Member of the Month – Rachel Kozel
Rachel Kozel has shown determination, hard work, and how your attitude affects your outcome. Since joining LFT she has seen both the physical and mental benefits of exercising. Rachel continues to be an inspiration for everyone she meets.
Rachel Kozel, the owner and sole groomer at Transfurmations, was born into an active family who valued physical fitness. She has worked out on and off her entire life and decided to join Lacon Fitness and Tan last summer. Rachel has had her ups and down in life that have pushed her to be strong physically and emotionally.
In July of 2016, just two months before her wedding date, Rachel was spectating a professional firework show, in Indiana, when the unthinkable happened. The very first firework that was lit fell over and shot mortars into the crowd, she was struck in her left eye by one of them.
Rachel was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where she had an emergency surgery on her left eye. After surgery she was unable to see any light out of her left eye. Rachel headed back home and was scheduled with a retina specialist to see if he could restore her vision. Rachel’s second surgery took place and after this surgery she was still unable to see. The doctors told her she would never regain vision in that eye. She kept the eye for several months due to getting married. Soon after their honeymoon her eye caused her a great deal of pain on a daily basis and she made the decision to undergo a third surgery and get it removed. This was the best decision for her as the pain relief after recovery was life changing.
Due to recovering from three surgeries, Rachel was unable to workout for several months, which took a toll on her fitness. “During recovery I didn’t eat the best and didn’t do much physical activity so therefore I gained about 35lbs. After several failed attempts at trying to regain my fitness at home I decided to join LFT”. From the moment the accident happened she told herself she would not allow this event to hold her back from what she wanted. Since the accident she knows that challenges both inside and outside of the gym are achievable if she puts her mind to it and puts in the work!
If you have met Rachel, you know that she is extremely positive. When asked if she has always been like this, she said, “Before my accident I was not positive at all. I struggled with my self-esteem and self-worth and was just making my way through life. The accident changed my attitude toward life, it made me really realize just how fragile life is and how fast your life can change. In a blink of an eye, really, no pun intended. I credit my faith in God and my family for how well I handled the accident and the loss of my eye. I could easily feel sorry for myself but that attitude is not ever going to get me anywhere I want to be.”
When it comes to her fitness journey that lies ahead she is very excited and hopes to run a 5K soon. We asked her what advice she has for other gym members? Rachel says, “Just show up! Amanda told me in the beginning just come for 10 minutes to get your body and mind used to coming to the gym on routine. This has been the best advice given to me because most of the time after that 10 minutes you are ready to keep working out and feel much better.”
LFT: Were there any reservations about getting started? Anything that held you back?
Rachel: I hadn’t worked out in a gym setting for several years, so walking into a new gym was a little intimidating but once I was in the front door I felt at home.
LFT: What are some of the benefits both physically and mentally that you gained since working out?
Rachel: I struggle like many others with seasonal depression, having a regular schedule for my work outs has helped me feel a lot less depressed this winter. Physically I noticed my body slowly but surely changing shape and acquiring more muscle definition.
LFT: Cardio vs. Strength which is your favorite?
Rachel: I prefer strength training but have learned to embrace cardio recently.
LFT: What is your favorite exercise?
Rachel: I love squats or any lower body exercise.
LFT: What is your least favorite exercise?
Rachel: Upper body exercises
LFT: When you aren’t working or at the gym, what do you like to do for fun?
Rachel: I love to spend time with my husband and three German Shepherds, fishing, traveling, and being outdoors.
LFT: What do you do for a living?
Rachel: I own a dog grooming shop that I am the sole groomer at.
LFT: What is your favorite thing about Lacon Fitness and Tan?
Rachel: I love LFT’s atmosphere, literally everyone is so nice and supportive, especially in group fit class settings. This is something I have never encountered at other gyms.
LFT: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Rachel: That I only have one real eye and that I am former certified personal trainer.
LFT: What is your favorite “cheat food”?