This quarter, we received countless submissions for the coveted Flywheel Hall of Change title. When stumbling upon Alyssa Welsh’s success story, we knew we found something special.
A school psychologist from California, working out was always an integral part of Alyssa’s life. Despite her attempts to maintain an active lifestyle and working out intensively six days a week, she still struggled with her weight. After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, she was relieved to have an explanation, but the problem wasn’t fixed. Fast forward to her move to Seattle, she took her first Flywheel class at the Bellevue studio and fell in love with the workout. Within six months, Alyssa was over 50 pounds lighter and felt better than ever. Read her full story below, and find out which FLY instructor will be attending her wedding this summer!
From an early age, I always loved working out. It’s my release – my therapy. In high school, I was on the varsity basketball team and have always been pretty athletic. As an adult, I enrolled in various classes and gym memberships, trying to stay active as much as possible. By the time I was in graduate school at Columbia, I was taking boot camp classes six days a week and ran several half marathons. Despite all of this, I was still significantly overweight. It was heartbreaking to feel like my outside didn’t reflect my inside, and this feeling contributed to my overall struggle with depression and anxiety.
Alyssa Welsh in 2012
In 2012, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome. Between my extreme workouts and metabolic issues, my cortisol levels became so high that my body was in crisis! My struggle with my weight, and the depression that stemmed from it, began to make sense. I was relieved to have an explanation, but knew the problem wasn’t solved. Around this time, I was living at home with my parents in Southern California to save money while completing an internship. The combination of not being confident in where I was personally and struggling with depression was isolating. My days consisted of going to work, working out, and coming home. I felt hopeless and frustrated–I’m extremely social by nature and this just wasn’t me. I desperately wanted to be in a healthy, loving relationship, but I needed to love myself first.
In September 2013, I got a job offer in Bellevue, Washington that would require me to move from Southern California and all of my family. All of my anxieties stepped in: “What am I going to do?” “This is such a huge move…” “I’m so close to my family!” but I knew I needed to seize this opportunity to be on my own. When I moved to Seattle, I knew less than a handful of people. The first thing I did after moving into my apartment was find my next go-to workout. On my second day in Seattle, I took my first Flywheel class and was immediately hooked. I had taken other cycling classes in the past, but knew this was completely different – especially when I started integrating FlyBarre classes into my routine.
From left: Instructor Meghan Hoey, Alyssa Welsh, Instructor Meredith Heestand
After a few months, I was taking Flywheel and FlyBarre classes 5 to 6 days a week. I was making friends, finding a community, and most of all, feeling great about myself and seeing results. I started noticing that I felt leaner and stronger even though I was technically working out LESS than I had been in the past. My instructors also became my Seattle family. I achieved balance and learned to be kind to myself.
Doing a workout that I genuinely looked forward to was so much more sustainable and realistic.
With the help of Flywheel and FlyBarre, I became a visibly happier person. I always left class feeling so much more confident than I felt walking in. I adored my new life, which centered on being kind to myself and to my body. Without even thinking about my weight and instead focusing on my general happiness and life balance, I found myself over 50 pounds lighter.
I’m convinced that this newfound happiness is what ultimately led me to my now fiancé, Richard. One of our first dates was taking a Flywheel class together, which we continue to do together today. We are getting married this August in my hometown of Southern California, with my favorite FlyBarre instructor and now dear friend, Meghan Hoey, in the audience.
Alyssa Welsh with her fiancé
I really credit Flywheel and my instructors for sparking this newfound, confident me! I am no longer living in extremes. Flywheel is now a part of my lifestyle and going to classes has become second nature. I can’t wait to marry the man of my dreams feeling happier, healthier, and stronger than I’ve ever been.
A letter from our previous Hall of Change winner, Laurie Cobb:
I was so moved and inspired by your story. You are quite courageous to pick up and move your entire life in such a short amount of time. I am not sure many people would have the courage to do so and you should be so proud of what that pivotal moment in your life has brought you. That’s the moment that it seems changed everything for you. I giggled to myself when reading your story because I know exactly how you feel about Flywheel and FlyBarre being “the thing” that you can’t live without and “the thing” that helped make you the phenomenal woman you are. It really does change you if you let it. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! You will most definitely be a FlyBride and I look forward to seeing photos.
I wish I could give you the biggest hug and high five for everything you have accomplished and a toast to you for the even better things you have coming up in the future.
Cheers to you!