Caleigh Everingham, a personal trainer and group exercise instructor at the Student Recreation Center discusses a major life event that occurred during her early years in college and how she coped with the situation. Original airdate: March 04, 2018.

John Jackson: Welcome to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7, The Capstone, and we want to thank you for joining us this Sunday afternoon. This beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Sheena: That’s right, that’s right.

John Jackson: We’re kicking back, enjoying this warm weather for a change. It’s nice to kind of get … I think, what? We’ve had about five or six days where it’s been, okay I’m going to call it Spring weather.

Sheena: I would agree.

John Jackson: Yeah, so it’s been feeling nice out there and hopefully we’re not going to see anymore 40’s and 50’s for the highs.

Sheena: I know, and just with the rain and everything else, you know this past week was Body Appreciation Week, and so there were some interesting days where I had to navigate bringing some supplies for different tabling and activities, and we had a couple of like monsoon downpours, I think it was actually Thursday morning. I was driving into work, and I was near the hospital and it was kind of that downpour of rain. And I was like, “Oh Mylanta, this is going to be awful.” But we had some pockets of time where the rain stopped and then I could bring stuff to the Ferg. So really grateful that Mother Nature threw me a bone on that day in particular.

John Jackson: You’ve had a crazy, crazy busy week. I usually hear from you three or four times a week.

Sheena: I know, and I was … I’ve been M.I.A., I’m sorry.

John Jackson: Yeah, that was perfectly fine, but I was starting to get worried about you, I was like, “Should we call your husband, make sure …”

Sheena: Oh, he would probably call you and other people too because he’s like, “Are you coming home for dinner?” And I was like, “No, we got this program tonight.” But thankfully, though, the good thing about my husband is, because he worked in housing when he went to Auburn, as far as being an R.A. and a hall director, he really understands the dynamics of my life as a student life professional. Just because he knows that for college students, you’ve got to do after hours programming. I think it’d probably be a little bit more difficult if I was married to someone who didn’t understand the nature of my job, and working with college students, but I’m glad he’s very understanding.

John Jackson: Well, tell us about Body Appreciation Week.

Sheena: Yeah, so this past week, and U.A.’s called it Body Appreciation Week since 2006, but it’s technically known as National Eating Disorders Awareness week, so that’s what you’ll see a lot of different organizations and campuses call it. But one of the days we actually had two guest speakers from Castlewood at the Highlands eating disorder facility come and talk. They talked to both the faculty, staff and the students.
And they were talking about the components that make up people, I guess accepting their bodies or having positive thoughts about their bodies, because when they work with eating disorder clients, a lot of times, these clients they hate their bodies. They feel like they can’t say anything positive about them. So they were kind of showing us their therapeutic work with how they make it a more positive experience for them.
Another night, I think it was University Programs and Counseling Center, they did an event over in the Ferg, and they had just all these little stations of fun stuff like people were getting manicures, and facials. I did a little smoothie bar, so I did different smoothie recipes. So it was all about like some self-care. And they had this big wall that you could put what you loved most about yourself, and what you thought was the most unique about you. So I did participate in that.

John Jackson: Can I ask you what you wrote on the wall?

Sheena: Yes, I put that I loved my sense of humor and my butt. And then I made them take a picture of me doing it, because it’s kind of funny. So that is part of my humor. So we had a lot of different cool things going on, and then even on Friday over in the library, we did some yoga. And we did … it was an event called Yoga for Everybody, so we had a lot of just diverse body types, really just showing people that they can be active at any age, and it can be really therapeutic at any age group. So it was a good week for sure.

John Jackson: Did you get the participation from males that you were expecting?

Sheena: Surprisingly, yes. And actually what has been the most interesting is that it was a lot of male faculty and staff.

John Jackson: Really?

Sheena: Yeah. I think the way we did advertising this year, because we really wanted it to be a week that was celebrated campus-wide. Sometimes I think people see events on campus and they think it’s just student specific, or just faculty staff, but this was our time of kind of doing a hybrid experiment of seeing if we advertised to both equally, who would come. And there was a lot of male faculty and staff members that came, so that actually really helped our numbers.

John Jackson: That’s really neat.

Sheena: Yeah.

