! I’d say kettlebell or bootcamp definitely gets me physically amped!  And strength, yoga and spin classes get me sweaty and mentally set for my day!  


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class (Zoom or in person)?

For me, it’s my to-do list for work, family, including a new puppy and potty training, or home that gets me running late to class! I always hope the stars align and I make it on time. Ha!  Ask my friends and family, I’m historically late by nature.  


What’s your athletic background?

I’ve always been in various sports as a child. In high school I was on the dance team, golf team and ran track and cross-country. I just loved being a part of the team and being active.  Later in life before kids, I ran the Chicago marathon and was an avid runner. Eventually, I focused on raising my kids and found group exercise classes with daycare was my saving grace. Now that my kids are a bit older, I am so grateful to have RISE!  


As an owner of The Joy Bar, what are your best healthy living tips?  

To give yourself grace on your health journey. I believe in balance so you can have a healthy mind, body and soul. Fill your beautiful self with goodness. If you choose healthy foods you in turn will feel their energy and power within. So many plant foods are healthy and rich in nutrition that your body knows exactly what to do with. When you focus on your nutrition you will feel JOY from within. That’s why we love helping people get healthy on-the-go meals, juices and smoothies. They are nutrient dense and healing. Beyond taking care of yourself from within, it will help you be energized to workout and BREATHE. Treat yourself with love and allow yourself joy!  


Why Rise?

Why Rise? I have been going to Rise since its inception in the dance studio and have been able to enjoy watching it grow. I have been lucky enough to know both ladies who have made Rise the success it is today.

What motivates you? Fitness has been part of my life since I can remember. I am motivated by how it makes me feel, the health aspects and the community Rise has created.


What are your short and long-term fitness goals? I don’t think I have a short term fitness goal as fitness to me is a lifelong commitment to my health and well being.

What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (events, community, etc.)? Beyond the variety of classes, I love the community of Risers that I may have not connected with otherwise. I love that I can achieve my level of fitness without feeling pressure about where others may be. I feel the support and the inspiration of others even when on Zoom. I love that Rise not only connects our community by offering fitness classes but incorporates community events to support an overall wellness journey.

What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped? That is a trick question because at different times on different days one class may amp me more than another. So, it really depends on the day. And that is why the variety they offer is such a benefit. I know I will always get a good workout but it is always a pleasant surprise to see which class is the one to take me to the next level that week.

What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class (Zoom or in person)? My biggest challenge in the last couple years was balancing a new business and finding time for myself to get to class. I can say that the zoom option has enabled me to branch out to different classes and yet keep a consistent schedule. No excuses when you just have to roll out of bed. It has really been not only a physical but mental boost for me during this time. Most productive way to start my day.

What’s your athletic background? Being an athlete is one of the greater gifts of my life. In high school, I was a three-sport athlete and then played basketball at the college level, which is why fitness is just a way of life for me and Rise makes it easy.

As an owner of The Joy Bar, what are your best healthy living tips? At JOY we believe you need to find a combination of what works for you and your health. We all have varying health needs and that is why at JOY we offer so many different options. And both Alicia and I feel that fitness is a big part of that combination. Not only has Rise welcomed JOY as a business to our community they have also allowed us to be a Challenge partner. We are beyond grateful for Katelyn and everyone that makes up the Rise crew. 


APRIL 2020



First, thank you RISE because I legit do not know what I would do without you right now. So, why RISE? Sounds corny, but I truly feel like a better person when I finish a class. I feel like I can conquer the world and spread the good vibes. I never leave in a bad mood, which is not always how I enter. Even with the Zoom workouts. The community and positive affirmations are something I’ve never experienced before. 

What motivates you? This could be life or workouts?

In general…a good challenge. I may not realize it in the moment but I love proving to myself I have what it takes. Whether it’s some crazy star jump or push-up, or completing something at work, it keeps me going.

What are your short and long-term workout goals?

In this crisis, my goal is to keep going, don’t stop the routine AND end up with quarantine biceps. I want nice arms!  Long-term, I guess it’s the same thing - to keep going. I work out because it makes me feel good and I don’t want to ever lose that. My mom still goes to her fitness classes 5 days a week and I want to be like her! Meeting up with my gym buddies, getting a good sweat in and feeling amazing.  Another short term goal…keep working out to balance out all the White Claw and wine I am drinking. 

What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (Challenges, community, instructors, etc.)?

The people! I love my RISE people and instructors. I don’t know how you instructors do it; I always feel challenged and I’m never bored. The Challenges are a good reset, too. I don’t know how many times I’ve done them. A lot but it’s such a good reminder to focus on nutrition. I completely changed the way I ate after the first Challenge. I had no idea the awful crap I was putting into my body. 

What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped?

Oh! Depends on my mood but I love Cardio Boxing and Bag to Boot. I like intense things so those classes are right up my alley. They also give me a sense of empowerment. I come out feeling like a boss lady after those classes. When we were in the studio, boxing on Sunday was a great way to get rid of the last week’s crap and enter in fresh - hitting it all out. 

Honestly, they all really get me going … spin, kettle, the whole thing. What amps me up in any class is the playlist. Sometimes that song hits and you feel no pain. Especially when Katelyn throws some rap music in … t’s the best. 

How are you staying engaged and focused on wellness and fitness despite today’s challenges?

Again, I think it’s the Challenge. I want to prove to myself that even though everything is crazy around me, my fitness and nutrition are things I can actually control. I can choose to do the right thing instead of letting this moment change who I am. Taking the Zoom classes and participating in the Challenge are bringing a sense of normalcy because it’s what I would be doing if life were normal right now. I’m also focusing on letting things go, too. I’m not beating myself up if I do have a bad week. I’m using it as fuel to do better next week. I read a lot of inspirational quotes on Instagram and made a goal to read more instead of social media scroll. We’ll see how that goes.  

What’s your athletic background?

I played soccer all my life and still do. Growing up I started club soccer really young and played throughout high school, as well as on my school’s team. I did intramurals in college and then picked it up again and joined an amazing team in the city…2013 indoor champs baby! LOL. I love being a part of a team and definitely have a competitive side. I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a runner but I have done a handful of races, a half marathon, and like to do one every once in a while to prove to myself I still can.

What’s your best healthy living tip?

Keep moving! Walk, dance, stroll…whatever. You never regret it and something is always better than nothing.

Rachel Ties

MARCH 2020


Why Rise?

RISE, “you had me at hello.” Katelyn’s barre class was my first studio experience. I vividly recall early in class she instructed us to find a high plank position and then asked us to "set an intention ... why are you here?”  I was 7+ months post-surgery from a repaired ruptured achilles tendon at the time and my reason came to mind immediately: because I can! I was so thankful my body could move. For several months I could not and I had an entirely new level of gratitude for health. Questions and prompts that engage the mind-body connection are common elements of every class at RISE and, in my opinion, are a big part of what sets this group fitness experience apart. In addition, I appreciate the variety of classes, the exceptional quality and convenient location. It is not uncommon for an instructor at RISE to know the name of every person in the room. The impact of customers being known and cared for as individuals transforms RISE into a community of teammates and friends. 


What motivates you (in life or during workouts)?

Applause and approval unconsciously motivate me. Although, I have found achievement and connection to be much more deeply satisfying motivators for me. I love chasing and reaching a goal I personally set for myself.  And people, relationships and conversation are life-giving to me. Placed in a room full of people or across the table from just one person, my energy peaks. My family are my dearest relationships and pursuing the best version of myself is my daily goal. 


What are your short- and long-term workout goals?

A short-term goal I recently celebrated was playing in my college alumni basketball game this month. Long term it's a lifelong commitment to exercise. 


What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about RISE?

I’ve heard it said at RISE: "We rise by lifting others”. A rephrase for me would be, "I rise when in a room full of RISERS!" I feel better walking out than walking in, 100% of the time. I’m encouraged and strengthened by this community and am so grateful for it!


What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped?

I couldn’t possibly pick just one ... a perfect week at RISE for me would include barre, cycle, bootcamp, HiiT, yoga and met-con. 


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?

I’m a mom of four kids (ages 6, 9, 9 & 11). Creating time for class takes intention.  


What’s your athletic background?

My love for movement began in childhood. I grew up in Minnesota and my family did a lot of outdoor recreational activities: downhill skiing, water skiing, rollerblading and biking. By adolescence, my love for team sports grew and I dedicated lots of my time to soccer and basketball. I went on to play basketball at Wheaton College. In the past few years, in recognition of my basketball career, I’ve had the great honor of being inducted into the hall of fame at both my high school and college.  


What’s your best healthy living tip?

Do more of what you love.  Also, I order food online through Daily Harvest. It allows me to have healthy meal/snack/smoothie options stocked in the freezer ready to mix up any time I’m in a hurry or didn’t plan ahead.




Why RISE? 

After many years of trying different gyms and studios and many kinds of workouts, I found my home at RISE. RISE has a wide variety of classes that push me both mentally and physically.

What motivates you? 

The thing that motivates me the most is my family. I tell my kids that I workout to be a better mom. I want to be the most healthy person I can be for my husband and kids. I want my kids to see me exercise so it becomes something that they will just always do in their lives.

What do you like most about RISE? 

What I love the most about RISE is the feeling of family. No matter what my mood when I walk in the door I am welcomed with a smile and my day becomes brighter. We workout hard, but there are days we laugh through our workout too! I always leave there feeling better about myself and with a smile. That is why I go and will continue to keep going to RISE.

