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A Better Reason To Workout – Ashley’s Story of Heart Surgery <3

Here are some of my thoughts compiled about fitness in general and the benefits of working out that go beyond just being smoking hot. 

So I am not your stereotypical ‘gym bro’; I don’t look like what one would picture as an athlete.

It doesn’t come easily to me, however I hope that I can be an example of what the gym CAN look like for a whole range of people. 

In 2019, I found out that I had a congenital heart defect that would require surgery to repair. Originally we thought this would be a cardiac catheterization (done through the leg). As I went through this process of discovering the extent of my heart defect, I also switched jobs, moved to Unity, and … the tiny little thing of the pandemic. Oh, and I also have two amazing kiddos who watch everything I do. I knew how important it was to take the time and focus on my health so I could come through my surgery successfully. 

In 2020 I officially relocated, and had the pleasure of joining the Fitness Lair during the pandemic. I learned the ‘moves’ watching Coach Jenna on YouTube in the comfort of my own basement. However, I am a social creature, and was very excited to actually enter the gym and start working out in person. It. Was. Intimidating. I started in at the 5:30am class, which is all of the best looking people I’ve ever met in my entire life lifting things heavier than I could imagine. But it didn’t take long to figure out how absolutely radical everyone is and I was hooked.

2021 and 2022 were pretty crazy with medical stuff for me, but I held onto the routine I had created which helped me feel like I was doing something when I had so little control over so many things; it really kept me going mentally. I focused on protein, and getting my time in the gym in. It made a massive difference for me coming out of heart surgery. I recovered very quickly, and was back at work within 3 weeks. 

Despite the setbacks, I know that I am better off having some muscles in the ole’ bod and improved overall fitness. Our entire family has benefited from the Lair.

Anyways, all this to say… looks are great, but being able to absolutely crush a major surgery is priceless. It’s also important to remember that body weight is not the only indicator of success; with coaching all of my lifts have gotten better and I’ve never been stronger. 

Thank you for listening. 

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