Skip to content

Posts from the ‘In House’ Category

Club Game: One Tribe!

One Tribe has kicked off and we are SO excited to have all of you participating! We couldn’t ask for more dedicated and excited individuals!

If you haven’t heard about One Tribe it is our newest club game. It is a six week program running from July 14th- August 25th that is helping you to get out of your comfort zone and into high gear!

The basic premise is this: You are part of a “tribe”. I.E. Les Mills. As a Les Mills fanatic you get one point for every Les Mills class you take. BUT you get TWO points for every class that is not Les Mills that you take!

There are also other activities that you can earn points and they are listed here below:

This is an amazing opportunity for you and your friends to earn points, get competitive, and make real fitness changes.



AFF Be A Loser 5k!

We are SO proud of our Be A Loser Contestants! This past weekend they completed a 5k at Harry G. Daniel Park off of Iron Bridge Road in Chesterfield.

Our First Place winner was Kevin with a time of just over 22 minutes!

[Sorry Kevin- we didn’t seem to grab a picture 😦 You were just moving too fast! ]

Our First place female was Megan!

All of our contestants did wonderfully- some ran in teams:










Others ran with family:

Some did the solo run:

Some even shaved 15 MINUTES off of their previous 5k time.

The Trainers were either cheerleading and directing the contestants or running alongside them for encouragement.


And we were all so very proud of their accomplishments thus far.

Way to go!

Team Chester!

Team Williamsburg!










Final Weigh-Ins for our Be A Loser contestants is on June 28th, 2012 with our final ceremony on June 30th, 2012.


Community Service: Donating Blood

So we had a blood drive here at AFF West End last night. And it’s something we love to be a part of. VA Blood Services does an amazing job and the staff is always courteous and knowledgeable and amazing.

Well the head of Youth Activities, Chris Kesler, and I decided we needed to do our civic duty and donate a little blood so that we can tell you about our experience and hopefully have you guys try it out the next time they come in.

It starts out simple, you sign in- they look you up if you are a previous donor and they add you into the system if you are a newbie. I had only donated once in high school and it wasn’t my favorite experience, but I was willing to try again.

After the donation sign in, you go into a little cubicle and get a quick finger prick and blood pressure test to determine your eligibility.

Then the staff member leaves and you get to spend 5 minutes answering personal questions.




After that you get to choose a seat and which arm you would like to donate from.

Then you get a quick swab with antiseptic and if you are like me, you start talking a mile a minute because you are a little nervous. If you are like Chris, you might suggest this is a blood race to see who can fill up their bag first.


Chris was cool as a cucumber.  I got very nervous and a little light headed and got a really nice ice pack and a little tilt on the chair.


The actual process wasn’t bad at all. Donating takes less than 15 minutes and they are really calming and great people, plus you get to choose the color of your bandage 🙂

You can’t do any heavy lifting for 24 hours or any strenuous activity- so it’s great to do if you know you are going to have a day off from the gym.

Please keep a look out for our next blood drive and remember you can sign up at the front desk or at!

Donate blood and save a life today!

Body Image

We were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work with the IMAGES, a club at University of Richmond that is devoted to promoting Positive Body Image.

They have done some amazing things this past week to promote a healthy and positive body image- from a pledge to go a day without make-up, to a no numbers calorie counting free day, to placing hundreds of positive affirmations on the mirrors around the school. Read more about the amazing job they did here.

Trish Blackwell, one of our amazing Personal Trainers and the Director of Fitness at our sister club in Fredericksburg, came down on the invitation of the club to speak about her experience with negative body image, overcoming an eating disorder and how to really LOVE your body today, in this moment. She also gave the girls some tips on how to work out and what they can do for their body with fitness.

We were lucky to have a small group of the club’s core members as well as one of the U of R training staff join us as well. We started with a great dynamic warm-up involving jumping jacks and Frankenstein’s.