What class gets you the most amped?

The class that gets me the most amped can change monthly, but right now it probably has to be the new Met Con class! It is physically exhausting but Allison knows exactly how to keep us going and I leave there knowing I worked as hard as I could.

What's your greatest challenge in fitting in your workout?

My biggest challenge in getting to class is my three young children. Every other day someone is sick in the winter!

What's your athletic background? 

I grew up a gymnast. I practiced everyday for many years. I was also a college gymnast. After college I worked at East Bank Club in Chicago. Fitness has always been a part of my life.

What's your No. 1 healthy living tip?
My best healthy living tip is never feel like you can’t have something to eat. As I get older I realize if someone tells me not to eat something, that is all I will want. It is all about portion control and also working hard to enjoy life a little.

Kate Koppenhoefer


kate riser.jpg

Why Rise?

I started at Rise four years ago. At that time I was just running. After my first class I was hooked and immediately signed up for a membership. The quality and variety of the classes and the workout you get are unparalleled.  I think Rise is so unique in what it offers. 



What motivates you?

This could be life or workouts? My parents’ health issues. My father passed away 8 years ago of heart related issues and my mom is in poor physical health relative to her age. I don’t want that to be me. I am really motivated by a desire to have a long and healthy life.  I want to be kettlebelling when I’m 80!



What are your short and long-term workout goals?  

My husband’s aunt posted a video of her 70 year old mother water skiing. This is my long term goal. I haven’t been on water skis in almost 20 years but that’s an issue for another day. 


What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (events, community, etc.)?

The Rise community. I have made a ton of friends at Rise and I love the send of camaraderie we feel there. The challenges are amazing because of the community. You really can meet your goals when you have the support of so many people.  



What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped?

It is so hard to say because I love all of them- kettlebell, barre and boxing but my favorite right now is Rachel’s 5 am circuits class. It is so fun and energetic moving through the circuits and the workout is done in the blink of an eye. I know it’s 5 am but... there’s a Starbucks around the corner waiting for you at 5:45! Getting my workout in that early sets my entire day up for success. 



What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?

I work out primarily at 5 am so when one of my littles has a nightmare or urgently needs to discuss something with me at 2:30 am, the 4:30 alarm is painful. 



What’s your athletic background? 

I swam in high school and two years of college. I used to run a lot and have run one marathon and a handful of halfs. 


What’s your best healthy living tip?

Make your own green smoothie in the morning and bam! You just had vegetables for breakfast. 


JULY 2019

sandi cranny.jpg

Why Rise?

Rise is my workout place of choice because it is locally owned and not a big box chain.    


What motivates you? 

I am motivated to work out so I can go out.  We are empty nesters so we have lots of opportunity to go out to dinners, events, etc...  As long as I get up and workout in the morning, I do not feel as guilty about going out.


What are your short and long-term workout goals? 

My short-term workout goal is to try and make it through an entire barre series without having to put my heels down.  My long-term workout goal is to keep attending classes 5 days a week.


What specifically do you like about Rise?   

I like that I have not become bored with Rise even though I have been coming for many years.  The instructors are not satisfied doing the same class over and over.  They consistently change the format and add new challenges to keep me coming back for more.


What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped? 

Either Kettlebell, Lifted or Cardio Strength.  I like the loud music and feeling like you need to quit after about 45 minutes of class.


What's your biggest challenge in getting to class?

The guilt of taking an hour to myself when I can see lots of housework, paperwork and family stuff that needs to be done.


What's your athletic background? 

In high school I played tennis.  Currently, I play travel platform tennis.


What's your best healthy living tip? 

Get your workout done in the morning and eat healthy during the day because you never know what can happen around dinnertime.


JUNE 2019


When did you begin to come to RISE?

About three years ago, I bumped into Katelyn, who I have known since I was in 5th grade. She encouraged me to give RISE a try. At the time, I had a one-year-old son and was just walking and doing yoga. It was time to step up my fitness routine, and I couldn't have found a better place to do so! 



At this point in life, being home with two little kids, RISE is truly often my one hour to myself in the day. I think it makes me better all around to take that time for myself. It's stress relief when I need it and adds to my happiness on the best days. An added bonus is that since coming to RISE regularly I have really seen my body change in ways I wouldn't have expected. I feel stronger now than I did before two kids. 


What motivates you? This could be life or workouts.

I think viewing fitness and wellness as an ongoing journey is continually motivating. Finding what works for me and life now might be different than a few months ago. That idea keeps me moving forward. Plus, I want to be able to always keep up with my two little guys.


What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (events, community, etc.)? 

The positive energy at RISE is unmatched. Every day the instructors are committed to elevating each workout and each person in class. And the RISE community on a whole is really uplifting. Whether it's a chat before class or what you gain from those around you while working out, I think there's a feeling of being in it together. That makes the workouts all the better and uplifts me mentally and physically. 


What are your short and long-term goals?

Short-term, when I am focused on eating well and working out, I feel my best. So just maintaining that in my day-to-day life while continuing to set new goals as needed. Longer-term, my husband and I have been discussing training for a triathlon together. With two little kids, I'm not sure how we'll find the time, but I'm definitely excited by the idea! 

What RISE class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped? 
I really like to try and mix it up. This year I definitely found an unexpected love for Cardio Kickboxing and Bag to Boot. At heart, I am a barre girl. Katelyn's barre class is my happiest of happy places. It's somehow a great workout and some form of meditation in one.


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class? 
Probably just practical life circumstances -- the kids getting sick or going out of town. Other than that, I am there!  


What’s your athletic background? 

I danced, primarily ballet, my entire childhood through high school. I was also a cheerleader and then on dance squad in high school. And I played softball. I've mixed up my workouts over the years but am definitely a believer in group fitness for results.

What’s your best healthy living tip?  

Overall, the key for me seems to be discipline. The more focused I am on my diet and exercise, and the more of the bad, like sugar, I have eliminated, the easier it is to stick to making good choices. Another simple and specific tip - water! If I'm paying attention to it, I know that on days I haven't been drinking enough water I feel hungrier


APRIL 2019


Why Rise?

A friend of mine suggested I try out a cycle class to compliment my marathon training and the rest is history. Rise really is my happy place.  


What motivates you?

This could be in life or during workouts. Staying balanced mentally and physically is my motivation.  I have always loved to sweat.  I learned many years ago it's what keeps me sane and brings joy to my life.  I genuinely feel "off" when I don't make the time for it.


What are your short and long-term workout goals?

This is such a hard question for me - a few years ago it would have been improving my marathon time year over year but now my fitness goals are targeted toward feeling like the best version of myself.   


What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (events, community, etc.)? 

I love all things Rise but the people are what stand out most to me.  We build each other up.... I have never once left Rise feeling bad about myself.  I usually leave feeling like my arms and legs are going to fall off and uplifted by everyone.


What Rise class gets you feeling the most mentally and physically amped? 

It is so hard to pick - Kickbox and Lifted, they are both so different yet really hard classes.


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class? 

Mom guilt!  I feel this pressure to be at home and but I know taking time for me makes me a better mom. 


What’s your athletic background? 

I grew up figure skating and in my 20's devoted my time to Running.  I have always loved being active, in general I do not sit still well.  


What’s your best healthy living tip? 

Everything in moderation..... well sometimes.  I am never afraid to eat pizza or a rice krispie the size of a brick. YOLO!

Elisabeth Wagener

MARCH 2019

Elisabeth Wagener.jpg

Why Rise?

"The ‘boutique’ exercise culture. It lends itself to my lickety-split lifestyle. I wasn’t looking to exercise with hundreds of other people, feel like I was entering a mall, or participating in exercise on a cruise ship deck. I’m intensely private, so it strikes the right balance between offering anonymity and intimacy in terms of its size. I can ebb and flow between total engagement or complete disengagement depending on which split personality I’ve adopted for the day or which of my myriad of time constraints is on deck for the day. That being said, the sense of community is always there upon reentry and there is no shortage or lack of class offerings given its boutique feel."

Elisabeth Wagener

Why Rise?

The ‘boutique’ exercise culture. It lends itself to my lickety-split lifestyle. I wasn’t looking to exercise with hundreds of other people, feel like I was entering a mall, or participating in exercise on a cruise ship deck. I’m intensely private, so it strikes the right balance between offering anonymity and intimacy in terms of its size. I can ebb and flow between total engagement or complete disengagement depending on which split personality I’ve adopted for the day or which of my myriad of time constraints is on deck for the day. That being said, the sense of community is always there upon reentry and there is no shortage or lack of class offerings given its boutique feel.  


What motivates you? This could be life or workouts.

I’m an intrinsically motivated individual. So, staying motivated to exercise or stay active has never been a hurdle for me. Sometimes too much redundancy gets boring for me, so to keep from stopping, I sometimes tweak the way I’m doing something to allow it to provide more of a stretch or I change the rate (slower is more difficult for me) to make the movement more difficult or more interesting. It just depends on what I need at any given moment. Good music with a strong downbeat or upbeat doesn’t hurt either.


What are your short and long-term workout goals?

I don’t really set concrete workout goals until I’m in an actual exercise class. I say a lot of affirmations in my head and have a CONSTANT running dialogue with myself. My goals are extremely dynamic and literally change by the second or minute. If I’m in a plank, I give myself alignment cues the entire time, for instance. If I’m spinning, I set “on demand” goals during every song that’s played or during every interval. I also set a lot of dynamic goals relating to form and core engagement. I use instructor cues as a baseline and I aim to never coast or be static. I suppose a long-term goal is to never allow myself to get off the train.


