Laura is a 35-year-old Help Desk Nerd at OSF Healthcare.
Q: What got you started working out?
A: I decided in September of 2021 to have Gastric Bypass. I was 325 pounds, five feet tall, disabled and had just broken my foot at work. It was rock bottom time! After a sixteen month process, I had my surgery July 23,2022. I knew I had to make the best of my tool!
Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I typically work out three times a week unless my schedule goes crazy! The Semi Private Training is always full of really supportive, awesome people!
Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Dancing. I do enough of it! But, in all sincerity, I’ve become really impressed with my deadlift! There was a time that even the bars were a no go!
Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Flavored Tuna Packets with Avocado or Cottage Cheese and Fruit! Bariatric staples!
Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: I have lived with a disability my entire life. Cerebral Palsy has never defined me but, I have had to fight my inner monologue. I’ve had to overcome “I can’t do that.” and instead ask “How CAN I do that?”
Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I’ve lost one hundred and forty-seven pounds so far! There’s no one cuter than me. right now! But, the pain relief, the increase in my stamina and the improvements to my balance and strength are amazing! The smaller clothes is just a bonus!
Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Self Care and Self Love are not Selfish. I heard a lot when I first started that I was prioritizing myself over other people. I do but, I’m also able to show up for them more now than I could have a year ago!
Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Get off the floor. I live in a disabled body. I fall. So, when I started I wanted to work on practical things, like getting myself up safely after a fall. Now, when I get off the floor occasionally someone will say “I still can’t believe you can do that! Do it again!”
Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: The way that I carry myself is so different. She’s pretty unstoppable! The way my body feels, functions and just exists takes president over the fact that I’m really cute!
Q: What goals are you working on now?
A: I want to learn to ride a bike. I never learned as a kid because of my balance! I think thirty-five is my year!
Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I read at the very least one book a week. I have a soft soot for British Boybands. I believe that flowers and coffee are weekly necessities. I have a big vinyl collection!
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: I get to show up as myself. I get to work out with people that care for me! It’s been awesome to put on hard work alongside people that are cheering for me!