Every week we bring to you a TRANSFORMATION story and we typically do it with just a photo but we are known to JAZZ is up with a video or blog post and this week is no different! :). We are all one of many but we are all on the same mission – to be our best self and that is what brings us closer and close. 

This story is truly touching and just a WOW!! I cannot say enough, I should just stop taking so you can start reading. Way to go Emma! You are a winner! 

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I want to start out by saying that if you are reading this, then chances are quite high that I have met you and I think you are awesome. If I haven’t met you yet, I know that you are awesome too. I know this because you are part of the amazing community that is Strongside. We come from many different walks of life —and many different countries— yet we converge at this gym: we sweat together; we urge each other on and we turn what would normally be a very individualized and anti-social workout regime into hour after hour of amazing team building and self-betterment.  We become physically and mentally stronger, emotionally tougher and dramatically more confident.


Recently, I got the biggest wake up call of my life. I thought things were going smoothly and everything was fine, but it really wasn’t. In this moment, I was instantly thankful for my sobriety and for Strongside. I needed to be levelheaded, laser-focused, and strong. I won’t go into the details of what rocked my family to its core, but I will share that my mental toughness, which due to training, has developed immensely, is what allowed me to keep my personal shit together.


When Mitchel asked if I wanted to share some of my story, I instantly thought about what I could share that would offer hope to somebody else. I find true value in helping others. I can’t think of one thing that is more important then sharing what you have learned in your life, if it can help others in need. I will spare you details, but let’s just say that in the past, I’ve known my fair share of darkness. If I had to describe myself of seven years ago, I would include the following descriptors:  self-loathing, depressed, helpless, stuck and lost. Eventually, I hit my rock-bottom and, fortunately, as a first step I had the good sense to choose sobriety for the rest of my life. Additionally,I went back to school and I felt like I was flourishing. Still, I knew a really big element was missing, and that element was my fitness. Undeniably physical fitness is the best thing that you can do for yourself. Back then, I would walk my dogs and hike Kennesaw Mountain on occasion, but honestly, I was way more interested in chatting with friends and grabbing a good meal, than I was on getting a sweat on. I was doing better, but not yet thriving.  I can honestly say that now, after 18 months of committing on a daily basis to being healthy and strong, I finally feel equipped with the right tools to navigate whatever life throws at me. Without a shadow of doubt,  physical activity and strenuous exercise support mental well-being and promote emotional strength. What’s not to like? Sure sometimes we do things that suck, (burpees, overhead squats, snatches) but then those endorphins still kick in and maybe they don’t suck so bad after all.


I get so excited when I see the incredible transformations all around me. These are so evident at Strongside. Strongside started with a winner, Mitchel, and from him we can trace a long line of other winners, right down to the newest person that walks in the door. Just by committing yourself to go through that door, to work on your health and fitness, you are a winner and an amazing person. That was me, just shy of 18 months ago, and I was absolutely terrified. I had never touched weights before. My only previous sport was netball (best sport ever- look it up), and I gave that up over twenty years ago. Anyway, just a few days ago I saw a defeated looking picture of myself pop up on my Facebook feed. This was from the time when I was trying to get my body back after my third baby.  Seeing that picture made me wish I had tried Strongside out sooner. I wanted to search for a better “before” picture to share. From the bottom of my heart I can state that I have never found beauty in a size, a color, a shape, but rather in a soul, a mind, and a heart. In saying that, I am still  blown away when I look at that picture of me from 18 months ago, and look in the mirror now. Now I see strength, perseverance, confidence, dedication and feel like this is just the beginning. I feel like by dedicating time to make myself stronger has also made my mind and my heart so much better. With each new day that comes, we have a choice of how we are going to live that day and all the days that follow.  We all deserve to live a wonderful life. To show up for ourselves.  If we can’t care for ourselves, how on earth can we ever care for anyone else!

If you’ve read this far, let me say it again, you are awesome and you deserve to live the best life ever. I really want you to know that.

  • Emma 



Mitchel Black, CPT, NC

Founder & Head Coach – Strongside®

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer

USA Olympic Weightlifting Coach

N.A.S.M. , N.S.C.A. & N.P.T.I. Certified Personal Trainer

N.P.T.I. Certified Nutrition Coach & Weight Loss Coach

Direct: 678.735.0563

Email: [email protected]

Address: 110 Londonderry CT #112, Woodstock GA, 30188