Alaina F.

Smyrna Studio  

positively addicted 

On July 1, 2017, my life changed. The love of my live of seven (going on eight) years got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It wasn't long before I was filling out a waiver at Orangetheory Fitness Smyrna with his name and number as my emergency contact. I still remember writing the word ‘fiancé’ as my relationship status with him and snapping a picture. I didn't want to ever forget that moment. 

I joined Orangetheory for many reasons: I'm competitive; I'm a runner, but I really wanted a full year to get in the best shape of my life before our wedding in India. 

Orangetheory Smyrna quickly became a home and for the first time in my life, I had gym friends! I remember getting to class one day (early on) and feeling unmotivated. I told myself I would power walk. Then two of my new friends walked in and I ended up with a personal best on the treadmill. The community at Orangetheory and the infectious energy had truly changed my life. 

"I continued to go to class 5-6x/week and was very quickly becoming addicted!"

I started waking up early on weekends and finding studios when I traveled for work, just to get my workout in. It made me feel good -- 1 hour/day that was my time and no one else’s. As wedding planning became well underway, the weeks and months were flying by. I was proud how dedicated I stayed to my new fitness regime. 

In December, the world around me started to slow down, almost standing still as a nodule on my thyroid was biopsied and sent for genetic testing. I remember looking in the mirror on treadmill #10 during that time thinking: "There's no way it's something bad. There's a 95% chance its benign. I'm 26 years old." 

Unfortunately, the results came back indeterminate, meaning the only way to determine if it was bad was to remove it. The plan was to remove the left side of my thyroid with the nodule, send it for pathology, and take the other half if it was malignant while I was still under. Throughout this month of testing and waiting, Orangetheory remained a constant in my life. In fact, I went to class all the way up until the day before my surgery. 

January 23, 2018 -- my parents flew down for my surgery and I went under for the first time in my life. The first question I asked when I woke up was: "Did you take my whole thyroid?” The answer was: "Yes." I was shocked. I was 26 years old. I had cancer. 

I had so many questions. One of my first questions was about when I could get back to Orangetheory. That was my first attempt at making my life feel like it was back to normal again. Three days after my surgery, I went hiking with my parents; five days after my surgery, I was back at OT; and seven days later, I was back to running and rowing at my true All Out pace. 

I single-handedly thank OTF for getting me in shape for my wedding and surgery so that I could recover as quickly as possible. I've been back at the gym ever since, still going 5-6x/week and staring at that life-affirming, badass scar on my neck, in that same mirror, in front of treadmill #10. 

I feel transformed - my life is different now, in so many ways. Orangetheory has brought me more strength (both physically and mentally) and has brought me more life. Oh, and I forgot to mention -- the highlight of my bachelorette weekend was that all of my friends surprised me, and we took an Orangetheory class together! Our wedding is less than 30 days away and I ask that everyone check out my scar before you look at my amazing dress or awesome biceps!

ANGELA B.
When I started my Orangetheory journey in June 2015, I was a gal who could not stand working out. Last May, I was asked to be a model in our company’s photo shoot launching our new uniforms. I had the confidence to stand in front of the camera comfortably because of the hard work I put into my Orangetheory workouts.
STEPHANIE S.
Hello, my name is Stephanie Strunk (aka Splat Girl). I was born to teenage parents in 1971 and was premature, weighing only 2lbs 11 ounces. At birth, doctors diagnosed me with mild cerebral palsy and told my parents that I would never walk or run. Obviously, the medical prognosis was incorrect. While I have never been an athlete, I've always had a competitive heart but could only watch from the sidelines as others played. When I tried out for team sports in school, I was told I could never keep up and to focus my efforts elsewhere.
EUGENE G.
Where do I begin?! My weight loss/fitness journey technically started on August 17, 2017 when I started seeing a nutritionist. I weighed in at 393.8 lbs. when I started! I officially signed up at OTF in January of 2018 and at the time I weighed 279lbs. I was told that my studio would not be ready until the end of March, but in the meantime, they invited me to partake in a class at the Schaumburg, IL location. I was super nervous and scared but once I completed the class I was hooked immediately! I couldn’t wait to start doing it on a regular basis! I instantly fell in love with the workout and I was itching for more.
DEB A.
The week of my 30th birthday, at my 20-week ultrasound, my husband and I were given devastating news. Our unborn daughter, Adeline, was diagnosed with a rare birth defect and given a 50% chance of survival. Our entire lives changed that day.
ERIC J.
I am a 56-year old male, four-time cancer survivor. Cardio and weights have always been best for me, with cardio being the real deal. This last year brought me another "diagnosis" and a subsequent surgery. When someone like me hears this kind of news once again, you just stand up strong, be positive and just f----in do it. The surgery was a long one this time and I got myself out of the hospital as quick as I could. Went home with a bunch of tubes and bags attached and "healed" my body waiting for the day that all the stuff would be removed. They said no bike riding for three months and limited cardio. I was on the treadmill at the gym within days wearing a diaper (pull-ups) under my shorts, headphones turned all the way up. It was okay, but in no way was it good enough, but I kept going anyway. I was down and gloomy.

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