Here are some stories from Women just like you…
Many of these stories are from Vitality Fitness and Dance, Cat’s women’s empowerment burlesque studio in the midwest. All testimonials used with permission.
Hey Cat! I wanted to thank you so much for the awesome Burlesque session on Friday It was I think the first time in my adult life that I really felt extremely uncomfortable I NEEDED that! I need to challenge myself & step out of my comfort zone. I will be sending a couple of my patients your way. Thanks again D
As a long time mental health professional and now a licensed psycho-therapist in private practice, I am thrilled to collaborate with Cat. Cat and I share the same mission for empowering women, and while our methods may be different, our separate interventions end up representing a holistic way to help women heal, grow, and thrive. Cat is bringing to our community many powerful ways to transform, including the art of dance, the bravery of telling true stories, and the power of connecting to female tribes. I am excited about the opportunity to promote Cat’s story and her leadership for self acceptance to both friends and clients. I am especially looking forward to hosting a group of women at the Transform Your Story in Cedar Rapids on August 13th. I know many stories of growth will be nurtured by this event and future programs that Cat is leading.
-Wendy Stokesbary, LMHC, Kingston Therapy Services.
When Cat introduced the idea of Secret Wardrobe, I was still new to Vitality. I honestly thought that the idea was great but I knew it would be a “crying” thing and I didn’t feel like I knew these ladies well enough to be that vulnerable in front of them and let out all of my fears and insecurities. I also thought that even though I could probably benefit from it, I didn’t really need it and I didn’t want to “waste” my time on it. Then one day in class, Cat asks “What piece of clothing makes you feel the sexiest?” I got thinking and realized that I had nothing in my closet that I felt really really good in. I had a meltdown right then and there in the middle of class. That’s when it hit me that I truly did NEED this workshop.
Like a lot of people, I gained some weight after high school/college, and to the general public, I’m still average or some may even say thin, but I didn’t recognize the girl in the mirror any more. I didn’t know how to dress myself any more. I became the most comfortable in anything that hid my body, but then I would see pictures and feel disgusted. I saw myself the way others saw me and knew that my mindset about my body was defeating me. I was looked sluggish and insecure. I didn’t look happy or confident. I guess I really wasn’t.
This journey was NOT easy. Even though I’m technically a graduate of this workshop now, I feel like I will constantly be thinking about it and growing. The things we learned will help with every aspect of life. It has taught me to be more “selfish” and to make sure that I’m doing things for myself and doing things that make me feel good. Everyone talks about inner beauty, but Cat and Secret Wardrobe has taught me that it is easier to see your own inner beauty when you let it spill to the outside too. I will always have days that I feel down or don’t feel sexy but I now know how to refocus my energy and learn to love myself again. This workshop has made me a better person and I know it has done so for so many others.
I cannot thank Cat enough for what she has created and I have made some amazing friendships along the way too. We all really bonded and support each other like no words can explain. Soooo…. Thanks
It was Burlesque class. We were practicing our sexy walks across the studio. I lookedin the mirror and my eyes instantly went to my double chin. My self destructive voice took over and started listing everything I hated about what I saw. Most of this voice I kept within myself, however, I did make one statement out loud. I believe I said something like, “If I didn’t have four chins, I’d be happy.” Cat stopped in her tracks and looked at me like I just broke her heart. “We don’t allow that kind of talk in here” was her response. First, I felt even more self conscious, but after I thought about it, the whole situation made me smile. This woman, Cat, teaches so many women in so many classes, yet in a 30 second reaction to a comment I made, she let me know I matter. She let me know that how I feel about myself affects how she feels. It has been over a month since this happened. Now, I walk into Vitality with my head held high. I no longer look in the mirror and see four chins. Instead, I look in the mirror and see how amazing and beautiful I am. I see the new ways I have learned to move and how sexy I am. I don’t only see it on the outside. I can see myself changing on the inside as well. I no longer hear that self destructive voice overpower all my other thoughts. I walk a little taller and smile a little brighter, all the while, forming a new level of confidence I didn’t even know was possible. I have Vitality Fitness and Cat Cantrill to thank for showing me what beauty inside and out really is.
