March Client of the Month – Jackie Dunleavy

Jackie Dunleavy

Jackie Dunleavy

Boot camper, Jackie Dunleavy, just completed her first Half Marathon a few weeks ago. This is one highlight along her journey to losing 45 pounds over the past year.

I’ve known Jackie since we were kids at Upper Darby Summer Stage. We reconnected at random events and places during the last decade. Jackie did a stint at boot camp back in 2009 and returned this past July in order to break through a weight loss plateau. Since her returned Jackie has rocked out the burpee and the bear crawl, and made it her quest to get me to enjoy running (keep working on it, Jackie!).

Here’s part one of our interview covering running, fitness and 80’s music.

MDC: Jackie, tell us a little bit about yourself.

JD: I’m a Delco girl – I grew up in Springfield and I live in Drexel Hill with my daughter, Elizabeth. I’m a professional musician, and I perform with various choruses around the Philadelphia area.

MDC: Cool. So, how did you originally find Performance Fitness, and what led to you try out boot camp?

JD: At the time we [Jackie and Michelle] were both studying with the same voice teacher. I saw your flyer on his piano during my voice lesson and I decided to give boot camp a try. I was motivated by the fact that I hated gyms – I had tried having gym memberships in the past and had failed.

But the bigger motivator was opera. I was singing in an opera with an insane director who wanted us crawling and climbing all over the floor for the entire first act. By the end of the first rehearsal, I was crippled. Couldn’t move. I was so out of shape that I wondered if I’d even make it through another rehearsal.

The next day I thought “This is ridiculous.” I didn’t want to ever feel like I couldn’t move my body again. “That’s enough!” I thought. Also someone posted a picture of the chorus–from behind–from that rehearsal. I looked square! I thought “I can’t age like this. This can’t be me!”

MDC: In February of last year you started to really get serious about nutrition and weight loss. Then in April you started running, and in July you came back to boot camp. What motivated you then?

JD: Well, I didn’t want to pass on bad health and bad habits to my daughter. I wanted to be an example of healthy living, so that when she reached adulthood it would be easier…second nature.

My age was also a motivator. I had already lived passed the mortality age of both my grandmothers (they both died before 40), and my father and one of my brothers died in their 50s.

At the time I started on this quest I didn’t have a full time job, so I had no excuse anymore. I thought this is something I deserve and this is my gift to myself.

MDC: You’ve also told me that the Food Network played a role in your early weight loss.

JD: Yes. I love Chopped and Iron Chef, and I was inspired to start cooking more. The act of cooking made me so much more conscience of what I was putting in my mouth. I started making better quality choices, and thinking “Is this food worthy of me?”

MDC: I LOVE that line! Totally going to steal that. So, how did you start running?

JD: I ran in grade school (the mile). I was not good, but I finished all my races. I always felt like running was something I could/should/would do. Fast forward 25 years…when I started going to boot camp, I enjoyed the warm-ups when we ran, and thought I’d like to do more. I heard about a Couch to 5K App for iPhone and bought it. But I never had the courage to start. It was on my phone for almost 3 years before I made the decision to start. What made starting easier was that I started a diet first. Once I got the weighing, measuring, and eating clean food under control (about 2 months), I noticed that I was having success and felt brave enough to take a shot at running. I knew running would help me greatly in my weight loss, and…I was right!

MDC: And what made you decide to come back to boot camp this past summer?

JD: I had seen the positive effects of running, but I realized the importance of strength training for continued weight loos and overall fitness and health. Like I said, I hate gyms, so coming back to boot camp was a logical move.

MDC: OK, time for some fun questions. What’s your favorite boot camp exercise and least favorite.

JD: Favorites – anything TRX. Also planks, push-ups and jumping jacks. I’ve made friends with the burpee. It’s not my favorite, but I don’t hate it.
Least favorite – Bear crawls, Mt. Climbers, and any sort of sit up.

MDC: Favorite workout/running music

JD: Fast temp stuff, especially Rhianna – Pon De Replay, OutcastHey Ya, and Beyoncé – Single Ladies.

MDC: Like me, you’re a child of the 80’s. What are some of your favorite 80’s bands.

JD: The Police, The Eurhythmics, and David Bowie. [side note: Jackie does totally awesome dance moves to The Go Go’s)

In part 2 of our interview we talk about training for a half marathon and how to get back on the fitness wagon. Tune in next week!

1 Comment

  1. elise miller on March 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Way to go Jackie! I love this interview series. Keep ’em coming. It’s so beneficial to hear what motivates everyone, and reading about Jackie motivates me. Also, thanks for reminding me about Hey Ya! Forgot about that one. Must download STAT.