Customer Story: Marissa Neilson
Updated: Mar 2
Freeplay’s mission is to bring people and exercise together in as fun a setting as possible.
To do this, we’re spotlighting our fantastic Freeplayers and their recommendations for the best gyms in Utah. This week’s list includes the best fitness boot camp in Utah, and the best high-fitness gyms for both veterans and beginners, so make sure to check out the bottom of the post!
Marissa Neilson -
Marissa grew up in the midwest and moved out to Utah in 2012. She went to BYU to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism and graduated in 2016. She met her husband and got married in 2017. Now, she lives in Saratoga Springs and currently works for Jane.com while her husband is a developer. Make sure to check out her insta: @marissa.neilson
Marissa has been a member of Freeplay for close to a year and loves it "because I have all these different options of classes and it’s a community thing so I’m not limited to one gym or one type of workout.”
But she didn’t start out convinced of Freeplay’s virtues. “I remember hearing about Freeplay when they had their launch,” she recalls. “And then I had friends talking about it but I was like ‘it seems kind of expensive so I don’t know'.”
So what changed Marissa’s mind?
Positive Thinking around Exercise
“I started to change the way I looked at exercise and really wanted to move away from exercise as a chore and into exercise as joyful movement. I wanted to find something I could be excited about going to every day.”
So how often does Marissa exercise? “For a normal week, I like to go anywhere from 3-5 times. That’s my ideal,” she chuckles. “Though my average may be more 2-3 times. It’s nice to have an outlet and a way to express myself with exercise and spending time with friends doing something I feel is productive.”
“Staying active is so important to me because I love the way that it makes me feel, both mentally and physically. It’s a great stress reliever. It’s nice to be able to leave the office and physically move my body for an hour. I do it for the feeling more than anything else.
So who does Marissa include in her exercise circle? “I’m in a group with some friends from Jane. My husband has a pass, too.”
“I have quite a few friends that are on Freeplay so we like to text each other and meet up and use it as a way to bond. We all live in the same area so we all want to go to the same class. We drive there together and then back home. Though sometimes if I’m stressed out, I like to go do yoga or meditate by myself.”
How to Exercise With a Busy Schedule
Since Marissa and her husband both have busy schedules, spending time together can be difficult, and finding time to exercise even more so.
“My husband is in night school every night so the hours between 5 and 7 are pretty crucial, and if we’re not careful we’ll find ourselves getting in a rut and sitting at home watching TV for 2 hours where we don’t really connect. With Freeplay, we can count it as a date but in the middle of the week.”
It all comes back to attitude. In fact, according to a recent study on attitude and exercise conducted at Stanford, just stressing about how you don’t exercise enough could increase your chances of dying younger than your peers who don’t beat themselves up about their exercise habits.
The research also suggests that “the health perks of exercise may come not just from the physical movements, but also how people think and feel about them, as well.”
How To Change Your Attitude About Exercise (Hint: Use Freeplay!)
In Marissa’s journey to enjoy exercising more, Freeplay has helped her keep a positive attitude.
“I just feel like that Freeplay helps me become more excited about working out. Before, when I just had a membership at Vasa, I dreaded it because I just knew it would be crowded or if the one class I wanted to go to was full I was just out of luck.”
“Freeplay has helped me explore new ways to move my body and work out and got me excited about working out again because it’s just given me a lot more options. So I feel I work out more because I’m excited to.”
So what are the activities Marissa enjoys doing?
“I love doing high-fitness. For a while, I was really into yoga and hot pilates classes over at Brick Canvas. The ladies at my work were going to Fit Body Bootcamp. It’s HIIT training and weight lifting and bodyweight training. A good mix of cardio and weight training.”
Though in the end, consistently working out comes down to one thing:
The Key to Enjoying Exercise
For Marissa, the one key to enjoying exercise more is focusing on that change of mindset.
“I just really love finding ways to move my body in a joyful way. My focus for 2020 is getting away from exercise as something I have to do but rather something I look forward to. I’m really looking for joyful movement.”
And who better to look to as examples than the littlest and most carefree members of the human race?
“Kids are really natural at joyful movements, they love to run around and play tag with friends at the park and as adults we kind of lose that. I love that Freeplay lets me wake up and say ‘Today I really want to do yoga’, and the next day to say ‘I want to do high-fitness’ and the next day ‘weight training’.”
“I hate putting exercise in a box and looking at it that way. And with Freeplay, I don’t have to. Freeplay lets me find joy in moving my body in a different way each day.”
Best Gyms in Utah
Marissa’s recommended list of favorite Freeplay gyms:
Fit Body Boot Camp - Gyms located in Riverton and Saratoga Springs that focuses on expert help, more efficient workouts and better results.
Evolve Fitness - A studio in Lehi that empowers women through positivity, self-care, and community.
Point Fitness - A studio in Bluffdale that features smaller classes with fewer women so that you can learn the ropes in a comfortable environment.