Mind if I am honest?
I was trying drop baby weight,
and it wasn’t going well.
I couldn’t find a place to
exercise that excited me.
I easily made excuses to
avoid workouts. Ever do that?
I was diving deep into motherhood
and wasn’t taking care of myself.
I needed a space outside of
being a ‘mommy’ to challenge myself,
be active, and express myself.
I needed to step outside my comfort zone because,
I wasn’t getting any younger.
My self esteem with my post-baby
weight was low.
Enter Vitality Fitness & Dance Studio.
I danced most of my life and lacked
a place to express myself.
Dance is where I had limitless passion.
Dance is where I felt confident.
I needed this breath of fresh air
so I took that first step and haven’t looked back.
While taking classes at Vitality,
I joined their burlesque troupe.
I laughed thinking, that is never something I could do.
Not in a million years.
But they encouraged me, and
I adore the group of gals.
I found that I could go out on stage
and express myself, or be somebody else.
I found that I didn’t have to be a perfect woman;
that burlesque embraces all women and all women are sexy.
I’m so glad I took that leap and became a member of The Va Va Voom!
Check out The Va Va Voom! at their next burlesque show!
The best and most fun workout ever. I have not been able to make it to classes last month and feel a huge part of myself missing. Such a great outlet and to be free to be yourself! Zumba classes at the Y just won’t cut it!
I absolutely LOVE going to Vitality! Great fitness & dance classes, wonderful instructors. I encourage anyone to try a class…you won’t regret it!
Before Vitality, I used to strive to be hidden—to do well enough not to get noticed nor poor enough to warrant any attention. When life feels like it’s a hurricane, in the midst of this chaos, I have dance and pole at Vitality. For me, it’s the eye of the storm; it’s my sanctuary. I go there to let go of the judgment, expectations, and rules that all facets of my life place on me. I go there to melt away the stress and recollect myself with women who care about me, who empathize when life gets crazy, and support me, even if all they do is listen to me vent.
I’ve never done dance in my life, yet, dance at Vitality has given me more than the fundamentals. It’s given me confidence and friendships with extraordinary women that I’m lucky to have in my life. Thanks to lap dance, burlesque, dance club cardio, and all the amazing classes at Vitality, I can body roll and pop the lady lumps I never knew I had! I’ve never been more toned in my life and pole fitness gives me a fun, exciting, and new way to challenge my strength and flexibility. It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve only been there a year! I’m grateful for Cat, The Va Va Voom!, and the pole ladies for bringing me to where I am today. I can’t wait to see what this new year has in store.
Hey girl I just wanted to thank you again for helping me with the burlesque dance! For the competition I made it to the finals and I rocked the burlesque dance li…ke non other! I placed 3rd overall! Just wanted you to know everyone loved it and was requesting that I perform it again lol. For winning third place i won a 6 night all expense trip back to Jamaica . I couldn’t of done it without your help…thanks again for helping me find the dancer in me, I truly miss performing!
I just want to thank Vitality for my legs. It sounds a little silly, but I have always had very dense and heavily toned calves ( from sports and my overall occupation), I have always idolized women like Ginger Rogers and Betty Grable because of their long, lean gams. Furthermore, I have always been a tad jealous of my friends who didn’t bulk up like I. After a few months at Vitality, my short legs are leaning up into a more feminine form and I am in love. Dance makes me happier everyday (for so many reasons). So thank you ladies, you rock.
Thank you Vitality Fitness and Dance Studio… I just had to buy new jeans in a size SMALLER than what I have been wearing. Thank you for a great fitness program that is fun and does not feel like exercise. Can’t wait to show off my new jeans.
Last night was the last night of Monday classes for the current session, and it was a TOTAL BLAST! So much fun! Cat teaches fun & challenging routines that also give you a great workout (but it’s too fun to realize you’re “exercising”!). I have gained confidence, muscle tone & learned some new moves. Can’t wait for next session to start!
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