I was nineteen years old when we learned that my mother had skin cancer. Her health was failing quickly, and I remember feeling helpless. There was so much I wanted to do and say, but it was all happening too fast. I wanted to tell her what I was thinking and feeling, but I put on a brave face and tried not to lose hope.
As her fate soon became clear, I decided to put everything I needed to thank her for into an early Mother’s Day card, knowing that if I waited, I might not get the chance. She read it quietly, and we cried together. I apologized for being a bratty teenager and making her life harder than it had to be. She stopped me and said that having kids was the best thing she ever did in her life. She told me she wanted me to be happy and not let this hold me back. As much as I have tried to honor her last request, the loss of my mom has deeply affected me, as it has my family and those who loved her.
I had just begun college and my personal training career before she passed away. Within a couple of years of her death, I realized that helping moms stay healthy is what I am meant to do with my life. Since then I wake up each morning fueled by a mission to help moms stay active, eat well, and get in tune with their bodies.
“Mommy Fitness” has nothing to do with vanity, and everything to do with keeping families together.
If I can help just one mother see her child get married, if one kid has her mom at college graduation, or a new baby gets to be held by his grandmother because she took care of her health as a result of Total Mommy Fitness, then I will have achieved success.
It’s been fourteen years since my mother’s untimely death. I know her better now than I ever did when she was alive. Many things I did not understand about her in my youth have become clear in recent years. I know her now as an enduring woman who overcame unbearable hardships to create a better life for herself and her family.
Though far from perfect, my respect for her has grown deeper as the layers of her life have been peeled back to reveal one of the most fascinating and complicated people I have ever known.
Janilee Rebelle was born in small town Iowa in 1949. Her family moved to California as a young girl, and then to Arizona where she became a mother and wife by the age of 18 — eventually a single mom to three children, a son and two daughters.
My mother was a woman of conviction, and a force to be reckoned with. Her charm and charisma could light up a room. She had striking beauty with a brilliant mind to match. Her passion and enthusiasm were magnetic, and she lived her life loudly. Whether you loved her or hated her, you could not ignore her.
She worked as a waitress, a secretary, a pet sitter, and other odd jobs — sometimes all on the same day. I have memories of standing with her in the unemployment line when times were tough. There are also many memories of driving by a homeless man sitting on a park bench reading a book, and stopping to give him a 20-dollar bill. Seeing surprise and joy on someone’s face gave my mom deep gratification.
She’d help families and animals in need by taking up collections of blankets, clothes, food, and supplies so big that they filled the bed of her pickup truck.
In our home, we had air conditioning, but no heating. We had two bathrooms, but only one that worked. She was someone who was content just having enough, and sharing the rest with those who had less.
My siblings and I were raised to believe that everything deserves compassion and a fair chance at life, no matter how small. One night my mom came home with a water pitcher full of tiny goldfish that had been used as centerpieces on the tables she was serving. The fish were going to be flushed down the toilet — instead, they lived for ten years in a 50-gallon tank. Another night she came home with mice that she had rescued from a glue trap — nothing was too insignificant to be saved. We rarely sought out an animal, but it was widely known that we wouldn’t turn one away. So, it was not unusual to find an iguana on our doorstep, a sick puppy or a litter of kittens in our driveway.
For many years, we were actively involved in an animal rights group. A longtime friend of our family and founder of that group recalled how she met my mom and the lasting impression of their interaction, “I had a booth set up at the Tempe Arts Festival. I’ll never forget when your mother and you girls approached my table. The first thing your mom commented on was the poster at my booth. The graphic image had her both outraged and sad. She then asked about the handmade sweatshirt for sale for $20. She pulled out her checkbook and handed me a check for $100. My heart dropped. I was so moved.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I came to your house to see how you lived very sparingly. Money was obviously tight with her being a single mom raising you both and caring for a house of misfit animals. But somehow she made it, and she never complained to me about it. I think she would have given the shirt off her back to someone if they needed it. In the years, I knew her she was always my biggest donor. She probably had the least to spare and yet she gave the most. She was a hero in my book and always will be.”
The reason my mom could give so much was in part because she was extremely diligent and disciplined with her finances. I have never seen anyone with the ability to stretch a dollar as far as she could. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” was a phrase we heard often.
She kept a daily ledger and spent Sunday afternoons clipping coupons from the newspaper — my mother invented “extreme couponing.” Walking to the car from the grocery store she’d comb through the receipt calculating and beaming about how much she had saved. There were times when her strategic couponing even resulted in a negative price — the store actually owed her for purchasing the product!
She was very creative in finding ways to spend time as a family on a tight budget. There were many afternoon bike rides to sporting events where we’d enter the stadium in the second half of the game after they’d stopped checking for tickets.
We spent summer days escaping the Arizona heat at the library. She was an avid reader and could devour a book. Nights were spent reading autobiographies into the early morning hours — only hardcover books because she thought paperbacks carried more germs.
She saved for our family road trips to Disneyland each summer by emptying the daily change from her purse into a 5-gallon glass jar at her bedside, which she’d eventually sort and roll by hand each year to buy our park tickets.