John Jackson: I’ve learned that if you want to get males to participate in anything on this campus, you plan an event for females, and it seems to work.

Sheena: Yes. Yeah, it well maybe … so maybe we have some single male faculty staff that that’s why they came.

John Jackson: I didn’t mean that about faculty staff, I did mean students, but you know.

Sheena: Yeah. Well, oh my goodness. Well, I know we’ve got a show we’ve got to continue this afternoon. But you guys, we got to take a quick break. This afternoon is going to be amazing. You are listening to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John, on 90.7 The Capstone.

John Jackson: Hey, welcome back to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7 The Capstone, and if you are just joining us, we’re just getting started this afternoon. Talking a little bit about Body Awareness Week, earlier, and how Sheena’s had a long, long week. And I know if I say Sheena’s had a long week, it’s been a long week because this girl works hard.

Sheena: You are very kind, but I will say I can’t wait for another nap after we finish the show this afternoon.

John Jackson: Yeah, I believe it.

Sheena: Yeah.

John Jackson: Yeah, I know that you’ve been busy. But during the break we were talking just a little bit about … with our guest today, and what we’re going to be talking about. Both you and I have worked as student employees here on campus.

Sheena: We have.

John Jackson: And somewhat similar experiences? Kind of?

Sheena: Possibly.

John Jackson: Student affairs, at the time.

Sheena: Yeah, for sure. Yes.

John Jackson: And dealing with students. I actually started, I won’t say when, but I started working as a graduate assistant. I worked as a student employee in the weight room at the student rec center for a while, back when we had a totally different entrance, and it was a totally different rec center. But we had people in there working out all the time.

Sheena: Yeah, yeah.

John Jackson: And we grew and grew, and then I came back as a graduate assistant to get my master’s and also took a little time in between that and then came back as a graduate assistant again to get my Ph.D. in exercise phys.
And so, all that time from a student’s perspective. It’s a unique perspective because you’re a student and you’re a pseudo professional. Do you feel the same way?

Sheena: I agree. Yeah, you’re definitely like you said, basically you are a student, but there were expectations of how you were going to represent that department. What we tell our student workers in our office is, “You guys are junior professionals in our space.”
For me, my experience was being a resident advisor during my undergraduate years, and then in grad school I became an assistant hall director. I would have been a grad assistant at University Recreation, but somebody named John Jackson decided not to hire me.

John Jackson: You had to bring that up, didn’t you.

Sheena: You knew I was going to have to. No. I promise, I am healed from the experience. But no, working in Tutwiler as the hall director, there were many trying nights, and I was like, “I could have been at the rec center, but no.”
I mean honestly, Tutwiler was fantastic. Housing is very good about teaching you transferrable skills that, and so that is the hugest blessing ever, and it’s neat, too. You see colleagues that remember me as an R.A., and now they’re like, “Oh Sheena, you’re all grown up into this magical butterfly.” And I’m like, “Was I this awful caterpillar as a student?”
But it’s just been neat to be around and be in that capacity, and I think it, for us, it kind of gives us an advantage, having been student employees here, just knowing what the expectations are of this university, and what the campus culture has been.

John Jackson: Right. And if I do remember correctly, in my notes from your interview, I did write down the word “caterpillar”.

Sheena: Oh, perfect.

John Jackson: No, I’m just kidding.

Sheena: Well, you know.

John Jackson: I do agree with you. My daughter is an employee at this university now, and just watching her come out of her shell, from being super-quiet to not so super-quiet. She’s still kind of quiet. But it’s been neat to watch her grow, and very interesting.
Leads us to our guest today, Kaylee Everingham, and Kaylee, your last name is such a mouth full, we’re going to go with Kaylee E. How about that?

Kaylee E: It is. Sounds good.

John Jackson: I feel like I’m on The Voice, or on one of those shows.

Kaylee E: Yeah, I need to just pick a different last name, or just get married. That’ll help.

John Jackson: There we go, there we go.

Sheena: We’ll think of something.

John Jackson: Kaylee’s been working with us at the rec center for quite a while as a personal trainer. And one of our … I’m going to say more successful personal trainers. You stay busy all the time, too.

