Meet Melissa. One of our sweetest, right here in Fairbanks. She has been with us for almost a year. I can remember first meeting her and she was so kind and polite and sweet. And then we had to do suicides and she was relentless! Very competitive, all the while keeping her sweet smile. 🙂 She pushes us to reach our potential, in the most friendly way. We love Melissa and are so honored to have her as part of our tribe! She is most deserving as our of the Month! Here’s what she has to say about Stroller Strong Moms:

“Hi. My name is Melissa. I am married (to the person I dated in high school) with three kids, aged 10 (how is that possible?!), 7, and 4. I was born and raised in Alaska. I work part time as a real estate admin assistant. I also babysit almost full time. I’ve always preferred to be active in any of my free time.

As a kid, I spent my days outdoors, riding my bike, running thru the woods, playing football with the neighborhood kids, ect. In high school I was on the cross country running, skiing, basketball, and track & field teams. I was never the fastest or the highest scorer, but I was in the top of the pack. And most of all, I loved the thrill of the competition and the feeling of camaraderie that came along with organized sports. When I was done with school, I continued to maintain my active lifestyle, with things like hiking, skiing, swimming, biking, and occasionally running for fun. The more kids I had though, the less I found myself attaining any amount of strenuous exercise.

My hikes became walks at kid distance and pace. My fitness level suffered even more when my husband started a job that took him away for work for six weeks at a time, with one or two weeks at home in between. As someone who had maintained the same clothing size since high school, I was shocked and dismayed when one day, I didn’t fit into my pants anymore!

And it all seemed to progress very quickly from there, I gained more weight, became less and less physically fit. A shattered ankle requiring 10 weeks of non weight bearing cast wearing only further cemented what had become my new physical state.

I found Stroller Strong moms randomly on Facebook. I think a friend of a friend posted on the page, so it came up on my newsfeed. After thinking about going for almost months, I finally worked up the courage to attend a class. My first class happened to correspond with the Burpee Challenge. In addition to the other exercises, we all did 80 burpees that day! After that class I was sweatier than at any time in my recent memory (Sweat Like A Mother, indeed!), and my muscles were sore for days, but I was hooked. I felt like I had discovered a hidden gem. Here were my people! Moms of all shapes, sizes, ages, fitness levels, coming together for the sole purpose of the enjoyment of being physically active. And in addition to the benefits of regular high intensity workouts, I loved finding that thrill of friendly competition and feeling of camaraderie that I had loved so much about sports in high school.

I’m happy to say, after 8 months of regularly attending Stroller Strong Moms, (after 3 years of struggling to no avail), I am less than one size away from fitting into all my old pants again! In addition to that, I have discovered a whole new level of fitness that I never knew was attainable for me! In the spring, buoyed by the support of fellow strong mamas, I completed a 20K cross-country ski race. Even growing up skiing, that distance had always seemed reserved for the elite skiers, but now I am someone who can do that. In March, I ran the first 3 mile race I had run since high school. I was so happy just to be able to complete that. A few short months later, again lifted up and supported by this wonderful community, I signed up for and completed a 6 mile race. I know the high-intensity full-body workouts we all get in SSM has built me a strong base that has allowed me to reach new running goals I would have struggled to reach otherwise.

Just last weekend, I ran in and completed my first ever 13-mile trail race! Just as with the 20K ski, distances like that were never even something I strove for, as I pictured them as being reserved for the elite athletes. But, here I am, a mom of three, with a husband away working 70% of the time, my own part time job, in addition to being the go to babysitter for all my friends and family, running halfand doing 100 burpees and holding planks for over a minute. I can not recommend this group enough! It’s not only amazing to see my own improvements and accomplishments, it’s so wonderful to see all the moms around me each day also setting and meeting goals and getting stronger, and loving Sweating Like A Mother.”