New Week, New You: Fit Chics Under Construction safe space for women struggling with mental health

Workout group turned into support support system

SAN ANTONIO - After 12 years of coaching in the fitness industry, Rose Alvarado founded Fitness Under Construction gym in her back yard.

There is where you will find the all-female group Fit Chics Under Construction. The groups hosts daily workout classes like circuit training and Zumba but quickly became a support system for Alvarado when she began struggling with anxiety and depression. 

Alvarado said she was always active and physically fit. Like most women she gained weight during her two pregnancies, something she said contributed to her mental health. 

Fit Chick Under Construction started through a Facebook page where many women followed Alvarado's fitness journey as she lost 52 pounds postpartum. Alvarado said she felt the pressure of being a trainer and motivating the girls at her gym.

"I think that plays a lot into my depression and anxiety because I know what I'm supposed to look like," Alvarado said. 

Alvarado describes feeling paralyzed by depression. 

"I physically feel it. Not only with the weight gain but my whole body just starts to hurt. The nerves-- everything just plays a huge role in my depression." She eventually stopped showing up to teach her workout classes, something she said took a toll on her girls as well.

Alvarado's breaking point came on her bathroom floor where she said she surrendered to God who told her to open up. 

On Tuesday April 30, Rose posted a "transformation Tuesday" photo that turned out to be a weight lifted off of her shoulders. 

"Even though I had gained 15 pounds back from what I had lost out of the 52... just putting them side by side made me realize it's okay if you fall off the wagon- it's life. You're not Superwoman, You're not Wonder Woman. You're human and it's going to happen."

Alvarado always posted her progress photos but stopped when she began feeling depressed. On this post she told her followers about her struggles. Little did she know so many of the women in her life dealt with the same things. 

"My biggest advice is just to find somebody to talk to. Don't be afraid, don't hold it in. Just talk to somebody about it because you never know what the person next to you is battling as well."

The response opened the doors to a safe space for Rose and her girls to feel comfortable, vulnerable, and strong through "the four F's: faith, family, friends, and fitness." 

"It's just a fun environment, you're going see women there that look just like you that have issues just like you."

According to Alvarado, it's the friendships that keep the girls coming back. When her gym first started there were only a handful of women and a concrete slab. Now more than 87 women call it their second home. 

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