Kaylee E: Yes. And group fitness instructor.

John Jackson: And group fitness instructor as well.

Kaylee E: That’s how I started.

John Jackson: That’s how you started. Yeah. I completely forgot about that. Whitney was nice enough to shuffle you our way. Why don’t you just tell us just a little bit about your background before we get started. Tell us a little bit about growing up, and high school, and how you ended up at the University of Alabama, and you know…

Kaylee E: Yeah, sure. So I went to school in St. Petersburg, Florida and I was one of those crazy people that applied for way too many colleges, had no idea where I wanted to go, except I wanted to get out of Florida.

John Jackson: Why? I got to stop you right there and ask you why?

Kaylee E: I don’t know now, because I miss the beaches, I miss the weather, and it’s been raining this week, so I regret it once in a while. But I grew up, born and raised there, and I just wanted something different. Completely new. Everyone where I went to school basically went to the University of Florida, or Florida State University, or the University of South Florida, and I wanted a different experience.
So I got a letter from the University of Alabama that offered me a full ride because I was a national merit scholar. I was a little bit of a nerd in high school. And when I went on the college tours with my mom, we basically fell in love with the campus. I didn’t know it when I first toured, but she was like, “I think you’re going to end up going here. This is the school for you.”

John Jackson: Really.

Sheena: That’s awesome.

Kaylee E: Yeah. She said that. I went to Auburn, the next day on our little road trip tour. Hated it. Absolutely could not see myself going there. Cut the visit short, for real. And I just had a great feeling about the University of Alabama. It felt like a place I could thrive, and there was a lot of opportunity here. I was able to get involved in research. Take a lot of courses that I like, so it just felt like a new home.

John Jackson: Right. And you are an exercise science major, am I correct?

Kaylee E: I’m actually not.

John Jackson: You’re not?

Kaylee E: I should have said this, I spent over three years pre-med. So I’m a Biology major. And I have a couple minors, Sociology and Women’s Studies, and I had every intention of going to medical school. And then somewhere along the way of working at the rec center and doing what I do, and then losing my mom, I really realized that’s not what I wanted to do. So now I want to go to grad school and get my master’s in exercise physiology.

John Jackson: Right.

Kaylee E: And I’ve also thought a little bit about nutrition.

Sheena: Okay.

Kaylee E: So, we’ll see, but definitely no longer medical school for me.

Sheena: Yeah.

John Jackson: I would recommend ex phys over nutrition, but that’s just me.

Kaylee E: You know, there’s combined programs now? Which is kind of a cool thing.

Sheena: Yeah, come on John, don’t discriminate.

John Jackson: I would just go straight ex phys if it was me. I mean, if you’re looking for the intelligent route to go, that … there we went. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:12:36] we know Sheena’s the smartest one on this side of the table today.

Sheena: No. Well Kaylee, with your experience at U rec, how did you … tell us a little bit about your journey starting there as a student employee. How’d you get your foot in the door?

Kaylee E: I actually started as a group fitness class participant. My friends dragged me along. And I don’t think I enjoyed it at first, because I was new to exercising and it was really, really tough. But slowly I started really liking it, and I consider myself the most introverted extrovert, so what I mean by that is I love, love, love my time alone and at home, but I thrive in social settings.
So I went to another instructor’s cycling class, [A.B. 00:13:21], she’s fantastic. And as I kept going back I thought, “You know, maybe I could do this.” And the summer after I got my certification in indoor cycling, and started teaching at a gym back in Florida. And then when I came back, I wanted to audition and teach other classes here. So I went through the student instructor training course with Whitney and that was that. I started teaching a 6:00 am boot camp class on Fridays.

Sheena: Nice.

Kaylee E: So, yeah, I got started with the little less desirable time, and now I teach all the time, and it just blossomed from there.

Sheena: That’s awesome.

John Jackson: We’re going to have to go to a break in just a second, but real quickly, so prior to coming here, you never exercised?

Kaylee E: I was not an athlete, and I went to a few classes my senior year of high school that my friend taught, but otherwise, no. I was not a gym fanatic whatsoever.

John Jackson: Right, because you are now, I know you, and you are now.

Kaylee E: Definitely.

John Jackson: And that’s a 180 for you.

