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RF Featured Members: Emily & Michael Areinoff

Emily and Michael came to RF with open minds and a willingness to try new things. Over the course of their time here, they have become staples in the RF community. Aside from being consistent (these two even sought out and went to the gym on a beach vacation!), both Michael and Emily are willing to help other members and are always quick to say hello or make the perfect song request. We've witnessed them both push themselves and gain strength, endurance, and knowledge. They take the time to really understand the fundamentals and experiment with what works best for their own bodies before advancing their movements. We are so proud to have two such giving and resilient members! Congratulations to Michael and Emily on being our March Members of the Month!

If there was one thing you could say to your Coach, what would it be?

Michael: Which one?? I appreciate all of you. I’ve learned a ton and I thank you both for pushing me and for making sure I’m not hurting myself.

Emily: They are always so kind and positive as well as helpful they know when to push and when to tell you enough for now. Feeling like my coach has a break function makes me feel safer in pushing myself, in the past I have felt like coaches would be happy if you just went until you dropped.

Tell us a little about you. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Michael: I originally grew up in Los Angeles, but I’ve lived in Tucson for 14 years now with my wife, Emily, and our two children, David (11) and Ben (about to turn 9!). I work as a lawyer for TUSD. Outside of work, I love traveling (the family is going to Greece this winter), I do improv at Tucson Improv Movement, and I love reading and all sorts of word puzzles.

Emily: I grew up here in Tucson but was born in Salt Lake City I left for college and grad school and Michael and I moved back in 2008. I love to swim and do improv comedy as well as read and watch shows. I’ve recently been teaching myself to play the guitar. I also love to cook and craft of sew but don’t make as much time for the crafting and sewing as I would like.

What was the moment that made you decide to join Resilient Fitness?

Michael: Amy Wood (another member) has been talking about her great gym for a little while, and Emily and I finally decided to try it. Seeing the commitment to pain-free training in an environment with friendly faces and super knowledgeable coaches set RF apart and has kept us coming.

Emily: My friend Amy has been with [RF] a while and she invited me. I decided to join when I met Jesus and he seemed so knowledgeable and so different than my last fitness experience also when my husband wanted to join that made me want to join too. Also I read an article about how resistance exercise is one to the most evidenced based was to help stave off some of the negative sides of menopause so looking at moving into the second half of my life it seemed like a good idea.

What is your fitness/nutrition experience prior to RF?

Michael: I wouldn’t say I have much in the way of nutrition experience; the times I’ve tried to restrict my diet have generally been related to other health issues, and even then they haven’t been worthwhile. My fitness experience has come in waves: I played varsity tennis in high school and tennis petered out through college. I’ve done a variety of classes at the YMCA, and some road cycling.

Emily: I’ve always been pretty active and was swimming masters 3-5 times a week and walking my dogs. In the past I had done an weight loss and fitness challenge with a gym In town and found it pretty traumatic in the end. It was very triggering of previous eating disorder behaviors and it really messed up my metabolism. I am fairly well read in intuitive eating literature and health at every size as well as working to combat Antifat bias in myself, trying to undo a lifetime of my worth and desirability being linked to my body size and shape.

What were your fitness habits like before joining RF? Were you already active? Were you new to fitness?

Michael: My level of activity has ebbed and flowed over the course of my life. I’ve had moments where I’ve consistently gone to the gym or gone bike riding, and other long stretches without any consistent physical activity. Finding something that really sticks has been a challenge.

Emily: I'm not new to fitness at all. Doing cardio has always been fun and something I made time for but doing weight training is something I really struggle to be motivated to do on my own, so I avoided it.

Why do you think RF worked so well for you compared to other programs and/or diets?

Michael: For one, RF doesn’t pressure people to achieve a particular body shape, which is a welcome change. It meets people where they are and then works from there. More than that, I think having a reasonable program helps (three workouts a week feels very doable), and the classes are small and allow for some individual attention. And finally, the group of people all comes in with a great attitude, and it feels like a happy and safe place to exercise.

Emily: I realize other people in the gym are dieting and that the gym offers dieting advice, but I feel very happy that it isn’t out there as something everyone should be doing or they are doing fitness wrong. The trainers know what they are doing and I feel safe emotionally and physically when I am training. I feel proud of and celebrated for my own achievements and not like I have to keep going until I reach some ultimate perfect fitness person goal or look.

What was the biggest challenge or change when you first started with RF?

Michael: Learning new movements is of course a big change, especially since I had never done barbell work before. And my challenge is always trying to stay within myself, especially when jumping into a new workout, instead of going too hard and hurting myself in the process.

Emily: It felt pretty easy to be honest the hard part is always just getting started.

What has been your biggest success while attending RF?

Michael: The gains! Seeing a steady improvement in my numbers for squats, presses, and deadlifts feels great.

Emily: No more back pain! Increased core strength! No hurt shoulders when I do push ups!

What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with RF?


  1. My wife and I both recently hit personal bests for deadlifts on the same day.

  2. I did push-ups with a 45-pound plate on my back.

  3. A friend complimented me on my new muscles.

Emily: See previous answer!

How has your life improved thanks to your time with RF?

Michael: I feel stronger in my body, which is a great place to be. And that fitness component of my life feels like a routine rather than a burden. I’ve even taken the workouts with me and gone to gyms on vacation, which I never would have done before.

Emily: No back pain. New friends and increased sense of community.

What are 3 tips, based on your experience, that you’d give to new members of RF to help them see success early on?


  1. Come to the classes each week. Sometimes you might not feel like it; come anyway! It doesn’t have to be the perfect workout for you to feel better at the end of it. And building routine makes it easier to come consistently.

  2. Ask for help. The coaches know what they’re doing. They’ll help you if they spot something, but if you’re not feeling confident, there’s no shame in getting support.

  3. Be patient with yourself. Focus on doing things correctly and consistently, and the results will come.

  4. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. It’s a friendly community, and it’s easier to work out with friendly faces around. (Yes, I know you asked for three, but this is a good one!) Note: Alright, we'll allow it because this is a good one! :)

Emily: Keep coming and do what they tell you and success will happen.

If someone is thinking about joining RF, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?

Michael: Don’t wait! There isn’t a “right” time. Just come and see if it feels like a good fit. RF will meet you wherever you are in your fitness journey and guide you from there.

Emily: Find a reason that isn’t about a negative or a should (I don’t like my body I should loose weight I should be fit etc).

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