SLAM’er of the Month – Stroller Strong Moms Fayetteville’s Carly Brinker

My name is Carly Brinker, and I’ve called Stroller Strong Moms Fayetteville “home” since August 2018. I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant with our first child and couldn’t be more excited to welcome our son this June. If you do the math, that means I’ve been SLAM’n since before I was pregnant, and I’m not kidding when I say that’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

My fitness journey officially began in May 2018. I’ve always been pretty active, and after 4 years of competitive tennis in high school…let’s just say I took it easy in college. After college, I immediately dove into the “military lifestyle”. Our first stop was Fort Rucker, where I exercised occasionally, but I worked so much it seemed more like a chore than something I enjoyed. Fast forward two years, one foot surgery and a PCS later, we found ourselves in Fort Bragg. After needing another foot surgery, finding a job wasn’t my top priority. It was the first time I wasn’t working more than one job and could actually do things I wanted and loved to do. I took full advantage of this. My days consisted of laying on the couch, watching Netflix, crafting, teaching myself how to crochet, and the list goes on. Working out rarely made the list. I would start a new workout program and never follow through long enough to achieve any meaningful results.

One day out of the blue, my husband and I decided to sign up for Tough Mudder, which is a 10 mile, very muddy obstacle course. I had several months to train but didn’t put in the effort I should have. When the Tough Mudder official photos came out, I didn’t recognize the person in them. I was the heaviest I had ever been…I truly felt like that was my “rock bottom”. So, I made a change. After being more mindful of my diet and getting back into the gym, I lost 20 pounds over the course of 3 months and felt great! Then my husband threw me for a loop…he was ready to start our family. Although excited, I was a little bummed since I worked so hard to lose all that weight. I was so afraid I would sink back into my lazy ways once I got pregnant.

Coincidently, around this time I was invited to a yoga class with a “mom’s workout group”. I hesitantly accepted the invitation and attended, then was invited back to try one of their regular classes. I loved it! I felt a little intimidated since I wasn’t a mom, but Amy and her crew welcomed me with open arms. I could tell there was something special about this group, and I wanted to be a part of it. Luckily, a month into going to SLAM I found out I was pregnant, and I’ve been SLAM’n ever since! I’ve gained the 20 pounds back, (plus some), but I know I’m way more fit than I was 11 months ago. I’m happier, healthier, more confident, and so grateful to have not fallen back into my lazy ways. And I have SSM-Fayetteville to thank for that.

I’m so proud to be a part of this amazing group of women. It’s taught me the most important meaning of being “strong”, both physically and mentally. It brings tears of joy to my eyes to see how supportive these women are to one another; constantly building each other up and cheering each other on, something this world needs a little more of. It can be hard as a military spouse to find a sense of belonging, but by being a member of this amazing community I’ve found that and so much more. These women are my friends, my motivators, and most importantly, my second family. Working out doesn’t feel like a chore anymore, I wake up every morning excited to go to class, and already can’t wait to get back to SLAM after the birth of my son. I know I will have to best support system to motivate and hold me accountable towards reaching all of my goals. Thank you, SSM-Fayetteville for providing a welcoming, yet challenging environment that allows each of us to grow in our own unique way. Your love, encouragement and support mean the world to me!