Kaylee E: Yeah, definitely a big change.

John Jackson: Yeah, but one of the things that I really like to hear you say, because you don’t hear it from a lot of people. A lot of people work out because they have to work out, Sheena, Sheena. But to hear you say you work out because you enjoy it, and because …

Kaylee E: Oh, I definitely do. It’s a “get to”, not a “have to” for me.

John Jackson: Yes, absolutely.

Kaylee E: That’s what I try to get people to see exercise as is “a blessing, not a chore” but for me, it really is.

John Jackson: Right. If you can get to that point, it’s just so easy.

Kaylee E: Life changing.

John Jackson: Yeah. It really is.

Sheena: Well, I think you just say it beautifully, I mean really, I think any kind of movement, it’s just a celebration of being in our bodies and all that our body can do for us. So I want us to pick up some more on that topic when we get back from the break, Kaylee, but we’ve got to take a break. So you guys stick in with us, we’ve got a great afternoon. You’re listening to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7 The Capstone.

John Jackson: Welcome back to Fit2BTide this Sunday afternoon. You are listening to Sheena and John, and we’re here with Kaylee E. How about that? We’re going to keep going with that.

Kaylee E: Yes.

Sheena: Like that?

John Jackson: Who is a student employee for us at the student rec center, and has a great story to tell. She came here as a just having never ex … I love that part of it. I just love that part of the story you were telling before we went to the break.

Sheena: I do, too.

Kaylee E: It’s almost embarrassing now.

Sheena: No.

John Jackson: Not at all.

Sheena: It’s inspirational for our listeners, who maybe they are dreaming of being an exercise instructor, and they’re like, “I’ve not exercised a day in my life.” So you bet it’s and inspiration.

Kaylee E: Oh yeah, and it’s [crosstalk 00:16:23]. Anyone can do it.

John Jackson: Yeah, so if you’re just joining us, Kaylee came here having not regularly exercised, we’ll use those words. But is one of our stars now. She teaches group exercise, she’s a personal trainer who stays full with clients all the time, and that’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work, it’s fun.
I don’t know if you, I personal trained for so long myself, it’s really an enjoyable job, because …

Kaylee E: Absolutely.

John Jackson: … being able to see change in people …

Kaylee E: It’s very rewarding.

John Jackson: Yes. And a lot of people don’t … they think personal trainer, and they see stuff on TV about it, but when you get into really doing it, and see the changes [crosstalk 00:17:13].

Kaylee E: Yeah, it’s definitely not what you see on TV.

John Jackson: Yeah, it’s not what you see on TV. Yeah. I might look like what you see on TV, but Sheena, why do you laugh when I say stuff like that?

Sheena: I’m not laughing, I’m just smiling joyfully.

John Jackson: Anyway, Kaylee, you play two different roles, and for those of you who are not familiar with kind of how we’re set up, and how most gyms, well a lot of gyms are set up, things are changing in the way … in the gym world now. But the way we’re set up and the way most gyms are is we have our group exercise side, and all of this falls under fitness, we have our group exercise side and our personal training side.
Kaylee works for both sides. Our group exercise classes are drop-in classes. Those classes probably average about how many people per class would you say? About 40 to 50 depending on what type of class?

Kaylee E: Yeah, it really varies. When I teach kick-boxing, 45 people is our max capacity, and then cycling, a full class is 20 bikes. So around there, for most of our classes, but it varies on the day.

John Jackson: What is your favorite class to teach?

Kaylee E: I have to tell you, a 45 person kick-boxing class gets me so hyped up. I mean, that’s probably … that or a full cycling, I really, really love. But in terms … that’s such a hard question. I’ve been teaching a power trip class for the last … it’s one of our newer classes. It’s a circuit training class, so it’s strength and conditioning, what I would consider a metabolic conditioning workout. And I’ve gotten great responses from some really dedicated people that come back week to week. Monday and Tuesday. So that’s also really enjoyable, to see people who routinely come progress.

John Jackson: Right. Would you say that you … I know you enjoy both, but doing both. It’s a lot of difference though, between doing a group of 40 to 50 people and a one-on-one, or a one-on-two session.