What specifically, other than format or schedule, do you like about Rise (events, community, etc.)?  

The dedication of the instructors and their commitment to planning classes and being prepared for their clients. They are rarely, if ever, without a notecard, notebook, or torn out piece of paper with their plan for class meticulously documented. 


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class? 

I’m a creature of habit, so my biggest challenge has never been getting to class. It’s part of my day like brushing my teeth. Really. I have a challenge staying away from class…a testament to Rise and its staff!  


What’s your athletic background?

It’s a joke in my family that I began exercising in the womb. My mom is a cross-country skier and, unbeknownst to her, cross-country skied while pregnant with me until she made a visit to the doctor because she was a little more tired than usual. My paternal grandfather and father were college athletes, and they began indoctrinating me into organized sports at a very early age.  I was raised on the east coast on the beach and also had direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway. My brother and I were always swimming, boarding, water skiing, or canoeing. I’ve always lived in warmer geographical climates, which allowed me to play organized sports year-round (tennis, soccer, softball, volleyball, swim team, and golf)… some competitively and others recreationally and to be outdoors moving CONSTANTLY, whether it be riding bikes or hiking. I was a competitive cross-country runner in middle school and high school and competed in the 800 in track while in high school. I was also a member of a high school choreographed dance group. I played intramural sports in college and it was also in college that I took my first on-campus spin class and was instantly hooked. I’ve been participating in group exercise classes ever since my first spin class in college. The only time I’ve taken a break from exercise was during my high-risk pregnancies, all of which resulted in healthy children.  


What’s your best healthy living tip?

You’re the captain of your own ship. Just do you and make it easy…don’t over think it and set yourself up for failure! Once it gets too easy or comfortable, then start the tweaking. Once it gets too difficult, lower it a notch, but just don’t stop. 

I like to piecemeal different foods and supplement/dietary fads. Right now, I’m invested in collagen peptides, carb-cycling, intermittent fasting, and counting macros. I also cobble together a protein shake as an emergency go-to fake dessert consisting of almond milk with some Nutpod, frozen banana, ice, protein powder, NuttZo 7 seed butter, unsweetened cacao nibs, and some fat free/sugar free Jello powder pudding mix.  

I also draw a hard line and don’t exercise or worry about what I’m eating when I’m on vacations. Sometimes the brain needs a vacation too.




"RISE Fitness has been the best exercise experience of my life. And this is coming from someone who’s tried gyms, bootcamps, Crossfit – you name it. Nothing compares to the challenge and sense of community provided by RISE Fitness. The instructors are Grade A, the facility is top notch, and the classes and community are very accessible. Thank you to everyone at RISE for the support over the past three years!


- Jeff Davis

Why RISE Fitness?

RISE Fitness has become for me a routine that is very rewarding. Being part of this fitness community not only helps me feel better but also live better. The instructors, as well as other class participants, share great energy and foster a sense of community and accountability. 


What motivates you?

Now that I am in my 40s, I feel especially motivated to stay healthy and in shape. RISE Fitness has been instrumental in keeping that motivation going! As Tom Petty said, “If you never slow down, you’ll never grow old!” Also, setting a good example on how live a healthy life for my two boys is important to me; by staying active in this stage of life, I hope to encourage them to stay physically active, as well.


Share your short- and/or long-term workout goals.
My long-term goal is to become a better runner so that I can run in a 10K race, or maybe even a half marathon one day.


Aside from class format and schedules, what else do like most about RISE?

The simplicity and accessibility of RISE Fitness are what I love most. RISE has challenged me with the most challenging and impactful workouts of my life – and with little more than kettlebells, dumbbells, and sliders, all in an open-floor studio. Many workouts have involved no equipment at all.  And yet I would challenge anyone familiar with the complexity and clutter of a gym or Crossfit studio to try a RISE class and tell me it’s not the toughest or most rewarding workout they’ve ever done.


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?
Keeping a regular workout routine encourages healthy decisions in other areas of your life.  When your routine is to exercise early in the morning two or three days per week, it is very easy to get to bed early and get a great night’s sleep. And when you know you’re expected in class the next morning, you’re more likely to avoid staying out late, eating too late, or having that extra beer or glass of wine (though that will happen from time to time). 

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to golf and read, mostly historical fiction and biographies.


What’s your favorite healthy food?
Anything with quinoa, spinach and hot sauce.


Any tips you can offer to someone on the fence about working out and who needs an extra nudge to get started?

As challenging as it may seem to join an exercise class, just know that nearly everyone has been through it before and felt the same way.  We’ve all had doubts as to whether we could do it, whether we’d fit in, whether we could keep up. But at RISE, you will definitely fit in — the instructors and classmates are welcoming and supportive and they will help you not only get over the fence but also make RISE part of your life routine.​


JULY 2018

"RISE has been such a gift in my life. I’ve learned so much about sustainable healthy food habits through the RISE challenges, and I’ve found a fitness plan I am grateful for every day. In this next chapter of my life, after some time spent pondering the 'now what' as my kids are getting older, I realized that I’d love to give this gift to others as a RISE instructor."



-Rachel Beard

What makes RISE such a special community?

There truly is something for everyone – from strength-based to cardio and in both the fitness and cycle studios. Each instructor brings his or her own personality and style, so I urge you to try different classes until you find what classes and instructors work for you. After all, if you enjoy what you’re doing, it won’t feel like a chore!  


What motivates you?

The older my children get, the more I think about what type of people I hope they grow to be. So my motivation is knowing they are watching me and trying to be a good example through taking care of myself, valuing my health, giving my time to the community, and being there for the important people in my life. My wish is for them to grow up being aware of the value of these things in their life.


What are your short-term and long-term workout goals?
My short-term goal was to become an instructor, so I’m checking that off the list! Long-term, I’m trying to learn how to enjoy the running track at the Outdoor Bootcamp Class.


Aside from class format and schedules, what do you like about RISE?   

You can’t beat the RISE community – a group of people who show up and work hard every single day! Even on the days I struggle through a class, I leave filled with positive energy from the people around me. And sometimes that energy is more beneficial to my day than the physical effects of the workout.


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?
I signed up for my first RISE challenge because I knew I needed to do something different, but I didn’t know what that was or what that really meant. Seeing changes that weren’t just physical is what made me keep coming back for more. I learned that I am more patient with my family; more on top of my to-do list; and make healthy choices when I’ve started my day working out at RISE.


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?
Between three kids and a husband who travels for work, there’s always something out my control, which is why I prefer early morning classes. Getting my workout in before my family is awake gives me time for myself and sets the tone for my entire day. I’ve also learned that sometimes life DOES get in the way, and when that happens you have to ride it out and then start again. But when you do, there are always people happy to see you walk through those orange doors!


What’s your favorite junk food?
Any salty chips – especially homemade ones!


What’s your favorite healthy food?
Scrambled eggs with cauliflower rice and Frank’s Red Hot Original sauce. It’s my favorite post-workout breakfast!


Any tips of your favorite recipe, healthy living, grocery or wellness apps or websites you couldn’t live without?

Whole30 Instagram features a ton of healthy tips as well as different Whole30/Paleo pages to follow, so it’s a great place to find a variety of tasty clean eating recipes.


What has been your very favorite vacation/trip?

Grand Cayman, 7 mile beach.


What tips would you offer to someone who is on the fence/needs that extra nudge to start a workout routine?

Take it ONE STEP AT A TIME! Show up for ONE class, make ONE better food choice, do ONE extra burpee… it’s a lot easier to take ONE small step than a giant leap. Those small daily changes are what create better habits.


JUNE 2018

"Thanks to RISE, I can say that at age 43, I have never felt as fit as I do today. Not only do I feel great, but also I eat better and have an improved outlook on the day when I get my morning 'me time.'"





My friend, Lisa, brought me to RISE for the first time on Thanksgiving 2014. Janelle was teaching a Fusion class, and I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life. I loved it! After the class was over, we hopped in the Turkey Trot and ran 3+ miles to finish off the race. Later that day, I could not lift a fork to my mouth because every muscle in my body was feeling it!


I am a seven-days-per-week RISER. I love all the class and instructors, so I love to mix it up and do Bootcamp, RISE Cycle, Circuits, and Kettlebell. I’ve come to rely on RISE to jumpstart my day. Another reason I love RISE is that the instructors have given me for when I travel awesome workout routines that I can do in the hotel gym or on the front lawn of my parents home!


I love the people and the energy in the studio. It also doesn’t hurt that my alarm can go off and 15 minutes later I’m in the studio with my workout clothes on and teeth brushed; I can start my morning strong and get home and make lunches before my three kiddos are even awake. I've made some great friends through the studio and continue to introduce friends to RISE workouts, as well. Finally, it’s inspired me to get my kids involved with my refreshed love of exercise. We do plank wars, and I literally challenge my daughter to punch me in the stomach to see how strong my core is. (Though, I am starting to think we might have mother/daughter issues though, because she doesn't hold back.


Jeff EHrhart

APRIL 2018

I can truly say that without the RISE community and the support of my friends, I don’t know where I would be today.  Thank you, RISE Fitness and RISE Cycle, for everything you have done for me.


