Hey! I’m Jackie, a James Madison University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences and a minor in Gerontology (the study of old age), and I’m currently pursuing my doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.
I have always had a love for fitness! Growing up I played competitive soccer and rode horses. My freshman year of high school I had to choose between soccer and horseback riding due to severe back pain. I was referred to a local physical therapy office to help with my back issues. After spending 2-3 days a week for nearly two years in therapy, I realized it was the profession I wished to enter.
Junior year is when my health took a downward turn. I was diagnosed with a strange hormone disorder where progesterone is almost nonexistent in my body. One of the lovely side effects was producing numerous (in my case hundreds) of gallstones. I ended up in the hospital for gallstone-induced, acute pancreatitis with a growing pseudocyst on my pancreas. I was in the hospital for nearly a month before my gallbladder was removed. After being discharged, I realized that I needed to be healthy on both the outside and the inside. Through hard work, tears, and determination–I was able to regain my position on the varsity soccer team and catch up on all my schoolwork.
College is where my workout routines changed. I was no longer working out as a team or even required to workout. I found out the hard way that my low hormone levels makes it very easy for me to gain weight, but almost impossible to lose it. Luckily I was blessed with my amazing roommate and best friend, Emma. We became fast friends and gym partners. She has helped me push through mental barriers, forget the numbers on the scale, and my feelings of “I can’t.” Together we dabbled with nearly every gym group fitness class. We both were very fond of kettlebells and interval training. These classes were the intensity we both enjoy. Due to school class conflictions I was unable to attend the gym classes I usually enjoy so I decided to join Crossfit Harrisonburg. Crossfit is now my favorite workout routine. The atmosphere is both competitive and motivating. I love that every workout is different and that it combines intervals, weightlifting and cardio. Besides Crossfit I enjoy going on runs with my dog, Toby.
Together, mental and physical fitness are what makes me healthy and happy. I am very proud to be chosen as a Strong Figure Ambassador! I hope to help people break through their own mental and physical barriers and motivate them to achieve the best quality of life.