Emma Bright

EmmaHi guys!  I’m Emma, a 20 year old senior at James Madison University.  I’m graduating this May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics.  I am a self-proclaimed super nerd and lover of numbers.

My start in fitness began very early.  I was always involved in sports and lucky enough to grow up in a household with two parents who cooked and ate well and worked out to be healthy.  They put me into soccer at the ripe old age of 5 and I continued to play for travel teams, varsity soccer, and with the Olympic Development Program until my junior year of high school when I injured my ankle one too many times.  I had to wear an ankle boot and underwent physical therapy for almost a year.  By the time my ankle had healed I knew I couldn’t continue playing competitive soccer without re-injuring it, so I looked towards the gym to help keep me in shape.

I learned to love the gym and the equipment and the neat way in which I could see my body progress in different movements over time.  Everything was fine and dandy until my freshman year of college.  Somewhere along the way the stress from school, my love of numbers, and my drive to stay in shape became confused and I developed a pretty severe eating disorder.  I dropped around 40 pounds in a matter of a few months.  At my lowest point I was eating around 400 calories a day while still spending hours working out.  My family and friends were concerned for my health.  I was miserable both physically and mentally and I knew I needed to get help and get out!

I started therapy once a week with a wonderful dietician who works with people who, like me, had suffered from anorexia and exercise addiction.  I spent a good year driving down to Charlottesville, VA every Sunday to work through my issues with food and exercise, and every session was worth it.  I now have a completely different outlook on body image and my relationship with food and exercise.

I slowly worked my way back into the gym through group fitness classes and with my best friend, Jackie.  She and the classes helped me remember why I enjoyed working out so much and kept me away from the numbers game I used to play in my head.  I tried all sorts of classes like spin, yoga, body pump, body combat but fell in love with kettlebells and interval training.  The variation kept it interesting and the classes pushed me in ways I knew I could never do on my own.  Then I heard about CrossFit and decided to give it a try and it has become my new workout love.  It combines everything fun about working out: intensity, weight lifting, and a social yet competitive atmosphere.

Being a strong figure is so much more for me than just showing up at the gym.  It reflects where I am today physically and mentally – I love my workouts and how I now feel healthy and happy and rejuvenated after a workout.  I enjoy chocolate and ice cream and pizza and all the other delicious foods offered because life is short and I can!  I’m so happy to be able to share my experiences with food and exercise and promote being health in every aspect of my life as a Strong Figure Ambassador!