Success Story: Jessalyn Siewert, finding strength, finding herself, and finding a fit family like no other
We all have different stories and we’re all on a different journey. This is mine… My Bodies by Burgoon story starts long ago at a different (corporate) gym with a different trainer. I was fresh out of college and finally making money. I joined a gym to get myself in better shape and hired a trainer as a treat to myself. At that time I only knew Jason as the trainer at the gym who always worked out intensely in black sweatpants with a hoodie pulled up and over his head. I found him intriguing, intense and slightly terrifying but didn’t think I could handle a trainer like that. So imagine my surprise the day I was told that he would be my new trainer…deep breath. I showed up to that first workout; looked at him and said, “I’ll do almost anything but if you make me cry, puke or do box jumps, I’m done.” He didn’t make me cry, he didn’t make me puke and we didn’t do box jumps (that day). I was definitely challenged, definitely sore and definitely hooked. What I hadn’t yet realized that day was, while I had hired a trainer to help make over my body, much more was going to change.
I’ll admit; I’m not the best diet/exercise role model there is. I like chocolate, I like to bake-a lot, I’m stubborn and don’t like being told what to do. Weight didn’t fall off me and muscles didn’t develop overnight. It was slow and steady work with ups and downs and while I’m sure it drove him nuts, it’s what worked for me. I’ve lost weight, wear smaller clothes and have a butt where almost none existed before. I can run a half-marathon and bench press with weight on the bar, but in all honesty, that’s not what matters the most to me. It’s the changes you can’t see from looking at me. It’s being stronger inside and out. It turns out that challenging your body in new ways not only changes you behind but also reshapes your mind. Somewhere over endless lunges, frog jumps, squat jumps, kicks, punches, and laps pushing and pulling that man around a track, I became a new person. I was able tofind my true self and to beat back what I call Former Fat Girl Syndrome (FFGS). It’s that lingering pain, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, worthlessness, etc that comes from being bigger at some point in your life and often results from the comments and the actions of others. It’s that voice that tells you, you can’t wear that, or do that, and definitely don’t try that, how dare you think anything is different. My body was changing but it was still holding me back. Now I believe in myself, I have confidence, and I didn’t even realize it was happening. There was no big ah-ha moment, just little things. I signed up to run a half-marathon with co-workers I barely knew, I signed up for the Tough Mudder (alone), I bought a house as a single mid-20 year old woman, I even wore a bikini, attracted the attention of the man and eventually called him up (we got married in October). It’s also given me the confidence to go further in my career then I ever imagined.
So if all that’s happened, why do I still train? After all I’m smaller, tighter, confident,successful, and can do more that I ever thought possible. Wasn’t that the goal? I’ve had people point out how much I’ve spent over the years and comment that aren’t Ijust buying a friend and shouldn’t I know how to work out myself now. What I say to that is; it’s money well spent and yes I know how to work out and no I’m not paying for a friend, I’m investing in my life and in a man whose dream I believe in. You see I’ve spent years training with Jason listening to him talk about the gym he hoped to run some day. I recognized not just a big dream but also a man who could make it happen. He could create a gym that accepted people for who they were now and help them become what they wanted to be; a gym that focused on giving people their life back, a better life than they imagined and not just how much money could be made. A gym that would connect people, create friendships, and create family. A gym with quality trainers who care about the people they train and want to help you reach whatever goals you’ve set. I could have stopped training and stuck with the old gym, at times it would have made more financial sense, but there was no way I was willing to miss this man creating this place; Bodies by Burgoon. Why would I miss out being a part of something that gives your life back, better than youimagined, with new friendships and a new family? Why wouldn’t I want to watch others accomplish things they never thought possible and be there to cheer them on? Why would I cut out one of the best things that ever happened to me? The journey isn’t always easy, and there may be tears and sore muscles, there will be ups and downs and you might even throw up (it happens) but I promise you it’s all worth it.
My journey isn’t over yet, FFGS still creeps up, I can only do 1 pull-up, and I have a lot more life to live. More goals, more challenges, more ups and downs and it’s the same for my Bodies by Burgoon family. I can’t wait to see what’s to come.