March-April 2011 Member of the Month
|"Are you training for a show?"|
Jolene Ball is getting used to this question. Although she doesn't have competition in her sights right now, the 33-year-old single mom certainly enjoys being asked — it's one indication of how far she's come. She recognized another benchmark when, a year ago, her seven-year-old put his arms completely around her and said, "mommy, you're skinny!" And in February 2011, three of her personal training clients completed Cleveland's Tackle the Tower event. Major milestones on an eight-year journey!
In February 2003, Jolene had just given birth to her first child and was preparing for her best friend's wedding. As she was being fitted for her bridesmaid's dress, the bridal shop handed her a severe reality check: they would need to order a plus size.
Several good cries and emotional melt-downs later, Jolene joined Titans Gym and began working with personal trainer Lu Perhay. Seven months and 35 pounds later, in her dramatically altered dress, she looked great!
For the next three years, she pursued her fitness program, but in October 2006 she found that she was pregnant with twins. A life-altering event for anyone, carrying to term two babies with a total birth weight of 16 pounds, 5 ounces resulted in significant weight gain and left Jolene with poor self-esteem and a damaged body image.
After the babies were born, she returned to Titans, training now with James Boykin. (Lu Perhay had moved from the area.) But with day-to-day responsibilities that included three small children and a full-time job, time was at a premium: her workouts were sporadic, and she wasn't losing weight. By January 2009, Jolene had reached her highest weight ever, 206 pounds.
That spring Jolene decided to combat her depression and exercise funk. Running had always been the fastest, most effective way for her to lose weight. Research led her to the Couch to 5K, a program designed to get participants off the couch and, in gradual increments over nine weeks, running 5 kilometers or 30 minutes nonstop. (Click here for information about Couch to 5K.)
About then, James Boykin contacted her. He hadn't seen her at the gym in some time. How were things going? Jolene leveled with him: not so great. A few days later, she was back in the gym, pursuing a regular workout and cardio routine. With James's coaching, she got her head back into the game and started working through her physical and emotional struggles.
With that, Jolene began the journey that would change her life for good.
The rewards for her hard work go beyond physical fitness. In a life that Jolene calls "full of amazing people," she rejoices in an extremely supportive family (without her mom and sister, she says, she'd never be able to juggle everything) and the great people — some lifelong friends — she's met through the gym and through training. Some of her highest praise is reserved for Titans trainer James Boykin: "We both have crazy, busy schedules, and he always finds time for me, even when it involves sacrificing sleep to go to the gym and train at crazy early morning hours. He's my best friend. His devotion, motivation, and encouragement helped push me to accomplish new things I never dreamed would be possible."