When Angie began coming to the Y, she was just getting by and living day to day. A hairdresser and mom of two boys, exercising and taking care of herself wasn’t her top priority.

I was just being a mom. You eat when you get a chance, and you’re just on the run 24/7,” Angie said. “At my heaviest I was 265 pounds. But I started at the Y four years ago, and that’s what really took my journey to a different level.”

Every day was a struggle to get up, or to look in the mirror. Angie said she was living, but she rarely saw her true self.

Angie was introduced to Group Wellness classes and found her home within the Y wellness programs. She stood at the back of the class because she didn’t want to look at herself in the mirror. But Lee Granger, the class instructor, continued to reach out to Angie, culminating in encouraging her to begin teaching classes.

“Lee said, ‘I see you striving every day to better yourself, and you enjoy this. You need to start looking into teaching classes,’” Angie said. “And now I’m part of the Y, so it’s been an amazing journey.”

Angie now teaches F.I.R.E classes at the Pickens YMCA on Monday nights, but you can find Angie exercising at the Pickens and Easley branches nearly every day.

Four years later, Angie has lost more than 100 pounds but has enjoyed more benefits than just weight loss.

“My energy is off the charts. I teach classes, I go to Beast Mode and I do strength training on my own,” Angie said. “I have really found my true self. The experiences I’ve had here changed me.”

Angie said it was definitely intimidating to make those first steps into the Y. Once she was able to interact with the staff and members at the Pickens YMCA, her nervousness completely changed. And now she loves to help welcome others who may be nervous into their wellness journey.

“I know how it feels when someone new comes walking in the door. They feel like, ‘Are they looking at me? Are they judging me?’” Angie said. “This place is not about that. We want to encourage you. We want to see you feel good about yourself.

"We all love each other, and we all support each other. That is what the Y is about.”