Kaylee E: Yeah, there’s a huge difference.

John Jackson: Yeah. Could you explain a little bit about that difference and how you … you have to change gears in a hurry.

Kaylee E: You do, so when I’m on my … in my group fitness mentality, or that zone, I’m really thinking, “How can I give everyone that comes the most effective, safe and enjoyable workout, all three of these things?” And of course, I want it to be tough. I want them to get what they came for. But you are modifying and accommodating people that have never worked out before, or they’re just getting into exercise, and then people who run marathons, and are highly conditioned, lift weights regularly.
So I’m trying to find exercises that cater to everybody in that. And to be motivational to do it at the same time. It’s challenging, but really, really fun.

John Jackson: Right.

Kaylee E: And then personal training, I would say a lot of that is mentally helping someone conquer some fears. I’ve had people do exercises like a step up or something, and they’re afraid of heights. I mean, there’s a lot of different things that go into it. People … I had a girl, this was one of my favorite clients, and we were working out, and she, speaking of Body Appreciation Week, she complained about the fat on her forearms. And I said, “I can help you lose weight. I can help you get stronger and more physically fit, but the mentality that you have, you have to work on that. We have to address that above and beyond personal training, and whatever exercises we are doing. Because you can lose all the weight in the world, and I’ve lost weight before. That doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly going to love your body.”

Sheena: Right, no. And I think the fact that you really brought that to the light for that client, I think is a huge thing, and when you think about your history, Kaylee, with being a personal trainer, how … what’s the longest length of time you’ve had a particular client for personal training?

Kaylee E: I’ve had some that I’ve trained from when I first started personal training here at the University to when she graduated and left and now she travels all over.

Sheena: That’s awesome.

Kaylee E: Almost two years. For a while, so you really get to see people evolve.

John Jackson: And one of the things that you guys do so well, too is you have people that come to us for personal training, usually come to us for one of two reasons. They need the motivation to do it, or they need your knowledge. And it’s generally one of those two reasons. And those people that need the motivation are generally going to be the long term clients, if they get the success that we hope that they get.
But that … one of the things that you guys as a staff, and I’ve watched it, you do so well, y’all teach your clients, you don’t just take them through a workout, but you teach them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it so that they can go out on their own.

Kaylee E: Yeah, there’s always going to be new clients and people that want to train. It’s really not about … I mean of course I want to retain my clients when it’s beneficial to them, but sometimes someone just needs, maybe they’ve hit a plateau in what they’re training for, what they want to do, and they need some new ideas, new things. Or they’re coming in and they just need to know some basics, how to workout, and I’m happy to work with people that want to do that, or people that need the motivation week to week.

John Jackson: Right, right. Well, we have to take a break here in just a little bit, but you had a really life changing event a couple of years ago. And one of the things … you and I have talked about it some over the last year or so int hat being active and exercising on a regular basis, but the people that you work with as well, I think you’ve mentioned to, were very beneficial in helping you get through this tough time.

Kaylee E: Absolutely.

John Jackson: So anyway, our staff currently now, y’all have about 35 personal trainers that work for you. Y’all are a tight knit group. It’s like a family down there, would you say?

Kaylee E: Yeah, absolutely.

John Jackson: Yeah, and the same with group exercise. About 40 to 50 group exercise instructors. So you, since moving from Florida to here, you’ve got a very big extended family.

Kaylee E: Absolutely. I love my rec fam, as we call it.

John Jackson: The rec fam. I’ve never heard it referred to … does that make me Daddy Rec? Big Daddy Rec?

Sheena: Maybe. If you want to take ownership of that title.

John Jackson: Yeah. I don’t want to. Let’s don’t give it that title.

Sheena: Well, you know, Kaylee, you’ve talked about so many amazing experiences that you’ve had at the University, and I know in just a little bit, we’ll be talking into even more of your personal life, and more of your story and sharing some incredible things. And we want to continue this afternoon’s conversation, and we’re going to do that after we take a break. So I’m hoping you’re willing to stay with us for another segment, and we just thank you for your time, but you guys stick with us too. You’re listening to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7 The Capstone.

