1. WHAT DID LIFE LOOK LIKE BEFORE YOU FOCUSED ON CONSISTENCY ON NUTRITION AND FITNESS?
I have always been an athlete playing a variety of sports, nutrition and wellness was not something I grew up having conversations with my family about. Fitness was encouraged through sports and we generally ate pretty healthy. At 13, I decided to stop drinking anything with caffeine. I also stopped eating beef, pork, and seafood. I’ve continued this almost 27 years later. Although I played many sports, my favorite was volleyball. I even played NCAA volleyball in college for a while. At age 20 I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or EDS. EDS is a hereditary (meaning it runs in my family) connective tissue disorder. I was the first in my family to be diagnosed and first to go on a journey of understanding the condition and lack of treatment options. There are a variety of types of this condition. So if you’ve happened to notice that I’m extra bendy, EDS is why. I had gone through my whole life up until age 20 thinking that my everyday pain was normal. That everyone hurt as bad as I did after activity, or sitting/standing too long. At 20, I learned that was not the case. Since then, I’ve been trying to learn how to take better care of my body, and understanding my limits. No more maxing out when weight lifting, using small weights, and taking breaks. For example, when I’m doing a pose in yoga, or stretching, I have to be careful to not go too far into the movement and cause more damage. My EDS journey has been long, painful, and quite frustrating with very few doctors even knowing what it is, how to help people with it, or about all the fun side-effects and conditions associated with EDS. It’s been nearly impossible to find the right combination of Eastern or Western therapies that can make me actually have a good body day. Some days are just better than others. EDS is not considered a disability yet so resources and insurance coverage for therapies is mostly not available. I am very thankful that I’m able to be as active as I am and have the privilege to be able to afford a gym membership, healthcare, and therapies that can help me through my day. Another traumatic body experience (and sadly there are many) that others might resonate with is my fertility journey and birth experience. We tried for several years to get pregnant with no success. We went through several rounds of IUI and two rounds of IVF before we were able to have our amazing twin daughters. Because EDS is a connective tissue disorder and the amniotic sac is a connective tissue I had a high-risk pregnancy, but kept doing yoga throughout most of the pregnancy until I had to stop. Unfortunately, I had a traumatic C-section recovery experience. My body hasn’t totally recovered yet from that experience and the weight I gained due to the fertility medications, but it’s a work in progress.
2. What made you decide to make a change?
Mary Snyder (one of my daughter’s kindergarten teachers) had been suggesting for a while that I come join her in a Pound class at the Warehouse and then COVID happened. May of 2021, my friend of almost 9 years and fellow twin mom Kat Meyer finally convinced me to come try Oula with her. My home workouts during COVID were just not that exciting and I had previously enjoyed group fitness. So I went over to her house and we danced outside. I kept dancing outside with her and all the lovely Oulakins. April of 2022, after an outdoor Oula connection class, Sandy Aronson offered to put people in a drawing to win a free month at the Warehouse for her birthday, and I decided why not try it out, and I won. I became a full member of the Warehouse in May 2022 and haven’t stopped. I try to come to a class at least 3 to 4 times a week, and have come up to 6 times a week. The culture, community, and connection at the Warehouse isn’t like anything else I’ve been a part of. Everyone is kind, generous, welcoming, and fun. Being part of the Warehouse community, especially the Oula community has helped me be more confident. I’ve made connections with people who I consider friends and know I could call for help if I needed it. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging. They even helped me have the courage to leave a toxic work situation and move on to better things. I will even occasionally dance or workout in the front row now, and I don’t mind being in videos as much as I used to. Recently my mother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has been mostly living with us. Being a part of her cancer journey has also solidified my desire to take care of myself as much as possible. My struggle with all my body related things has been tough, but I just take one day at a time and know that a bad body day is hopefully followed by a good body day and as long as I’m doing my best to take care of my body, then hopefully there are more continued good days to come.
3. What has changed (attitude, energy, weight, habits, priorities, race times, blood work, confidence, etc.?)
Overall, I want to be in a place where I have more good body days than bad, be in a space with awesome people, and get stronger. I have more energy, and confidence, I sleep better, and am proud that I take the time out of my busy schedule to prioritize myself and my health. I’m very thankful that my family encourages me to continue on this journey and allows me to enjoy my time away from them by doing something for me and really for them as well. I want to show my girls that they can be strong and confident, be themselves, and take care of their bodies. They even indulge my random Oula dance parties in the living room 🙂
Share the following below:
1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAREHOUSE WORKOUT SONG?
There is no way I am able to pick my favorite song, but one Oula song that let me know that Oula people were my people, and that Oula was a thing I planned to do for a long time was the song Dig Deep by Lxandra. I learned it the first few months of doing Oula outside and it has stuck with me.
2. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAREHOUSE WORKOUT CLASS?
Oula, Barre, Yoga Sculpt, Yoga, Pound-I’m not good at picking favorites, they are all awesome.
3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE?
My favorite quote that Lori and Melissa both say is “take up space.” That reminder to own yourself, your space, and who you are is not something that people, especially women are reminded about very often.