No matter at which location or time you find Catalyst, chances are, you’ve met Mary Jo. She’s fortunate enough to live almost halfway between our North Liberty and Solon locations, but currently she spends most of her workouts with the Solon A.M. classes. Upon starting, she reminded me that she likes classes that make her sweat, and while she’s not above complaining and harassing our hard-working instructors, there’s no one who works harder or encourages more than Mary Jo. It’s been fun to watch technique tighten and bell sizes go up despite chemo treatments and injuries…and she’s humble too. Those pushups are nothing to sneeze at! Read on to find out more about Mary Jo, her favorite moves, and what’s in her secret bag of tricks.
How long have you been with Catalyst and what keeps you coming back?
I joined Catalyst because of Steph Hoeper. I first met Steph in 2006 when she was a spin instructor at Body and Balance in Coralville. At the time, I was recovering from chemo treatments for follicular lymphoma and my oncologist’s goal was to get me to the age of 70. [He has a much better outlook today!] At that time, I decided get start working out so I could be as physically strong as possible to fight the cancer upon its return (my first and only relapse to-date happened in late 2011). When Body and Balance closed, I followed Steph to Performance Fitness and was one of her first kettlebell students. I have been at Catalyst for over two years and really enjoy the group workouts and camaraderie.
We noticed that you always wear gloves at kettle bells. Why?
I like to think they make me look badass, but the reality is I’m really a wimp! I have osteoarthritis in my finger joints and the gloves help me grip the bells.
While we’re talking about secrets, what’s in the knapsack you bring to class?
I’m on autopilot when leaving for the early morning classes so my “go bag” ensures I remember the important stuff, like my gloves, cell phone, wallet, a sweat towel, hair tie, a bottle of water, a jump rope, and a heart monitor. I should probably use the heart monitor more as it great way to push the body without worry or risk of injury.
What’s your favorite strength move?
I like a little of everything. My favorite workout is circuits where there is variety and a smattering of many things.
If you could magically gain one skill without working for it, what would it be?
Pushups. On my tombstone it will read, “Devoted daughter, wife, mother and friend, but she sucked at pushups. Bat wings forever!”