I began horseback riding at the age of 5, and it quickly became my life's passion. After graduating high school I began college, and accepted a working student position at a local equestrian center. That is when I decided that being a professional equestrian trainer was what I wanted to do with my life. I worked my way up from working student/groom to being a paid instructor/trainer. Life was great!
In 2009 my life was turned upside down. I was involved in a serious car accident that left me with permanent/painful knee and back injuries. Doctors advised me to hang up my riding boots, but I was willing to do whatever possible to continue my equestrian career. I attended physical therapy and received numerous epidurals and knee injections over the course of 5 years so I could continue living my dream, whether I was in pain or not! Unfortunately, all of the treatments were temporary band aids, and by 2014 the pain was unbearable. My dream life as an equestrian center owner was officially over.
I turned the business over to my business partner, and went back to work as a bartender. I quickly put on 25 pounds and became very anxious and semi-depressed. I never had to work out or run in my entire life because of my extremely active equestrian lifestyle. I never realized how much I relied on my profession for my exercise and mental stability! I felt so stuck. Doctors said my pain was returning even though I wasn't riding because I was putting on some weight, and it was bad for my knees and back. They also couldn't give me any other suggestions besides the normal physical therapy stuff and dieting to make the situation better. I was praying for a better option.
My best friend got married July 2014, and had lost quite a bit of weight for her wedding. She had been attending Orangetheory Fitness for several months, and her physical and mental health were amazing. She had urged me to go, but I was scared about my injuries. I finally decided to give it a shot. What was the worst thing that could happen? I went to my first class and was a little apprehensive, but the trainer assured me I would be fine, injuries and all! They had shock absorbing treadmills, and low impact options on all the exercises. An hour later, I was hooked!
Lets fast forward to April 2016! Physical Fitness has become a lifestyle for me, and not only because of the drastic changes in my physical appearance. Yes, I lost around 30 pounds and at 33 am in the best shape I have ever been in, but that is just the icing on the cake ( or the peanut butter on the celery)! After almost two years of strengthening my mind and body with Orangetheory, running and working out has become my stress/anxiety relieve. For that, I am forever grateful. Two years ago I was told I would probably never run any sort of distance without experiencing pain. Now, thanks to Orangetheory, I can run 5k's on the concrete! I also have been almost 18 months without a single prescription medicine for pain/swelling, knee injection, or epidural. My anxiety and depression are nearly non existent, and my self-confidence continues to grow, and I owe it all to Orangetheory!
I now am a believer of when one door closes, another will open. I truly thought my life was over when I learned my equestrian career was finished, but I am now grateful for the door that was opened because of that hardship. I decided that it was time to pay it forward by starting my career at Orangetheory so that I could help people change their lives, just as mine was. I started as a sales associate at Orangetheory Fitness Stuart, and worked my way up the ranks. I got my Personal Trainer's certificate and was also certified through OTFit. I am now the Head Trainer here at OTF Stuart and look forward to helping our members achieve their fitness goals!