Saying YES! One trainer’s road to recovery and being strong ~ by Jackie DiGiallonardo

Although health and fitness have been lifelong interests of mine, I ultimately chose to become a personal trainer because of the difference strength training made in my life. I went from living each day in survival mode to exploring all the possible directions I can take not only my body, but my life as a result of getting stronger. I want that for other people. Injury can make everything feel harder. I remember being exhausted every day, in constant pain. A slight wrong movement would pull my ribs or SI joint out of place. I couldn’t bend, struggled to walk, and in the beginning had a new baby to care for. The pain and immobility took its toll on every aspect of my life. Treatment and training lead me through a continuous cycle of disappointment, for every step forward, I took two steps backward. I believed I would never dance again, never walk without pain – let alone go hiking again and wondered if I would ever be able to carry another child. I felt hopeless and I struggled to come to terms with my “new normal.”

This part of my journey started six years ago, when I waddled into a physical therapy office, four months postpartum, immobile, in an immense amount of pain. At the time I was focused solely on improving myself for the sake of my new baby, who I struggled to safely care for on my own due to my inability to move my body. Over the next two years I worked with physical therapists and personal trainers to recover from pelvic floor dysfunction, atrophied muscles, and immobility. I caught stride when I was able to begin strength training. I fell in love with the feeling of lifting weights. It showed me a light at the end of the tunnel, and possibilities beyond any level of fitness I had previously experienced.

One takeaway from my experiences was that the therapists I was working with *not at Align PT were looking at my body in pieces and only treating “what I came in for,” which according to paperwork was my lower back. Whatever their reasoning, this approach was not to my benefit.  I noticed I was making more progress with trainers than I was with physical therapists because they were helping me build my whole body instead of part of it. The concept of viewing the body as a whole, rather than separate pieces, allowed me to not only heal my injuries but build a strong athletic body. *This is a concept that is what attracted me to join Align PT as their holistic model fits more with my philosophy.  As I learned how to improve strength and mobility in my own body, I became passionate about helping other people improve their own bodies and inspire a positive outlook for recovery from injury.

A few years after my initial injury, I found myself in a similar cycle exploring treatments for endometriosis, GI problems, and scar tissue built up in my abdomen. I went through the same initial cycle of hopelessness that I did with my hip injury and believed this was my new normal. While I still have a long way to go with these new challenges, I’ve come back to the belief that there are solutions for those who are willing to search for them and put in the work to improve themselves, no matter what.

Last week, a friend asked me to go rock climbing. Two years ago, I would have said no. But last week I said yes without hesitation because I knew my body could handle it. Today I can hike again, run around with my five-year-old, and say “yes” to whatever adventure I want to, because I’m confident in my body’s abilities. Although I still encounter challenges with my body, I have built it up to handle them. I have resources at my disposal to help with whatever obstacles present themselves and want to be a resource for other people so they can say “YES!” to whatever adventure or opportunity may present itself in their life.


Jackie teaches a whole body strength class Tuesday evenings at 5:30pm, every other Saturday at 8am and is part of our personal training team as well. If you are ready to say YES like Jackie, and find a new momentum in your life contact us!

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