- Jeff Ehrhart




My friends brought me to RISE, as well as the RISE-olution Challenges. I'm the kind of person that needs something on the line for motivation.



Kettlebell and spin are my go-to classes. Before I joined RISE, I had never taken a kettlebell class. I thought, “Well, that sounds like a good class. Just combine some funny-looking weights and some cardio. Sounds like a win-win.” Wow, was I in for a surprise! I didn't know my body could hurt so much the next day. 


In some of my earlier classes, Carin showed my proper technique. At the time, I felt a little ridiculous but it has become one of my favorites. The constant mix-up of exercise keeps me coming back.


I also want to give a shout-out to Suzi and Sarah for spin. Suzi brings great energy to her class, and I like her technical rides. Sarah always plays my favorite tunes!



The people – both the instructors and those who sweat alongside me.  I was a little intimidated at first with the male-female ratio, but everyone has been great and supportive, and I've made many new friends there.


What are the RESULTS you can feel and attribute to RISE?

I've never been much of a morning person, but I now love going early and getting it out of the way. I feel so much better about myself and have the energy to get through the day. Also, as you will see in my story, I can’t thank RISE enough for helping me turn my life around. Thank you.


Jeff’s RISE-olution Challenge Story


I often snicker under my breath (and aloud to whomever’s listening) when I read some of RISE’s positive Facebook posts. It can be a little much sometimes. It fits my personality more to make fun of others versus truly believing it. But when I think about it some more, and it pains me to say this, I really do, deep down, like what you have to say. In fact, it’s really what makes RISE special.  While the classes are nice, it’s the people that make this one of the best gyms I’ve ever belonged to. I’d like to go back two years to begin my story. Fall 2016 was my first RISE Challenge.  I was the heaviest and most out of shape I had ever been in my life.  (And my friends love to show me my before picture as a reminder.)  It was a great introduction to RISE, and to see that maybe I could do this and make a change. Then came the 2017 RISE-olution Challenge.  Between these two challenges, I lost 36 pounds. It was one of the best experiences of my life.  The camaraderie and positive support between everyone was incredible. While my teammates and I were friends before the challenge, we are so much more now – knowing we can count on each other for anything. At this point, I thought I would never need to do another RISE Challenge again. I had learned to eat better, exercise regularly, and take the skills I learned in previous challenges to take a more moderate approach to life.  Then my Dad passed away in October 2017. And I did not handle it well. To say I overindulged in both food and alcohol is being polite. I put on about 20 lbs in 3 months. I was not being a good father to my kids or a good husband to my wife. I was wallowing in my own self-loathing. That’s when my former team stepped up and convinced me it was time to pull myself out of it and get on with my life, with the motivation of the 2018 RISE-olution Challenge behind me. While we weren’t able to keep our team members together, they were behind me during this challenge, through motivation, weekly meal sharing, sending self-deprecating texts, and going to classes together. These friends were there when I needed them and helped change my life. Thanks to them, I got back on the wagon (or off the wagon – can never remember) and got down to my lowest weight in probably 20 years.  I am optimistic I will stay the course this time and be better prepared to deal with life’s challenges. 

Stacy & Jeff Short

february 2018

Our life has changed in so many ways since the first day of the RISE Challenge. Not only have we lost a combined 70 lbs.; we enjoy life and time with our family so much more.

-Stacy and Jeff Short




When their baby was 18-months old, Stacy and Jeff both realized it was about time to shed the baby weight. This was about the same time that a friend introduced them to the RISE Challenge.  While Jeff initially hesitated to join the team, he seized the opportunity and lost a whopping ten pounds in one week. While Stacy was envious of his speedy results and experienced slightly slower outcomes, they both realized how advantageous this new lifestyle was to the entire family. With a major shift in how their family spent their free time, there was a newfound emphasis on a healthier diet and overall wellness. They frequently wonder what they did with their spare time before RISE and love that their kids equate the Studio with “the place that sometimes gives out ice cream”.


What are your RISE favorites?


We’re early RISER(S) so we love the options offered at the crack of dawn during the week. We are constantly in awe by the abundance of energy of the instructors. And there’s never a shortage of butt kicking. Regardless of the workout - Kettlebell, HIIT, or Circuit Training—we leave exhilarated and ready to start the day. Sometimes even with Jeff singing at 6am (a usual occurrence). 

Everyone gets a double dose on the days we’re able to pull off a

“Short Swap” (as Katelyn named it). 


What do you like most about RISE?


ALL OF IT!  The Instructors, the Challenge, the people standing next to us, the sense of community and each and every welcoming smile ALL make waking up at the crack of dawn a little easier. We fondly recall looking around the room when we first started at RISE thinking that everyone was in such great shape. Now, we are just excited that we can keep up with the likes of this crew. Everyone at RISE wants to see you succeed, work hard and feel good which is a great feeling.


What impact has RISE had on you and your family?


Our life has changed in so many ways since the first day of the RISE Challenge. Not only have we lost a combined 70 lbs.; we enjoy life and time with our family so much more.  We try to fill our days by being active rather than the tired, lazy lifestyle we led in the past.  Jeff ran a half marathon in August 2017. His training went really well and his race results exceeded expectations thanks to the variety and intensity of his RISE workout regimen combined with hard work.  Stacy has found RISE to be a place that not only makes her feel good inside and out, but RISE has brought such a positive change to our life making it easier to handle stress, be happier and enjoy the wonderful life we have.



image (1).png

"I first came to RISE with friends to try a class. I liked it so I signed up for a month. I like the classes and teachers. They all give great alternative exercises that work for you. I have a bad back and have been injured, so I really appreciate this. And a lot of people take the alternatives, so you feel good doing it. Everyone at RISE provides encouragement and builds each other up."

What motivates you? 

I like to be able to do things. Getting out of the house and being active motivates me. Plus being around positive people. And Katelyn is one of the most positive people ever. You can't quit when she is motivating you and makes you laugh. You think, "Okay, I can do five more." 


What are your short-term and long-term workout goals?

In the short term, to get in and do it! I want to be able to do it. In the long term, I want to stay in shape so that I can continue to be active. I workout because I feel better. I am an older mom with kids in high school. I want to stay fit and not give into my aging body.


Aside from class format and schedules, what do you like about RISE?

The location. I can get their easily even though I'm on the other side of the tracks. It's not a 20 minute drive to go workout. Also, the variety of classes. If you go to one barre class, it's not the same the next week. I also like the Challenges, because you get to know your team and you support each other all year long, not just during the Challenge. You become workout buddies and you don't always find that at every gym. I am doing this Challenge because my ex-teammates got me to sign up again. 


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?

Since starting at RISE in October 2017, it's the first span of two winters I haven't injured my back and been out for at least a month. I think that's from barre. You get the workout without the impact. It strengthens your core. It's effective without injury. 


What's your greatest challenge getting to class?

Now that my kids are in high school, I don't have one. I feel lucky -- there's nothing keeping me away in the morning. 


What is your athletic background? 

I've done weight training since high school and did karate for years. 


Lastly, any favorite recipe, grocery, healthy living or wellness tip to share?

Matcha tea! It's perfect for the Challenge too.



november risers.JPG

"Jump in and enjoy the variety of workouts at RISE.

There is something for everyone."



T: Tom likes to ride outside and was looking for something to do when the weather turned colder, so when the Cycle studio opened in October he decided to give it a SPIN.  Over time they heard so many positive experiences from friends, so Jenny tried it out too.


J: Since moving to the burbs 8 years ago, Jenny couldn’t find her groove with any of the local workout facilities. She joined Tom for a Spin class in early 2017 and has been hooked since.


Tell us what motivates you? This could be related to workouts or life.


T: Tom is motivated by data and he tracks and logs his workouts.  Comparing average power but also overall distance PR’s. Using the power meter is a great way to check your relative performance as long as you ride the same bike. Speaking of stats – in 3 years, since the opening of the Cycle Studio in Oct 2015, Tom has been to about 485 cycle classes, some days even pulling a double.


J: The results! It’s likely she’s in the best shape she’s ever been.


What are your short-term and long-term workout goals?

J: Short-term, keeping fit during the long winter. Longer term, role modeling better eating and workout habits for our kids.


Aside from class format and schedules specifically, what do you like about RISE (events, community, retail, location etc.)?

J: The instructors are awesome and the workouts are intense. We’re not around too much during the week so this provides us with a nice connection to the local community.


T:  The instructors are top notch and are encouraging of all ability levels and don't mind if you do your own thing, like no jumps.

What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?

T:  The combination of exercise and participating in Challenges has helped Tom to make healthier choices overall.  


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?

T&J: Trains! And kids + work.


What is your athletic background (none, runner, badminton player, dancer, football...etc)? 

J: Tennis


Any tips of your favorite recipe, healthy living, grocery or wellness apps or websites you couldn’t live without?

T: Strava

J: My Fitness Pal: Rise app 

kelly voelker

january 2018

I can honestly say that I'm in the best shape of my life right now thanks to RISE. I have never been stronger or felt healthier.  Before RISE, my workouts consisted of doing just enough.  I never truly challenged myself, and as a result, I didn't really see much change to my body - at least not any positive changes.  I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that it's a lot more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.  Gone are the days of slightly modifying what I eat or adding a workout for results-- it's all about a change in lifestyle and constantly keeping your body guessing about what you're going to do next - use different muscles, work on your balance, take the time to stretch, get breathless.  RISE is so unique because it provides all of these things in one place.


