February 2023 Member Spotlight: Aubrey Morris

Have you met Aubrey Morris?  If you have been a member at Forward Fitness for very long, I bet you have.  Aubrey has been a member of our Fit Fam for 7 years and is just one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  We are very excited to feature her this month as our member spotlight so that everyone can get to know a little bit more about her.

Aubrey grew up in Marissa, a small town in Southern Illinois. This is how she describes her life while growing up. “I loved my childhood experience and grew up with an older brother and lots of first cousins who were around my age. We played outside all the time, riding bikes, swimming, water skiing, tubing, and exploring the creeks and woods where we lived. Our parents encouraged us all to try different sports from a young age and in a small town, it seemed like everyone played every sport! Softball, volleyball, and basketball kept me busy throughout most of my school years, as did various clubs and organizations like Student Council, National Honor Society and especially the FFA (Future Farmers of America). I wasn’t breaking records or getting scouted for scholarships, but I did get recognized as an All-Conference outfielder on my softball team my senior year. In college, I missed being an athlete and the routine that came along with my high school sports schedule. I attempted to join the Murray State University Rowing team and loved the team dynamic, but after a few short weeks of training the intense schedule burned me out and I decided to quit.  Instead, I focused on enjoying college life and playing on the occasional intramural softball and flag football teams with my sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha.”  Here are a few fun facts that Aubrey shared about herself, “One of my passions is photography. My wonderful aunt Sharon encouraged me to practice with her camera since I was very young, but I’ve been shooting family portraits for over 10 years now. I’ve been married for 15 years to my wonderful husband, Justin, a former College Football player who has always supported my time at Forward Fitness. We have an 11-year-old cattle dog mix named Noodles who is my bestie, and two 15-year-old cats named Rocco and Poe that I adore. I enjoy bird hunting on occasion (turkey, quail, and pheasant). I have two adorable, fun, active and growing nephews and often think of my workouts as “Aunt Training” for when they want me to lift, spin and throw them around when we’re playing! Sometimes the 40lb sandbags or 50lb kettlebells seem out of my league, but when I view them instead as “nephew weight” it’s amazing how much stronger I become!”

We asked Aubrey why health and fitness were important to her, and this was her response. “My health and fitness goals have significantly evolved during my seven years as a member at Forward Fitness. At first, I wanted to feel better about how I looked. I would participate in Fit Camps 2-3 times a week and joined several gym challenges that helped me focus on making healthy habits – from nutrition to sleep and water intake. I then started focusing more on how I performed. I was encouraged to join the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) team where we worked on strength, endurance, agility and trained harder than I had in years. I was working out 5-6 days a week at the gym including some short evening trail runs and early morning hill sprints. I competed in two obstacle course races and surprised myself with what I was able to accomplish. After a mild lower back injury, I took a step back from OCR. Now, I primarily focus on how I feel. Keeping a consistent routine has been critical to not only my physical health, but my mental health.  The 100 Workout Challenge has been a game changer for me, especially during the fall and early winter months when I normally wouldn’t prioritize my health.”  

Aubrey found Forward Fitness because she works right across the street. She had this to say about how she started with us. “I work at a Marketing Agency located directly across the street from Forward Fitness. After they were open for about a year, my colleague suggested we check them out. We sat down with one of the trainers who asked us a few questions and suggested we consider working out about four days a week. I remember laughing out loud at the prospect of working out so much! Now, heading to the gym for a noon class on occasion, or an evening workout after work is a regular part of my weekly routine.”

Unfortunately, setbacks happen to all of us but Aubrey has been able to look at those challenges in a positive light.  “Since joining Forward Fitness, I’ve had a few health setbacks but view them all as extra motivation to be as healthy as possible. I had a Stage 1 Melanoma removed in 2017. Thankfully it was easily treated with an outpatient procedure but hearing the word “Cancer” gave me a renewed outlook on taking even better care of myself.  A lower back injury in 2018 reinforced how important it is to listen to how my body feels and to focus on good form, even when I’m feeling my strongest.  An ankle injury in 2020 taught me to know my limits (and to avoid jumping over a rope on one leg)! My recovery from COVID in 2021 taught me patience, as it took about a year to gain back lost endurance. It’s always easy to start fresh when you have warm, welcoming, and fun people that are happy to see you and encouraging when you show up!” 

Here are some accomplishments that Aubrey is most proud of. “Starting my seventh consistent year at Forward Fitness is a huge accomplishment and something I don’t think I would have ever guessed I would have committed to when I first joined. I started tracking my workouts in a spreadsheet in 2019 and since then, have logged close to 650 workouts. I would guess I’m easily in the realm of 1,000 workouts completed since I joined in January 2016 which is incredible to think about. I’m also proud of my time on the OCR team and the races I was able to complete. I’ve never been a runner and I’m proud I was able to overcome the physical and mental hurdles required to complete two incredibly challenging courses. I love feeling strong and surprising people with my strength! It’s easy to be underestimated when you’re only 5’1” tall…I might be small, but I sure feel mighty!”

Aubrey has some great tips on how to stay motivated and on making fitness a priority in your life. “The accountability factor has helped me in many ways. Being accountable to myself, first and foremost has been key. I just have to show up and the rest is easy. Tracking my workouts on a simple spreadsheet feels like a “win” each time I check off another day, and has helped me set realistic goals, plan my workouts, and identify milestones throughout the year. Seeing my gym friends is also incredibly motivating! I love spending my evenings winding down after work at the gym. Catching up with the coaches, laughing between sets and cheering on my fellow Forward Fam members makes the time fly by and keeps it fun. The 100 Workout Challenge has been incredibly motivating as well. Not only do I have a clear goal, but I share my progress on social media which holds me accountable to anyone who follows my posts.  It’s always entertaining to run into a friend or family member who jumps right into “What number are you on today!?”          

How would Aubrey respond to someone thinking about adding a fitness routine to their life? “I would immediately offer my support and resounding encouragement to anyone adding a fitness routine to their life! I am always happy to volunteer as an accountability buddy. I suggest anyone who is adding fitness to their routine to start small, track the journey, and focus on setting realistic goals. This past year, I’ve leaned on consistency more than motivation which has been a helpful mindset shift. Some days I just don’t feel motivated, but those are the days when I often benefit the most just by showing up. I’ve never left the gym regretting the time I spent there, investing in myself.”

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