Feature Interview: Jenny Laios
About the Interviewee:
Jenny is almost 33 years old, was born and raised in Indiana, and moved to Tuolumne County 13 years ago. She is married to her husband Chris for 11 years and they have 4 children: Kelliann 9, Wyatt 8, Maggie 6, and Shelby 3.5 who are all homeschooled. Jenny also owns an in-home daycare and her husband is a sheriff deputy for Tuolumne County.
Q: How long have you been coming to Sierra Flow?
A: I first started attending classes in October 2017
Q: What brought you here?
A: A friend invited me to attend a pound class with her, and I was interested because I had never heard of that before.
Q: Have you always been interested in health and fitness?
A: I have always been an athlete from the time I could dribble a basketball in elementary school all the way through high school. Even through some college I was taking exercise classes and courses. So fitness has always been a part of my life in different variations until about 10 years ago.
Q: Why is fitness particularly important to you?
A: Fitness is important to me because of the way it makes me feel. I feel empowered to conquer anything when I work out. I have more energy, I feel strong, and healthy for myself and my family.
Q: What have been some of your biggest challenges when it comes to your health and fitness?
A: The biggest challenge I had was overcoming the depression I had as a result of letting myself go and becoming so obese after having my 4 children. And just 2 years ago I had an 11 inch tumor removed from my ovary. That was the biggest eye opener of my life. I had to wake up and realize that at 31 years old my body and lifestyle were feeding the cancer and growing huge tumors. Totally life changing.
Q: How have you overcome those challenges?
A: The mind shift hasn’t been easy, but as soon as the doctor released me from the surgery I knew I had to make a change. It’s still a constant internal battle, mentally, to keep pushing through and loving my body where I’m at, but I remind myself how far I’ve come and where I will not go back to.
Q: What fitness goals are you currently working toward?
A: My current goal is a bodybuilding competition next June. It’s a wild goal, but it’s always been one of those things that I’ve wanted to do but never told anyone until about 4 months ago. I currently train 3-4 days a week with Chris or Susie, and fill in with other classes in between.
Q: What kind of personal growth/success have you noticed in the last 6 months? Year?
A: In the last 6 months my self-love has appeared. I’ve learned how to appreciate what my body can do and love it right where it’s at instead of comparing my current success to others who are on a different path altogether. My strength has improved phenomenally and my all around health has drastically changed. In the last year I have lost between 50-80 lbs and the overall total has been closer to 100 lbs. When I was at my heaviest I never wanted to see the number so I don’t have a completely accurate number to start from, and while I know the scale isn’t the only way to tell, it’s a huge part of the motivation.
Q: What do you think are the greatest contributing factors to your success?
A: The greatest contributing factors are the people that I have surrounded myself with. Susie and April have created the most amazing opportunity for health at Sierra Flow and I would not have continued without their encouragement, support, and love through all of it. I know that I’m not the only one who has experienced this, but there are not accurate words to describe what they bring to the table. But it’s not just the 2 of them, it’s the whole team they have created of trainers and teachers and down to even the faces you first see when you walk up to the front desk.
The other big thing I do to keep myself going is the pictures and measurements. Without those to visually show myself daily, or when I’m having a down and off day, I can’t see the difference. With those, I can point out where the changes are happening and I’m only comparing myself to the past me and no one else.
Q: What would you say to people who are just beginning their health/fitness journey?
A: The biggest thing I would tell people just beginning is give yourself grace. Where you are didn’t happen overnight and fixing your situation is not an overnight fix either. It’s going to take time, consistency and determination to change habits, health and lifestyle.
Another thing is to always have a goal in mind, to fit in those skinny jeans in the back of your closet, to look in the mirror every day and say I am beautiful and not anything negative, to achieve a certain weight physically, to achieve a strength goal, etc. Whatever it is, make sure it’s bigger than you think possible and dig deep for the determination to accomplish it.
Despite some physical and emotional challenges Jenny was persistent and did not allow her circumstances to derail her. Instead, she used those obstacles as a springboard to launch back into a healthy lifestyle. Her courage and determination are a perfect example of what can happen when you commit yourself, show up, and do the work day after day. We would like to commend Jenny on her tremendous accomplishments thus far and we will cheer you on as you keep striving for new goals. Keep up the great work, Jenny!