What we discovered about U of R is not only do they have an A-Frame with multiple TRX’s available for their student’s at all times, they also have a Personal Training Staff and every student gets 5 free personal training sessions of 1 hour each as part of their student fees. (WHAT? I most definitely chose the wrong college to attend) The girls in our group were incredibly excited to learn about this, but even more excited to learn how to use the TRX and their own body weight to exercise.

Trish really gave them some great workout ideas, to use their arms, core and legs. Surprisingly, the Plank was their favorite.

The young women we were with were all troupers. Willing to try everything form “Patrick Abs” to kettle bells. They embraced the activity and spent a lot of time pushing each other to complete an exercise or at least try it.

At the end of our short workout, Trish handed out some handouts to really help everyone focus on what they do like about their body, how they can encourage others to love their body, and what they can do to love their bodies more.  She answered questions, gave out her card and encouraged them to let anyone contact her if they needed someone to talk to.

We finished with a group picture and the knowledge that these young women are making an incredible difference and an impact on their community. They are not afraid to speak about negative body image, eating disorders, the pressure to be perfect and they are taking a stand against the media driven “perfect woman” and embracing their individuality and their own body images.

They came to learn from Trish, to be educated about fitness and to hear someone else’s success story. But they ended up teaching us about bravery and a willingness to not accept the status quo but to defy it. Bravo IMAGES at University of Richmond. You are an outstanding group of women and an inspiration to us all!

-AFF West End

Super Fitt Challenge

SO We have a ton of 9-13 year olds running rampant in our activities department. And as you know- we ADORE them and the idea of starting a strong, healthy fitness lifestyle at a young age.  So we created this amazing Super Fitt Challenge just for our 9-13 year olds.


First we want to congratulate our Resolution Revolution participants and say thank you for all the heard work they put in!

Now back to our Super Fitt Challenge. It runs along the same time period as our FITT Program for adults. It’s TWO programs. One is the 6 week Super Hero Bootcamp to warm up our Super Kids and prep them for our Super Hero Challenge! During the 6 week Boot Camp portion all that needs to be done is 25 of the activities listed on the sheet.


Get your child to sign up in the Study Zone today and start them on a healthy lifestyle!

And while you are at it it- Join our F.I.T.T. program by March 5th! Contact Ashley Gibbs and find out how you can makeover your body in 12 weeks.



Day of Dance: Put on your dancing shoes!

This Saturday is our Day of Dance! Not only will HCA VA be doing free health screenings, we will be celebrating all that is dance with our own Day of Dance line-up:

1.Water Line Dancing at 10:30 a.m. in the pool

2. 90 Minute Zumba in the Basketball Court at 10:30 a.m.

3. Dance competitions in the Xrkade using the Just Dance and Just Dance 3 at Noon

4. 1 hour of Zumba in the Group X studio at 1:00 p.m.


So come on out and get in a great cardio workout while having an amazing time! To make it even better- Bring a friend!And prep yourself with a few of these amazing dance scenes:






and of course:

It’s Voting Time!

Ok-so we stumbled upon this link recently

Basically what this means is that you can vote for an enormous amount of things in Richmond that you like.

From your favorite gym to your favorite do-gooder. Or Blogger 😉

We want to be a part of this winning Richmond community, but we cannot do this without the support of our amazing members. And we can’t ask you to vote if you don’t feel in your heart that American Family Fitness West End is the best gym in Richmond.

But we are asking you to vote for us if you DO believe that we are the best. And… we’re hoping you will throw a little love out to Kathi Sheffield as well. Kathi is our Community Relations Coordinator and she organizes all of our community based events and has the largest heart of anyone I know! She came up with the idea for BARK Jog a Dog and we’ve had at multiple adoptions come from this amazing event. (Which by the way is TOMORROW at 10:30 if you are interested in bringing a dog or just giving a dog some exercise before they try to find forever homes.) So take a moment to nominate her for Richmond Do-Gooder.


