In April, Flynn, the owner of Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping Bloomington, IL, asked if I would share my Farrell’s journey. I said, "yes, of course", but the more I thought about it, fear crept in. My journey with Farrell’s began at a time when my personal life had many ups and downs. Sharing my story was going to be difficult, but something I knew I wanted to do.
In 2012, a friend had successfully completed her Farrell’s 10-week challenge
and I decided it was time to make a change. I had been a four-sport athlete in high school and ran track in college. After college, I moved to a small town where I knew only one person, my boyfriend. I worked 2nd shift, spent a lot of time by myself and ate my share of unhealthy food. I slowly withdrew from family and friends. Mentally and physically, I unhappily didn’t recognize the person I had become. I joined Farrell’s hoping it was the push I needed to find myself again.
As a former competitive athlete, I was terrified to walk in those doors and not be able to “be the best”. I quickly learned that Farrell’s isn’t about competition, but instead about motivation, challenging and supporting one another. I was hooked! It wasn’t just the kickboxing (which is AMAZING), but seeing the heart of those around me. Watching people push themselves to levels they had never been before. While my results weren’t what I thought they would be after my first 10-weeks, I saw a change in myself mentally and that was enough for me to keep going. The next 10-week session I put aside all the excuses and followed the program 100%. I lost 15 pounds and 18 inches.* I was now physically and mentally where I wanted to be.
The next part of my journey is painful to relive. I was fit, healthy and happy, but still something was missing. My husband and I decided it was time to start a family. Two long years later, after lots of tears, rollercoaster emotions, tests and procedures, we finally learned we would be welcoming our miracle baby! I had no intentions of stopping my workout routine, but unfortunately my body had different plans. Due to complications I was put on strict no-exercise bed rest. Not long after I was released from bed-rest, our son Ari was welcomed into the world.
Just three weeks after Ari was born, I was released to begin running again, something I attribute to my body being fit pre-baby. But something else was wrong. No matter what I did; how much I ran, slept, or tried to tell myself everything was okay, I had this feeling of impending doom and anxiety. I had post-partum depression. It is real and it is terrifying. Admitting it and getting help was by far the most difficult challenge I've faced. My fantastic support system, both at work and at home, stepped up, made me realize it was okay to be vulnerable and helped me get the professional care I needed.
Fast-forward to July 2016, I'm a year and a half into being a new, working mom, trying to figure out who I am again. The opportunity to rejoin my Farrell’s family came up and I jumped head-first. I knew that the Farrell’s program worked, I missed the friendships I had as well as the constant motivation I received when I walked through those doors. I worked hard in the gym, but wasn’t focused on nutrition. In January 2017, I witnessed my grandmother take her last breath, and I was reminded once again that life is short, and I needed to seize every moment. I still hit every workout hard, but focused on diet and set new goals. My first goal was to start running again. After each bands class, I incorporated a two-mile run. That set me up to run my first 10K. I received support and motivation from my Farrell’s family every step of the way. They asked how my training was going and sometimes joined me on a run. On September 2nd, I completed my first 10K, placing 5th out of 150 women. I raced with one of my Farrell’s family members at my side (Shout out to Sara Grimm!).
I would not have accomplished that goal or set my next goal for a half marathon, if it wasn’t for Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping. The daily workouts that focus on strength and endurance are just one component of what Farrell’s offers. I could not be more proud that I also became a Farrell’s instructor. As an instructor, I have gained confidence in my skills as a leader. Hearing positive and constructive feedback from members who I value and appreciate continues to help me grow.
Why did I finally decide to share my story? Because each day, I see women and men walk into Farrell’s with struggles and strengths of their own. Each of us has our reasons for being there, but we all find balance at Farrell’s. I share my story in hopes that we will choose to lift one another up and support each other while reserving judgement, not knowing what internal or physical battles someone is facing. I have a long way to go, physically, mentally and emotionally. With support from my family, friends, Farrell’s and God, I continue to overcome my struggles each day. Thank you, to my Farrell's family for keeping me coming back for more!
(October - December 2016 *Individual results may vary.)
Jessie D. is a FIT Member at our Bloomington, IL Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping location.
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