Maria Vazquez used to be intimidated by the gym. She had the impression that gym-goers were unwelcoming and judgmental of people early in their fitness journey. Her mindset completely shifted when she met the friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable FFC community. Specifically, working with her Trainer Theresa, and her Nutritionist Griselda.  

Maria grew up in a Latinx household where she didn’t receive much education about living a healthy lifestyle. 

“I was brought to see a nutritionist at a very young age, without fully understanding why I was meeting with them. That did not help my view on diet and exercise.”

Maria Vazquez working with a personal trainer and nutritionist in Chicago.

Finding the Motivation to Make a Change

In 2021, Maria decided that she wanted to make a change. Still fighting negative biases around fitness centers and dietitians, she started her wellness journey on her own. For over a year, Maria’s exercise routines involved 6 days of cardio workouts, utilizing a free trainer on YouTube. 

She began to watch her diet as well. Having very minimal knowledge around nutrition, Maria simply attempted to minimize her food intake. 

Maria quickly realized that without a real fitness or nutrition plan, she would hit a dead end.

At this point, Maria had caught the wellness bug. Though the YouTube workouts served as a helpful start, and she had the genuine desire to eat healthy, she was beginning to feel like her makeshift routine had plateaued. 

“I wasn’t feeling as great as I hoped I’d feel, and I knew I needed support.”

Changing Fitness Direction with FFC

Maria found FFC when she noticed the incredible results her friend was seeing. She signed up for a tour of FFC Lincoln Park, where she felt immediately welcomed and inspired. That’s when her health journey changed directions for the better.

Maria joined FFC in January of 2024. In just five months, Maria’s diet and exercise routine had completely transformed. The major change? Working with FFC’s team of experts!

Maria Vazquez working with a personal trainer and nutritionist in Chicago.

Working with an FFC Nutritionist

Maria began working with FFC Nutritionist, Griselda Ayala, immediately upon joining. Griselda taught Maria so much in just the first session. The two discussed the importance of incorporating protein, what portions should look like, and the science behind properly fueling your body. The most influential shift that Maria has experienced in her dietary journey since working with Griselda, though, has been her mindset change. 

“I no longer see food as “good” or “bad.” Griselda has provided me with the education around nutrition that has shifted my perspective to view food as just providing “more energy” or less energy.”

Having gone from simply restricting food as her main method of dieting, incorporating the knowledge that Maria has gained from Griselda has helped her fuel her body with healthy, protein-rich foods that give her the energy to show up as her strongest self in both her workouts and in her daily life.

Incorporating FFC Personal Training into Maria’s Routine

Not only has Maria worked with a nutritionist at FFC, she has also worked with Personal Trainer, Theresa Maloco. Maria’s past fears of a hostile environment at the gym completely melted away. Theresa created a safe environment for Maria. She also met Maria’s needs right where she was at. Having previously only focused on cardio, Theresa helped Maria build personalized and intentional full-body workouts.

“Theresa pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve lost weight, gained muscle, and have more energy than ever before.”

Maria Vazquez working with a personal trainer and nutritionist in Chicago.

Fitness and Nutrition as a Lifestyle

Having come from a family that didn’t have much education around health and wellness, Maria is able to share her newfound passion with those closest to her. She’s even encouraged friends and family members to give FFC a try!

In addition to working with Griselda and Theresa, Maria enjoys FFC by participating in group Dance Classes and utilizing the Boxing Studio. Through FFC, Maria has gained not only muscle, but also confidence, and an incredible community of like-minded FFC members and employees. Her hope is that others like her who have had a negative view of the world of fitness and nutrition can see that it’s not so scary. FFC has shown Maria that fitness is for everyone. 

Join Maria by working with a personal trainer and nutritionist in Chicago at FFC!

Post Written by FFC Marketing Manager Sydney Meyer.