Friday, March 18, 2016

Strength After Surgery #1: Aurora

My friend, Aurora, is my fitness hero! Aurora and I went to college together and I've always admired her athletic ability. She is a MACHINE! If you follow her on Facebook or Instagram you will see her amazing strength and agility. She always posts fun videos of her working out and enjoying it. She showcases her talent with pole dancing, circuit training, box jumps, and many other activities that she hashtags #goplay.

Recently, Aurora found out she needed surgery to remove some damaged cartilage.  Knowing how important her workouts are, I wondered how she would handle the recovery. I've had two major knee surgeries myself, and DID NOT keep up my fitness level and pretty much stayed on the couch gaining weight. Instead of picking up weights, I picked up fries.

I wanted to spotlight Aurora for a few reasons. She is in amazing shape to begin with (wait to you some of these pictures below!) and is a great role model. Second, like many people, she is an athlete that has to take time off and recover and doesn't want to lose her fitness. She followed her doctors orders, worked around her knee and managed to keep working hard at her goals. I know when I had my surgeries, I got depressed and felt like I couldn't do anything. I just sat around and did nothing and felt like why should I even bother. I was on crutches and needed help getting around a lot, I felt helpless and out of control. So, I'm hoping by reading Aurora's story about her recovery, you might gain a little perspective the next time you are injured or need any type of surgery. Don't be like me and get down on yourself. Fight that urge to lay on the couch and feel sorry for yourself. Talk with your doctors and focus on what you can do. Stay motivated and stay strong and always ask for help if you are feeling down.

Tell us about yourself.

My family and I live in North Raleigh, where I am a supportive wife to my husband, Michael, the mother of two awesome kids, Brennan (11) and Ariah (10), and the pack leader to our vizsla, Dutch. We are an active family as we all enjoy playing sports and when the weather permits, being outside playing! I acquired an elementary education degree as a collegiate athlete from West Virginia Wesleyan College (where Jen and I met) and did teach K-5th until Ariah came along. I currently am an AFAA certified fitness trainer, I also hold an X-pert Pole certification, as well as an Aradia Fitness Pole certification. I stepped away from teaching pole classes at Aradia Fitness in 2014, but I still practice/play when I can.  

My name is Aurora Davis and I'd like to think that if we were to meet, you wouldn't remember me for accolades, but rather my kindness.  

How important is nutrition and fitness to you?

Fitness and Nutrition are my lifestyle. Making sure I maintain my own fitness level and consume nutritious foods ensures that I am happy and healthy for my family and myself.

What is your normal fitness routine?

In order to maintain my own fitness level I simply make sure to move every day, I play every day! Whether it be running, weight lifting, pole dancing, yoga, stretching, HIIT training, Circuit training. My body just likes to move. I just do. I just play! I am in the process of creating circuit workouts for each month of the year. I started in October 2015 and so far have made it through March 2016, prior to knee surgery in February 2016. I’ve sent the workouts to family members and a few friends to test them out for me. I’ve received positive feedback☺.

Do you follow a diet? 

Honestly, when I hear the word “diet,” I cringe a bit. Maybe it’s because society constantly uses the word to promote a product to lose weight… like, if you don’t try this type of “diet,” you’re never going to lose weight.  Do diets work, sure, but they are a quick fix and success rates with a diet aren’t the best. So, I don’t use the word diet. When family or friends have asked me, what diet should I do while I’m exercising…I simply reply, “You don’t.” You start living a HEALTHIER lifestyle and this is different for everyone.  It’s a MIND set, you either decide to live healthier or you don’t. You educate yourself on how to live a healthier lifestyle or you don’t, it’s up to you. Help is out there if you need it, but YOU have got to make that commitment. Whew, that was a longer answer than you probably wanted! But, in short, I don’t “diet,” I live a healthy lifestyle and that does includes a glass of wine (or two) once a month, a donut every now and again, and Bruster’s Graham Central Station here and there and this works because I move, I play!

What motivates you to stay in shape?

As stated before, my body needs to move. I’ve always moved, played, and I grew up playing sports. As an adult, I realize that exercising or moving my body is my stress-reliever. When I don’t get the chance to exercise I mentally feel the effects, as well as physically.

Do you ever feel pressure to look a certain way or to stay in shape because you are woman?

I’ve never felt pressure to look a certain way because I’m a woman, but I admit, I have wanted to look like other women. I find the female body to be amazing, powerful, and beautiful! If anything, I’ve put pressure on myself to look a certain way, because at one point in my life I’d like to say my body is at its peak performance level!

