Racquel W. has always understood the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle. Raised in a midwestern family that prioritized regular physical activity and healthy, balanced eating, Racquel learned the value of exercise and wellness from an early age.
“My parents were very active, always practicing and playing basketball, softball, and volleyball with my sisters and me,” Racquel recalls. “My dad got up very early every morning and went for a five-mile walk or 10-mile bike ride.”
Racquel quickly developed her own passion for fitness. A talented and versatile athlete, she pursued athletics throughout her school years, participating and lettering in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. She also completed formal dance training, which helped her achieve her childhood dream of becoming a professional cheerleader for two of her favorite sports teams: the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Eventually, her experience as a professional cheerleader inspired her to earn her national Group Fitness certification and teach for Life Time, where she could use her infectious energy to motivate others on their own health and wellness journeys.
“A healthy lifestyle has always been a common thread in my life,” Racquel says. “Unfortunately, genetics have had their influence, too.”
Despite the commitment Racquel and her family made to their health and wellness, a predisposition for high cholesterol and heart disease caught up with her father when he was young. “My father suffered a heart attack and several strokes over the course of 15 years, the last unfortunately claiming his life,” Racquel shares. “Losing him was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced.”
Sadly, it wasn’t the only time health issues devastated Racquel’s family. “Most recently, I lost my dearest sister, who was my best friend, to multiple sclerosis.”
While Racquel primarily credits her strong faith for helping her through these painful losses, she is quick to acknowledge the role fitness and movement have played in managing her grief, too. “Releasing endorphins through physical activity is a wonderful mood-booster to clear your mind and heal your heart,” she says.
Yet even more than keeping up with her own fitness, Racquel has found strength by supporting others.
“For me, I was most happy when I returned to my beautiful fitness community and started leading classes again,” Racquel says. “I believe when you focus on others and contribute to their well-being, it brings you healing as well.”
A Test of Patience
Racquel’s journey has not been without its own physical obstacles. Over the last few years, she has suffered two serious injuries — a torn rotator cuff and torn meniscus — that required surgery and physical therapy to heal. Although she struggled with the necessary break from activity and her community at Life Time, she’s grateful for the opportunity to discover the importance of staying positive and patient through recovery.
“As a champion fitness competitor and overall very active person, the downtime from working out and teaching was rather challenging,” Racquel admits. “However, patience was paramount, allowing my body and joints to heal through each surgery.”
And the time away made her return even sweeter: “I was quite happy when I was able to return to the club to continue my supplemental physical therapy before returning to regular activity. There is nothing better than being in a gym setting!”
Passion to Persevere
After overcoming these physical hurdles, Racquel continues her commitment to encourage others in their wellness journeys. “It is my fervent passion to promote health, wellness, and fitness, and educate individuals on a healthy way of life,” Racquel says. “I feel so blessed to have a role where I can truly impact the lives of others in a positive way.”
If she could offer one piece of advice, it’s to persevere: “Stick with it, remain positive, and know the best is yet to come. With the right tools and support, there are no limits to what can be achieved.”