She waits for the Wellness Center doors to open and her workouts begin at 5:15 am Monday through Friday and then she leaves at 7:15 to make her way to work at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville. On Saturdays she arrives to the Wellness Center at 7:00 am and then she relaxes on Sundays. But this wasn’t always Joan’s way of life.
A high school athlete, she worked out off and on through the years but her conscious decision to be healthy didn’t come until much later. After taking time to get married and have two children, at age 29 Joan went back to school. She studied at Purdue University to become a Pharmacist and began her career in the Healthcare Industry. Ironically, working long hours at a pharmacy is not always conducive to having time to concentrate on your own health and wellbeing.
In 1997 she and her family moved to Harrisonburg. With dreams of having time to exercise she joined the Wellness Center in the spring of 1998. Several years went by and she just couldn’t seem to fit exercise into the balance of family and work. Twelve hour days as a pharmacist left Joan exhausted and her hopes of being able to maintain a regular fitness routine quickly faded.
In 2009, Joan was 49 years old and taking two medications for high blood pressure and her cholesterol and triglycerides were both high and at risk. She felt as though she had two choices; resign from the Wellness Center because working out two times a week was a very expensive hobby, or find a time that would work better for her schedule. With a family history of heart disease and obesity, Joan made the decision to become more healthy! And that would mean that early morning workouts would be a new way of life.
She quickly made friends with several of the early morning Wellness Center crew. From October of 2010 to October of 2011 Joan lost 35 pounds! With her concentration on strength training she was able to dramatically change the shape of her body and went from a size 16 to size 10!
Unfortunately from September 2011 to February 2012 she was unemployed. Remaining dedicated to her workouts was a challenge but she says that her Wellness Center family rallied around her during the transition and they celebrated with her when she accepted her current position at Martha Jefferson Hospital.
She varies her current workouts to include the Elliptical , the Stairmaster, Spinning class, Metabolic Meltdown, strength training, and riding her bike for miles in local race events. Her greatest achievement to date was a birthday bike ride this year to the top of Reddish Knob with friends Carol Hurney, Donna Styles, and Elizabeth Brown. (pictured on the front-lower left corner) In September Joan rode 62 miles in Bike Shenandoah with friends Carol Hurney, and Pam & Gerry Lehman. Another highlight of this year came when she ran a 5K in Oklahoma with her daughter, son in law and 2 of her 4 grandchildren.
Joan does not watch TV and says that she is not inspired by famous celebrities, but by real people; living real lives with real struggles and triumphs! With that in mind, she also mentions that Wellness Center member Al McDorman inspired her to take classes and meet more people during her early days at the Wellness Center. She took his encouragement and considers having made so many her friends at the Wellness like having another family.
At 54, Joan is the healthiest she has ever been and no longer takes any medications! She says that losing weight and looking good are great but the most important thing is being healthy and feeling good about myself! Her current level of fitness has been impacted by several of the Wellness Center staff including Carol Hurney, Cathy Thornton, Kim Durden, and Farley Fenton. A special thank you to Leslie Miller for nominating Joan as our November member of the month.