- Kelly Voelker


What brought you to RISE?


A few years ago when I had three preschool-age children or younger, I went to a gym that had a large daycare facility that could accommodate my needs.  At first, I avoided classes and was a straight-up treadmill or elliptical kinda gal.  However, I started trying out some of the classes they offered and found that I really liked the variety.  As my girls got older and started going to school full-time, suddenly I had all these options available to me. With my newfound interest in group formats and the intro of RISE to the community, I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much more challenging the RISE classes were and the instructor’s were/are so inspirational.  I was hooked after my first class!   


What classes do you attend and why?


All of them! The childhood dancer in me has me gravitate toward Barre and Zumba when I can manage to fit it into my schedule. The competitor in me loves to get my butt kicked at Kettlebell, Power Circuits and Kickboxing.  I love Fusion classes for their mix of just about everything.   I've also really enjoyed trying TRX.  And don't get me wrong, the Cycle classes are amazing too yet I can’t seem to decide which class to forfeit to squeeze Cycle in my workout schedule. Too many options, too little time.


What do you like about RISE?


Aside from the variety of classes I mentioned above, I love that EVERY SINGLE CLASS challenges me.  Every class pushes me.  Every instructor motivates me.  It's the best feeling to walk out of that door each morning and feel like I've accomplished something. I can confidently say repeatedly  “that was REALLY hard - but I did it."  I also love the tight-knit community we have at RISE.  There's an energy you get from the other people in class that keeps you going and makes you not want to quit.  It's hard to find that anywhere else.


In addition to the classes, I've participated in three RISE Challenges so far and I am so appreciative that RISE offers these a few times a year.  The Challenge is great whether you're just starting to think about healthier food/exercise choices, or just need a reset, it’s a great way to get inspired and take back control of your body and mind.  I have learned something new each time.  In fact, one my most cherished outcomes is the creation of my “Salad Club”. Originally implemented by my first Challenge team, the premise is that we each prepare a salad one day a week for the team. And voila – we all have a delicious healthy salad for lunch Monday-Friday. We're coming up on two years in April and are still going strong - no more scarfing down my girls' half-eaten PB & J's!


Any other tips to you’d like to offer?


I want to also mention that even though I felt like my brood of three girls was a little much for the daycare room, my youngest daughter has been there countless times and we adore the community of even the smallest RISERS. She has formed some amazing friendships and loves the childcare staff –evidenced by her enthusiasm when she sees these amazing women out and about in the community. It’s close to a celebrity sighting for her and they are always greeted with a huge hug. I want all my girls to have a positive body image and to learn how to lead a healthy, active and balanced lifestyle.  RISE has enabled me to give them that and so much more.

Deidre Girard


"I love that RISE is so close to home and offers a mixture of classes –like Fusion, Barre and Zumba--that no other fitness location offers. But I really love that the classes are more personal than a standard fitness class.


The instructors strive to know your name, they offer encouragement and are on top of proper form and technique to be sure you’re getting a safe workout throughout class. It feels more like “family” than a big gym workout."




What do you like about RISE?


My favorite part of RISE is the location. I can walk or ride my bike, which is critical when my kids are home since our drivers outnumber our cars. I also love that I can grab a birthday gift or stocking stuffer on the fly at RISE.


What motivates you?


I grew up in very large (8 kids) active, athletic family.  I was always involved in sports so I have an inherent need to keep moving.  I’m not gifted with a fast metabolism so I really work hard to maintain a healthy weight. I also have three girls who live in a world with an obsessive focus on weight and appearance so it has always been critical to me that I emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle with a focus on strength and not size. This is a journey I’m on regularly and I hope through my example they have an easier path.


What are your workout goals?


In the short term, I want to continue trying new classes and push myself out of my comfort zone. For instance, spin class has been the bane of my existence. I tried it many years ago and despised it. But recently I forced myself to give it a try at RISE. Halfway through the first song, I was positive I still hated it and promised myself if I lived I would never do it again.  I now try to go to at least two classes a week.  In the long term, I want to be doing this when I am 80 and hope to be rocking the RISE arms at the senior living facility!


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?  


As a family, we have always been active by biking, hiking and sports.  Working exercise into the schedule (whether a run or a class) is seamless. 


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?


Making sure I sign up before class is full!


What do you like to do with your spare time?


I read a lot. And I am embarrassed to say this but my guilty pleasure when I am on the treadmill is watching the Real Housewives—they are such a disaster that it fascinates me.


What’s your favorite junk food?  


I love bread!


What’s your favorite healthy food?  


Roasted veggies of any kind--though I could eat roasted brussel spouts every single day!  


What has been your very favorite vacation/trip?


My father was from Ireland, so when I was growing up we would go back “home” as he liked to say.  This was well before it became touristy so it wasn’t uncommon to run around the castles, graveyards and even cliffs unsupervised. Guardrails, fences and safety nets were nonexistent at this time which is why it’s a miracle no one fell to their death!  I have great memories from each of those vacations—as well as memories of some epic fights as you can imagine! 


Any tips you’d like to offer someone who is on the fence and needs that extra nudge to start a workout routine?  


I would have to say the thing that works for me is scheduling. It’s as important as a doctor’s appointment.  I also find if I do it in the morning, I am less likely to cancel.

Kristen Schaffnit


A few months after having my third baby, my husband and I joined a group of family friends to participate in the RISE Challenge.


This was my first experience at RISE and everything about the studio and the Challenge clicked for me. I was frustrated not knowing if I'd ever feel like myself again after three kids. But the Challenge gave me all the tools I needed to understand wellness.  It was such a great experience that taught me so much. And even though I'm not always disciplined, I have definitely made changes in my lifestyle based on things I learned during the RISE Challenge.


- Kristen Schaffnit



What brought you to RISE?


I love group fitness and know that's what works best for me. I love the energy from others, the motivation and accountability. Until finding RISE, I was struggling to find a place with classes that challenged me and fit into my schedule. Now, I can get up and workout before work or getting my family ready for school. I'm usually home before they even wake up. For me, it's such a positive way to start my day and I always feel better on the mornings I'm there. 

I love the variety of classes and the different instructors. Knowing each workout is new and unique keeps me motivated and prevents boredom. And luckily there’s a different class every day of the week that fits my schedule challenges me. I don't always go everyday, but I love knowing that I have the option.


What do you like about RISE?


Door-to-door, my commute is four minutes. I like knowing that I'll likely see someone I know and that accountability is what motivates me on days I don't feel like working out.  I also appreciate the little surprises - a fruit-infused water, a spa towel after spin or a fun theme class.


What motivates you?


My husband is my biggest motivator followed by my desire to be healthy for my family.


What are your workout goals?


Maintain my workout regimen through the winter when it’s cold and dark and much more appealing to stay under the warm covers.


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?  


Exercise has become an integral part of my everyday routine. While it’s not always an intense workout, a few extra steps during the day count more than doing nothing.



What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?


Freight trains! They always seem to be blocking the tracks - typically when I'm cutting it close. I used to try to figure out the best plan - wait it out, drive to the underpass, check another intersection, etc. It never failed, no matter what strategy I tried, the train ended faster than my detour. Now, I just sip my coffee and wait for it to pass. It's not worth the stress!


What do you like to do with your spare time?


I love to be busy. I don't like to sit around. Even when the opportunity to be lazy for a minute presents itself, I'd rather be busy. I also enjoy a car full of kids. I’m told this will probably change when all three of my kids are in multiple activities. But for now, I love it. There’s nothing more fulfilling than surrounding myself with family and friends.

What’s your favorite junk food?  


Seasonal coffee drinks like pumpkin spice lattes and gingerbread lattes. 


What’s your favorite healthy food?  


Quinoa. It’s so versatile. You can add it to soups, salads; make a creative bowl, stuff peppers, etc. I always have some in my pantry. 


Any tips of your favorite recipe, healthy living, grocery or wellness apps or websites you couldn’t live without?


RX bars for sure.  I like knowing I have a healthy, on the go bar for whenever I need a quick bite. I love the activity app on the Apple Watch. It allows me share my activity with family members and co-workers. Not only is it the accountability motivating, it's an awesome tool for encouragement. The feature that sends a text message when someone in the group reaches a goal or has a great workout makes staying active even more positive. 


What has been your very favorite vacation/trip?


My honeymoon in Lanai was so relaxing, beautiful and carefree.  


Any tips you’d like to offer someone who is on the fence and needs that extra nudge to start a workout routine?  


Find a workout you enjoy. It's difficult to stick with something you don't enjoy. For instance, I’m not a runner. Yet, I still attempt to run on the treadmill knowing it will be only a matter of minutes into the workout before I want hop off. Find what works for you and what you enjoy. 


Anything you’d like to add? 


I think my biggest RISE moment of gratitude came on Mother’s Day last year -- almost a year after my first RISE class. I continued to take classes over the year and participate in additional challenges. When you're working out every day, you don't always realize how your body is changing because it's so gradual.  That day, I recall thinking back to how I felt the year prior on Mother's. I was so happy with the progress I had made in one year. And it wasn't just a focus on weight; it was the combination of strength, increased energy, confidence and everything else that goes into a lifestyle of wellness. 



We’re honored to feature our clients along their RISE journey each month.

This month, we are thrilled the RISE story applies to the entire family. We’d like to congratulate the Rogers family as our

RISE Family of the Month.