How did you get injured and what is your expected recovery time?

In February I had surgery on my right knee to remove damaged cartilage. I can pin-point the time to 3 years ago when I hurt my knee trying a pole move called the “Genie.” I toughed it out as long as I could and I think 3 years was long enough. The recovery time that Dr. Isbell (awesome, btw) suggested is 6-8weeks. I’m on week 6 this week!

How did you feel when they said you needed surgery?

Honestly, I knew before even seeing Dr. Isbell that I would need surgery. So, I knew it had to be done and the outcome would be beneficial, so I was prepared.

How has your fitness and nutrition routine changed since having surgery?

So fitness has changed drastically for me because I’ve been limited on what my body will allow. Week 2 of recovery I continued with weight-lifting for my upper body and core exercises that didn’t aggravate my knee (it’s all connected.) So, naturally, my body composition has changed because my body can’t move the way it could pre-surgery. I really haven’t changed my nutritional intake drastically because my family and I do maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although, I have cut out a protein shake since I’m not lifting heavy or getting much cardio in.

What do you do when you are feeling frustrated or unmotivated, especially while you are recovering?

The key word for me during recovery would be, frustrated. Knowing that I can do certain exercises, but physically can’t, is extremely frustrating for me. I found that I constantly kept reminding myself that I need to have patience. My husband, Michael, has also reminded me of this a few times and also reminded me that I will be back and be able to perform better once I’m healed. I’ve stayed steady with my recovery exercises, careful to not over-do it, and remained positive.

Many of my readers may not know this, but you are an amazing pole dancer with killer strength. What got you interested in pole dancing? 

Pole dancing has been a passion of mine now for about 8 years. I found pole after I had both of my children. In short, my children are Irish twins, 363 days apart. I had postpartum depression, I was a hormonal wreck. Top that with not being able to move the way my body needed to was a nightmare.  I found “me-time” through pole and also discovered my body could move in a completely new way. I also found sensuality about myself that I had never known existed and I’m unapologetic about it. Dancing (whichever genre) is liberating.  

What is your advice for people who want to live a healthier lifestyle and/or lose weight?

You are you, you are beautiful the way God created you. Your friends and family LOVE you for who you are. You don’t need to change anything for others AND QUIT COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.  If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, YOU are the one who needs to make that commitment. Know that it will take time, effort, and support. Educate yourself on what you need to do lose weight safely and make sure you MOVE your body. Find an activity that you like, that you have FUN doing! Surround yourself with likeminded people for support. YOU CAN DO IT! Be healthy and go play!

Why do use the hashtag #goplay on Facebook and Instagram?
If you are having fun moving your body, you are playing. So have fun and #goplay!

How important is teaching your children about exercise and nutrition?

I feel living by example speaks louder than we all realize. I have had both my children pack their own lunches a few times this year. Thinking that each would be so excited to have free reign to pack whatever junk food each wanted, it was the contraire. Each packed exactly like I would: A fruit, a veggie, a protein, a healthier snack, and a water bottle. I was impressed and proud and I let them both know that. My daughter has also asked to do some of the monthly circuit workouts that I have created once she saw me going through them. She has also helped me come up with some of the exercise names for the moves! If you are a parent who wants to see your child/children grow to love being healthy, for lack of better words: Live out Loud and #goplay.

What are your plans after a full recovery from your injury?

I do have a few goals. #1: get back on the pole #2: Squat 200lbs.

Healthy snack: Crunchy peanut butter with apples or any one of Jamie Eason’s Recipes on her LiveFit Trainer Program.
Workout: Circuit Training with body weight and/or weights
Hobby: drawing, painting
Way to relax: Wine on the back porch with Michael and a fire going! Or a hot bath with Epsom salt.
Cheat meal: The Hunka, Hunka burger @ Cowfish!
Drink: Other than water and coffee…Silver Oak
TV show: Criminal Minds, Forensic Files (I can’t figure out why I find this show so intriguing)
Movie: Princess Bride, 16 Candles, Legends of the Fall, The Green Mile
Book: Harry Potter Series
Singer/Band: Aerosmith, Pentatonix, Bruno Mars
Sports team: Steelers
Body part: Legs
Workout song: Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ‘69” Really…if I’m exhausted during a workout or need a little extra “umph,” I play it!
Mantra: Love.
Guilty pleasure:  Botox to the forehead.
Quote: Keep a Smile in your Heart.


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