Now voting ends on March 1st, 2012- so we hope you can vote between now and then. And please know you don’t have to answer the whole survey- only the parts that apply to you.


Thank you members for supporting us as a fitness facility, as our friends, as our workout partners and as our classmates. And thank you for helping me support Kathi- because no one deserves it more.






An AmFam BARK adoption story

Onyx is not my first rescue dog. She is my first BARK dog. My first rescue dog is Boomer and you can read about that here:

Onyx is my first BARK dog. And I was NOT planning on taking a dog home that day. It was a normal workday, I was just coming in to American Family Fitness West End to take pictures of the New Year’s Run with BARK. Members brought their own dogs or borrowed one from the BARK van for a 3 mile run on a beautiful and sunny day.

I came in towards the tail end of the run, so that I could get the pictures of the after. The sweaty and smiling faces of the members, the mellow and tired faces of the dogs, mostly with their faces in a water bowl or plopped on the ground panting.

 I was happily taking pictures when I felt this tiny lick on my ankle. All of a sudden alarm bells rang in my head, “DO NOT LOOK DOWN.” I refused to check out my feet. My eyes remained fixed on the horizon. I could not, would not look down and fall hopelessly in love with a new dog.

And then I felt the weight of little paws settling on my feet and my heart sank. I was doomed. I looked down and there she was. Cute, a little dirty, and unbelievably happy.

And I was a goner.  I walked straight up to Bob and asked him what I needed to do in order to take her home today.  I called my mom and asked her to bring Boomer to PetSmart later that day to meet her and help me take a new dog home. She didn’t freak out, she just told me she thought it was the right move and she’d see me at two.

 I went inside and filled out my BARK application, got my mom to bring all the vet records and at two p.m. we met at PetSmart and introduced Boomer, my mom and my sister to “Reba”. We went inside and purchased her leash and collar and her new name tag. And Onyx went home with me.

 She’s amazing. And I fall more in love with her everyday.  She got her first bath and she seems to be scared of the sound of running water and not the warm water. I got drenched and she got mostly clean.

She’s unbelievably smart. She learned how to sit, high five and lay down so far as well as open my bedroom door.  She’s a chewer and has destroyed more toys then I can keep up with on a daily basis, but she learned VERY quickly not to touch my shoes.

 I am blessed in that she is housebroken and crate trained and except for one or two messes we’ve had a successful transition. And the vet at Sycamore Veterinary Hospital said that I have the “rockstar” of mutts (she’s a labrador, border collie, pitbull and possibly boxer mix).

Onyx is an incredible bright spot in my life. She’s the bullet of joy that barrels out of her crate and onto the couch for premium licking position. She’s my nosy cooking partner and the rambunctious thief that takes off running with my socks or slippers when I am trying to get ready. She’s the wide eyed innocent when I am moaning over the stuffing from her crate bed all over the floor and the hyper athlete that plays hide n’ seek and takes off running up and down the stairs and to the mailbox with me. 

She thinks she’s bigger then she is and plays rough with Boomer and the Rottweiler pup next door. She’s the source of infectious laughter when she valiantly defends against the vacuum and hair dryer. And she’s the cute and peaceful cuddle bug that lays by my side with her head on my chest and watches TV when I am having a bad day.

 She is the piece of my life I wasn’t aware I was missing.  She’s Onyx. And she’s perfect.

If you are interested in adopting a dog check out or attend our BARKazaar this Saturday and get some more information!


I may have mentioned before that I have a dog. He is an incredible boy named Boomer whom I rescued from a bad situation over a year ago.

When I got Boomer he was 35 lbs. under weight. He had had only his Rabies shot and none of his other puppy shots. He had been kept in a crate for the majority of twelve weeks, only being let out for a couple of hours a day.  I got him in June of 2010, he was just over 6 months old.