John Jackson: Welcome back to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7 The Capstone. Sunday afternoon, as we continue our talk with Kaylee Everingham, who is a student here at the university, and someone we’re proud to call our own at the student rec center, and we’ve been talking with Kaylee if you’re just joining us about some of her experiences and some of the things that she does at the rec center, and what a tight knit family we have there. And I mentioned briefly before the break, you had a major life changing event a couple years ago. You lost your mom, and being … I can’t imagine being away from home, at college and all that … this is a show about wellness, and we talk about wellness related topics all the time.
Just the first thing that comes to my mind is just the level of, among so many other things, the level of stress that you had to have been going through. And by stress, talking about a big major life changing event.

Kaylee E: Yeah, absolutely.

John Jackson: And happening at a time when you’re in college. You’re trying to keep your grades up. You’re trying to work. And you’re trying to deal with your loss.

Kaylee E: Right.

John Jackson: How difficult was that?

Kaylee E: Not to sugar coat it, it was absolutely devastating. I lost my mom when I was 21 years old, and it was very unexpected. She became ill quickly and no one saw it coming. And it set my world spinning, basically. I’ve talked to people who have lost loved ones, and people grieving, and the one thing about losing a parent is that my support system, the person that I always asked for advice, for help, money sometimes, you know, you name it. It in an instant, was gone.
It was really difficult.

John Jackson: Yeah.

Sheena: Well, you know we’ve talked about just you being in such a close knit relationship with your coworkers. How do you feel like they played a role in terms of being a support system for you when you went through everything?

Kaylee E: They were an incredible support system. I mean, I really could not have asked for better people to work with or work for. The day … I got a phone call on a Monday, and I was actually scheduled to teach four or five classes, I mean it was a really busy day for me. And one of them was a private event, and I would never want to cancel on a private event. But I got this phone call that my mom was in the hospital and it was not looking good. I needed to take an emergency flight down to Florida.

Sheena: Yeah.

Kaylee E: So I’m crying, and I call my boss, over at group fitness, Whitney Pape, and I said, I’m so sorry, but I just have to drop everything and take this flight. My mom is like critically ill. And she said, “Absolutely. Not a problem. Don’t even worry about it. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Just let me know if you need anything.”
And the next day, at 11 am, my mom passed away. And all of my classes for the next two weeks while I was wrapping up affairs in Florida and meeting with a lawyer, packing my mom’s belongings from where she was living, all of this. I had to put my life on hold, which meant all the classes I was teaching, people I was training, I had to say, “I need help. I need major help. I need like a lifeline.”
And so many people came forward for me, and I can’t even tell you the number of texts and calls and support I received. And it was really touching and incredible. When you go through that valley in life where you have nothing to give people, and you need that support, like you really find out who is there for you. And my coworkers were there for me more than even some of my friends at the time.

Sheena: That’s amazing.

John Jackson: Obviously, this is hard for you to talk about, but aside from your coworkers and your friends, how did you deal with this? I mean, it’s like you said, you had to put everything on hold for a couple weeks and handle so many business affairs and take care of things, and put the grieving process on hold for a little bit.

Kaylee E: It was really a day-to-day process, and honestly being so busy for a while was … is almost a good thing. Because I just had to put one foot in front of the other, and do things that no 21 year old really should have to go through.
But it did … having things to do, and a checklist, and people to meet with, almost kind of gave me some direction, so I wasn’t just laying in a bed crying all day.

John Jackson: Right, right. If we were to take this from a different perspective, just to help other people out.

Kaylee E: Yeah.

John Jackson: Did you find that some of your friends, not knowing, not having the right words to say, had a difficult time?

Kaylee E: Absolutely, and one thing I did really try to think of is that I was going through this for the first time and the only time, and my friends were too. I mean, most of them had never lost a parent or knew someone that lost a parent or a loved one. And I don’t think anyone means to say anything hurtful or platitudes or anything like that. But sometimes they just come out. And so, one thing I told my close friends is that I’d rather them talk to me and feel like they can talk to me, than worry about saying the wrong thing.
To anyone that is living with or going through seeing a friend encounter a loss, the one thing that always felt the most helpful and touching for me was when someone said, “I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here for you.”
And sometimes that really is just all you can do and all you can say is that there’s nothing that will make it better, and that’s okay. Just being okay with me not being okay.

