Dawn Schlep was just a teenager when she smoked her first cigarette. Twenty-five years later, at age 40, she finally kicked the habit. But, within six months, giving up smoking caused Dawn to pick up something else—an unwanted 40 pounds.
She’d previously been a member of other fitness centers. But Dawn knew that if she truly wanted to make big changes in her life, she needed something different this time. She needed to be inspired—and to feel like she was part of a movement.
“Anytime Fitness in Camdenton, MO just felt right to me the very first time I walked through the front door,” Dawn says. “The owner of the gym, Ashley Tillett, is great and she introduced me to other members who quickly became my friends and my new support system. The group of us who work out together consider ourselves a ‘gym family’ and we strive to support each other. It’s not a competition between members, but more about supporting and inspiring each other to be our best selves. Our fitness levels and abilities are not identical. But it is inspiring to work out with other members over a period of time and to see each other’s accomplishments. Having been a member of this gym for nearly five years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this multiple times.”
Not only has Dawn lost weight while building muscle, she’s also found a new confidence that has positively impacted her—both at work and at home.
“My coworkers and my boss know when I’ve not been able to get in the gym on a regular basis,” Dawn says. “I’m happier and more upbeat when I work out—and I feel good about myself. My boyfriend also notices a change in my attitude when I work out. Prior to being an Anytime Fitness member, I would have never dreamed of running a 5K. Now I’ve run several of them. I may not be the fastest in my age group, but I push myself to better my own times and I have fun doing it. I’ve also come to realize how much I enjoy hiking at our local state park. There is a place where there is a 350-step staircase that I wouldn’t even try before. Now I can do it twice during an hour hike.”
Dawn’s energy and drive is so contagious, she’s naturally inspired those around her, and even leads her group’s scheduled workouts when Ashely is busy. “It tickles me that she works them so hard, they REALLY miss me!” And if Dawn is absent from the gym, members wonder where she is. “Her commitment to helping others has been an inspiration to countless other members past, present, and the future, I am sure,” Ashely says. “In my life, I am normally the one who people look to for support. Dawn is someone who supports me. She is a model gym member and an even better friend.”
Over the last five years, Dawn admits that she’s had a few “ups and downs” with her weight and her self-esteem. But she says that she can always count on Ashley and others at the gym to lift her spirits.
“As an individual who has struggled with my weight and my overall health, there have been many times I’ve wanted to give up on myself,” Dawn says. “The group at Anytime Fitness in Camdenton has never given up on me and they are always there to support me in being the best I can be. Once, after being away from the gym for several months, I was welcomed right back in, like I was never gone. We all have a way of inspiring each other. I would have never thought I could be an inspiration to anyone else, but I am! My friends at the gym have supported me and helped to keep me motivated and enjoying a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle. Thanks to my Anytime Fitness Camdenton family and my determination to be healthier, I am no longer someone who just sits around on the couch and does nothing. I am happy to say that I’m much more active and I can’t stand to sit still!”
Header photo – Back Row: Member Callie Bilyeu, Member Dawn Schelp, and Member Debbie Carnahan. Front Row: Member Bailey Bilyeu and Owner/Instructor Ashley Tillett.