My sister found out about him through Facebook and when we went to see him as a family, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a dog. I’d been struggling with roommate issues in college, I had diagnosed situational clinical depression, and I was commuting from Roanoke home every weekend for my summer Internship. I didn’t know if I could take care of myself and the idea of taking on an animal was overwhelming.

When we got to the house he was let out to meet us, and he ran around the yard and sniffed my dad and mom, stopped by my sister, and I went and sat down on the steps to observe. He came bounding over, threw his paws over both my shoulders and licked my face.

And that was it.

My dad always says a dog chooses you and I have never believed it more then with Boomer. We rescued each other that summer.

We had some learning curves. He couldn’t be left out of his crate because he would chew up EVERYTHING initially. So we’d be forced to crate him if we left the house for an hour or two. It took him until December of 2010 to willing enter the crate and not freak out that we might keep him there.

My dad lost the battle of him sleeping in my bed on night one. He has since taken up complete ownership.

He’s the most gentle and loving dog. He doesn’t bite, he doesn’t get aggressive and he wants to play ALL the time. He has boundless energy so it really helps when he can play with our neighbor’s Rottweiler -Beauregard.

He loves to cuddle almost as much as he loves the toys we bring home for him. And I bring him a lot of toys because they last approximately 2.5 days.

He still has some issues dealing with Chloe (our 11 year old Lhasa Apso) and Nala (our 6 year old Maltese/Toy Poodle/ Jack russell mutt). Chloe rules the house and it’s pretty hilarious to watch a ten pound girl scare the crap out of an 80 pound boxer.

But when they get sick or he gets sick, they all three end up cuddling and watching over each other. And that’s family.

He is still terrified of dark haired women and men raising their hands or voices around him. It took him a while to get used to my dad and our neighbor Zacc and he’s fine with both of them now, loves them dearly in fact.

For our dark haired girl friends, it takes him about 15 minutes to realize they aren’t going to hurt him and then he calms down and stops cowering and gets back to his beautiful, bouncy and loving self. My heart breaks each time it happens, but I think I love him even more each time I see him rebound into his normal self just a little bit quicker then the time before.

Boomer has changed my life in a huge way. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without that constant force of love and affection and energy. He pulled me out of depression, he gave me purpose and tons of physical activity.  He chose me. And I chose him right back.

And it is still the best choice I have ever made.

This Christmas- you can make that decision for your family. You can find your best friend.

Got to: and take a look at their adoptable pets.

Yes- there will be chaos and mess and dog hair on your sweater. Trails of kibble will be in your kitchen and if you have a dog like Boomer, the occasional drool on your pant leg. But there will also be love and joy and companionship. There will be moments of hysterical laughter, unbelievable pride, and unmeasurable happiness.

Make the right choice. You won’t regret it. I promise.

-Kerith (& Boomer)

Civil War: College Football and the division within the West End

There is a war happening here at American Family Fitness West End. A war between two friends. A war that we didn’t expect, but have to deal with anyway.


Torrie and I are at war as of this Saturday. Her undefeated Tigers go head to head with my Georgia Bulldogs  at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, 2011.

We are a house divided West End. We both have our hearts in this SEC championship game. We know that there is much more at stake then our pride here- there is a national championship to be had! And we want an SEC school to hold that title once more.

We just don’t want the same teams to win.

Now I will say this, to sway you to my side, Georgia is the underdog- down by two at the start of the season they have rallied and fought valiantly and they haven’t had a winning streak this good in a season since 1982. LSU is the known champion, with an undefeated season so far.

But we all know that you really want to see the underdog win. Right?

If you see us this week, choose a side in this war. Take up arms and wear your college colors on Saturday in our facility.  On Thursday- we will have some gameday recipes for you to cook up for your own games on Saturday and Sunday.

Come out Saturday and watch the game while on the treadmill or arc trainer or get your workout in early so that you can also stay on the edge of your seat like us at our homes.

So West End- it’s time to place your bets and choose a team.


or Torrie:

Make the right choice 😉