AGE:  33

PROFESSION:  Assisted Reproduction & Family Formation Attorney (I work with couples experiencing infertility, egg donors, surrogates, etc.)

BACKGROUND:  I have always been active – played tennis through high school, ran track, etc.  In fact, I was hardly a couch potato when I joined Sonki Fitness.  I had completed a handful of half-marathons and three full marathons, and worked out regularly.  However, despite the fact that I could complete a marathon, I still didn’t feel like I had a handle on my health – mentally, physically or spiritually.  My body had been pretty beat up in the previous four years.  In 2002, my first husband, Greg, took his own life.  It left me, at age 28, a widow and trying to make my way in the world.  Grief does extraordinary things to your mind and body – and you aren’t really even aware that it’s happening when it’s happening.  I lost a bunch of weight just because I was too overwhelmed to eat.  Because of that, I was weak, moody and the migraines that I had always suffered from became ten times worse.  When I started to eat again, even small meals, my body rejoiced at not being starved anymore, and I quickly gained all the weight that I had lost, plus more.

I didn’t need the “plus more” at that point, so I was on this teeter totter of emotions.  In a sick way, I loved that I had lost so much weight even though it was done in the most unhealthy of ways. Then when I gained weight, my self esteem took a plunge.  That’s when I decided
to train for my first full marathon in December 2004 – the Honolulu marathon.  I joined a training group and found that it was the best therapy around.  I met a great core of people and trained together for this big event.  I didn’t lose as much weight as I had hoped, but the sense of accomplishment was amazing.  I cried when I crossed the finish line – it was very emotional.  It was symbolic of crossing over to a new chapter in my life – while you don’t get over the loss of someone you love, you make a decision that it’s not going to define who you are.  That’s at least what I chose – my husband’s death was a defining moment in my life, but I wasn’t going to let it define me.  Shortly thereafter I began training for the San Francisco marathon.  Around that time, things were finally falling into place.  My practice was going well, I had been dating here and there (dating in LA – always so much fun), and physically I was feeling pretty good.  The best thing that happened is that shortly after the SF marathon, I met my current husband Nathan.  And as often happens when you start dating someone, you drink and eat more and exercise less.  Slowly but surely, my workouts became fewer and I put on some weight.  And after a couple of rough years, I decided to join Sonki Fitness – basically on a bet from my brother-in-law that I wouldn’t last more than a session.  Always up for a challenge, I joined.  And while getting up at 5:45am has never been my strong suit, I did it and haven’t looked back since.

Since joining Sonki Fitness, I have gone down about two sizes and lost about 12 pounds.  I hope to lose another ten but am focused more on feeling well and improving my strength and endurance.  Also, I have taken about two minutes off my mile time!  Most importantly, I have been able to go off about half of my migraine medication, and I feel great, more positive and energetic.

What is your current exercise routine?  I attend Sonki Fitness Boot Camp on Mon/Wed/Fri and try to run on Tue/Thu.  Occasionally, I hit the gym with my husband.  On weekends, I try to get in a run or two, go on a hike, take a nice long walk with my husband and our dog Roxy, and/or anything that gets me outdoors.  My New Year’s resolution is to add a Yoga class once or twice a week.

What is your motivation to stay in shape?  What keeps me motivated is the fact that I feel so much better, have more energy and sleep better when I exercise regularly.  And the fact that people compliment me on how fit I am looking.  Really, I just want to be healthy – for myself and my husband Nathan.  I want to be around for a long time!

What is your greatest challenge to staying in shape?  I have struggled with my weight pretty much my entire life.  Even though I am active, I am never going to be a “skinny girl.”  I have curves, and I have learned to accept that.

I have also learned to stay in shape for me – not for other people and not because society says I should look a certain way.  Look, I was blessed with J Lo’s butt but not with Heidi Klum’s body!!  And no matter how hard I work out, I am never going to be a size 2.  I have learned to just accept that.

What is your key to success?  Just keep going.  Don’t let one slip up turn into an avalanche.  I have a mantra that has provided inspiration since the death of my first husband.  It’s a quote by Maya Angelou:  “I can be changed by what happens to me.  I refuse to be reduced by it.”  Believing in myself and knowing that I can do things that I didn’t think possible helps me put one foot in front of the other, no matter how hard something is (and getting out of bed while it’s still dark, cold and/or raining outside is HARD!).  I also have a husband and family that enjoy being active and outdoors.  We try to incorporate fitness and health into our daily lives which helps tremendously – it’s easier when both of you enjoy hiking or biking, etc, because you can do those things together, which means not only working out but also spending some quality time with someone you love.

How long have you been doing Sonki Fitness Boot Camp?  I have been doing Sonki Fitness Boot Camp for about a year and a half (since April 2006).  I started based on a bet with my brother-in-law, who was also attending Sonki Fitness.  My recollection is something like this.  Me:  “I need a new fitness regime”  Jeremy:  “Sonki Fitness starts on Monday”.  Me:  “Oh, I don’t know, I did boot camp and all I experienced was being stuck in a small room with a crazy trainer yelling at me.”  Jeremy:  “it’s not like that. But it’s at 6:30 in the morning.  Me: “6:30?? Are you kidding?”  But I signed up, showed up, and have been fully committed since.  The only break I took from Sonki Fitness is when I broke both of my elbows while ice skating (not fun) and my wedding/honeymoon in French Polynesia.  The doctors told me I healed faster because I was in better shape before the accident, so Sonki saved me from months of painful rehab.  I also participate in Sonki Fitness Xtreme Training (XT) whenever Sonki offers them. I LOVE XT!!

What do you like about Sonki Fitness Boot Camp and how has it affected your life?  As everyone else has said, the camaraderie in class is amazing.  There is always someone there to help you if you aren’t feeling your best and to urge you to keep going.  I’ve even met some of my best girlfriends in Sonki Fitness.  Really, there’s nothing better than starting your day with a great workout and many laughs.  I owe a lot to Sonki and the group –  they have helped me get my health in control.  I feel better than I have in years.  And I know it will only get better!

What advice would you give to others about fitness?  It might sound cliché, but you just have to show up for yourself.  Losing weight and getting healthy for yourself is far more powerful than doing it for someone or something else.  And don’t be so hard on yourself when you miss a work out.  Tell yourself it’s ok, but just don’t make it a habit.  I find that on the days when I do sleep in, I feel guilty by 8am (oh, I should have gone to Sonki!).  If I can remember that feeling, I can usually find a way to get my butt to class! Usually, contrary behavior (exercising when you don’t want to, eating healthy when you would rather eat an entire chocolate cake) provides the best result.

Any other comments?  Thank you to Sonki and the group.  My overall physical, mental and emotional health has improved so much in the last year and half, and I know it’s because I FEEL better.  I owe a lot to Sonki and the group.