What brought you all to RISE?
I (Linda) started at RISE to balance my running regimen with some cross training-type classes. They have proven to be challenging and fun. Similarly, my husband Mike was looking to balance his bike, swim and run workouts. And our two girls joined at different times both looking for great fitness classes. We were pleasantly surprised that we all found what we were in search of at RISE. We love working out as a family.

What classes do you attend?
We mostly attend Kettlebell and the Bootcamp morning classes to get our workouts in bright and early. We've also enjoyed Circuit, TRX, Fusion, Barre and Cycle. My daughter also loved the classes throughout her pregnancy and felt the instructors were definitely helpful in modifying her moves to keep her safe.

What do you like about RISE?
We all love the convenient location, the fun and friendly instructors and the RISE community. There’s also great value in the membership fee as you have so much class variety, varying difficulty levels and schedule options. I think we all feel RISE has been a positive addition to our workout schedule and the class variety has helped add overall strength and flexibility to our regimen.

Results we can attribute to RISE?
We're all stronger! I’m (Linda) in the BEST shape of my life.

scott brown


"Never in a million years did I think group fitness was for me.  But as my metabolism slowed and the dadbod took over, my old workouts weren't getting the job done anymore.  RISE jump-started my fitness routine and gave me the nutrition knowledge that has me feeling far better today than when I started."


- Scott Brown

Tell us what motivates you? This could be related to workouts or life.


I never want to end a workout feeling like I could've given more effort.


What are your short-term and long-term workout goals?

Short term: break a sweat at least four times a week.


Long term: not get bored doing the above!


Aside from class format and schedules specifically, what do you like about RISE?  

I truly believe that the RISE community is all about improving - rather than proving - which encourages bonding that I haven't experienced since my high school sports days.  Try finding that at another gym.


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?

No exaggeration that I have much more enthusiasm and focus during the workday.  The after-lunch drowsiness has all but disappeared too.


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?

Finding a good parking spot.


What do you like to do with your spare time?

Gardening, taking my kids hiking or biking, washing my sweaty RISE workout clothes.


What’s your favorite junk food?

Any cracker with port wine cheese!  But during the RISEOLUTION challenge, I sneak spoonfuls of Hershey's chocolate sauce on my cheat days.


What’s your favorite healthy food?

Spaghetti squash


Any tips on your favorite recipe, healthy living, grocery or wellness apps or websites you couldn’t live without?

Claudia (my lovely wife) and I have made green juices and smoothies religiously since our first challenge.


What is your favorite vacation/trip? Where do you want to go?

Jamaica with the family was awesome.  When my kids get a little older, I want to take them hiking in Colorado.


Any tips you’d like to offer someone who is on the fence and needs that extra nudge to start a workout routine?

Do not be afraid or embarrassed to fail.  The first few classes will leave you exhausted - but the instructors will give you that perfect combination of instruction and support to stay positive.


Anything you’d like to add?

RISE is more than a workout.  It's a community that through fitness, nutrition, laughter and sweat will give you energy that you deserve.  It really is Glen Ellyn's fountain of youth!




Below is an email that I sent to Janelle in October, 2015:


"Hi Janelle!
I just wanted to let you know about a recent 'Rise success moment' that I had the other day. I am getting married in April 2016 and purchased my dress that only needed minor alterations back in early July. I tried it on again this past weekend - to play dress up, ha! - AND IT WAS TOO BIG ON ME! Funny thing is, I don't weigh any less than I did back in July, but my dress was noticeably too big in my chest/back area & around my hips/thighs.  Looking in the mirror in my dress, I was definitely leaner and more toned, and I have Rise
 to thank for that!

So THANK YOU for creating a community focused 
around health/fitness that is filled with energetic, funny and motivating people - especially the instructors. I have enjoyed every minute at Rise and I’m really enjoying the results as well."

- Jenna Schweitzer



Why did you choose RISE?

In April 2015 I was engaged to my boyfriend who lived in Wheaton which meant my days living in Chicago were numbered..  As ecstatic as I was about our engagement and future together, I was bummed at the reality that I would be leaving the city. That also meant leaving a gym and my workout companions of three years. While I’m hesitant to admit it, I was panicked over leaving my workout routine. I immediately started searching online for fitness studios in Glen Ellyn/Wheaton and stumbled upon RISE. I loved that RISE had an active and engaging social media presence that intrigued me to try some classes. Two months later, I was walking through the front door for the first time and knew right away that it wouldn’t be my last.


Tell us what motivates you? This could be related to workouts or life.

My fellow RISERS and results.


# 1. The instructors at RISE are tried and true.  Personally, there’s nothing more motivating than having an instructor in your ear encouraging and pushing you to reach your personal limits. They know what you’re capable of and are trained to help you reach your potential. I remind myself frequently of a comment made by a Fusion instructor that still motivates me today: “your body can do it, get your mind out of the way!” The “RISERS” are all so dedicated to their fitness goals and embrace the journey. These people are STRONG – both physically and mentally. I have a very competitive side to me and subconsciously want to prove that I can keep up with the best of the best.


#2. Hard work equals results. I’ve experienced this firsthand when I realized I was strong enough to chaturanga correctly or courageous enough to try a TRX handstand. And completing a 60-minute Kettlebell HIIT class is an accomplishment unto itself.

What are your short-term and long-term workout goals?

Short Term – Master a yoga handstand and all those cool looking leg-stand variations.

Long Term – To maintain a 4-5 class per week schedule

Aside from class format and schedules specifically, what do you like about RISE?  

The community – I am always surrounded by friendly, encouraging and hand working individuals. Oh, and I LOVE that RISE carries Chaser Brand tanks—my favorite all around workout and night out tanks.


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?

I’ve learned that being active and having heathy habits is a life-long journey. My father has always embraced exercise and this is something that I admire. He’s almost 65 and still goes to the gym daily, if not twice a day. I truly believe that exercise and good eating habits are the reason he looks half his age with a pep in his step.


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?

I’m an early morning gym goer due to my work schedule. Sleeping and voluntary napping bring me much delight so it can be very challenging to get out of bed at 4:30-5:30am.


What do you like to do with your spare time?

Spend time with my husband and spoil our rescue pup--she is my baby.  I always look forward to dinner and drink plans with family and friends, along with taking trips to different destinations with my roommates from college.


What’s your favorite junk food?


Tacos with a cold beer or crème brulée.

What’s your favorite healthy food?

Sushi! I also love making avocado toast - Ezekiel bread topped with mashed avocado, sliced tomato, arugula, an over easy egg & salt/pepper.


Any tips of your favorite recipe, healthy living, grocery or wellness apps or websites you couldn’t live without?

I try to satisfy my sweet tooth by baking muffins made with almond/coconut flour & Madhava agave sweetener (5 calories per serving). Currently, I’ve been baking Paleo lemon blueberry muffins.


What is your favorite vacation/trip? Where do you want to go?

My favorite vacation was Europe for two weeks with my dad. We went to Switzerland, Germany & Austria. Salzburg, Austria was by far my favorite stop. My extended family on my father’s side is Austrian so seeing The Sound of Music movie and doing a tour has an extra special meaning. Salzburg’s apple strudel is BOMB.


Any tips you’d like to offer someone who is on the fence and needs that extra nudge to start a workout routine?

I love this quote: “Behind every successful woman is the butt she got moving to get her there…”​

andrea monahan


"I have always been motivated to exercise. At RISE, the combination of fun instructors, good music and positive people really helps to increase my level of motivation.  My biggest challenge has been juggling the work/life balance. I’ve also found a balance in my diet by being more conscientious of what I eat thanks to the RISE Challenge."
- Andrea Monahan


Why did you choose RISE?


I love the community feel and how everyone is so supportive and friendly.  The downtown Glen Ellyn location is awesome and the classes and RISE Challenges are amazing. I am in the best shape of my life thanks to RISE.  


What are your short-term and long-term workout goals?


Short term:  to feel good and be more fit.  Long term: staying fit and being happy and healthy.

Aside from class format and schedules specifically, what do you like about RISE?

I LOVE the location, instructors, the RISE Challenge, fun merchandise, positive energy and ongoing motivation.  It’s so nice to have a community atmosphere like Cheers--where everybody knows your name!  Kettlebell is my favorite for a serious booty kick. But of course I am loving different classes all the time.


What impact has exercise had on your lifestyle?


Exercise has become a way of life for me.  Ever since college, it has been  a regular part of my daily/weekly routine.  I always feel so much better and know I can conquer the rest of my day after exercising.


What’s your biggest challenge in getting to class?

My biggest challenge is waking up early during the school year! When I’m teaching.  Equally as challenging is working around kids sports schedules.  I am not a morning person, so waking up in the 4:00am hour is insane in my book.  I would not wake up that early for anything besides Kettlebell, bootcamp and VACATION!


What do you like to do with your spare time?

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family.  Favorite activities other than exercise are shopping and doing anything active. I don’t like to sit and relax unless it’s on a beach.


What’s your favorite junk food?

Favorite junk food includes anything extra chocolaty.  I also love to snack, so goat cheese, spinach artichoke dip, or other salty snacks.


What’s your favorite healthy food?


My favorite healthy foods are:  sushi, vegetables, salads AND anything someone else will make for me.


Any tips of your favorite recipe, healthy living, grocery or wellness apps or websites you couldn’t live without?