As much as she loved visiting California and spoke of wanting to live near the beach, she struggled to enjoy our summer vacations because she thought “the big one” (a giant earthquake sending California into the ocean) could hit at any moment. She’d predictably say, “I hope the big one doesn’t hit,” as we boarded Space Mountain.
Instead of expensive summer camps or childcare, my mom sent me to volunteer and work in environments where I was helping others. As a kid, I worked in a bicycle shop where stolen bikes were repaired and given to kids who couldn’t afford one of their own. At the end of that summer, I had worked enough to earn a BMX bike for myself as well as a beach cruiser for my mom to replace her old rusty one that had seen thousands of miles. Another summer vacation was spent working with a bird rescue organization. After that, we had many breeding seasons with baby birds living in our bathroom.
We regularly attended parades, free festivals, and countless concerts. Music was an important part of our family. A big stereo and her old record collection were a focal point of our home décor with framed ticket stubs from an Elvis Presley show that she attended. Where “normal” families would typically have a piece of art or family portrait hanging in the living room, we had a large framed picture of her with Robert Plant — she was his biggest fan.
Her college best friend told me, “She was a woman I looked up to, admired and had more fun with than you can imagine. She was wild and crazy but in the most positive way! She was unique and amazing. She was who she was and didn’t care what anyone thought. I loved that about her!”
My mother lived a life of compassion, service and principle. She was unapologetically herself and taught me to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. She showed me that it was possible to be deeply flawed and beautiful at the same time. I have no doubt that the world is a better place because she was here.
This Mother’s Day I pay tribute to not just my mother, but all moms who selflessly sacrifice and give their best to ensure their kids are happy and healthy — the women who too often put their families’ needs before their own. As we celebrate all that you do this May, please soak in all of the love and pampering, and remember to care for yourself in the same way. There is only one you and the best gift that you can give your children is a happy, healthy mother for many years to come.
Happy Mother’s Day.
by: Tatum Rebelle
Tatum is the founder of Total Mommy Fitness, and has been helping mothers stay fit for over 10 years. She holds pre/postnatal fitness certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Her personal training certifications are from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Tatum holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Performance Psychology.
As a Mother's Day gift she is offering a free 30 minute session to San Antonio moms. Email email@example.com before the end of May to schedule.
A dancer from a young age, Britt began Pilates as rehabilitation for her broken tailbone, sustained during childbirth and inhibiting her ability to stand, much less dance. Because of Pilates she is able to dance again and is dedicated to helping others strengthen their core muscles in order to pursue their respective athletic endeavors. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from Southern Methodist University and an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Iowa. She trained and performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York. In 2007, she founded Saint Lorraine Dance Company in San Antonio and continues to dance and choreograph.
Candice Valenta is passionate about helping individuals at all life stages achieve their fitness goals through personalized and motivated workouts. She holds a B.A. in Public Health and dedicated five years to health education through community outreach. She is a Qualified Fletcher Pilates Teacher, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer and a Woman’s Fitness Specialist. She uses these as a foundation to aid all her clients, including those with Rheumatoid arthritis, Cystic fibrosis, and Parkinsonian symptoms, with a challenging all around workout, which increases muscle tone, endurance, flexibility and proper body alignment. Whether your goal is to better your game, be a more competitive athlete, fight against a health condition or age with strength and grace, Candice will create the workout that’s right for you.
Kelly Pittman is a certified Fletcher Pilates teacher specializing in group reformer classes. She grew up with a passion for sports and dance and began studying Pilates as a student over 15 years ago. In 2009 she transitioned to teaching after being introduced to the Fletcher method. Kelly’s teaching focuses on developing strength and flexibility for clients at all levels. Her classes are designed specifically with each client’s individual goals in mind. She believes that everyone, regardless of physical ability, age or gender, can benefit from incorporating Pilates into their fitness routine. In addition to Pilates, Kelly is a CPA and Assistant Professor of Accounting at The University of the Incarnate Word. She holds a BBA in accounting and a MS in finance from Texas A&M University. She is also a busy mother to three children. They are her youngest “students” in every way.
Born and raised in San Antonio, TX, Felicia has been active her entire life. Starting at the age of 4 with gymnastics, transitioning into serious ballet training at 12, and continuing into a successful professional dance career, Ms. McBride has an immense amount of experience with the body. As a freelance dancer, personal trainer, Dance and Pilates instructor, Felicia strives to help each individual achieve their own fitness goals through personalized training sessions. Ms. McBride holds certifications in Pilates Mat, Pilates Reformer, and a certification for Personal Training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Felicia is excited to be back in her hometown and working at MBS Fitness!
Are you a Pilates-qualified instructor looking for a gorgeous, fully equipped studio that focuses on small classes and individual lessons?
Call us at (210) 412-0398 today to see if the MBS team is right for you!
