You want to know what making no excuses looks like? You want to know what it is like to be a single mom of four kids WITH a full time management position job & still commit to her own health? Meet Aura, a 41 year old mom who embodies commitment, discipline, strength, kindness, and so much more. Aura is the expert at prioritizing time — making time for her kids, making time for her job, and making time for her own health. She does it all — a true superwoman.

Although we see people for who they are now, we don’t see what came before or how they got to be the person they are today. Just like Aura — it wasn’t always like this until she made the necessary changes for her family and herself.

“I had a job in Rockville and it was killing me on a personal level because I was a single mom with four young kids. I didn’t have time to do anything. And on a physical level too because of the commute and my back was always hurting and it was just crazy. I was tired all the time, I was out of shape, I had no energy.”

Commuting to a job an hour away, driving home in rush hour traffic, and raising four kids on her own, Aura’s personal physical and mental health took the back burner. It wasn’t until she took her kids to Disney that she knew it was time for a change.

“It was extremely difficult to just keep up with them. I was so tired just walking around. I remember too meeting up with my brother and he called me ‘chubby.’ So on a comical level (even though it wasn’t so comical then), that was it. I knew it was time for a change.”

Aura really took what her brother said to heart — not in a personal way, but as motivation for change in a more positive direction.  

“I think it takes a person that you really trust to say something or tell you something to have it click, that ‘okay, I need to do something about this’. So I started with a personal trainer for two years and it was okay. But I needed more. I needed more challenges. You get to a point where you go, you do your thing with a personal trainer, and that is wonderful when starting out, but I was ready for the next step and the next challenge.”

Aura said she never thought she would be the person that would work out with other people around.

“I was very self conscious. To me, my opinion of myself, I wasn’t comfortable with my body. Even though, people would tell me ‘you’re so skinny,’ I didn’t feel that way physically on the inside.”

When she met her friend Swati who encouraged her to come try a class, she never looked back. “It was March of 2013. I remember it was very cold when I came in and I came into the 9:30am class because of Swati during my transition between jobs. When I walked in and saw MawMaw there and all of the OGs, I was amazed. I thought it was going to be these young, 20 year old, super fit people, but there were people my age just like me. And I was like ‘wait a second, if they can do this, I can too.’ I signed up right then and there.”

I asked Aura what her biggest reason was for signing up immediately after her first class. “It is going to sound cliche, but it was because of the passion Michael had and the way he was teaching the class. With my job, I lead people at work. I tell people what to do. With Michael, he totally read my mind and style. I needed someone stronger than me and that strong personality to guide me, and he did it for me. I needed a leader and he was exactly that.”

Since signing up over 5 years ago, Aura has been the most consistent member we have had here at the X-Project. She never complains, never makes excuses, and always has a big bright smile during class no matter what else is going on outside of the gym. She made the sacrifices and changes she wanted to make for her kids, but also for herself, her health, and her overall wellbeing.

“I wake my four kids at 5am. Now that my kids are older, it is a bit more easy to manage. We eat breakfast, we leave the house by 7am. Everyone goes to school and I go to work and there by 7:30am. I made the change from my Rockville job to a Frederick job. I am a quality systems manager for a biopharmaceuticals company so it is a huge responsibility. My job is important to me and I want to be there and I have people that I am accountable for and things that have to happen. On days I go to the gym, I leave work at 4:30pm. That is another change I made purposely. Like how bad do you want it? You’ve got to make those changes. It is my commitment with myself. I have to leave work at 4:30pm because I want to come to workout. But first, I go pick up my son at school in the opposite direction and we come straight back to Frederick to the gym. If I have my two girls and I don’t have a babysitter, we all come and they sit and wait for me.”

“I think after 5 years, this is part of our life. It is what it is. It becomes our normal: coming into the gym, making sacrifices, kids doing homework at the gym while I workout, etc. Now they can’t wait to start working out here. My oldest son who did CrossFit with me for two-three years before going off to college, has continued that lifestyle down there: working out, eating healthy, actually got a job refereeing soccer. It is a lifestyle. My kids were never really into fitness until I started working out and making health and fitness a priority. It is a way of life for us now. They hold me accountable too when I don’t go to the gym that day. And it isn’t just the fitness part, it is our eating habits too. And it isn’t just coming from me anymore. My kids bring it up to my attention — my little one is like ‘Mommy, I had a donut today, but just one, because I know it has a lot of sugar in it and that is not good for me.’ So it is so refreshing for me as a mom.”

“I could come up with one million excuses not to be in the gym. Every single day. You have to commit. You have to do it for you, for your body, for your soul. Once you understand what you want to do, it is easy. You find a way. I am a single mom of four, I have to give. But don’t wait until your kids leave the house to make those changes for yourself. Do it now. Do it with them WITH your family.”

“You are capable of doing a lot more than you think with your life. Our bodies are amazing. I always tell the people that ask me, “well I am not fit.” It isn’t about that. You come, do what you can, and take it from there. You come here, do a little bit at a time, instead of going home and eating chips in front of the TV. Just do something. Here, the support group, the coaches, the community is amazing. What else could you ask for? Try it!”

“My advice is, what is it that you want first? Like I always hear Michael in my head: What are your goals? Why are you here? Why do you want this? And BE PATIENT. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go and I think one of the biggest things is people get desperate, they are looking for that quick fix. And this is not about that.”

“The X-Project has kept me sane. Going through a divorce, being a single mom, trying to get to the kids to school or to their activities, AND work, it is a lot. I would not be able to do it if I didn’t have the X-Project.”

Commitment. Patience. Sacrifice. If Aura can do it, there’s no reason why you can’t either.

~ Jess Racz