“It dawned on me one, day: I’m done working just to make money. I was questioning the purpose of my life and I wanted to help others.”
And with that, at the age of 63, Renee Reed made plans to leave high-paying tech jobs and begin life anew in the fitness industry.
She now has her own studio in the Firdale Village Shopping Plaza, a bright space with high ceilings, a yellow couch, a fleet of rowers and lots of colorful kettlebells — weights that look like bowling balls with handles.
It’s a happy place that reflects a happy owner who specializes in what she calls “feel good fitness.” But it was not always thus.
There was a time, not so very long ago, when Reed described herself as overweight, unhealthy and unhappy.
“I had always been athletic and competitive but over time I was no longer involved in that,” she said. “I was career focused and developed whole-body arthritis. For more than a decade I couldn’t do much more than garden and couldn’t even walk very well.”
Then, about eight years ago, she hit a wall. “I worked a stressful job. I wasn’t exercising because of arthritis. I lived on scones and lattes. I knew I had to change.”
She and her husband embarked on a search for fitness, trying different gyms, personal trainers and routines. They signed up for a boot-camp program and Renee began to feel stronger, enough to give Cross Fit a try, an arduous program that produced results, but at a cost.
“I had a knee replacement, then both shoulders went,” she said. “My orthopedist said, ‘You can keep doing this and hurt yourself or change the way you’re exercising.’”
Reed began working with kettlebells, which gave her a good workout. “But I wanted more intensity.”
Through trial and error, she put together her own program of a high-intensity, low- impact workout, but she had to go to three different gyms to get the job done.
“I told my husband, I wish there was a place at home in Edmonds I could go to,” she said.
In the summer of 2016, she’d reached the tipping point. “I was going to build this myself. I knew how to run a business,” Reed said. “I had the fitness certifications. I just needed to give myself permission to go with my passion, even though it was risky.”
Her studio, 6 Movements Fitness, opened in April 2017.
Reed explains that the name is about functional fitness. “Everything you do every day boils down to six patterns of movement: Push, pull, rotate, bend, squat and step,” she said. “I teach classes that include a combination of lifting kettlebells, indoor rowing and bodyweight exercises to build strength, increase mobility and endurance but without inflaming the joints.”
At 64, Reed thinks she brings a special empathy to her new vocation. She understands how intimidating it can be to walk into an exercise studio, how embarrassing it feels to expose weakness, to be overweight and unfit.
She’s been there and back.
“I was sick and weak and overweight but I was able to get my health back and get strong,” she said. “I want to be an inspiration for people. If I can do it, they can too.”
— By Connie McDougall