Here's a sweet story. A MizzFIT reader named Paula Strokoff tipped me off about Kristi Yamaguchi's new active wear collection called Tsu.ya. Paula was so excited about Tsu.ya that I asked her review it on MizzFIT.com, never expecting that she'd use fitness fashion or Kristi's DVD to overcome obstacles she was facing in her own life. This is Paula, pictured below.
I'm going to let her tell the story in her own words. But before I do, I just want to say that people who take the time to write handwritten notes must be saints. We often have to twist celebrities arms to get interviews and quotes on MizzFIT.com (ok, not really but getting ahold of them can be hard). Kristi Yamaguchi was thrilled to have her active wear and workout reviewed by us.
We didn't expect such a lovely response from Kristi or that she'd become a source of empowerment for Paula. But, that's fitness for ya. If you're willing to share it (like Kristi), amazing things are bound to happen. Here's what happened to Paula Strokoff from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania...
The following was written by Paula Strokoff, a MizzFIT.com reader
When MizzFIT first asked me to review Kristi Yamaguchi's workout DVD, Kristi Yamaguchi: Power Workout, along with her latest fashion line, Tsu.ya, I was honored and beyond excited! I graciously accepted the challenge and anxiously awaited the arrival of my new workout DVD and digs.
During the time that I accepted this fitness/fashion mission until now, life as I knew it took a dramatic turn. My husband and I found out that we would be expecting a little bundle of joy this coming August! It was the greatest news that we could have ever hoped for, and I was thrilled to start this beautiful, glorified journey know as "pregnancy". Like most MizzFIT readers, I have always been an active, healthy woman with a passion for health, fitness, and sportswear. Pregnancy wasn't going to slow me down! I was going to continue my active lifestyle and healthy eating regimen throughout this new phase of my life, and my new little baby was going to come along for the ride! But within a few short days, reality hit and I was forced to accept the realization of this newfound journey.
For me, pregnancy hit hard. I found myself in the hospital battling cardiac complications almost immediately after finding out I was pregnant. I was diagnosed with a severe respiratory infection on top of my cardiac issues that together caused me to experience shortness of breath and exhaustion from the lightest of activities - washing my hair, getting dressed, doing the dishes, etc. Things that I used to do without giving a 2nd thought to became tasks that I wasn't confident I could accomplish.
I was forced to be on bed rest to decrease my oxygen demands until my heart stabilized and my respiratory infection cleared. Before I knew it, 2-months had passed. I went from working out 2 times a day and having endless amounts of energy to wondering if I would ever be able to take a walk around the block again without losing my breath and needing to take frequent recovery breaks. The active life that I knew and loved seemed like a distant memory. I was sad, I was scared, and I wondered if I would ever get back to "normal".
In due time, my doctors gave me permission to resume activity and workout again. By this point, I had done nothing but eat and sleep for 2-months. While I was incredibly grateful for the "go-ahead", my body was far from ready to pick up where it left off. After taking a few walks and attempting to build up my stamina again, I was ready to try my first "real" workout and attempt Kristi Yamaguchi's Power Workout DVD! My first time through, I watched it from the couch. Despite the doctor's approval, I was afraid to do too much. I no longer knew what my body was capable of, and honestly, I was afraid of failure. Would I be able to finish the workout? Would it be too hard for me? NOPE.
The DVD is split into 3 segments. I didn't even get through the first 10 minute segment before asking my husband to move the furniture out of the way so I could get in on the action! Kristi and her trainer, Erin O'Brien, were so motivating that I found myself WANTING to workout - a feeling that I wasn't sure I would ever have again! Before I knew it, I had my mat and light weights out, and I was sweating right along side the fit gold medalist and her energetic trainer.
I took it nice and slow, one segment at a time, and the way that the DVD was set up made it seem much more manageable than a 55 minute fitness DVD that goes from start to finish with no breaks. Instead of feeling frustrated and out of shape, I felt encouraged and motivated.
Each move is clearly explained and the proper form is demonstrated on Kristi - no guess-work required! Having a trainer and a client in the DVD allow for proper instruction, and I felt like I could relate to Kristi as the "trainee". I'm still building up to completing multiple segments at a time, but I must say I am quickly improving! The DVD is undoubtedly challenging with bursts of aerobic cardio that are fun but not too complicated. I plan to continue using this workout throughout my pregnancy (making modifications when necessary) and through my postpartum period as well.
When re-starting a fitness routine after a hiatus like I experienced, home fitness DVDs are a great option. You get the motivation of working out with others while having the added benefit of my new best friend...the pause button!
With my re-energized attitude and motivation creeping its way back into my life, I was ready to try on my new Tsu.ya outfit. For those of you that have experienced pregnancy, you are well aware of the first trimester "bloat"! For those of you that haven't, let me fill you in. That adorable baby bump that you see on TV personalities like Gloria on Modern Family? Yea, that doesn't come until month 7.
Months 1-4 you simply look (and feel) like an out-of-shape version of yourself. People look at you and wonder (A) if you stopped watching what you were eating and started consuming many alcoholic beverages, or (B) gave up on working out your abs. Until that little belly of yours "pops", you simply feel bloated and uncomfortable in anything without an elastic waistband.
In comes the SLIK Jacket and SLIK Pant - a first-trimester pregnant woman's new favorite outfit! From the moment I put it on, I knew I would be LIVING in this outfit for many weeks to come (hopefully).
The jacket is incredibly slimming, flattering the parts you want shown off, and hiding those you don't. It has a satin binding at the waist that slims and flatters, and has a slight peplum-like flair that hides your tummy without adding bulk...what more could we ask for in a jacket? As for the SLIK Pants, they fit similar to the Lululemon Grove Pant but with more "hug" and better material. When I wear them, I feel very pulled in and snug. They are a little tighter at the waist than I would prefer at 13 weeks pregnant, but most things are!
That being said, I have worn this outfit more times than I can count and have received numerous compliments and inquisitions as to where I got it. It's gold details really take it up a notch. I have worn it with heels to dress it up and sneakers to dress it down - both styles look great. This is one of those outfits that looks like you are really put together, but feels like you're hanging out in your favorite workout warm-up. The quality of the Tsu.ya clothing line far exceeded my expectations, and I have already picked out the next few items on my wish list! (Honey, if you're reading this, the LUXE Zip Top and Pant would make the perfect post-pregnancy gift!)
Styling Up 2 Shape Up (as MizzFIT calls it) was fun, especially after my health scare. But the circle became complete when I found out that Kristi Yamaguchi accepted my interview request. And with this, I end my story:
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