May 2024

One day I told my elementary students we were going to do something really fun today. “Your fun or our fun?” was the reply from one of them. How many times have I said that exact same thing to one of the fitness instructors at the Warehouse? Then, the other day Nickie texted me a meme of how fitness instructors react inside their head when a member complains about an exercise (They love it). It made me reflect on my fitness attitude.

Here’s some history. I was involved in sports my whole life and played intramural sports and community sports into my mid thirties. I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain or lose weight (My lunch consisted of a Coke and Snickers for the first three years of my teaching career.).  I had high cholesterol, but the doctors weren’t worried about it because I was so active.

Eric and I were gym members everywhere we lived. I hated every moment of it. He would MAKE me go and it caused lots of arguments even though I knew he was just trying to keep me going. Then kids came along and I stopped going to the gym. We would go on long walks with the kids and dogs, play in the backyard, and we started eating healthier because I wanted to set a good example. I worked out with videos in the living room while the kids were napping. Was I in the best shape of my life? No, but I felt good.

We moved to Minnesota in 2006 with a 4 year old and an infant. No friends, no family, and no job for me. Eric traveled and I spent a lot of time looking for a job and feeling sorry for myself. Eventually we joined the “Y’ and I put the kids in child care there so I could at least get a run in on the treadmill. That lasted a few months and then my knee started hurting so the run became a walk and the desire to be pain free took hold. My workouts started fading and so did my energy. I felt old.

My kids started getting more involved in sports and the mom taxi took priority. I was glad my kids wanted to be active. My childhood was filled with activity, but I never knew how much of herself my mom gave up to support me and my desire to play sports. I was a “single” mom (remember, Eric travels for work), working fulltime and keeping my kids active. We started eating less healthy; who am I kidding? We ate like crap – mostly fast food on the way to and from activities or concessions at those activities. 

I was not active anymore, not in the sense of fitness anyway. I was still walking but that’s about it. My cholesterol was higher and doctors wanted me to take medication. I didn’t have the time to work out, so I started the medication. 3 different prescriptions, the same results – I felt like what I imagine a 90 year old feels like. I could barely stand. I was also starting to gain weight, which had never before happened to me. Eric and I happened to meet a 60 year old woman who was a personal trainer. We hired her and started working out once a week. Then we started working out a little more on our own. It felt great, but it was easy to skip for really no reason at all. 

One day, Eric came home and said he was going to try a new gym and asked if I wanted to join him. That was a no-brainer. NO! He actually thought I had the time and energy (with 2 kids, a husband who traveled, 2 dogs, and a full time job) to go to the gym?!

About a month later he asked me again if I’d like to try the gym. He thought I’d really like it and should just try it. I gave in just to shut him up. I really thought I’d give it a week and that would be the end of it. Well, that was not the case. Ten years later, instructors and members have come and gone, but I am still attending fitness classes at the Warehouse – not without some hiccups.

After about 6 months of membership the kids and I were in a car accident that left me in quite a bit of pain. I powered through and attended classes, modifying just about everything hoping that I would just get better, only I was getting worse. I had a ruptured disc and torn ligaments in my neck that were never going to heal. After 3 years of chronic nerve pain and powering through I was finally able to get a disc replacement. The healing process took months – no years, but I was strong and fit going into the surgery. I was able to get back to the gym in 3 months and it felt great to have my life back a little bit. Gradually, I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve had some set backs because I pushed myself too hard, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. 

It’s okay to modify exercises to fit your needs. 

It’s okay to pick up a lighter weight or no weight at all. 

It’s okay do go low impact some days. 

It’s okay to take some time to rest and recover.


It’s been almost 10 years since the accident and 7 years post surgery. I am at the Warehouse 3 days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I do more now than I thought would have been possible because the chronic pain used to be debilitating. Some days I can do everything that the instructor asks and other days I have to make modifications. It’s only recently that I started picking up the 10 and 15 pound weights again. I might have been able to do it sooner, but I was afraid. I didn’t want any setbacks. I still modify quite a bit and I can feel when the weather is changing, but I am strong, and dedicated to living a long, mobile lifestyle. 

I celebrated my 50th with Elvis serenading us through bootcamp. Who has a surprise birthday workout party? ME! I’ve done more burpees than I care to admit and I now hate songs that I used to love. Thunder and Sally have different meanings for Warehouse members than for most people.

I know I don’t look it (wink wink), but I turn 52 at the end of April. I recently climbed/hiked (starting at 11 feet above sea level) 3400 feet to the top of a volcano and down. I am stronger than I’ve ever been. I am more flexible than my 22 year old self. I am keeping my cholesterol and blood pressure in control. A recent heart scan showed absolutely no plaque, which is amazing with my family history. I could still eat better and exercise more, there’s always room for improvement, but I’ve found a balance that works for me. 

I love coming to the Warehouse because it’s not just a workout for me. It’s connecting with friends, making new friends, sharing struggles and successes. The Warehouse has become a family and support system for me. You all know which songs I hate to see on the board and which exercises are the most challenging for me. So, when I am grumbling about an exercise, making a smart comment or an ugly face to the instructor, it’s done with admiration and love. The challenge is good for me.

I may be 52 calendar years old, but I feel like 30 something. My dad always says “Age is a state of mind.” I now completely understand exactly what he means by this.