Our Kirkwood/Decatur May Member of the Month is Michelle S! She’s been partying with the FitWit Fam for two years now and is still crushin’ it on the dance floor! Michelle is passionate, outgoing and is always a friendly face in the gym. Michelle is also a very active member of the FitWit community, she is a personal chef and during our last two nutrition challenges has come to FitWit and shared some of her tips and tricks into making healthier, tastier, more nutritious meals, meals that made you wonder how something so healthy could taste so good! Thanks and Congrats Michelle for being a wonderful member!
Name: Michelle Skalka
Hometown: South Brunswick, NJ
Occupation: Personal Chef
When did you first start FitWitting? Almost 2 years ago
Tell us about your sports & fitness background: Growing up I was active, but certainly not athletic. During and after college I spent copious amounts of time on the Stairmaster, started running and spent about a year doing nothing but Bikram Yoga. I enjoyed all of it and it helped keep weight off. But a year after the birth of our second son I weighed the same as I did on the day I left the hospital. I had postpartum depression and was not making the healthiest choices. Hitting that 1-year mark was a wake-up call. I joined a new gym, got back to exercising on a regular basis and changed the way I ate. I lost 35 pounds and found that exercise helped heal my body and my mind. Since then I’ve run 3 half marathons, 1 marathon, and 5 triathlons, I started hiking and spent 3 years at a CrossFit-style gym. And still, think exercise is just as much about mental health as it is about physical health.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness since starting FitWit? I started doing all toe push-ups! Stretching has become much more a part of my routine – even when I’m going out for a run from the house. And I’ve learned that it’s not always about lifting a heavier weight – it’s way more important to lift that weight properly.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like FitWit that was totally unexpected? I stopped weighing myself every day.
I find myself using what we learn in class in my everyday activities-even repeating in my head what the coaches say in class. Grabbing multiple cooler bags from the car and carrying them upstairs to a client is like a suitcase carry. Getting a heavy cast-iron skillet out of a low–to-the-ground oven is a weighted squat. Pushing a grocery cart filled with enough food for 2 clients is like pushing the sled.
Why do you FitWit?
It’s a no-brainer! I completely get to shut my brain off when I’m there. 1) I show up and do what the coaches tell me to do – I don’t have to think about it because they’ve already thought it all through. 2) There’s no opportunity for my mind to wander and think about work, kids, errands, etc – those things get put to the side and I get to spend an hour focused on taking care of myself. Plus it’s the most amazing fitness community! The support from coaches and members alike is unmatched.
Favorite workouts? I really like most of the balls-to-the-wall assessed workouts – anything that pushes me to be better than I was last time.
Least favorite workouts? I used to hate the ERG, but then the Fan Bikes came along… And a recent Friday workout involving burpees, wall balls and a 2 loop run – that was not fun.
Three words to describe you: Gregarious, responsible, passionate
Any favorite FitWit moments? My favorite moments are the things that happen every day: a high-five at the end of a crazy workout, the “you got this!” shouted out on the way back from a mailbox run, the “you go girl” after lifting a heavier weight for the first time, the modifications from coaches if something isn’t feeling right. As a new FitWit’er and even now, those bits of encouragement are remembered and can make someone’s day – I hope I’m giving it back to someone else in return.
Fitness Goals? I’d like to find my double-unders again, breathe properly on the ERG and do another triathlon. Get my husband off his treadmill and to a FitWit class! I hope that when I’m my Mom’s age I’m as active, strong and fit as she is.
Words to live by?
‘Love people – cook them tasty food’ Penzey’s Spices slogan
‘Now go do your best. Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.’ Almost Famous
Something cool we don’t know about you? I spent a summer working at Disney World. I was a lifeguard at Typhoon Lagoon. I’ve lived in New York City, London, and Boston. London was my favorite. Some people remember dates or places. I remember what I was wearing. And what I ate.
Anything else you’d care to share? FitWit really is amazing! Top-notch workouts, coaches that check-up on you (no one does that!), and members that make it a community. Thanks for welcoming me into your house 2 years ago – so happy I stayed for the party.