By Chris Shaffer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Excuses like “lack of motivation” and “intimidation” are just a couple of reasons why many of us don’t go to the gym.

But there is a chain of workout centers where those excuses, just like the unwanted pounds, seem to melt away. Our viewers voted Farrell’s Extreme Body Shaping in Blaine as the best in Minnesota.

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Just watching a kickboxing-based workout like this one might cause one to break a sweat.

“It is a hell of a workout,” said a Farrell’s regular. “They don’t get any easier, you just get stronger.”

Although this appears to be an advanced kickboxing class, a closer look will reveal that there are people of every age, sex and fitness level giving it their all. And just about every one of them has a great story to tell.

“I’ve lost 57 pounds.”

“I was about 90-pounds heavier that I am now.”

“I’ve been here since October and I’ve lost over 30 pounds.”

(credit: CBS)

Cindi Nikituk was a nurse when she first came to Farrell’s in the summer of 2011 after the birth of her fourth child.

“Farrell’s is a great community of people and the comradery. Walking in here is unlike walking into any other gym,” Cindi said. “From the day I walked in I had a coach who walked me through every day of my workout, and I was able to lose weight and transform my body. And it really was the best workout I’ve ever had.”

She was so happy with her results that she bought into the program, literally.

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“I went through a 10-week session, worked out for two-and-a-half years and then became an owner,” Cindi said.

She owns the Blaine location, as well as three other metro locations. And to say that she believes in the Farrell’s way of doing things would be a gross understatement.

“We are able to make people feel comfortable in their own skin again,” she said. “Everything is done as a culture here, and our culture is what really embraces people and gets them to their goals.”

Goals that Christina Winterfield thought she would never attain until she walked through these doors.

“It’s completely changed my life. Before walking in here I got married in June of 2017 and I just felt stuck,” Winterfield said. “On our honeymoon, my husband had to tie my shoes.”

When she first came to Farrell’s, Christina weighed 367 pounds. Now, happily, she is about half the woman she used to be.

“The community that they have around and how they rallied around their people, I finally felt welcomed, and that I was able to be a part of something,” Winterfield said.

To be a part of this crew you have to put in the work six days a week, 45 minutes a day.

“You get a coach, we walk you through everything, from every kickboxing piece of the workout, to strength training,” Cindi said. “We have meal planning. It’s all encompassed in a 10-week program, and we monitor your results all the way through.”

So it looks like Cindi and the rest of the Farrell’s family have your back. And she’s philosophical about giving up her nursing career.

“Funny thing is I’m still taking care of people, and I take care of people every day and I make them healthier,” Cindi said. “I’m on the other side now.”

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The Iowa-based company now has 21 centers in Minnesota, 19 of them in the Twin Cities.

Chris Shaffer