Let’s talk about the awkward invisible elephant in the room: chronic illness and injury. Fun start, right?? I was diagnosed with a kidney disease in 2015 and since then I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with my body. It’s pretty manageable most days, but I have to check myself more and make sure I’m not pushing myself past the point of what’s healthy. It’s also made me rely on medications, and about a year ago I changed up my meds and my body just stopped handling weight gain and loss like it used to. I was around 105 pounds in July of 2017 and I’m about 135 now. (For reference, I’m 5’1”...) I know those are just numbers on a scale, but it really took a toll on me mentally because suddenly I just didn’t fit into my clothes anymore - like we’re talking pants-splitting kind of weight gain!! I just stopped feeling like I had control of my body, and honestly it was heartbreaking.
In that same year I decided to quit my corporate job and pursue freelance photography. Mentally a huge weight had been lifted. I was sleeping more, getting outside daily, eating healthy and exercising regularly. I was so much happier than I’d ever been, but my body didn’t feel like it reflected any of that. I didn’t even feel like it belonged to the same person.
Like a lot of other jabbers, I’ve always been pretty athletic. I played sports all my life - I even still play in a volleyball league! I actually think that’s something that draws a lot of jabbers in; Jabs is competitive in the way that a team sport is. There’s something about walking into that studio that flips a switch and you just feel like you’re in it with everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you show up alone (which, for the record, most of us do!) because you work out as a group. But I digress! The point is I didn’t hate exercising, but I was forcing myself into workouts that didn’t inspire me (and if I can be honest, cancelling a lot of them last-minute because I just wasn’t motivated!) Obviously I wasn’t really seeing results. I realized that something just wasn’t adding up; something needed to change.
I took my first jabs class in early fall of 2018. I had watched through the Instagram window for a few weeks before I finally decided to give it a try. I was nervous that I couldn’t keep up, that I wouldn’t fit in, that it would be weird taking classes from a girl who I was mentored in college (you read that right, Syracuse what up!) I met Gina when she was an adorable, slightly lost, freshman in college. She was the same bubbly, vivacious spirit that she is in the studio, but she was still finding herself. And I was lucky enough to be able to help mentor her briefly when I was a senior. I think I knew it then: she was always one to watch, and something kept her in my social media bubble all these years. Fast forward almost 6 years later…
I thought maybe I’d try a class or two and if I liked it I’d keep it in my rotation of weekly workouts. But damn, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Turns out it’s my ONLY workout now! I Jab upwards of 20 times a month. I quit ClassPass and joined Equinox just so I could add more Jabs to my life. I plan my schedule around my Jabs classes. One time I even Jabbed immediately after running a 5 mile race in Central Park - and it was a leg day in Tone!! When we say #allidoisjab, we MEAN it. And no, none of that is required. But the community straight shows UP and you don’t want to miss a dang moment. I haven’t felt this level of commitment since I played team sports - you want to be there for your team.
I’m the type of person who wants to be inspired by my trainer, not just physically, but on a personal level. And here’s the thing about Gina: she does just that. She listens. She cares. If you set a goal, she will work on that. Don’t get me wrong, she’ll whip your whole body in shape - head to toe - but she understands that people want to see results and that each person has a different idea of what they’re looking for. She wants your goals just as much, if not more, then you do. She makes me feel like she truly cares about my success and I don't want to let either of us down!
My goals have changed a lot since I started jabbing. Sure, I would still like to lose weight and build muscle, but more than anything, my main goal is self-confidence. I know it doesn’t seem like there’s a very noticeable difference in any of my “before and after” photos, and I get that. But that’s because the biggest results for me aren’t physical, they’re mental. I work out in just a sports bra now! I let people take pictures of me in a bikini! I got sick of waiting for the body I wanted because now I have a body I love, even though I know it’s a work in progress. I have so much more confidence in myself now. I know what I need, what I deserve, and how to get there.
If there’s one thing I can say, it’s don’t be discouraged when you’re looking at the other journeys and you feel like you haven’t lost weight or you don’t see ab lines yet. Maybe your goal is to forget that other people have different journeys than you. Maybe you have smaller milestones, or mental obstacles to overcome, or invisible mountains to climb. You define the goals that you set; do not set your goals based on someone else’s body. And if you’re watching/reading/working out through Instagram and you’re nervous about coming in? JUST DO IT! Come find me and I’ll be your workout buddy!