Kayleigh has been a movement instructor for over 5 years, combining her passions for musician wellness, natural movement, and corrective exercise. As a yoga instructor, she has studied with Jill Miller, Tari Prinster, David Vendetti, Trina Altman, and Sarah Court, as well as completed additional studies in biomechanics, children’s yoga, and anatomy. She is also an integrated Yoga Tune Up® instructor and MovNat® level 1 instructor. Her studies in pilates have been with Karen Sanzo, P.T., and Erin Burnham at Pilates Unlimited in Dallas, TX. She blends traditional yoga and pilates movements with contemporary knowledge of movement and biomechanics, to help clients move better and feel better. Kayleigh also maintains the blog, the Musicians’ Health Collective, which has an annual viewership of 50k readers, and has been a featured author on YogaDork, Elephant Journal, polyphonic.org, Musicovation, and other online and print publications. She is a member of the viola section of the San Antonio Symphony, and has performed and taught music internationally.
Richard Garcia grew up with a passion for music, arts, and movement, and at the age of 15 began his professional career as a dancer. A major injury cut short his dance career, but opened the door to strength training, rock climbing, triathlons, and ultimately Pilates. As an teacher, he’s worked with a wide variety of clients from first time exercisers to college athletes, and even Olympic hopefuls. He has vast experience working with those with special health considerations including multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, back, shoulder and neck issues, and other chronic pain disorders. In 2009 he was recognized as an official Fletcher Pilates ambassador for his ambition, talent, and strong drive to help others.
MBS is expanding its presence in Southtown! Less than a year after opening our location in King William, we're adding two new additions: a classroom for yoga, pilates and other low impact classes, and a retail space featuring hot teas, nutritionals and apparel. We expect to have the new spaces finished out in the next few weeks and will have a full class schedule available soon.
Join us on Friday, October 1, as we officially open the doors to our new MBS
Life retail space in King William. We'll have food, drinks and music to help
you enjoy the evening. Stop by from 6 to 9 p.m. to meet our instructors,
tour the facility, and mix and mingle with friends. Our new space is located
at 1115 South Alamo in the St. Benedict's building, next to the new Liberty
Bar. See you there.
I ran a 5K on Sunday, it was all hills. The race was put on by Mind Body Soul Fitness; check out the flyer for the race below.
For me it was a rude awakening for sure. The night before the race my body felt achy, I knew I was catching a cold. I went to bed early and hoped I would feel better by the morning so I could run. Instead I woke up feeling yucky. My throat hurt and I didn’t want to get up. I dragged myself out of bed and somehow got dressed, ate a banana, drank some water and got into my car. When I got to the race it was drizzling and overcast, not the kind of weather I would ever want to run in, but I made a commitment to run.
I watched a fit couple get out of their car, they immediately started running. They were dressed like runners and were very bouncy and chipper. A little too perky if you ask me. I was grumpy. I wanted to climb back into my warm bed, pull the covers over my head and wait for my husband to make pancakes. I reluctantly got out of my car, walked over to the registration table and picked up my race chip. I wasn’t that exited to pick it up, I didn’t want anyone to know my time. I tied it on my running shoes and headed to the starting line.
I quickly switched to walking when I got to the infamous big hill. There I am in front of that runner who is about to lap me.
The course was a mile loop that had a huge hill that you had to run up three times. It was killer. I looked around as I walked and everyone and I mean everyone was in fantastic shape. You could tell these people ran all the time and couldn’t wait to tackle the big hill three times. Me I just wanted to get through it, preferably without passing out. I have never ran a race before where everyone was so fit and muscular; it was like I wasn’t in San Antonio. I don’t know what they do over at MBS Fitness, but clearly it works. I decided I needed to change my attitude, so I forced myself out of my grumpy mood. Instead of being intimidated by all of the athletic people I was surrounded by, I looked to them for inspiration.
I thought about Michael Jordan and how he often played his best games when he was sick, I stuck it out and kept going. There was no other choice; I knew I had to finish. Although my body wasn’t at its best my mind took control and I pushed forward. It’s always amazing to me what the human body is capable of doing once our mind and body work together. I didn’t exactly Michael Jordan it, but I got the job done. I was proud of myself for finishing the race and turning my mood around.
Running/walking this race was a great push that I really needed. I was becoming bored with my workout routine, it was getting to be too easy. I was ready for a challenge. The nice thing about signing up for a race is that you are committing yourself to doing it. You always have the option of walking but not finishing is really not an option. Being around athletic fit people who take care of their bodies just makes me want to take care of mine even more. I have always cared about what I put inside my body but I have been a little lax with my workout routine lately. Now I’m inspired to run more races.
There are two in particular that I am going to do. The Aveda Walk For Water on May 6th at The Pearl, which is raising money for clean water globally. I’m also excited about Free-da’s run for the arts. I saw a picture of the race shirts and they are so cool. Free-da’s run takes place on July 7th at the University of the Incarnate Word. The run goes along the River and through some back trails behind UIW, It will be beautiful. To read more about the organizer and artist Cecilia Iniguez check out her website. She is a very interesting and talented person.
Now I don’t recommend running when you are not feeling well, I walked most of the race and made sure I was very hydrated. Listen to your body and always take good care of it, it’s the only one you have. I hope you all have a fantastic day and that you will get outside and move your body today. Thank you very much Mind Body Soul Fitness for letting me use all of these pictures I really appreciate it. Be sure to check out their website and Viva Fiesta!