To truly understand my health and fitness journey, you must go back to the beginning, back before fitness was even a blip on my radar.
In September of 2015 I fled a very toxic and mentally/emotionally abusive marriage and moved back to my hometown, Bloomington Illinois. Over the course of the following year I fell in love with someone who had been a friend of mine since early childhood. At the time I was a smoker (he was not), and I pretty much ate whatever I wanted to shove down my throat that day because I had always been blessed with a fast metabolism and a small frame.
It started with the smoking. My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years back, and had fallen ill with pneumonia. He was hospitalized and we all went to visit him, we thought it was going to be the last time we ever hugged him. I decided that day I was going to quit smoking. A few days later, with the encouragement of my now boyfriend, I did. I quit smoking.
Fast forward a couple months, I had a new job that I enjoyed. My previous years had been spent waiting tables at very busy restaurants. This was different, it was a desk job, and my co-workers ordered lunch in from somewhere different each day. Which was all great and wonderful until one morning my pants just wouldn’t fit. I was SHOCKED. I couldn’t believe I had gained weight! I hadn’t gained or lost a pound in YEARS. The quitting smoking combined with being on the verge of 30 and my new desk job had caused me to gain nearly 25 pounds!
Each morning I would cry trying to fit into ANYTHING I owned that was acceptable attire for work. Next thing I knew I found myself at a local thrift store, bargain shopping for clothes with sizes I had never imagined I’d be wearing. One night I had enough and posted on Facebook about possibly finding a personal trainer and several friends suggested Be Strong. I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did. I have been there one month now and I can feel and see a change, not only in my body but in my attitude towards life.
My first breakthrough. My second week I broke into tears during a wall ball exercise, because I was feeling defeated and could hear my ex-husbands voice telling me “you can’t do this, you’ll never be able to be like these people! Who are you kidding? What do you think you’re really going to get through 30 of these? YOU CAN’T EVEN GET THROUGH 12! You have got to be the stupidest B#&*% I know” I began to sob uncontrollably, and then I heard something different “YOU GOT THIS, AMY!” I looked up to see a bright eyed trainer staring down at me with a smile. “Don’t let it get the best of you, you can do this. I know it’s hard, but take it a few reps at a time, I know you can do it!” I took his advice and finished all 30 reps through tears of mixed emotions. I slammed that ball down with a victory I hadn’t felt since the day I packed my things and left my ex-husband. That trainer had no idea of the profound impact he had just had on me. Every day at Be Strong is a new victory for me. Every. Single. Day. I don’t think the trainers there even realize the multiple ways in which they help heal people. This journey isn’t just about the physical appearance for me anymore, it’s about shedding the insecurities built up over five years of mental and emotional abuse, and the amazing transformation that lies ahead of becoming the person I aspire to be.