Up until my 40’s, I was always active. I’ve run a half marathon, played netball, completed many Sutherland2Surf and City to Surfs, played basketball and completed a few obstacle races…..if it was a fitness based event, I was in..! In fact, my husband Elliott and I are quite competitive. When it came to fun runs, we’d challenge each other to see who could win. Even when we’re gardening we will see who burns more calories or who has taken more steps in a day. But, it’s all for fitness and health. This competitiveness and support from my husband has played a big part in getting my health back.
Unfortunately, at age 40 I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and crohn’s disease. Spondylitis is a type of autoimmune inflammatory arthritis that starts in the spine. It also affects the larger joints. My wrists, ankles, knees and jaw became inflamed, causing pain, constant injury and stiffness. Crohn’s, which is also an autoimmune condition, requires an extremely modified diet and steroids when it flares up . To manage both my autoimmune conditions and to stop further permanent damage to my joints and organs I have fortnightly injections of an immune suppressant . It’s taken 2.5 years to work through the best medication for me and I’m grateful it is finally working. It does however mean I can get very sick easily as my immune system doesn’t operate ‘normally’.
Elliott and I have 4 kids, Mitchell (20), Fletcher (15), Jackson (13) and Chelsea (11). Fletch has autism, so physical strength is really important for me to be able to support him. I work in the Financial Market and am fortunate to have flexibility with work arrangements.
Now that my medication is working effectively, I decided it was time to get back into exercise and build my strength. Exercise is great for managing my condition as it helps to relieve pain and keep my spine mobile and flexible. But above all this, it’s great for my mental wellbeing.
I came to Tribe as two of my friends (Jen and Janelle) are also members here. I joined on the Trial, it’s a great way to experience everything Tribe offers. It includes Personal Training, Reformer Pilates, Full access to classes, inbody scans and meal plans. After the trial, I kept my personal training with Amy. If I’m honest, I’d almost lost faith in my body as I’d watched it deteriorate before my eyes. Now, I’m 10.1kg lighter and my visceral fat (fat surrounding my vital organs), has plummeted. I’m super happy about this.
The thing I love the most about Tribe is the 5am welcome. All the trainers stand at the front door and acknowledge you by name with a fist pump or a high five. It’s like they are acknowledging that you got your butt out of bed and are super proud of you for it.
My next goal is to continue to build my strength so I can do 1 unassisted chin up. Elliott (my husband), has rigged up a bar at home for me to practice on. Yep, not only am I competitive, I’m determined too.
Cynthia, we are so glad you walked through the doors at Tribe and have loved supporting you to go from strength to strength.