Penny Jones

There are really no words to express what the Steel Room means to me. Last August, I walked through those doors as a favor to a friend. It was just supposed to be a one week gig so I could say I went and get Kari Higgins off my back. We both were scared and totally out of our comfort zone coming in to the Steel Room. I remember walking in to a class that was still going on and we had to wait. We both sat watching against a wall in the floor, turned to each other, and said, “Let’s go… this is crazy.” A woman turned to us and said, “You will be fine. Are you new? My name is Moni.”Little did we know she was to be the first of many friends we would gain on this journey. I thought I would die during my first class, but as Christy Phelps likes to say, “But did you?”I didn’t. I knew after my second class that the Steel Room would change my life if I let it.

My summer had been a rough one. My youngest son had brain surgery and we lived in a Ronald McDonald House 600 miles away from our home for over 5 weeks. That meant lots of stress, no home cooked meals, irregular schedules, sleepless nights, and lots of quick food just to have something in my stomach. I had been home from our RMH for less than 2 weeks when Kari dragged me to the Steel Room with her.

My body was a wreck. I was a wreck; physically, mentally, emotionally. I would make remarks about how my arms were the weakest part of my body and one day, Christy said, “No, Penny. Your mind is.” That was my moment, the one that changed it all. I knew she was right. It wasn’t pretty, and some days it still is a struggle, but the voice in my mind that once said “you can’t” is now drowned out by the one that says “You’ve got this! Don’t give up! Keep going!”

Tiffani Taylor is a nutrition genius and has corrected so much false information that I’ve been misled to believe about healthy eating all of my life. I don’t starve and my food is beyond delicious! The first week I cried everyday at lunch because it was so emotional for me to be involved in this program. As a mom, I never put myself first. After a year of preparing for my son’s surgery, going through the surgery itself, and recovering afterward, I was completely empty inside. I was just making it through the day each day. Not anymore!

Tiffani and Christy really care and want me to succeed. I’m not just a monthly fee. I’m not just a card to scan. I can call them, message them, or just walk into the restaurant and say, “Is this right? What am I doing wrong? How can I fix this?” On top of everything, I have gained so many wonderful friendships through the Steel Room; these are people I would have never crossed paths with if it weren’t for this gym. These people have my back and I have theirs. My life is completely different today than it was on August 1, 2016. I can’t say thank you enough to Christy and Tiffani (and Kari). #20Penny

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