Either eating mostly peanut butter sandwiches — and sometimes, nothing at all — Jessi realized that her stressful schedule was wreaking havoc on her body. "My lifestyle before PumpUp was [that] of a typical on-the-go mom," she shared. "I was extremely lazy and found every excuse. I was in a vicious cycle of hating my body, then eating because I wasn't happy." Back then, Jessi's only form of exercise was running after her sons or running up and down the stairs of her house. Her days were like clockwork. "I'd get the kids off to school, come home, eat, have a nap with my youngest child, eat, pick up my oldest from school, make dinner at home, get the kids ready for bed, and then head off to work for the night —I work the night shift with developmentally-challenged adults in a group home setting," she explained. "My life [was] running on auto-pilot. I was constantly tired, hungry for junk food, and always took care of myself last. I was rewarding myself with food, depressed, had no goals, and was downright angry and bitter." In August 2014, a Get Fit 50 challenge on Instagram steered Jessi on the right track towards a healthier mind and body. "I was following Katie's (@jatie on PumpUp and @fitkatee on Instagram) daily posts and she mentioned PumpUp," she recalled. "I figured I'd give the app a go. I instantly loved it. The positivity that came from everyone was infectious." Since Jessi began her journey with the PumpUp community, she became extremely physically active. She strives to work out at the gym 5-6 times a week and she doesn't let stress come in the way of her health. "PumpUp kept me accountable, which was exactly what I needed," she told. "It helped me try new foods and ideas from fellow PumpUp users. It has allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and experience a new life and love of taking my health seriously."
Regular exercise has helped Jessi in ways that she could have never imagined. When Jessi was growing up, she had floating knee caps—a condition that makes it easy for her knee caps to become dislocated or move out of place. Since she started working out, she hasn't had issues with her knees in a year and a half. "That's why I love leg day as much as I do," she attested. "I know it's strengthening my knees, so I don't have pain any more when I kneel or walk." Recently, Jessi has been fighting depression, as well as other issues that have come her way. She doesn't let this faze her physical health. "I've stayed strong, positive, and gave up control when I knew I couldn't change things," she said. "To control the anger and rage inside of me, I refused to take it out on anyone I love. I threw myself into heavier gym days, lifted more, pushed myself more, and laid my heart and everything I had out on the gym floor. I found clarity and peace after each workout, allowing me to stay one step ahead of the depression. I kept the monster at bay."
Despite her circumstances, Jessi made a choice to prioritize her health. She's a shining example to mothers everywhere. "The motivation and support that I get from my family and from my fellow PumpUp users keeps me going," she revealed. "The encouragement and appreciation makes me want to fight to push myself beyond levels that I ever thought I could reach. I want to show that moms can have this lifestyle too, and be proud of themselves." As Jessi continues to chronicle her journey with the PumpUp community, she hopes to inspire others to believe in themselves. "Anything I have accomplished since using PumpUp has been because of the amazing people on PumpUp and my family," she maintained. "They believed in me when I didn't, they pushed beyond what I thought was capable of doing, and surprised myself. I want to share in some of the most epic and powerful journeys with people who take strides every day to better themselves."
Jessi's Best Advice
Believe in yourself even when you don't think you can. Just trust every ounce of this process and know that the more you do something, the more it becomes a habit. Don't treat working out as punishment, have fun with it, try new things...get out there and just enjoy life. My all-time favourite quote that I read before I started was, "You wouldn’t put low grade fuel in a Ferrari, so don’t put cheap food into your body....treat your body like a Ferrari."
My biggest motivation has to be my 2 boys. I want to be a positive role model in their lives. They are my absolute world and I would do anything to make sure they know just how important they are to me. In a world that is so negative, I want them to see that any goal that they have can be achieved through hard work and determination.
My favorite activity is anything to do with legs. I love leg day! I usually train my legs on Mondays and Fridays, but if I can't wait, I'll do squats everyday. I love challenging myself and leg day does that. I do a run down called Crazy 8's. (8 sets of 8 reps) I do hack squats, straight leg dead lifts, leg press, overhead squats, weighted squats, cable kick backs, lunges, weighted side kicks, inner/ outer thigh, leg extension, leg curls, goblet squats (or any variation of squats really), calf raises, curtsey lunges with a barbell on your shoulders. I don't do these all at once. I try and divide it for each day. If I'm not in the gym, I'm doing something around my house: walking to cut my grass instead of using the riding lawn mower, going for a 5k run, shovelling my driveway when it snows, jumping on the trampoline with my kids, etc.
Fun fact about Jessi
It's something I take pride on. Never in my entire life have I ever had pop. The smell turns my stomach. Even from when I was tiny, I wanted no part of it. To this day I still have never touched a can or bottle of it. I'll stick to my water and fruit juice!
Keep Jessi pumped! Congratulate her on PumpUp @momma_j and leave positive words of encouragement for her in the comments below.