Finding Fitness

Counselor discovers mental, physical benefits from working out


Guidance counselor Lindsay Miller poses with a personal training kit.

Amanda Zheng, Staff Writer

Four years ago in the parking lot outside of Martin Nutrition and Fitness, Guidance counselor Lindsay Miller dialed her husband’s phone while staring out of her car windshield. She had planned to go into the gym, learn a thing or two from the trainers and break out a good sweat before returning home. But none of that had happened; she had yet to muster the courage to step out of her car door. Instead, she hid in her white Chevy Traverse waiting for her husband to pick up the phone and convince her to not turn around and return home, two things Miller was more than willing to do in the moment.

After receiving words of encouragement and persuasion from her husband, Miller hesitantly stepped inside the local gym and completed the day’s workout. While struggling to step out of her comfort zone set Miller back for a little while, she didn’t allow it to set her back forever.

Fast forward four years from that day, and Miller has continued her pursuit of bettering her health and is now “the healthiest she’s even been in her life.” Despite her initial nervousness and the fear of the unknown from her lack of experience, Miller has successfully transformed her lifestyle, thus forming a lifelong passion. However, she was also forced to manage her painful Crohn’s disease as a result.

“It has absolutely changed my life. What hooked me was the fact that I felt better than I had ever felt. My body felt healthier. I just felt better. I felt more alert, gained self confidence, my posture improved, so many things. I could not go back to my old ways and feel awful all the time.”

Being a guidance counselor, mother and wife leads Miller to feel that she is always on the go. Regardless, she makes time in her schedule to work out six days a week. For Miller, making time in her schedule for a workout comes down to prioritizing her health rather than giving into unhelpful habits and making time in her schedule rather than trying to find it.

“I choose to set aside at least an hour a day for my workouts rather than choosing to set aside time, let’s say, to sit on the couch and watch TV. So I think it’s all about choice, and for me, I just make the choice to make my health a higher priority and I know what impacts my health the most in a positive way is working out,” Miller said.

Additionally, Miller makes sure she has the focus and the time of her workout sorted out beforehand, as well as having it scheduled into her calendar. This way, Miller has a set time meant for her to focus on only herself naturally relieving stress, serving as a benefit to her physical and mental health.

“I know that the hour workout that I have scheduled is my time to just focus on me, and it’s helped in so many ways. There are plenty of days where I just don’t want to work out, but once I get moving, I feel so much better,” Miller said. “So even if I’m tired I’ll just have to do my workout tired. Or if I’m feeling overwhelmed about something, I know that working out is my stress reliever, and I’ll feel better when I’m done.”

The stress relieving properties have had additional benefits for Miller’s health. Miller suffers from Crohn’s disease, a chronic illness impacting her digestive tract. According to Miller, when her Crohn’s disease gets bad, her body is unable to absorb all of her nutrients, leading to it being difficult for her body to get all the vitamins and minerals it needs. Alongside poor nutrient absorption, she may feel immense amounts of pain, comparable to having many ulcers in one area.

“One of the biggest reasons [working out] affected my Crohn’s was because it relieves stress, so I’m not under as much because stress causes it to flare up. Since I’m working out and relieving that stress on a daily basis, it’s allowing my Crohn’s to stay in remission,” Miller said. “So when I paired my working out with improving my nutrition, I truly felt the best I had ever felt, even without medicine.”

Because Miller’s chronic illness is painful to deal with and she knows firsthand what it is like, she has realized that by becoming a personal trainer, she could help others through her passion for fitness. Though Miller battled initial doubts of whether investing the money would be worthwhile under the current coronavirus conditions, she nevertheless took the risk, just as she had four years ago, and is currently training to become a certified personal trainer.

“Crohn’s disease causes a lot of pain. On the outside I looked fine, but internally it’s just very, very painful. I just never felt good, but once I started taking care of my body I was actually like, ‘Oh, this is what it’s like to feel normal and to feel good!’ So I’d love for other people to feel good about themselves and feel healthy and I think sharing that knowledge is huge,” Miller said. “I also decided I really love working out and love talking about it to other people which is also part of why I want to get my personal training certificate.”

In the future, after she receives her personal training certification, Miller would like to work with clients through virtual fitness sessions or, ideally, expand her home gym and have clients work with her there. When the pandemic started, she transformed an area of her home into a home gym, so she wouldn’t have to miss her daily workout.

“I’m most proud of the fact I stuck with it. I feel like people give up, and I haven’t given up; I’ve stuck with it all this time, even on the days when it’s really hard. Along the way I get really excited if I set a goal and reach it. I feel like I’m in a constant state of goal setting,” Miller said. “My journey has made me realize that I can do a lot more than I ever thought I could. I have never felt like I was strong or athletic because for so long, I couldn’t do things because of my health condition. But doing this, I realized I can do a lot, I just have to try and put myself out there. And that was something I’ve never done before.”