August 2023 Member Spotlight: Jodi Wiener

For our August 2023 Member Spotlight, we are very happy to feature member Jodi Wiener.  Jodi has been a member of our Fit Fam for the past 5 years and in that time she has remained consistent with her workouts. Luckily for us she is always in attendance at our celebrations and BBQs, as Jodi is the maker of the wonderful cookie cakes that hopefully you have had the chance to try.

We asked Jodi to share a little bit about herself before joining Forward Fitness and this is what she had to say, “I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Growing up, I wasn’t really the most athletic kid.  Let’s just say I was more likely to join the math team than the softball team.  When forced to play team sports in PE, I was usually the one trying not to get passed the ball (why would I want everyone to start running straight at me?).  I did tumbling at a dance studio for many years and swimming at camp every summer, but my real passion was figure skating.  I took lessons and skated regularly up until I moved to St. Louis for college in 2000.  (Fun fact: I started taking lessons again a couple years ago, but once I started jumping again, I realized that it’s a lot scarier at 40 than it was at 14!)  After graduating from Wash U in 2004, I had a job offer in town and my older sister also lived here, so I stayed in St. Louis and have been a city resident ever since.  I live in the Central West End with two rambunctious 10-month-old kittens and enjoy spending time with my two nephews who live out in Chesterfield.” 

Jodi had this to say about why health and fitness were important to her.  “While I’m not a naturally active and athletic person, I know it’s important to eat well and exercise for overall health and longevity. The women in my family have a history of living well past 100 and I want to stay mobile as I get older.  That means staying strong, limber, and eating nutritiously.”

We asked Jodi why she joined Forward Fitness and I really love her story, “I was introduced to Forward Fitness through Linda Fernandez.  She invited me to a few of the charity workouts and I really enjoyed them.  It took me a while to commit, though.  I tried one of those $10/month do-it-yourself gyms first but hardly ever went and then unsuccessfully tried to get into running though the Couch to 5K app.  After a while, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much I liked the FF workouts and how I thought I could actually succeed in my fitness goals with their help.  I’ll always remember when I walked in to my first workout, Coach Cati greeted me by my first name.  I couldn’t believe she knew who I was and from that moment, I knew FF was the right place for me.”

We are so happy to hear that Forward Fitness has helped Jodi make fitness a priority in her life.  

“I can’t believe I have been a member for over 5 years!  I have a lot of trouble getting motivated to exercise so FF really has been a great fit for me.  The workouts are fun and vary so I don’t get bored, there’s a social atmosphere about it that makes it enjoyable, and the coaches are really supportive.  I never thought I’d be the type of person who enjoys working out, but I can happily say that I really do look forward to going to the gym thanks to the super friendly and encouraging coaches and members.” 

Jodi has had some challenges over the years that she has had to overcome and we thank her for sharing them with us here. “I had had some minor bouts of anxiety and depression in high school, but it all came to a boil my junior year of college with a pretty major meltdown.  I’d had a really stressful first semester with a pretty horrible roommate.  When I came back from winter break, and moved in with my best friend, all the emotions I’d been holding in just flooded out and I couldn’t cope.  I almost ended up leaving school and going home to Tampa.  Luckily, I have a very supportive family and friends that helped me get through it.  It took a lot of introspection, but I learned about embracing my emotions instead of holding them in.  While I still have some occasional hard times, I now know how to manage the anxiety and depression along with the help of medication, regular therapy, and exercise. I like to think that those rough times have helped me learn, grow, and become a supportive resource to others.” 

Of course, we are happy to be a part of her successes.  “Exercising had always been an unpleasant chore to me before joining FF so the fact that I’ve been attending classes consistently for 5 years is an accomplishment I’m really proud of.”

We asked Jodi what advice she would give someone thinking about starting a fitness routine and this is what she had to say, “Find something you enjoy and do it with supportive people.  Even if you’re not into sports, there’s an activity out there for you and making it into an excuse to interact with friends is a great motivator.”

And of course, Jodi’s fun fact is about her cookie cakes. “You may know me as the one who brings the cookie cake to FF gatherings.  I love to bake all kinds of desserts and sourdough bread.  I’ve also been known to dabble with ice cream and sorbet.  I try to switch it up every now and then, but Suzanne just loves that cookie cake!”  

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