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The FLEXability that helped me find fun, friends and fitness

Rebecca Hastings 2

Rebecca R. Hastings, ICE-CCP, Certification Exam Development, Senior Program Manager

In January 2022, after I took advantage of the Palo Alto Networks FLEXWORK program to relocate from Virginia to North Carolina, I joined a couple of Facebook groups to learn more about my new area.

I saw an ad for a three-month trial program which included access to a gym, a personal trainer and three visits with a dietitian. Once I started, I was hooked. 

That’s where FLEXBenefits came in. The cost for the three-month program was $500, so knowing it would be reimbursed made all the difference. Now I am paying $150 a month for three sessions a week with my trainer. With every session I am working hard to get stronger and more fit. 

In October, I signed up for a local competition organized by a small network of CrossFit gyms and personal trainers in Southport, a small town south of Wilmington.

My personal trainer mentioned it and encouraged me to join. It sounded fun, and since my training takes place next to one of the CrossFit gyms, I could see the level at which they worked, and I wanted to continue to build my skills. 

The “Grit Iron” event had eight teams of six contestants in a series of timed events. It started and ended with a 1200-meter run, which is the one event I asked my team coach to do for me because I had only heard of Grit Iron a few weeks before and didn’t have enough time to become a runner!

The timed events I competed in included tossing a sandbag over my shoulder, box step-ups alternating with burpees (paired with a partner whose pace I was supposed to match), deadlifts, an overhead barbell carry, a backwards kettlebell drag and weighted bear crawls.

My best event was a series of trap bar deadlifts with 75 pounds, which alternated with carrying the weight across a field. I had to do 25 reps, walk with the weight, do 20 lifts, walk again and then finish with 15 reps—all as fast as I could. 

My least successful event was the last one; my weighted bear crawls ended up as a very fast crawl while I dragged the 45 pound kettlebell behind me. The scabs on my knees were a badge of honor, showing I had the “grit” to literally crawl across the finish line.

When it was all over, I was tired and glad to be done but also really proud of myself for agreeing to participate, showing up and doing my best. I felt energized and hungry but not like it was too much for me.

I now have a set routine and professional guidance to keep pushing myself more than I would just working out on my own. I can’t say enough about the benefits of group personal training. As an added bonus, in just a short time, those in my small group have become friends and a community for me in a new town. 

The FLEX mindset we promote also makes it possible for me to live near the beach and to work flexibly, so I get my workouts done during the morning. I start work really early, workout and shower, and then dive back into work. On alternating days, I take a walk.

I remember Nikesh saying he trusts us to get our jobs done even while embracing the FLEX programs. So, I always try to earn that trust and deliver my best every day

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