Earlier this year I was also featured as a Face of Fitness with Trainer Nik. You can read that full post right here:
Real Faces of Fitness – #5 Spotlight on Tahnee Lacey, Chicago, IL.
No intro can do this woman justice. She’s an improv comedy whiz, she just did a half marathon, and she’s a survivor of years spent with Cheetos and Tostitos in hand. Simply put, Tahnee is clever and unstoppable. In her own words, “Be strong, kick butt, love yourself and remember to support each other.”
Writing about one’s fitness journey is more difficult than it sounds. Mine is more like constant dips into a pool before you finally realize it’s warm outside but cool in the water and you really do love swimming. So you dive in.
Let’s start at the beginning. I was active enough as most kids are and I played basketball (this is a big deal if you know how short I am) and danced ballet until about the time I hit puberty. It was then that I got curvy, discovered theater and preferred watching TV and eating Cheetos to sports. The most I did throughout high school was dance the night away at ska shows which is a great workout, but not enough. I went through years of my mother telling me I should work out and me, being a petulant teenager, responding with a “no, thank you.”
There were years in college where I believe I had a mild case of body dismorphic disorder. I would go to Anna’s Taqueria in Boston and order a delicious burrito and chips and salsa and would spend my time at the register assuming the employees were thinking I was fat and didn’t need to eat that much. I joined a gym but never went. I just wasn’t ready.
A few years later while still in college, I became a dog walker. This meant that I was walking all day long and more when my dogs lived up four-floor walk-ups. Inevitably I got into better shape but I still ate terribly. When I graduated and started working in an office, I gained the weight back as I was doing improv at night and eating lime Tostitos in my spare time.
I moved to Chicago around 2006 and started a full time office job, worked at Second City and took classes in their conservatory as well as at IO, and I performed every chance I got. Needless to say, I didn’t care about my health. In about 2009 when I was performing significantly less, I discovered All About Dance. It combined my love of dance with my hatred of working out and I loved it. Eventually I petered out and tried every gym that would offer free classes including FlyWheel, Real Ryder, Shred 451, Indigo Studio, Barre Method… until I met Enrgi. By “met” I mean I bought a one week pass and then quickly handed over my credit card because I was in love.
I joined Enrgi with my amazing friend, Annie, as I would rather watch TV than work out and needed the push. But what I found at Enrgi is that all of the teachers and other students at Energi are so damn nice and so damn motivating. I also did myself a solid and bought a deal that requires me to go 16 days a month otherwise I would have to pay more. Being the cheap person I am and loving the place as I do, I typically go 20-25 days a month.
Around this same time last year, Annie and our other friend Mel pushed me to start running on our lunch breaks. When we began I found it embarrassing that I could barely run .25 miles, but they never judged. Annie and Mel were excellent coaches and so supportive. Less than a year later (this May) I ran my first half marathon.
Last Memorial Day, my dad died of a heart attack and my grandmother is slowly falling apart. ENRGi and running have pushed me to work out, but the poor health of my family is what I find truly motivating. I am working out like what some people call a crazy person because I don’t want my heart to stop because I didn’t nourish it. And I don’t want to spend my 80s falling apart.
My journey has had stops and starts, but the support I have received from others has been astounding and it feels beyond lovely to give it back to them. I was actually talking to my grandmother the other day and said to her, “the weight that you are doesn’t determine who you are as a person.” I think that might have been the biggest thing for me. As someone who always cared what I look liked on the outside, I no longer do. I feel amazing and so much stronger these days, but what’s more important is that I am able to give that light to others. You can think of me as the pool floatie. Wrap me around your arms and I will help you stay up.
Be strong, kick butt, love yourself and remember to support each other.