Danielle Gamiz

I’m Danielle, a Navy wife, stay-at-home mama of four, part-time copy editor, and newly minted SLAMBoss living in San Antonio, TX. Here is my SLAM story:

It was May of 2016 and I was living in the DC area while my husband, Nick, was serving a tour at the Pentagon. Stroller Strong Moms advertised a new location at a park in my neighborhood. My baby, Max, had just turned 1, and my B.O.B. wasn’t getting much action beyond daily walks to and from elementary-school pickup.

I showed up with a friend for the grand opening and it was love at first SLAM. The energy of that crowd was amazing! And the fitness level was like nothing I’d ever witnessed a group of moms crank out. Ever.

I got my butt kicked, went back the next day, and never stopped.

That first month of slam’n three-times-a-week was rough. I was the last one on the running routes every day; I was getting out-lifted by pregnant women a full 10 years younger than me; I battled dehydration headaches; I burpee’d myself too hard and strained a hip-flexor. I learned that despite being 5’6”/108 lbs., I was nowhere near fit. I looked around that SLAM group every day and I wanted to be more like those women: strong, healthy, and confident.

You know what happened next? I got stronger. I started catching up on the running routes. I felt less sore every day. I felt myself smiling and encouraging others. Away from SLAM, at home and in my busy life, I felt an injection of energy and optimism in everything I touched. It changed me. My kids saw it. My husband saw it. My friends did, too.

I would never be the same, and I never wanted to be. Then the Navy came calling.

My SLAM-DC journey came to a close last July, just a few months after my first SLAMiversary. I looked at the spot on the SLAM map where I was moving and saw a big hole: No local affiliate. I didn’t want to leave my SLAM routine, but I had no intentions of starting my own affiliate. I was too old, too inexperienced, too busy.

Then I realized what I was leaving behind, and I started to entertain the thought: Why not me?

I wrote some goals for how I might create a “SLAMAntonio” (is there a more perfect hashtag?) and got to work. Get ACE instructor certified — check. Find a park — check. Keep working out — check. There was still one huge piece missing. With my schedule and newness to the community, I knew I needed a strategic partner.

Ready for some goose bumps? In a matter of days, Alexa checked in to see how it was going in San Antonio and mentioned: “There’s a SLAM mama heading your way from Savannah. She’s amazing and she’s interested in being part of what you’re doing. Here’s her number.”

Meet my business partner, SLAM sister, and newfound dear friend, Mandi Afoa.

Mandi Afoa

Hi all! I’m Mandi, an Army wife (go Army beat Navy ;)), mother to two little tykes, certified fitness instructor, former SLAManager, and now … SLAMBoss!

SLAM Savannah changed my life! When my husband, daughter, and I arrived in Savannah, GA, December of 2015, we had no idea what we were getting into. We were newly married and new to parenthood — I still feel like we are ;). It wasn’t more than two weeks that we were Savannah residents when my now dear friend Anna invited me to class with her. We were so far from home, so far from friendship, and so far from having any sort of community, I had no reason to say no. But, I was scared. I wondered: “Am I fit enough? Will I be able to keep up? I haven’t worked out since before Lola. What if my baby cries in the stroller the WHOLE time?”

I can’t thank God enough for bringing me to such an amazing group.

That January of 2016 was game changer. I still remember my first class with Anna. She was so great; she showed me where to park, how to get my stroller loaded up, all the inside scoop to make me look “normal” and not like a tourist! But who was I kidding? Everyone knew I was new and they welcomed me. There were so many burpees, push-ups, sprints, box jumps and I could already feel my body crumbling. I looked at a mom next to me and said: “How will I ever get my body to move for another class?” She said: “You just keep coming back; you get stronger and more sore, and it is a great feeling.” She couldn’t have been more right. I kept going back.

Now fast forward a year … I developed an obsessive love for SLAM ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, and everything that came with it: friendship, community, PR’s in races, my first half marathon, a half marathon while 13 weeks pregnant, second place in the Get Fit Challenge (Hello, Lululemon!), a Run Across Georgia race at 20 weeks pregnant, and all the training runs, push-ups, burpees, box jumps in between! One year later my dear friend Cassie, owner of this amazing group had to move. She left me to manage SLAM Savannah and I again had no idea what I was in for. “Am I good enough, strong enough,
fast enough, nice enough to manage this group?” Guess what — I was, and it was such an amazing experience. Instead of me leading a group of women, they lead me, they taught me, they pushed me, challenged me, loved on me, welcomed our second baby with me and so much more. By the end, the women of SLAM Savannah were more than members, they were my “sisters in sweat” — family I will always have and will forever remember.

It became that time for us — our time in Savannah was drawing to a close. I had entertained the idea and joked about opening an affiliate but was never serious. We were about to have our second baby, about to move to a new location. The “Why me?” questions kept coming to the surface. And as my amazing partner in crime says, it happened just like that. God placed us together the old-fashioned way by exchanging numbers and making a nervous first phone call and mamas: The rest is history. It. Is. Happening. #SLAMAntonio we are coming for you!

Follow SLAMANTONIO on Facebook here and Instagram here. To find out about what Danielle and Mandi have in store for you, check out their webpage!