My Y Story – Tonya

For many mothers, being healthy and active is more complicated than just showing up at the Y and putting in 30 minutes on the treadmill. They must balance the unique demands of motherhood, a career, and a marriage…that leaves little time to make it to the gym. Tonya knows this, she has two active sons, a busy job and volunteer schedule, and a loving and supportive husband, but still struggles to make time for her own well-being.

“[Mothers] don’t take care of ourselves. We are at the bottom of our own priority list,” Tonya said. She wanted to make a change and came to the South Spokane YMCA for help. Tonya desired to make exercising and strength training a long-term part of her life, so she met with South Y Health and Wellness Director, Brad.

From day one Tonya says Brad has helped her create a plan specific to her needs, which includes 7am workouts. “The last thing you want to do when you come home from work and see your kids and husband is to walk right back out the door to workout. I needed a time that everything else could also fit and my family wouldn’t suffer,” Tonya said.

“Brad keeps me accountable, he wants me to be successful and to accomplish my own goals. He meets me at my level and has my best interests in mind, helping me to create my own plan, which fits me, and not someone else,” Tonya said.

Tonya says the most difficult part of a healthy lifestyle was making the time for it amongst all of her other responsibilities, “When you are away from your family you are constantly asking yourself, ‘Is this reason valid enough?’ And with this, it is. You have to tell yourself that or you’ll feel so guilty.”

A main motivation for her well-being has been seeing her children grow up and wanting to be active and involved in their lives. “I want to be able to run around with my kids now, and I want to be able to chase my grandkids around the house when the time comes. Being able to do that starts now,” Tonya said.

Her increased activity also serves as an example for her children. “My youngest son Quinn is very healthy and active so when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two years ago we were shocked. What we soon found out was what Quinn eats and how active he is has an amplified effect on his health and his diabetes.  I wanted to show him that no matter how busy he may be, he needs to make time for his health and body…I want to send a positive message about working out,” Tonya said.

“Taking care of your body and working out…it’s just as important as eating right, being kind and being respectful. It’s important to teach them that,” Tonya said.

As for herself, Tonya says she’s noticed changes after putting work in over the past few months. She feels stronger and can see the gains she has made, “being able to actually see all these changes…it gives me more body confidence. It puts a little more pep in my step,” Tonya said.

“My husband and children will always be at the top of my priority list, however, working out is now on the list! It’s a big change, Brad and the Y have both been a huge part of that.”