Sheena: Right, and when you think about when that happened, Kaylee, I believe you mentioned earlier it’s been about a year and a half now. Where do you find yourself now emotionally, and what could you say to others that may find themselves in this situation in the future in terms of giving them hope about coming out on the other side of everything?

Kaylee E: I actually love this question, because I would say I’m in such a better place. The one thing … I actually know someone that lost her sister recently, and I told her, “One day at a time. You got to believe that you’re going to find your joy again. That life gets better, and that even though that loss never goes away, you find a way to find meaning from it.”
And that’s what I’ve tried to do, is in my personal life, and my work at the rec center, to take this really awful, devastating thing and to create some meaning to find some good to come out of it. And I love this Eric Thomas talk, if you’re familiar with him, he’s a motivational speaker, really incredible, and I heard it after I lost my mom, and it was about outlasting the pain.
And I listen to it sometimes still, and I believe that it applies to about everything in life. That if you can just outlast that pain, you’ll be successful, or you’ll find your joy again.

Sheena: I think that’s huge, and I think the fact that you really allowed yourself to grieve, I think a lot of times, students come to college and they have unhealthy coping mechanisms, for lack of better words, because they feel like they’ve got to be that strong person all the time, and I feel like potentially what makes us stronger is allowing ourselves to properly grieve and have those moments.

Kaylee E: Yeah, and I think one thing … I definitely don’t hide it. I go to counseling. I started going two months after I lost my mom. It was my own decision. I just knew that I wanted to really process my grief and I didn’t want it to … I didn’t want to make any decision that would affect my life in a worse way. Like, I didn’t want to turn to drugs, or drinking, or some of the things that people do when they go through a major thing and they don’t have those coping skills.
And counseling has made such a big difference. What I tell people who are thinking about it who might need it is, it doesn’t change what’s going on in life, but it gives you the tools to deal with whatever it is. And there were so many times when I felt like counseling really did save my life in a way.

Sheena: I’ve really just … I think, Kaylee, just the fact that you have been so open and transparent with your story today, is just a huge gift to our listeners. And I know John and I, we feel so lucky with getting to have you talk about your experience today for sure.

John Jackson: Yeah, it’s great to see you. So many times we meet in the parking lot at the rec center, and it just makes my day to see you smiling when you’re coming in.

Kaylee E: Well, thank you.

John Jackson: Knowing, I know it’s been a long, tough road for you, but it’s good to see you when you walk in, and you look truly so happy.

Kaylee E: Yeah, life is really good. And that’s a great thing to say to people is that you can go through incredibly devastating events or times in life, and the good ones are around the corner.

Sheena: Yeah. Well Kaylee, just thank you so much, and you’ve inspired me to rejoin the rec and try one of your classes and see what it’s all about.

Kaylee E: Yes, please do. You’re not teaching now, so you could.

Sheena: I know, I could hop on and do that, for sure. Well Kaylee, thank you so much. Don’t be a stranger. If we can find any reason to have you again in the future, we definitely want to invite you, and hopefully you’ll accept the invitation.

Kaylee E: Absolutely.

Sheena: But you guys, we’ve had a great afternoon so far, and stick around a little bit longer with us, you are listening to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7 The Capstone.

John Jackson: Welcome back to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7 The Capstone, and we want to thank you for joining us this afternoon. We’ve had a great conversation with Kaylee E., our great group exercise instructor and personal trainer. We appreciate Kaylee telling her story.

Sheena: For sure.

John Jackson: Good story it is. Like I was saying, seeing her come into the … through the parking lot as we pass each other every day, and seeing her smile, it’s a good thing, knowing what she’s been through.

Sheena: For sure.

John Jackson: It was just really a good story.
We’re getting close to Spring Break now.

Sheena: I know.

John Jackson: Just around the corner.

Sheena: Yes.

John Jackson: Only what a week away?

