Hi! My name is Adrianne and I’m 33 years old. I reside originally from the Philadelphia area, but I have now called many places home as a military spouse. I’m married to my best friend, Anthony, and we have a two year old son and a little girl on the way.
I was born with a congenital heart defect that has given me many battle scars and a true appreciation for the gift of each day and good health. After my last surgery, at three years old, the doctor’s suggested that I build up my strength, so my parents decided to enroll me in a dance school. It was then that I began my love of all things dancing and singing as I spent my days in tap, jazz, and ballet classes. I continued dancing until college and loved it! Upon entering college, I signed up for a gym membership and attended various classes, as that’s what I knew and loved. While the classes were great, I never really learned how to work out or maintain a high level of fitness.
In college I studied Elementary Education and Spanish at a small liberal arts school in Philadelphia and began my teaching career upon graduation. Fast forwarding to the spring of 2009, I married the love of my life, sent him off to Afghanistan a few weeks later, and moved back in with my parents. I worked on my fitness sporadically between teaching and working on my master’s degree in the evenings. Anthony came home a year later and we moved to Fort Bragg where I attended a lot of Zumba classes. I still loved to dance and sing so Zumba was a great fit, but that was the extent of my workout routine.
In 2011 we moved to Savannah, Georgia. I drove to Savannah one day by myself from Alabama, where we were stationed at the time, picked a house in the pouring rain and hoped it was a good choice. Well, little did I know it was the perfect choice! My husband deployed again but this time I stayed in Savannah and taught 7th grade. I took on a new role as an FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader, as my husband was a troop commander this time around. On the day he deployed, as we were walking from the car into the hanger for the dreaded ‘see you later’, my husband introduced me to Kelli Berger. He thought that we would have some things in common, as she also was now an FRG leader and, surprisingly, MY NEIGHBOR! Who knew? Although the deployment was an extremely difficult one for all of us, having Kelli as my battle buddy was a true blessing. We spent the deployment becoming the best of friends as we confided in one another, ate dinner together, planned, prayed, and played together. While Kelli listened to my adventures in teaching, I learned about this amazingly wonderful group where she spent her days called Stroller Strong Moms.
My school year ended and Kelli told me about the teacher summer special at Stroller Strong and she encouraged me to try a class and check it out. I convinced my dear teacher-friend and military spouse, Nichole Burrows, to join me and she graciously agreed to come to our first class kid-free. I felt so silly going without a child. We had a great time and learned what it meant to S.L.A.M. or Sweat Like A Mother! When I got home from my first class, I cried. No, I really did. I was so embarrassed that I could not keep up with these MOMS! I could barely run around the block and I couldn’t believe that I was this out of shape! I mean I could do a fitness class…right? Well, thanks to the amazingly kind and welcoming mamas I tried again. Kim Watson and Lindsey Von, Savannah members, were so sweet and encouraging to me that they made me feel like I was doing great (even when I was struggling). They talked to me for the entire run on my first day making me feel a little less embarrassed about my inability to keep the pace. Well, I attended for the whole summer and the weeks went by so quickly! I gained some new friends, increased my fitness level, and understood why Kelli was so passionate about this group. I was so upset to leave for the school year, but I was hopeful that I could find a group like this when I became a mom.
Soon after the school year started, we were relocated to the DC area and I was 20 weeks pregnant when we arrived. I delivered my greatest blessing, my son Anthony, in May 2014. My labor was difficult and presented many complications. He ended up in the NICU and I was in the ICU, but fortunately everything turned out okay. During my recovery, Kelli texted me and said they would be moving to DC in the near future. I was completely shocked, and, in fact, I thought it was a joke that was too good to be true. Well, in the fall the Berger’s were not only in DC, but our neighbors again!
As soon as they moved, Kelli started the process of launching Stroller Strong Moms DC Area. I couldn’t be more proud of her, but I was also excited as I was now able to be become a member of this wonderful group. Stroller Strong had its grand opening in October and I was completely hooked! I loved the routine of going to class, meeting new mamas, forming friendships, watching my son grow with friends, and working out with my baby in tow was a bonus! Little did I know that while I was cheering Kelli on and hoping for her business to be a huge success in this big city – she was doing the same for me with my fitness journey. She knew my medical history and knew the important role true fitness could have on my health. While having fun every day, I ended up in the best shape of my entire life.
A year later, I celebrated my biggest fitness success to date, I RAN the Army 10 Miler! It was such a thrill and huge accomplishment that I owe to Stroller Strong Moms. Shortly after the race, I realized that I was truly fit…and strong. I was stronger than I have ever been and I found the courage to have another child. Due to my congenital heart defect that I was born with and a complicated birth with my son, my husband and I were nervous to put that strain on my heart again. So, we sought out an excellent cardiologist and literally put my heart to the test! I was put through a battery of stress tests that tested my heart. I successfully completed an extended stress test where I ran on a treadmill at various intervals and speeds until I literally could not handle it anymore. The average success rate of an 18 year old in good health was around 12 minutes before stopping. To my surprise, I went for over 20 without a problem. My heart, a muscle, was strengthened and I know that it was because of my year at SSM that I found such great success in my testing. I passed with flying colors and was given the green light for another child.
Now, here we are only a few weeks away from expecting our second child and I am beyond blessed and thankful for Stroller Strong Moms. This group of amazing women not only lifts you up, pushes you to succeed beyond your expectations, but truly makes you strong. As I am about to have a little girl, I hope to teach her that strong is healthy, but more importantly that lifting other women up and supporting one another is the greatest gift you can give.
I began my journey through the kindness and encouragement of others and stayed because I found a support network unlike any other. Be kind because you never know you are you inspiring. Embrace each day with your heart. Be passionate about your fitness, your friendships, and your family. You won’t regret it. Keep SLAM’n mamas!