Member Spotlight: Tayler Garapola – Photography by Melanie Klaer

Twenty-three-year-old Tayler Garapola walked into KnuckleUp Fitness just over a year ago and today thinks of KU as her second home, with an extended family who pushes and supports her fitness journey.

Tell us about how you came to walk through the doors at KnuckleUp for the first time.

Honestly, I found it on Groupon after moving back home from Texas. I came in July 2014 and did some free classes for a week. I came back two weeks later after my nephew was born and I’ve been coming ever since.

What was it that made you want to get started here?

I’ve been into boxing and kickboxing for the last three or four years. When I was living in Athens I was at a boxing place and did cardio boxing there. Then I moved to Texas and did a little MMA training down there as well. Then when I moved home, I found KnuckleUp.

How would you describe Knuckle Up to someone who has never been here before?

It’s a great place to walk into and learn things. There’s that little bit of intimidation feeling wherever you go for the first time, but I feel that everyone here is really welcoming and wants you to learn. That was always really nice, coming in and feeling like I was really wanted here and that everyone knows me. It’s very personable here.

You concentrate a lot of your striking and kickboxing here, correct?

I’m usually doing kickboxing and Capoeira here.

Tell us about some of the benefits you’re getting from the programs here.

What aren’t the benefits!?? I’m actually ten pounds away from my year-long goal, so that’s really nice. When I started here I was 191 and I’m at 160 right now, so I’m trying to hit 150 in the next few weeks.

Are you losing weight because of diet or activity?

I try to balance my diet, but as a server it’s hard sometimes, so it’s usually a lot of activity. This is like my second home. When I’m not working, I am here.

What do you love most about KnuckleUp Fitness?

I love being here and everyone who works here. I’ve worked my ass off at every class I’ve taken here and it’s been great. My confidence has increased and my stress levels have gone down exponentially. Also my focus has gone up. I’m incredibly ADHD so it’s hard for me to concentrate on certain things here and there. Having to learn combinations and try to figure out what goes together the best and how my body moves the best really makes me focus in on what I need to do. And the flexibility is nice too because I used to not be able to touch my toes and now I can!