Sheena: I know, and you know, it’s kind of weird having … with U.A. having an earlier Spring Break, because I guess if you’ve got students that are trying to coordinate with their friends at other universities or if you’re a staff member, and you’re trying to coordinate with some friends that work at other universities, and their Spring Break is one or two weeks away from yours, it makes it kind of hard.
I’m having mixed feelings about this early Spring Break. I think I just potentially it’s because last year, we also had an early Spring Break in March, and a friend and I went to the beach, and going to the beach is already expensive enough. And the fact that it was like cold and rainy, I was kind of bitter. I got some good food, but I was like, “Daggum it. I wasted some beach money on this.”
So, for all the folks that are going to the beach during Spring Break, I’m going to be wishing y’all some good weather.

John Jackson: We’re actually having our national intramural rec sports conference in Colorado next week.

Sheena: Nice.

John Jackson: I won’t be going. I’m not going. I actually spent, again, I’m a warm weather guy. Actually, my conference was in Orlando that I went to this year, so I head to the warm weather, and I’m not a skier, I’ve never skied before.

Sheena: Okay. Well, speaking of conferences, my … the professional conference for my profession, our state association is actually going to be meeting during the week of Spring Break in Birmingham. And fun fact, I will be inducted as President Elect of the state’s dietetic association. So, that’s going to be my fun Spring Break.

John Jackson: That’s nice.

Sheena: Yeah, I think I’m one of the younger presidents that the state has had, so we’ll see what happens with that.

John Jackson: That’s awesome, that’s really cool.

Sheena: Yeah, so I don’t know. Something for Mom and Dad to be proud of. Maybe my husband’ll be proud, too. I don’t know. Unless it stresses me out, and he’s like, “What’d you sign up for?” But I’m excited.

John Jackson: You have to many leadership roles in different areas throughout the state. I get all the emails from Sheena, and I’m like [crosstalk 00:40:06].

Sheena: Oh yeah, are you still on the Obesity Task Force email list?

John Jackson: Yes I am.

Sheena: Do you want me to take you off? Because I can.

John Jackson: Keep me on there. I want to come back to a meeting.

Sheena: Okay, okay. All right, all right.

John Jackson: If, maybe we’ll have one in Florida sometime?

Sheena: Yeah, maybe. We’ll be all like warmed up and everything. I used to have a lot of eating disorder conferences in Florida, and it was great, but I feel like the conferences at the beach are the most difficult because you’re sitting in session, and it’s like, “Oh man, it’s beautiful outside, like I could totally skip these afternoon sections. Let me kind of troll through and see what the afternoon is looking like. Am I feeling those breakout sessions?”
There’s a danger to the beach, it makes it attractive because you actually get people that are registered for the conference, but I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about it.

John Jackson: Quick story. Last time I went to a conference at the beach, same as … it was our state conference, but same organization. National Intramural Rec Sports Association. And I go down on a Friday night, drive through the night, because I’m doing a presentation on Saturday morning. Get up and do my presentation. Just as soon as my presentation is over with, we get word that it’s about to snow. It is about to snow.
So we ended up having to leave Orange Beach early to get out of there, and it snowed on us all the way home.

Sheena: Oh my goodness, that’s [crosstalk 00:41:34].

John Jackson: So you complain about your beach trips. It might be a little cold for you, it snowed on me.

Sheena: Well hey, don’t they do that Polar Dip thing in Gulf Shores where they do the [crosstalk 00:41:45].

John Jackson: Oh, do they? I don’t know.

Sheena: I think they do. There’s a good professor friend of mine, Hank Williford at A.U.M., in Montgomery, and he’s older but still stays so active. And he and his daughter that lives in South Alabama, they do that Polar Dip like swim. It’s the little, whatever they do in the ocean, and I don’t know.

John Jackson: Not for me. Can you give us a South Alabama one time? [crosstalk 00:42:09]

Sheena: I don’t know if I can.

John Jackson: I put you on the spot.

Sheena: See, I know I was doing accents during the break, but I don’t know if I can get super-redneck on air, but I’ll practice, and we’ll do some skits next show.

John Jackson: Sounds like a plan.

Sheena: Yeah, so we’ll write some skits. But y’all, I hope you enjoyed your Sunday afternoon with us, I’m going to assume you did because I enjoyed it, but you guys, we have just had a fabulous show today, and we hope you have a fantastic week. You have been listening to Fit2BTide with Sheena and John on 90.7 The Capstone.