We are excited to feature Tanya Oliphant for our September 2023 Member Spotlight. Tanya was the first recipient of our Forward Fitness Member of the Year in 2018. She is also a regular member of the 5AM Club.
We asked Tanya to tell us a little bit about her life prior to Forward Fitness and this is what she had to say. “I grew up in Hillsboro, a small town southwest of St. Louis, and relocated to Columbia, MO the first chance I got. I spent about 6 years there mostly delivering pizza but also finished a year at Mizzou before moving back to the St. Louis area to be with my now-husband in 2000. We really lucked out with our choice of neighborhoods as Maplewood was just starting to turn a corner at the time. I finished my degree at UMSL while working full time and prioritized everything but my health. Lack of activity and a shared love of indulgent and easy food with my husband added up to more than 70 pounds of excess weight. After graduation I managed to turn my health around considerably, but it’s been a journey. Forward Fitness has been an amazing partner on that journey these last 6 years.”
Tanya had this to say when asked why health and fitness were important to her. “It is much easier for me to maintain a healthy weight (and therefore blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) when I’m physically active. It also helps me maintain my mental and emotional equilibrium. It is so great to start the day with an accomplishment that makes my body feel alive and capable. Plus, it’s just nice to be able to do things. I can still give my 95-pound son a piggyback ride up the stairs or help movers with heavy furniture or make fewer trips with the groceries.”
Tanya was an avid runner until she started to have injuries. That is when she decided to try Forward Fitness. “I knew I needed to cross-train, but I hated it. I would spend hours putting together plans only to procrastinate and dawdle through the workouts. It felt impossible. I decided to try Forward Fitness because I knew I needed to cross-train if I wanted to get back to running, and I was failing at home workouts. I had walked and run by Forward Fitness any number of times and I was curious about the kettlebells and ropes having never used them. I appreciated the focus on functional fitness and the scheduled, early morning workouts that could fit with my schedule.”
Making fitness a non-negotiable and scheduling have helped Tanya keep it a part of her life for many years. She adds, “It’s one of my few non-negotiables. I keep it that way by scheduling it ahead of time and making it the first thing I do every day. That way nothing else can get in the way.”
We asked Tanya what accomplishments she was most proud of and she reported, “I loved obstacle course racing with Forward Fitness. I wasn’t very good at it, but it was such a fun thing to be part of. I ran my first obstacle course race right around my 40th birthday and it was a great way to celebrate. I’m also very happy to be able to do unassisted chin-ups (although I’d like to get into higher numbers).”
When asked what she would you say to someone considering adding a fitness routine to their life, Tanya replied, “It is so worth it. It’s hard at first but if you’re consistent, a couple months in you’ll be surprised at how good you feel, physically and mentally.”
A few fun facts about Tanya. She has 7 sisters and 1 brother. Also, after buying their house on Maple, she and her husband learned that her uncle and his family had owned the house and lived there for over 40 years.