I joined FFOTB shortly after I was laid-off from my job so let’s just say I had an abundance of time on my hands.
“This is the time of year wherein we are all reminded to be thankful, to give graciously and to celebrate life, joy, and peace. As I sit (with perfect posture of course) at my desk figuring out who and how to give thanks to this year, it occurs to me that I have never in my life been more thankful for anything more than I am for FFOTB.
Three years ago, I was rushed into emergency spine surgery because I couldn’t sit, stand, walk or drive, let alone train. I was told that I have a degenerative disc disorder, that I would have chronic lifetime pain and that the surgery that I did have was simply step one in a three-step surgery involving disc replacing, fusing and a mechanical cage. Four “second” opinions later, I was assured there was no non-surgical intervention option. I was afraid to have surgery what with all of the horror stories I read. Even if 100% successful, the best case after-surgery scenario was to relieve my pain by 60% and once all of the hardware settled, I would have restricted mobility for the rest of my life.
I decided that unless and until I was rendered immobile, I wouldn’t have surgery. For over 2 years, I went to physical therapy and acupuncture, eventually added back pilates and took up spinning. No matter what I did, I wound up in pain and with a shoulder injury!
I found that the only fitness I could participate in sustained my injuries, compounded my pain and bored me to death. I hired a personal trainer to work on stabilizing my shoulder. Every time I left him, I went to physical therapy and came back all wrapped up with kinesiology tape and every time he saw the tape, he scaled me back and said I couldn’t do any more. As I was lifting 5lb max dumbbells down the bluff, I watched your gym without walls with great envy. It looked weird and scary and impossible but always sounded like so much fun. My trainer kept saying quit dreaming when he saw me watching your student body. “Just what you need Melanie is to be 1. running, 2. with a medicine ball over your head or 3. swinging a kettle bell.”
As it turns out, he was right, FFOTB is EXACTLY what I needed. I came to you guys all taped up and said I was between spine surgeries, had a shoulder injury and that I could NEVER take your class, although it looked like great fun. You told me NEVER say NEVER and that you were a functional fitness class suited and scaled if necessary to all levels and students. I was super determined to prove you wrong; as it turns out, you proved me not only wrong but strong. Class up to 6 days a week and no more physical therapy, no more back or shoulder pain.
Above and beyond coaching my broken body back to health, a state that was supposedly physically illusive for me, FFOTB enriches my mind and my heart daily and ridiculously exponentially. Every time I read a blog I swear it was directed right at me until I get to class and realize everyone else thought the same exact thing. Universally applicable and priceless brilliance, motivation, inspiration, guidance, sentiment and hilarity outside the classroom and inside the outside gym. An entire community (dare I say Nation?)of support, laughter, friendship and social networking.
I love life without pain, I love our community for getting me there. I love the challenge, the competition, the dancing, the joking and every awesome practice of the day and I super love that strong is the new skinny! Your passion and commitment to me is beyond functional, it is phenomenal. Your school is more than fitness, it is wellness.
With all of my heart and heartfelt thanks,
Melanie, FFOTB Athlete
(Note: my name and “athlete” used almost legit in the same sentence for the first time since ‘72!)”