Member Spotlight–Julie Parson’s Story!

When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever and the doctors at Mass General Hospital discovered that there was damage to the mitral valve in my heart. At the time, they didn’t know too much about the condition and as a result, I was given a laundry list of things that I “couldn’t do.” Three things from that list that always stuck out in my mind were: 1) I couldn’t play sports, 2) I couldn’t run long distances, and 3) I couldn’t lift weights. If there is one thing people should know about me, it’s that I DO NOT like being told what I can and cannot do. If I care about something, I’m going to figure out a way to do it…no matter what.

1) “You cannot play sports.” This simply wasn’t an option for me. I grew up in a very athletic family and there was no way I was going to miss out on the action. Thankfully, as time went on and as doctors learned more about the disease, I had their support to pursue my athletic career.

2) “You cannot run long distances.” In order to stay in shape, I decided to take up running. I used to run as a form of exercise all throughout high school and college, but I mainly stuck to shorter distances. At the age of 24, I finally decided to push my limits and run a half marathon. Since then, I have completed 3 half marathons and 1 full marathon along with countless 5K races. Now that I’ve opened the door to long distance running, I know that I have many, many more miles left in me.

3) “You cannot lift weights.” I’ll be the first to admit that this restriction was something that didn’t bother me too much in the beginning. I rationalized that weightlifting was certainly not for me. After my oldest and middle child were born, I managed to stay fit and active by doing at-home workouts that focused mainly on body weight exercises. This was great for a while, but I eventually grew bored and truthfully, I felt lonely. After I had my third child, I knew I needed to do something more.  Cardio was always my jam and I was worried that CrossFit and weightlifting were just about “bulking up.” It wasn’t until I walked through the doors at Silk City Fit in November 2018 that I finally found what I was searching for. I discovered that lifting weights was actually a GOOD workout. Yes, I’ve gained muscle and I’ve “bulked up” a bit, but these classes have challenged me and pushed me to the limits in a way that I never could have imagined. My heart is always pumping, I’m breathing hard, and the workouts are FUN!

CrossFit has been an eye-opening experience for me. It has shown me that I am capable of doing so much more than I ever thought possible. While weight lifting is obviously a big part of CrossFit, the daily workouts are so varied that I never feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over again. From box jumps, to pull-ups, to wall balls, to rowing, CrossFit truly offers EVERYTHING.

Silk City Fit has become my home away from home. I joke that my family lives in the parking lot of 60 Progress Drive. I honestly don’t think I have come across a more welcoming community than the coaches and athletes at Silk City Fit. The support and encouragement from everyone are what keep me coming back for more. The coaches know how to push you outside your comfort zone, while also finding alternative ways to challenge you if the programmed workout is something you aren’t quite ready for just YET. To all the coaches and athletes at TBL, thank you so much for the newfound strength (mental and physical) that you have given me this past year. I have accomplished so much and I can’t wait to see what else I can do in the future. Also, thank you for putting up with my crazy Parson Pack. My kids are my life and I’m so proud that they get to have a strong mom!