May 2023 Member Spotlight: Emily Anderson

Emily Anderson has been a member of Forward Fitness for the past seven years. If you have ever had the chance to work out with Emily, you know how friendly and outgoing she is.  We are excited to feature her as our May Member Spotlight.

Emily was born and raised in St. Louis and now lives in Columbia IL with her husband Buddy and 7-year-old daughter Rosie.  Her experience with fitness was pretty limited prior to joining Forward Fitness. She tells us, “As a child I was not very interested in sports, in high school I was on the swim team and played volleyball for a few years.  In my early twenties I started running after a good friend challenged me to run the Chicago Marathon, after completing my fist marathon I ran several half marathon’s as well as completing the Chicago Marathon one more time.

In my mid-twenties I started working for Maritz as a travel director and was lucky enough to travel the world for almost four years.  Traveling around the world was fun and exciting but was not the best for my health.  Living “on the road” was challenging for my overall health and wellness, eating was not consistent, and exercise was possible but limited.

In 2011 I stopped traveling and went back to school to obtain a master’s degree in Social Work from St. Louis University.  After graduating in 2013 I started working for St. Louis Children’s Hospital as an embedded therapist at an elementary school.  In addition to working at a school I am a contract Play Therapist at a private Play Therapy practice in south county. I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT), the majority of my work involves playing with children. As you can imagine my line of work can be stressful and at times very physical, staying healthy both mentally and physically is very important to me.  

I started working out 7 years ago this month to help me feel better after having my daughter and it has now turned into a lifestyle for me.  Prior to this gym I didn’t really value my health, but I now see how important it is for me to keep myself healthy for not only my family but for my future.”  Some fun facts about Emily, she was voted “most talkative” in high school, and she is really good at parallel parking.  

This is what Emily had to say when asked why health and fitness were important to her. “As I get older, I realize how easy it is to let our bodies “go” and how not taking care of yourself can really affect you as you age.  My mom has struggled with her physical health for the last ten years and I have witnessed how one major physical accident can impact a person.  Daily activities are challenging for her and she is only in her 60’s, she is pain on a daily basis and her ability to physically do things are becoming more limited. Being part of the forward fitness family for the last 7 years has taught me that staying active with daily movement and strength training can benefit me long term.  Being around so many strong females that make fitness a priority is inspiring for me and I hope to be a good example for my own daughter.”

Here is how Emily became part of the Forward Fitness family.  “After having my daughter via c-section my body didn’t feel the same, I knew I needed focus on my physical health and didn’t really know where to start. Mike and I worked together over 20 years ago, I knew he had opened a gym not too far away from my work.  To be honest I was always intimidated by gyms and figured I would give it a chance because I knew him and trusted his advice.  I figured I would support my old friend and get myself back into shape and that it wouldn’t last too long.  Seven years later I am still here and love it!  The supportive atmosphere is amazing and I can’t see myself working out at any other gym.”

Emily has this to say about why she has been able to make fitness a priority for the past several years.  “The way it makes me feel, working out benefits me both physically and mentally!  The support I get from the coach’s has been amazing, they continue to help me improve my form and push me to do things I didn’t think was possible. Being a play therapist can be challenging physically, the majority of my time includes sitting on the floor and playing with kids.  I am up and down off the floor the majority of the day and this can be hard on my back and hips, focusing on improving my mobility has helped with this.”

 She tells us that consistency and distances have been her biggest challenges. “I work in the city but live in Columbia IL, this can be challenging but I have come up with strategies to make it work.  Being able to be flexible with my workout times and having a supportive spouse has made it possible for me to overcome this challenge.  Consistency is a challenge for me, being a mom that has both a full-time job and working at a private practice can be hard.  The work life balance for mom’s can be difficult, taking time out of my day for just me is important and I think modeling that for my daughter is important.”  Diet is another area of struggle. “I really hate planning my food for the week. I am consistent with my breakfast bust struggle with lunch. Due to the nature of my job, there are days that I either forget to eat or just don’t have the time to stop and eat.  I have always struggled with grocery shopping and cooking (to be honest I hate doing both), Suzanne has given me so many great strategies that it has become easier, but I still struggle with meal planning.”

There are improvements that she is proud of.  “Increasing my strength training has been really rewarding, that is something I would have never done without the support or encouragement from the coaches.  I have made an effort to improve my form this last year, in the process I have gained a better understanding of my body and how I move.  I am becoming more aware of my movements and have increased my mobility.”

This is the advice that Emily would give someone considering adding fitness to their daily routine: “Starting the journey is the hardest part. If you make it a priority and you stay consistent it becomes easier.” 


Share your thoughts