Sheila Mercer, like many of us, had her world turned upside down in March by COVID-19. Working in the medical field as Director of Operations for OSF-Urgo, Sheila had to make significant adjustments to her life. After getting her work and family life situated, she was able to adjust her workouts to make them part of her life again. Lacon Fitness and Tan owner, Amanda Barnett, said, “Sheila is such an inspiration to everyone she meets. She always gives 110% and is a hard worker in every area of her life. If she sees a challenge, she will conquer it. While the gym was closed, I would see her run past my house in the evenings, knowing that she could have easily given up on her workouts. Instead, she took some time to adjust her life and then went right on back to working out. I’m really proud of her”
Sheila has been working out off and on for ten years after getting involved with running in the Marshall County St. Jude Run. Sheila said, “As a nurse, I provided care to these children in the hospital, and they stole my heart, I wanted to give back and had not run since High School - I signed up for LFT’s 5K training and never looked back!” Like many people who first start working out, the gym was not Sheila’s comfort zone. She was worried her limited availability would stop her from working out. On top of working full time and being a busy mom, Sheila is also finishing up her Masters in Nursing, so she must plan to fit in her workout. Sheila typically gets her day started on a good note by working out at 5 am before any of her responsibilities start. If she doesn’t get a chance to workout in the morning, she will use her workout in the evening as an opportunity to release any stress from the day. Signing up for LFT’s challenges, 5K’s, St. Jude Run, and encouragement from her family help keep Sheila motivated to workout. Due to working out, Sheila no longer has to use an inhaler and has improved her body composition.
Sheila is excited to get back to her 5 am routine with her gym friends now that the gym is open again. She has goals of continuing to improve her health and run her first half-marathon next year. Her advice for others is, “FIND A FRIEND! Hold each other accountable even if it is simply to take a walk. DO IT! Knowing that someone is waiting for you or expecting you to walk/run/exercise holds you accountable and motivates you to want to do it.” Great job, Sheila! Keep up the excellent work.
Lacon Fitness and Tan: How long have you been working out, and how did you get into it?
Sheila: 10 years (off and on). The Marshall Co. St. Jude Run startup motivated me. - As a nurse, I provided care to these children in the hospital, and they stole my heart. I wanted to give back and had not run since High School - I signed up for LFT 5K training and never looked back!
LFT: Were there any reservations about getting started? Anything that held you back?
Sheila: Reservations about getting started – the gym was not my comfort zone, and what held me back was my extreme ability to make excuses – “I just don’t have time.”
LFT: What are some of the benefits both physically and mentally that you gained since working out?
Sheila: Physical benefits are weight loss/tone and overall better health (no longer use inhaler with activity). Mentally it helps me to start my day on a good note, and if I have a bad day, it gives me the opportunity to take a break and purge all of the stress of the day.
LFT: Cardio vs. Strength, which is your favorite?
Sheila: Combo honestly, I like to change it up and not get bored or feel like I’m going to die, which makes me want to give up.
LFT: What is your favorite exercise?
Sheila: Running (we have a love/hate relationship).
LFT: What is your least favorite exercise?
LFT: When you aren’t working or at the gym, what do you like to do for fun?
Sheila: Spend time with family/friends and travel!
LFT: How do you balance work, school, family, and working out?
Sheila: Make it a priority and plan ahead – I set a time (usually 5 am) that will not affect Morgan/Kyle [kids], my school work, or any of the other things that have to happen during the day so I don’t have a reason to not do it or feel like I need to be doing other things.
LFT: What has motivated you to stick with your exercise routine for as long as you have?
Sheila: Races, St. Jude Run, LFT challenges, encouragement from my family.
LFT: What motivated you to workout on your own when the gym was closed?
Sheila: Honestly, at first, I was in a bad place dealing with the pandemic and the effects it had on my family and work life and took a bit of a break. The continued communication/encouragement from LFT and the Check-in for charity #ChooseJoy made me get back at it and stick with it!
LFT: What are you most eager for when the gym reopens?
Sheila: My 5 am routine and my LFT family!!
LFT: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Sheila: I will complete my MSN (Masters in Nursing) in August 2020!
LFT: What is your favorite “cheat food”?
Sheila: CAKE! Hands down.
LFT: How do you feel about your fitness journey ahead? Any goals that you would still like to achieve?
Sheila: I’m excited to get back to my gym routine, I have weight loss goals that I want to achieve and most excited about completing my first ½ Marathon in April 2021 (was canceled for 2020).
LFT: What advice do you have for other gym members who are struggling to workout while the gym is closed?
Sheila: FIND A FRIEND! Hold each other accountable even if it is simply to take a walk. DO IT! Knowing that someone is waiting for you or expecting you to walk/run exercise holds you accountable and motivates you to want to do it.