Meet Donna Jahnke! Donna (59) has been married to her husband, Mark, for 25 years. They have a daughter, Lydia (23), who with their son-in-law, Trent, gave them their only granddaughter, two-year old Madelyn.  They also have a son Jon (20) and finishing off the family is their pet dog, Pearl.  Donna’s biggest and most proud success are her kids!

Donna started her journey a few years ago, when her cholesterol was like a roller coaster and she knew she had to make some changes. Also, her doctor, Dr. Lemkuil, didn’t believe her when she told him that she could lose 22 lbs. in 6 months.  She proved him wrong!

Before Donna started her fitness journey, she wasn’t very active and the obstacles she had to overcome in a 4-year span were meniscus surgeries on each of her knees. When she initially joined Bellin Health Fitness, Donna was set up with Certified Personal Trainer, Ryan Finnel. During training they soon discovered that she had a few problems with her IT band and SI joint.  With the help of Ryan, as well as Licensed Athletic Trainer, Jim Beversdorf, she was able to get the proper help she needed.

It was earlier this year that Donna started having the pain in her left knee. After talking to Jim, she decided to take a break from personal training and tried physical therapy for the pain.  Unfortunately, after a few therapy sessions, she realized she was going to need surgery for her knee…again.  Donna knew this was going to mean an even longer break from her training sessions and she wasn’t happy with about it at all.

After surgery, Ryan kept in touch with Donna’s physical therapist to make sure she was ready to come back at the right time. The journey back to her personal training sessions was long and hard but with the right help and encouragement, she’s so happy to have made it back!  She’s not quite back to where she was before she had surgery…and she may not ever reach quite that level again…but, she’s back and she’s working at achieving her best possible goals.

Donna feels that it was so vital for her to be a member at Bellin Health Fitness and not any other fitness center because they have THE best trained staff who work side by side with other members of the Bellin Health system to make sure you have a continuous, safe and healthy journey. It’s SO worth it!!

Since returning from therapy post surgery, Ryan has focused on Donna’s continued healing process as well as getting the workouts she wants during her personal training sessions…making sure she is focusing more on her form and less on the amount of weight that she uses.  This has been hard for her because she was so used to being able to use heavier weights and pushing herself.  Donna feels like she’s starting all over again but she knows it’s the right thing to do. “Slow and steady wins the race!” has been her motto since the beginning of her journey.  It means even more to her now.  Donna stated “Everyone at Bellin Fitness is so great!”  She has worked with a few of the other trainers at Bellin from time to time and it’s good to have a little change once in a while.  Donna never thought she’d be able to do some of the things she has done, from 110lb barbell lifts to 132lb deadlifts and so much more. The motivation and support she has received from the Bellin Health Fitness staff has been awesome!

The best change in Donna’s life is FEELING GREAT! She’s not afraid to try new things in her workouts and her personal life.  She’s been hiking quite a bit and has done three 5k walkathons so far.  Her future goal is to hike at Devil’s Lake State Park but she has had to put hiking and 5k’s on hold for this year because of her knee.  She knows it’s better to step back for a bit and make sure she’s in the right physical shape to continue trying new and exciting adventures! Donna says, “There’s always next year and I WILL BE BACK!!”  Another change in her life are the wonderful friends she has made at Bellin Fitness and the support and encouragement they give each other.

When asked, What advice would you give to help others? This was Donna’s response, “The advice I would give other is…Don’t be afraid to take that first step…you can do it! Slow and steady wins the race and I’m definitely winning this race.  Thank you, Bellin Fitness!