Ready to be inspired? Meet Mandi!

May 12, 2022
Ready to be inspired? Meet Mandi!


May 12, 2022

It takes a lot of work to get into shape. It takes more work when you have 60 pounds to lose. And it takes even more work when you’ve had bad experiences with other gyms and coaches, and you have to give yourself a pep talk just to get through the front door. But none of that stopped Mandi Davis. After just over a year at Catacombs, she has found an enormous amount of both mental and physical strength and is the best version of herself she has ever been. 

Five years ago Mandi woke up on her 10th wedding anniversary. She stepped out of bed and everything hurt. Her joints ached, her knees were shot, and she lived in constant fear of yet another injury. Doctors told her she needed to lose weight and get in shape. She thought about her husband and how she wanted to be a better version of herself for him. She wanted to be more playful with her two kids. Most of all, Mandi wanted to feel good in her body —and for her body to feel good in return. She finally decided to find a gym. But unfortunately when she did, she did not receive the right kind of support. At one point a coach told her, as she was trying a new movement, “It’s ok, we can’t all have good form.” She left deflated and defeated, beating herself up that she wasn’t better. But instead of giving up, what did Mandi do? She persevered and tried again somewhere new. 

Mandi remembers the first day she walked into Catacombs. She said Coach Tracie was right at the door and greeted her with the enthusiasm of seeing a best friend. Mandi breathed a sigh of relief. She then found Coach Joon and was worried he would put her right to work, but instead they went for a walk to the park to get to know each other. Joon didn’t ask her how much she lifted (or wanted to lift), he didn’t ask her how much weight she was trying to lose; instead he said, “How do you want to feel?” which Mandi easily replied, “Strong.” 

She said Joon gave her a beautiful archery analogy to envision: Say you are in an archery competition against the best archer in the world. You both have the same tools, the same target. You have never shot an arrow before. They take the professional archer, blindfold him, walk him around and spin him in circles in every direction. You remain standing there looking at your target. Who has a better chance of hitting the target? You. You do, because you can see where you’re going. This is the importance of goal-setting. 

When sage Joon started seeing Mandi a few times a week for private training, he made sure to hold her accountable. He asked her to keep her goals in mind and always be working towards them. And she started feeling stronger. There were days where her fear of re-injuring her knees would be all she could think about. Joon stayed with her and told her she could do it, that she was already strong. He told her to observe her thinking and approach her fear without judgment. In just a few months Mandi felt (and was) significantly stronger. She started feeling more confident in her movements and in her body. She was feeling so good in fact, that she signed up for a Tough Mudder and absolutely crushed it. 

Mandi has lost 60lbs in the past five years. In just the past year at Catacombs, she has doubled, then tripled, and heck, even quadrupled how much weight she can lift or press. She used to try 30-day cleanses or bootcamps, always hoping they would provide results. But for the first time in her life, she has found a place that creates real results. She laughs saying, “I now lift dumbbells as heavy as the pounds I was trying to lose. I can’t believe I used to walk around with that much extra weight on my body.” 

As Mandi has grown in strength and confidence, she is doing less private training and more group classes. She is an active member in the Durango business community and knows many of the people who come to Catacombs. She says that the members are often more powerful than the coaches in keeping her going through group classes. She recalled one workout where she was dragging, not so sure she could finish it. Her head was down on the ground, and she looked over to see her friend and past colleague Josh Kling in the same position. He looked over at her, threw up some horns with his hands, and said, “Rock on.” And she finished it after all. 

One of the greatest benefits of Mandi’s new strength is the increased energy and enthusiasm she has to play with her kids. She has a 13-year-old daughter and 9-year-old boy, both involved in softball and baseball. Mandi’s daughter Cori noticed her mom getting stronger and feeling happier, so for Christmas she bought her a softball glove. Mandi had never really been able to play sports with her kids or run around, and now she was out in the yard, helping them practice. She said they have even added a little home gym and lift together. Also added to her list of wins, her husband now joins her for classes a few times a month. 

Mandi believes that because the coaches invest in her, she invests more in herself. She recognizes that “good enough” can be great, and that the pursuit of perfection is often a hindrance. She feels the best she has ever felt in her life. Her knees are healthier and injury-free, and every time she leaves Catacombs, she feels proud of herself and strong. Mission accomplished Mandi, we are lucky to have you!

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