iFIT Member Highlight: Tonya Bowie
After purchasing a treadmill to break through a plateau, iFIT member Tonya Bowie quickly discovered her inner athlete with the coaching support of iFIT Trainers like John Peel and Tommy Rivers Puzey. Resolved to step out of her comfort zone, Tonya became an avid, confident runner with a fresh perspective. Here’s her story!
In May of 2019, I began looking for an incline treadmill. I was actively losing weight for a couple of years, but I had plateaued. I did not want to alter my diet, so that left exercise. I tried to find a similar version of the NordicTrack incline treadmills, but none existed that included iFIT. I liked the idea of being able to exercise virtually anywhere in the world. I purchased the X11i incline treadmill. It was the single best thing I have ever done for myself.
The treadmill arrived on May 22, and I began to play with it that afternoon. I created a short walk on the old street I grew up on. It was fun seeing the familiar scenery go by and feeling the incline change as I went up and down hills. The next morning, I started my very first series—John Peel’s Alps Beginner Series. I was immediately hooked! I was nervous about doing a trainer-led and controlled workout, but John’s personality, enthusiasm, and encouragement gave me the confidence I needed to simply BEGIN. I found myself hoping to have time before dinner to do another workout.
Before long, iFIT introduced Tommy Rivers Puzey’s Iberian Beginner Running Series. I didn’t think I was a runner, so I thought I would pass. I had just completed John Peel’s Costa Rica Walking Series, and it had a couple of workouts that included jogging. With encouragement from all of my wonderful friends and fellow iFIT members, I took the plunge. I was really anxious, but I DID it!
That series and Tommy’s coaching changed my life. There were times that I wanted to quit, but I did not want to let Tommy down. The day I did the 30-minute endurance run, I laughed and cried. Throughout my life, I had been made to feel that I couldn’t run and shouldn’t try. All of that was shattered that day. Later, I joined John Peel in the Grand Canyon. I absolutely LOVED this series! I found that after a few days, I started to feel a desire to run again. I actually missed running! I started scheduling hiking and running series on alternate days.
For perhaps the first time in my life, I can honestly say I love myself. All of me. I have always held exceptions to this statement: “I love myself, except for…” I have come to love my body for all it does for me every day. It has taken me 53 years to get here, but I have finally reached this summit! Climbing a mountain is truly, as Lucy Bartholomew has said, a lot like living life. We are all moving toward the summit, only to see the next mountain on our journey. To draw on John Peel, the views are definitely worth the work it takes to get there.
For my birthday this year, I celebrated by purchasing a NordicTrack s22i bike. I was hesitant because I didn’t feel strong enough. It took some getting used to, but I love this bike. It’s been so fun to take another step in my fitness journey with iFIT.
Who is your favorite iFIT Trainer?
I have so many! John Peel, Tommy Rivers Puzey, Zac Marion, Ashley Paulson, Hannah Eden, and Gideon Akande, to name a few.
What has been your favorite iFIT series that you’ve completed?
That’s a hard one! My first (and the one that hooked me) was John Peel’s Alps Beginner Series. The series that changed my life forever was Tommy Rivers Puzey’s Iberian Beginning Running Series. I also loved Jake Norton’s Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking Series, Lucy Bartholomew’s Transalpine Running Series, and Graham McTavish’s Scottish Highlands Series.
It seems like your perspective has greatly changed in the last few years. How has your wellness journey impacted your mental health?
I’ve grown much more accepting of myself—my limitations and my strengths. I was always one to brush away compliments, not feeling worthy. It took me a long time (and I still struggle a little with it) to call myself a runner. I have to remind myself that I am a runner. I am an athlete. Wow. I’ve never used that sentence before until just now. I feel strong emotionally, spiritually, and physically these days. iFIT, the trainers, and the community (some of whom have become good friends) all play a part in it.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFIT assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment.