My Personal Fitness Story

About Me ImageI started working out at home with Denise Austin and Gilad (Bodies in Motion) when I was in high school.  I just knew if I did those routines enough I’d eventually look like one of Gilad’s Hawaiian beauties in their high-cut leotards. 



(Sadly, I didn’t factor in all the French fries, pizza, and other high-caloric choices that were a staple of my diet at that time.  I remained a good 10 lbs. overweight all throughout high school.)


At some point I got my hands on a copy of Buns of Steel.

I became obsessed with doing that workout until I could complete it without missing a single rep. (Yeah, that never happened but I did that video a LOT.)

Fast forward to a few years later and you’d have found me in a gym.  I actually loved the gym but hated the routine of packing a bag, waiting for a cardio machine, and having an audience when I was lifting weights.  I also hated taking the time out of my day to do the commute (I’ll do anything to avoid being in traffic).

When I became a mom I realized that my son’s naptime was the best hour for me to workout.  I resumed working out at home and purchased my first few videos and an aerobics step.  (It was during this time that I discovered Reebok Step with Gin Miller and became hooked on step aerobics).

Eventually one child became two, my husband and I divorced, and I started PA school.  During that period I was completely committed to at-home fitness.  The time I had to devote to exercise during the day was very limited between studying and being a single parent of 2 kids.  I could exercise at home while my boys played in the next room.

I finished my Master’s degree, started working as a PA, and remarried.  Civic duty called around this time and I became deeply involved in my local YMCA.  I obtained my certification as a personal trainer and started spending time in a gym again (working part-time as a PA and part-time as a personal trainer).  The things I learned from the people at the Y made an enormous impact on my life in general and specifically on what I learned about the kind of information people are looking for to help them achieve their fitness goals.

Fast forward again a few years and 2 more kids (yes, that’s 4 if you’re counting) and my workouts at the gym slowly became obsolete.  Being a mom was my primary task and I went back to exercising at home.  Around this time I purchased The Firm videos and starting adding weight training to my at-home fitness routine.  I bought a high step, ankle weights, and dumbbells.  It was also at this time that I started writing down the details of each exercise video and taping it to the front of the VHS sleeve (if you’ve never heard of a VHS tape then I hate you right now).

Around 2006 I discovered Cathe Friedrich.  I added more dumbbells and a nicer aerobics step to my exercise tools and purchased a bunch of her fitness videos.

Now we’re up to the most recent period of my life.  Like most people my life has had a lot of tragedy as well as triumph.  In 2008 my husband passed away and I found myself a single mom of 4 kids.  I moved back to the area where I was born and pushed on.  I remarried (my high school sweetheart) in 2010 and added a 5th awesome child to the family (my beautiful step-daughter).

For as long as I can remember exercise has been the way I deal with stress.  I process a bad day by doing a really tough workout and finding something to laugh about.  It’s what works for me.  During my husband’s illness (cancer) and after his death I found myself exercising (even) more religiously and realized that it was therapeutic (and had been that way my entire life).

About Me Image 2

This image makes me laugh because I don’t do my writing sitting in the yard and my laptop isn’t even turned on in this picture

I can’t remember a time when people that know me haven’t asked me about my exercise routine.  Over the years I’ve shared my advice and tips to encourage as many women (and men) that I can to keep exercising and finding the programs that keep them excited about fitness.  That’s my goal with One Strong Southern Girl.  I want to help you get excited about your next workout.  My focus is on exercising at home because that’s what I’ve become an expert at.

I tend to focus on workouts that are more advanced because I’m just that kind of person. (Don’t wimp out on me. You can do them, too.)

I hope I can inspire other people who have a passion for fitness to Keep It Up! You’re Awesome!

Keep reading to find out more about me and don’t miss the end of my post where I share with you the organizations that have touched my life.


Who Am I

Wife, Mother, Sister, Fitness Enthusiast/Blogger, YA Author

Things I Love (In random order)

working out, chocolate, my husband, books, tattoos, my kids, writing, bread, sisters (my oldest sister is also a blogger)

What (else) I do

I’m a physician assistant (for 18 years)



I was a certified personal trainer in my 20’s, I’ve run four 10K’s, five 1/2 marathons and two Tough Mudders (so far).  Check out my Tough Mudder training template here.

My Fantasy Jobs

Trapeze artist

Stunt woman

Fitness apparel tester


Type A (I can’t stop organizing!); I’m also a big smart-ass. Shut up. You know you’re one, too

How I Deal with Stress

Humor and exercise

Favorite Drink(s)

Nestle’s flavored water (grape and orange are the best); Cosmopolitan or a Lemon Drop Martini

My Least Favorite Exercise(s)

Running, push-ups, & air jacks

Pet Peeves

Bad cueing in a workout video, when the instructor is off beat, not telling me what weight they’re using, and worst of all…an instructor that doesn’t actually do the workout (stopping to show proper form for a second is ok but don’t walk around the whole time while I’m dying…not cool)

Favorite Foods

Bread, hands down. I’m the loser that takes the last piece of fresh bread off the appetizer plate while everyone else is trying to decide who gets it. It’s sad. I’m working on it. Also, chocolate chip ice cream.


Under Armour Micro G Limitless.  I have 4 pair in different colors.  Shoes are very important to me.  I have temperamental feet.  It’s annoying because the pair that looks the coolest usually hurts the most


And finally I’d love to share with you the wonderful organizations that have touched my life in some way and give me hope when I need it most.

Organizations I Love

African Christian College

A Child’s Dream

Best Buddies

Drug Abuse & Addiction Education

Lifetime Adoption

Prostate Cancer Education

United Way







“Making your workout today even better.”

Direct: [email protected]

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