Submitted by Star Fitness

Allison Borges is busy dehydrating food, checking her gear, and studying maps. In a couple of weeks she’s headed to Southern California to start her thru-hike of the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a brave undertaking indeed, and Allison has Tiffany Jolly, yoga teacher, mentor and friend, to thank for giving her the confidence to start.

“I’m quite sure that if our lives hadn’t crossed paths I wouldn’t be brave enough to apply for graduate school and I wouldn’t believe in myself as much as I do to attempt a solo PCT thru-hike. I would still be waiting for other people to make decisions for me,” Allison says of Tiffany.

“I’ve never had so much confidence and love for myself and my body as I do now. I could go on and on, but I simply just wanted to say thank you, Tiffany! You are an amazing woman who has changed my life 100% for the better,” she continues.

star fitness
Star Fitness owner Tiffany Jolly, empowered Allison to embrace change in her life. Photo credit: Lucky Girl Photography.

Allison started attending classes with Tiffany at Star Fitness two years ago, and has enjoyed increased fitness, and has also seen her life change in unexpected ways. “I’d never really focused on myself, and since I’ve started the class I started paying more attention to what I want. I started listening to myself, looking at the relationships in my life, and I made some changes.” As Allison’s confidence grew, she moved towards more positive relationships and made many changes. She says, of Tiffany, “You woke me up and have encouraged me to love and trust myself. You’ve taught me that it’s ok to be me. You have this amazing ability to make women feel empowered.”

Allison left her unfulfilling career of three years and was recently accepted to graduate school at The Evergreen State College. “I just got accepted into the graduate program I applied for. Everything is coming together. Tiffany has given me so much strength and confidence. A few years ago, I never would have imagined my life could be this wonderful and satisfying.”

“Before I started her classes, I never understood yoga. I never wanted to get started,” Allison explains. “So starting that [yoga] class, not only did you get the physical, but you had the inner transformation. You start focusing on your own self development and start paying attention to your feelings. You start to go down a path you can’t really turn away from and going to those classes not only kept me physically fit and allowed me to pay attention to my body, but also my mind.”

Star Fitness Studio is located at 515 State Ave NE in Olympia.
Star Fitness Studio is located at 515 State Ave NE in Olympia.

When Allison started at Star Fitness she had never taken group fitness classes and was very nervous. “I couldn’t touch my toes, and I thought, ‘My body isn’t built for this,'” she recalls. Allison relates how Tiffany made her feel welcome, learning her name, and how the workouts felt more like fun than work. “Tiffany makes a real connection with you,” she states.

Tiffany can relate with her clients at Star Fitness. “I’ve spent so much time struggling with my self-worth. I had to empower myself, and it turned into my gift,” she explains. “Now that I’ve done it for myself, I need to do that for other people.” Her primary goal with her fitness and yoga classes is to truly help others.

Allison decided to hike the PCT a year ago when she happened upon a blog detailing the grueling hike. In that same week, she was invited by her parents to go see the movie Wild, based on the book of the same name detailing Cheryl Strayed’s solo PCT hike. She left the film saying, “You know, I could do that, I’m going to do that,” to her very nervous mother.

Making decisions and moving forward has been facilitated by her relationship with Tiffany. “There’s a really strong message from Tiffany that you can be who you want to be,” Allison says.

Allison Borges was transformed and empowered through her work at Star Fitness and is now planning a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Allison Borges credits her work with Tiffany with leading her to the life path she is on today.

When she started classes, she had no idea the experience would lead to transformative decisions in her life.  Allison recalls thinking, “I’m going to lose some weight, and be able to touch my toes finally,” but didn’t expect to improve her self-image, confidence, and strike out in new directions.

“I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am without her, and it seems so cheesy to say, but it’s so real,” Allison continues. “I don’t think I would have examined my relationships and changed them. I don’t think I would have realized that I didn’t want to be working where I was working and looked into graduate school. I don’t think I would have had faith in myself to plan a hike like I am.”

“You come for the body, but you leave with a life transformation,” says Tiffany and this is proven out in Allison’s story. She describes it like a wake-up call, a reminder that it’s ok to be herself.  And, that her true self is amazing.

For more information on Star Fitness class times and prices, visit StarFitness.com. You can also take Tiffany’s online classes at tiffanyjolly.com. To follow Allison’s journey on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada and beyond, check out her blog.

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