Meet Jeanette Johnson the October SLAMer of the Month. Jeanette has been at the heart and sole of building our SLAM village in Fairbanks from day 1. She comes to class, works hard and has a smile that is contagious. She continues to inspire and challenge me as an instructor and friend. She embodies everything stroller strong moms is about. Here is her story:
I grew up in a non-athletic home as a result I never learned to be competitive yet found myself always drawn towards fitness. My fitness journey really started with cross country in High School, then moved on to Army ROTC in college with a couple of marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks mixed in and then maintaining active duty Army physical fitness standards. While on active duty and once I was out the the Army I stayed active mostly with my husband by my side doing at home workouts like Insanity, P90X, and Piyo. At the age of 32 I had my daughter Ayzling, I stayed healthy during the pregnancy and post-partum but my time and energy spent on fitness declined quickly. I went back to work full time and the best time to work out seemed to be the mornings but that also felt like the most impossible time after being up multiple times during the night breastfeeding or soothing my baby. I also felt strongly that I did not want to put her into a stroller or bike trailer for long periods of time just so I could workout all the while limiting her mobility and activity. So, I did what I could with walks as well as the handful of mornings I managed to drag myself out of bed for a workout. I accepted that this was a season where my fitness would not be a priority. I had just started to get back into regular exercise when along came my son, Ace. Now 35, very sleep deprived, chronically dehydrated from what sometimes seems like constant breastfeeding, regular fitness almost seemed like a joke. To top it all off we moved when Ace was 3 months old to a beautiful roomy and yet very much project house so suddenly any extra energy I had was spent painting, cleaning, and unpacking. All I managed to do during this time was get out for walks and I got my “workout” by carrying my 35lb toddler on my back and my 15lb baby on my front.
Now enter my beautiful friend and S.L.A.M. instructor Katie Provencher, it was a very cold -24 degree day in Fairbanks at a little girls princess tea party and Katie asked me if this would be something I would be interested in. I had no idea what I was saying yes to. To be honest I was a true sceptic I thought, there is no way this is going to be worth the work of getting two kids out of the house daily and besides these moms probably socialize more than work, but luckily I decided to go to support my friend.
My 1st day Ace cried almost the whole time making it difficult to fully participate, the positive for me was watching Ayzling follow along in the exercises. After the 1st day I wasn’t sure about going back, I knew at this point the workouts were worth it but I knew we would be gone a lot of the summer and I honestly wasn’t sure I was ready for the parenting work of getting two kids out of the house on a consistent schedule every day.
Luckily the next day was one of those days that you just don’t want to be home alone with the kids all day so we went and Katie made me SLAM. From that day on I was hooked. I found a double jogger, I updated my workout gear, and I suddenly found a successful routine of getting up and getting out of the house everyday with two kids. My only goal was to feel healthy and to be active again while setting an example for my children.
The unplanned side effects- my body has changed, things fit that didn’t used to and things don’t fit that used to be too tight. But better than a fit body the best part, the biggest blessing, the part you can’t pay for, or buy, or train for, is being a part of a strong community of women. Women who encourage, cheer, support, co-parent my children, and energize me everyday. I feel so undeserving of this recognition because I am so impressed by the moms who surround me at every workout. We meet weekly on this common ground of trying to “do life” – parent, exercise, take care of our houses, be good wives, be good friends…. Every week I watch these women love and encourage and support one another without so much as a single judgment or comparison being thrown around. Seriously, where do you ever find that with any group of women??? I’ll tell you where, it is with Stroller Strong Moms and it will change your world. We battle lifes challenges one burpee at a time, we sweat our booties off while smiling and laughing together, we frog jump and plank our way into better moods and box jump our way to better lives. Stroller Strong Moms has truly changed my life it has given me the perfect marriage of fitness and motherhood. It gave me control and schedule and rhythm when I felt so out of control with two kids and a new house. It gave me a sisterhood of mammas to sweat with and a 3 year old who “instructs” her dolls in “stroller mommies” and teaches her Daddy “squat ups” and push-ups and “frog leaps” and burpees!