When Amy’s husband Jeff was deployed to Kuwait from May 2011-May 2012, she found herself a single parent with a son suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. Determined to get herself back into shape, she joined the Y and committed herself to being healthy.

When Jeff came home, he was amazed at Amy’s change. 40 pounds lighter, stronger, and more flexible, she ran her first 5k a month after Jeff got back. Shawn Fox, associate fitness director and Amy’s personal trainer, sat down with Amy to ask her about her experience, which she credits to many different staff and friends at the Y.

SF: What got you started, Amy?

A: I wanted to become healthier and stronger, and to get back into the same shape as I was while I served in the National Guard, prior to the birth of my son in 2005. For me it was not about getting to a certain size, or drastic dieting, but instead about maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level for the rest of my life.

SF: You’ve had some great success. How did you do it?

A: The YMCA has helped in so many ways! First, by providing an awesome childcare experience for my son; he has grown so much from his time in Kid’s Stuff! His social skills have definitely improved, which is always a challenge for a child with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Second, by providing so many different classes with such competent instructors; I never felt I was alone on my journey, and was able to find types of exercise that I love. That makes is much easier to be motivated and committed!

And doing personal training with you and Mickey Farmer has been a pleasure! I would not have come so far without you. … I also want to recognize the Group Exercise instructors. Kavita Monteiro has encouraged me since the first day I came to her Group Cycle Class, as has Kim, Carl, Mary, Linda, and Heather. The Pilates/Yoga instructors Tara, Rebecca, Laura, and of course Mickey are amazing as well!

SF: Ok, so you’ve made some major changes to life. How has that worked?

 A: I wanted a balanced approach, because I want to maintain my results for a lifetime. I made a commitment to be healthy, and made time in my life for exercise 5-6 days per week. Even on the days I do not work out at the YMCA, I try and do something active, like walking, or even cleaning the house!

I was able to strengthen all parts of my body by doing a variety of exercises—cross training has been one of the main reasons I have been successful, I think.

My personal trainers were able to show me how to improve my form and body awareness while exercising in order to minimize injury and maximize results.

The New Leaf Metabolic Testing has also helped a lot by showing me how many calories I need daily, and how to maximize my exercise program in order to burn more calories from fat.

I have also made a commitment to eating healthier. For me it is not about cutting out foods altogether, just understanding the proper portion size, and realizing that you cannot splurge every day or use food to relieve stress.

SF: Congratulations Amy, and let us know how we can keep supporting you as you continue on your journey. Thanks so much for sharing your story!