Tips:  I order my weekly groceries from peapod.  It saves me so much time and effort, and also saves me from impulse buying at the grocery store.  I also love to get fun ideas and recipes on Facebook and Pinterest.  I follow well + good, Fit Foodie Find, Skinnytaste, and 100 days of real food.  I also love MyFitnessPal when I have to use it.


What has been your very favorite vacation/trip? Where do you want to go?

Favorite vacations have been anywhere with a beach.  I also love active vacations that include hiking. But the ocean trumps all. Italy was amazing --Positano is my favorite spot. I have a long wish list that includes Hawaii, Napa, and really anywhere.  I love vacation!


Any tips you’d like to offer someone who is on the fence and needs that extra nudge to start a workout routine?

Things that have worked for me that I would encourage others to do are:  schedule workouts and commit. If you keep a positive mindset, then you just have to stick with it and follow through.  I also love when I can find a friend to come with me to class. I pick up my friend Jess on a regular basis for the early classes (or any class really) and it helps us both stick to our workout schedules. 


Anything to add….

I have to put in a plug in for the Rise Challenge.  This has helped me continuously accomplish my goals.  They have kept my jeans fitting and my body feeling great.  I will tell anyone who asks… If you do it, it will work.  And my friend Jen is a true testament. In addition to weight loss, she’s gained a much healthier lifestyle that is most important. Commit and stick to it. It’s so great when we can all motivate each other.



"I think RISE is such a unique and exciting place to work out.  There are always familiar faces and it’s drama free, which I LOVE.  I also like that I can buy a snack or a birthday present at a 5 am class.  That’s super handy!"
-Amy Storm

Why did you choose RISE?


JOSH: To be honest, cost efficiencies. I belonged to another club primarily for spin classes while Amy was committed to RISE.  It wasn’t until the CYCLE Studio opened that I considered making the move. I wasn’t really interested in the other class formats as I didn’t think it was for me. Then I went to KETTLEBELL as my first class and BAM! I was hooked-- even though I think I may have flat lined after that class. Guess I had some core work to do.


AMY: I love the variety of classes and try to take advantage of the different formats throughout the week.  I work out early morning to be home before my kids are awake.  Even still, I always have several class options, which is great. I also love the ease of walking in and walking out without the hassle of a locker room. It’s super efficient for my busy schedule.


Tell us what motivates you? This could be related to workouts or life.


JOSH: Now that rise offers CYCLE, I can get both types of workouts. But most importantly, I like that no one gives me a hard time about how much I’m sweating in class.


AMY: I love the camaraderie at RISE.  It’s unlike any other place offering not just great class formats, but the RISE Challenge is always so encouraging and informative.  It’s amazing how quickly we can forget what really healthy eating looks like.


What are your short-term and long-term workout goals?


AMY: I strive to live a healthy lifestyle, to be stronger and feel confident in how I look and present myself to others. But most importantly, I want to show my daughters the importance of staying active and committed to exercise for a healthy lifestyle.


Aside from class format and schedules specifically, what do you like about RISE?


Josh:  Boot camp!  When I’m done, I feel like death. After I shower and get my first cup of coffee, I still feel like death and want to sleep all day. I’m sore until the next class I take. BUT… I also feel REALLY amazing which keeps me coming back for more.


Amy: I’m tired when I get there, because it’s usually still dark, but energized when I leave.  It’s good stuff. I love getting my workout done early, so I don’t have to think about it all day!


What’s your favorite junk food?


AMY: My favorite junk food is probably chips and guac --and a lot of it.  


Josh: Chocolate chip cookies and pizza


Amy: I forgot, chocolate chip cookies too!


What’s your favorite healthy food?


AMY: Since the first Challenge, my body craves fruit / veggie smoothies.  If I’m feeling depleted and make one, I bounce back fast.  My favorite treat (which Josh and I call our Friday smoothie) is spinach, almond milk, flax, cocoa powder, banana and peanut butter.  Yum!


What has been your very favorite vacation/trip? Where do you want to go?


AMY:  My favorite family vacation was a trip to Turks and Caicos.  Not only did I feel good in my bathing suit because I had just finished a Challenge, we had little internet access so we spent time talking, playing at the beach, playing card games…bonding. Oh, and a lot of sleeping!


JOSH: Ireland is a place I would love to go, Australia is also high on my list!



"RISE is definitely more than a gym. I have made some great friends and look forward to going daily. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by dedicated and like-minded individuals. I’m rewarded when I leave feeling like a sweaty million bucks every single time."
- Dawn MacIsaac

As I reflect on my time at RISE, I’m so thankful I agreed to participate in the "2014 Back to School Challenge" with a friend. I grew up a competitive athlete and never thought group fitness was for me. Following years of running, I learned I needed hip surgery and wondered what my fitness regimen would look like once I recovered. I was pleasantly surprised to find RISE offered everything I’d need to get back in shape just nine months after having surgery.


I have tried almost every single class and instructor at RISE and I haven’t been disappointed once. With the variety of classes offered, flexible schedule, and different teaching styles, my biggest problem is deciding which class to attend. The instructors challenge and motivate while offering modifications for all skill levels. It’s the best of both worlds – a class atmosphere with an individualized workout. And each instructor offers their unique commentary to help keep the class fun and interesting.

Megan and Dave Allen


Before joining RISE, exercise had been absent from our daily routine for a combined 17 years. As RISE regulars, there are several consistencies that keep us coming back for more – the classes are always challenging and keep us on our toes and we have more energy, fewer aches and pains and generally feel fantastic. We enjoy the variety of class offerings, the instructors are genuine and our connection with the broader Rise community has created many friendships. 
- Megan and Dave Allen

The end of each year is an opportunity to reflect. In 2016, RISE became an integral part of our family routine. RISE helped us pay closer attention to our daily choices, show our kids that exercise can be fun and rewarding and it provided a much needed distraction from our hectic schedules.  The 45-minute Sunday Circuit class has given us the undivided time needed to reconnect and motivate each other.  RISE is a place where we aren’t talking about kids, work, or what we need to do that week.  It's simply time together.  


Recently, we heard our two children playing “RISE” at home --with planking competitions and all. Clearly our 2016 workout routines aren’t going unnoticed. So much so, our daughter requested to have her Birthday party at the Studio this year.  She had such a blast creating her favorite yoga animal poses with her friends. The positive impact RISE has had on all our lives brings us so much happiness.   

We look forward to continuing our health and wellness journey in 2017 at RISE.

michele fenske

november 2016

The RISE Challenge was a perfect reset for me.  I was empowered by a supportive community all in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. My team members fueled my strength and determination.  Including my husband. He’s always been my rock  --albeit a smaller one now. And while we came in second place, we were all winners. As a result, I’m a regular RISER and I look forward to classes with familiar faces.
- Michelle Fenske

At the twelfth hour, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for the 2016 RISE Challenge with no real goal or plan in place. I knew I needed to do something for me.  I’ve taken the back seat in my own health journey for some time while intercepting several curveballs thrown my way over the last four years.  


My dad lost is his leg to diabetes, my mother-in-law died of a stroke, my sister was diagnosed with lymphoma, and my disabled mom finally lost her battle with an infection she spent two years battling.  


During this challenging time, I willingly took on the role of caretaker while tending to my four children. This balancing act and emotional rollercoaster resulted in 42 unwelcome pounds.

I love that there’s a class for every level of fitness.  Kettle ignites my competitive drive while Fusion is perfect for fine-tuning. Barre has been integral in slimming down my waist by nine inches. Working out is part of my life because I know how quickly it can be taken away.  

I thank the amazing instructors who have helped me on this journey.  Their support and enthusiasm have given me the motivation to keep pushing closer to my goals.

Embrace the burn, it means change!

hope Rodine


"I've been an athlete my whole life, but I love that at 42 years old, I am the strongest I have ever been.  I have received several complements this past year and I proudly respond ‘Bodies by RISE’. Yes, I did the work, but they provided the ingredients: challenging classes, great instructors, variety, a motivating environment and a sense of community—all necessary in helping me get here.  I could not have done it on my own."
-Hope Rodine

I began my RISE journey in 2013 when the concept was in its early formative stages and classes were being offered at the Sunshine Dance studio. I distinctly remember setting the alarm for 5:45 AM and thinking it was pure insanity. It was only three minutes into my first Fusion class that I was hooked. Little did I know one class could offer so many benefits. It was challenging, energetic and above all else, there was a unique sense of camaraderie.  All reasons I’ve continued to come back 4+ times per week, and sometimes even a 5:00 AM class.  Clearly this speaks volumes about the quality of classes.  

My newly adopted workout regimen impacted how my family views health and wellness. Early on my kids were ‘grossed out’ by my sweat and I would reassure them that it was the result of getting healthier and stronger. Now when they see me after a tough workout their comments are positive and they equate my physical exhaustion with a ‘great workout’.  I love that they see and appreciate what being healthy looks like.

The class variety at RISE in my opinion is one of its best attributes. They all offer their own unique challenge and it’s the combination of so many unique workouts that have helped me achieve a body that makes me proud. I’ve never left a RISE class feeling as though it didn’t push or motivate me—and if there were days I felt I was off my game, it was purely the result of my own limitations. Yet, at RISE you can have off days and are always encouraged to listen to your body or the instructors are happy to provide modifications. And you aren’t a number. Over time, the instructors know your ability, limitations and offer encouragement to be the best you can even when you are tempted to duff it. As a result, after three years I am still sore on a weekly basis and it's a great feeling.



