Something the ladies of the BetterU challenge is there is strength in numbers. My friend Shira has another great story about the importance of good support network for your fitness journey.

Birds of a Feather Get Healthier Together
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No woman, or man, is an island. Okay, maybe Rush Limbaugh should be banished to some remote locale without the benefit of Gilligan or his friends. But I digress. All of the great intentions you’ve got about healthy living become more solid when you share them with like-minded souls. Just ask Sarah Turino. This bundle of energy decided to organize a neighborhood boot camp group in St. Paul, Minnesota that meets in front of her home on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. They start early, at 5:45 a.m., which Sarah lovingly calls the butt-crack of dawn. Somehow that term seems appropriate. After all, we’re talking about the “Asses on Ashland.”

This core group of eight boot campers is now entering their fifth season of morning sprints, planks, lunges and other challenging activities. Their name comes courtesy of an across the street neighbor. Upon observing their (fully-clothed) posteriors doing planks one morning in Sarah’s front yard, he apparently exclaimed “Look at all of those asses on Ashland.”  Since Ashland is the name of their street, it stuck.

Asses on Ashland started with an external boot camp instructor who moved away. The group wanted to keep working out together, so Sarah called upon her previous background in aerobics to design the workouts. Somewhere along the way, it became more than just a boot camp. Like when Kelley Nelson, a member of their group, ran a half-marathon last year. The entire boot camp came out at mile ten to run with her and provide support.

“It has unfolded to be such an amazing support network,” explains Sarah.  “It’s cool to watch people come up with goals and then attain them with the help of others. There’s a level of unity and comfort that is provided. People are doing things they didn’t even think were possible.”

In writing my book on how to end yo-yo dieting, I’ve learned that getting support is critical in maintaining long-term weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Guess the Asses on Ashland have that part figured out. They even get together for “Underground Yoga” classes in a neighbor’s basement when the temperature plummets.

Does the support of like-minded souls help you get healthier? Who are your key sources of support in wellness?

Shira Miller of The Lighter Perspective is a healthy living blogger, speaker and award-winning Public Relations maven who lost fifty pounds, more than a third of her size, twenty years ago. Her weight loss success story has been recognized by Shape, Health, First for Women, Quick & Simple and the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, and she is currently writing her first book.

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