“I love getting to know other women in an environment where we are getting healthy and fit together but also laughing along the way.  Seriously, where else does that exist?”
-Nicole Savarese

Last summer I left my yearly oncology visit with a clean bill of health but with a prescription for something that was going to help me ‘take the edge off'. I knew it was time to find what my mind and body craved most and remarkably I found it right here in Glen Ellyn.

I’ve had four children in 5.5 years. I slowly gave up on the gym scene. Options were limited where childcare was available so I resorted to at-home workouts. As time passed, this became a very lonely scene and it started to bring me down. At about the same time, RISE was offering a 101-level class. The timing was right, childcare was provided and even more enticing, I knew the women and their children who would be taking care of my family.  No excuses. I can honestly say I was HOOKED immediately.

I love the vibe of the studio. It’s an energetic, positive, friendly and motivating environment. The instructors are knowledgeable and make each and every person feel comfortable. I’ve made more friends in one year at RISE than my entire time in Glen Ellyn.

I love that RISE offers a variety of class formats. I’m able to make impromptu workout decisions based on my mood for the day. If I want to let my legs do the work, I head to a Cycle class.  I love Fusion for the cardio/ weight mix that is always coordinated to the latest dance music. When I need a calming stretch, I go to Yoga Sculpt. By mid-week, my mind and body are ready for some intensity so I take on Kettle Bell. I usually like to wrap up the week with a Triple Threat class –knowing the after effects will carry me through the weekend if my family commitments won’t allow for a workout. RISE has helped me get back to the place I love. The mind-body connection I’ve experienced is amazing. Whether your goal is to plank an extended amount of time, lose weight or be more flexible, the upside mentally, physically and emotionally throughout the journey is just as valuable.

RISE was the exact dose of what I needed the day I left my oncologist. This December I will be 20 years Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer-free. I am grateful to RISE for creating an environment that consistently provides the exact dose of what I need daily to be stronger and have the mindset I desire when that day arrives.



“Three Challenges and nine months later, I’ve lost close to 30 pounds and 17 inches, and I am easily in the best shape of my life. RISE has offered me so much more than the sum total of those numbers. I’ve gained strength, confidence and I’ve learned so much about making better food choices. “
-Farrell Turner

I’ve often been heard waxing poetic about the RISE community and have even been accused of drinking the “RISE Kool-Aid” (of course the flavor is a little more along the lines of green tea with fresh ginger, lemon, and honey). Yet, each and every time I recruit a friend to join me, they rarely look back. My group of “converted” friends is growing and seeing them in class makes me supremely happy.

I never considered myself to be a person who would identify so well with a gym… I was not involved in sports as a kid – or truly ever.

After having my fourth baby in fewer than six years though, I was ready to reclaim my body. I had seen happy faces streaming out of the RISE studio while I was pregnant and new to town, and remember thinking that one day I’d work up the courage to sign up for a class. And that day came. I went regularly for a while but life happened and I stopped going for a few months. The turning point was really the day I decided to join the RISE-olution Challenge.

Three Challenges and nine months later, I’ve lost close to 30 pounds and 17 inches, and I am easily in the best shape of my life. RISE has offered me so much more than the sum total of those numbers. I’ve gained strength, confidence and I’ve learned so much about making better food choices.

The Challenge motivated me to get to the studio daily and helped me really integrate into the RISE community. I was never on a team that was “in it to win it,” but instead, I had teammates who were there to support each other in their individual endeavors. Everyone had a different motivation for participating—weight loss, better nutrition, training for a big race, trying something new, or a combination. All had a place on our team, and all have a place at RISE.

The classes are definitely tough, but still great for every fitness level. The instructors push you but also offer support. While class variety and top-notch instructors are typically key motivators at just about every other fitness environment, RISE far exceeds expectation with those elements AND offers a community that is completely unique. And community has been a consistent theme among RISE clients since its inception. The community is the reason I continue with RISE.

I’ve had many friends ask what I’ve done to get in shape and the answer is simple – move more and eat better. The key differentiator was finding a place that supports, encourages, and pushes me. Working out has become really fun and purposeful. My advice to anyone seeking a healthier lifestyle is to find an environment with a supportive community. I feel fortunate to have found that place in RISE, and it’s made all the difference in my life and my Glen Ellyn experience.



“I am more confident and empowered by the support and commitment of the RISE community. That I am still excited to go to RISE after almost three years is testimony to the business, the community and the instructors. I am better because of you,
- Jennifer Roddick-Small

I love this place. RISE is so much more than a workout studio. I am drawn here for many reasons. I love feeling the burn in my muscles from the unique workouts. And the workouts are incredibly addictive. But RISE is about more than that. It has ultimately helped me find my true and best self.

Walking into RISE for the first time was much easier than I anticipated. I can easily become intimidated in a group fitness setting, vowing that I’ll never walk through the doors (of ‘such and such’ facility) again. Not this time. The instructors and clients alike were welcoming and authentic…not generally a common theme in most group fitness settings. I actually laughed –and still do on a regular basis–in class! And, of course, I sweat….a lot. And just like that, I was hooked. I’ve been coming to RISE for almost three years now, and I can’t imagine another place that could be a better fit for me. I love the variety of classes and instructors, the challenge of trying new exercises, and the feeling that I “belong” there…whether I’ve been there one time or 20 times in the past month.

There’s an undeniable sense of community at RISE that includes people from all walks of life. It’s refreshing to work out at a place void of criticism and judgment. It’s this feeling of acceptance that brings me back for more. And most importantly, I am more confident and empowered by the support and commitment of the RISE community.

My attendance at RISE ebbs and flows based on my daily commitments. Whether I’m there multiple times in a week or take a lengthy break, no one makes me feel guilty. The flexibility RISE offers is a tremendous benefit. For instance, I can buy a 20-pack when I know that life is too hectic for me and an unlimited package is not economical, but can easily switch to an unlimited month or two when my schedule allows more flexibility.

For so many reasons, RISE does not compare to the typical corporate setting. The instructors truly care about their clients and work to build a relationship with each individual. They strive to understand your strengths, weaknesses and goals and tailor their workouts accordingly to be sure each and every person is challenged. They are experts at their craft. Each class is enjoyable, unique, strength building, and calorie burning. I never know exactly what the class will bring, but I always leave inspired, and tired. That I am still excited to go to RISE after almost three years is testimony to the business, the community and the instructors. I am better because of you, RISE!



“After having three kids I felt the urge to set new goals and redefine who I was again – finding the best version of me. And RISE is the place that helps me on that journey”
-Daenon Scobee

My RISE journey began in the summer of 2015. It was a solid year that a good friend had been trying to encourage me to give RISE a shot. I was nervous and timid thinking I wasn’t “in shape enough” but at the same time, I knew that the same old gym routine on the treadmill and elliptical were no longer cutting it. Finally, I built up enough courage to dip my toe in the water and try two group classes during the RISE Anniversary weekend – Fusion 101 and Pilates 101. I was hooked. I repeatedly found new challenging classes that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I never thought I’d love the group format so much. There’s a running joke among my workout friends that we have “Riseitis: a condition of feeling so awesome when you complete a RISE class and anticipating the next.

In September when two of my three children were in school, I made a conscientious decisions to give myself the gift of 90 minutes to workout and take some much needed time to better myself. This was the best decision I ever made. After having three kids I felt the urge to set new goals and redefine who I was again – finding the best version of me. And RISE is the place that helps me on that journey.

The instructors are great at challenging you to move outside of your comfort zone. Yet at the same time, look around any class at RISE and witness clients all doing the same workout at varying levels. It’s quite obvious that everyone is on their own personal journey. We’re all juggling a lot with families, work, activities and just about every other demand life presents. It’s difficult to find time but you feel amazing once you commit. If you’re intimidated, I welcome you to join me in the back row. (I have a strong back row policy. And there are plenty others like me. We’ve talked about a support group.) Truthfully, it’s the best decision you’ll make for yourself.

There were plenty of times that I almost threw in the towel because I wasn’t reaching my goals quickly enough and I let self-doubt get the best of me. The RISE staff quickly pulled me out of my slump and reassured me that I could achieve my goals. They offered the support I needed when I needed it. And I’m doing things I never thought were possible nine months ago. I’m not overwhelmed any longer by the thought of challenging classes. Instead, I focus on a particular move or exercise that I couldn’t do as well several months earlier. When I realize how much stronger I am and how much I accomplished, it’s amazing. Of course there will always be ways to improve and that’s the very reason I continue to work out at RISE – it’s a constant challenge. And I know I have the support and comoradre of every single RISER on this journey.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the biggest reasons I’m able to workout at RISE –the staff in the children’s room. My daughter spends a lot of time at RISE and without the wonderfully caring and considerate childcare staff, I would never have this time. As anyone knows, it’s tough to contain and entertain a room full of toddlers. And there are times that the staff goes above and beyond the call of duty –for instance, my daughter took a trip to Zumba (her dream come true) while I was in a Cycle class until she composed herself. Everyone realizes how difficult it can be to carve out the time to fit in a workout when you have young children. My sincere thanks a thousand times over to everyone who makes it possible for me to stay on the path to success.

The only regret I have relating to RISE is that I hadn’t started sooner. It’s made me a better person, mom and wife. I’ve realized the importance of being a healthy role model for my children. I hope I inspire them to be the best they can be in life through my actions.

I guarantee you will spend time with amazing people, support and encourage each other. It’s a community I’m grateful for every single day.

bottom of page