Valerie Grace: A Story of Grit and Boundless Energy
Published on March 24, 2017
When most of us are still fast asleep, Valerie Grace is already 500 jumps deep into her morning workout routine.
“I rise at 4 am every morning, and I’m in the gym at 5 am. It’s just how I’ve always been!”
Valerie is 50 years old, but you would never know it by looking at her (or speaking with her). Her youthful vibrance is contagious, and you can tell that she is a spitfire through and through.
We realized very quickly, as you surely will, that Valerie’s story is one of courage, determination, and achievement. And it’s definitely worth the read.
Born and raised in Jackson, MS, Valerie was the middle child of five. As a friendly and outgoing person who loves to make people laugh, she recalls a time when she was more introverted.
“I was actually quite shy when I was young, believe it or not. People would laugh to know that because of the way I am now, but it’s true!”
Apart from working full-time as a lead underwriting secretary for the Farm Bureau Insurance, she owns her own bowtie-making business, sews children’s clothes for friends and family, teaches crochet in an assisted living home. She’s also an aspiring jump rope fitness instructor, but we’ll get into that more later on.
Valerie was always active growing up, and loved to move. She played on the softball team, ran track and field and was even a drum major in her school marching band!
At 5’3 and 115, Valerie describes herself as “weighing more than she looked” because of her muscle mass.
“People were always surprised to learn my weight because I looked smaller than the numbers on the scale, but muscle can be deceiving that way.”
Valerie married young and had three children, now ages 26, 19 and 8.
“If you do the math, you can probably guess that my 8 year-old was an unexpected blessing,” Valerie laughed.
But after the birth of her second child, Valerie gained a significant amount of weight and found that it just wasn’t coming off as easily after awhile.
“He was a big baby! I ended up gaining 35 pounds, and I suddenly had to start wearing larger clothes, which I wasn’t happy about.”
After a few years of feeling like she wasn’t at her best, Valerie made it a point to return to her original Size 6 figure, and started working out regularly and eating a healthier diet. She also rekindled her love of running.
“I’ve always been a good runner, and just needed to find a workout routine that suited my body type. At my peak, I was running about 13 miles a day with the Mississippi Track Club. I’ve always been a determined and competitive person, so this certainly helped.”
In between running, Valerie did weight training intermixed with jumping rope. Though she was only doing basic jumps at the time, she enjoyed the challenge and intensity of it.
By staying committed to a routine and making small goals for herself each day, Valerie ended up losing all 35 pounds. But it wasn’t smooth sailing.
She started to experience sudden numbness and pain in her wrist and was diagnosed with severe tendonitis that required surgery to reroute her tendons.
“It was so difficult for me to do anything – especially jump rope, because I couldn’t feel anything in that hand!”
Shortly after her surgery, Valerie received the unexpected good news that she was pregnant. She and her husband were over the moon, and at the age of 41, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
A few months following the birth of her son, Valerie began to feel lethargic, and her usual energetic lifestyle became a struggle. Her hair was falling out, and her metabolism became sluggish which caused her to gain 20 lbs.
“I had no idea what was going on with me, and it was very concerning. I suddenly went from working out every day, to barely being able to get out of bed. I felt so discouraged.”
A trip to the doctor revealed a thyroid issue, which was caused by her last pregnancy. But when her condition wasn’t improving after treatment, she returned to the doctor once again.
Further testing showed dangerously low iron levels.
“The doctor couldn’t believe I was able to function at all! Normal iron levels hover between 12-16, and mine were at 5.9!”
Upon this discovery, Valerie was shocked to learn that not only would she need a blood transfusion, she also needed to undergo a hysterectomy.
“It was a lot to take in all at once, and I was devastated. I’ve always taken such good care of myself and it was hard to have so many setbacks.”
After her surgery, Valerie was unable to exercise and it took her 10 months to get back to normal energy levels.
In January of 2016, Valerie started to run again, but a tear in her meniscus forced her to slow down and reassess the type of workout she should be doing.
At this point, she had regained all the weight she’d lost after her pregnancy due to inactivity and steroids the doctor put her on for her meniscus tear.
“It was clear that my body was telling me to look into another form of exercise. But I’m a fighter, so I wasn’t about to give up.”
Valerie started to run up and down stairs to build endurance, doing more and more flights each day, and gradually started to incorporate jump rope into her exercise routine again.
“It was pretty awesome to find out that 10 minutes of jumping rope burns the same amount of calories as 30 minutes of jogging!”
In September of 2016, Valerie was tagged by her jump rope buddy, Bernadette Henry, to join her in the October 30-Day Crossrope Weight Loss Challenge. She was intrigued.
“I said to myself, ‘You know what, this is gonna work!”
After losing a total of 12 pounds during the challenge, Valerie was officially hooked.
“I was so excited – I finally got my groove back! The Challenge was so much fun, and I loved being a part of such a supportive community of like-minded people.”
As a gift “from herself, to herself,” Valerie ended up splurging on a Crossrope Plus Set during the Challenge.
“I wanted to do it right and get maximum results, so other ropes were not an option. The cheap speed rope I had just wasn’t cutting it.”
Now, with two challenges under her belt (she even got her husband to join in the recent January 2017 challenge), Valerie has lost a total of 21 pounds and counting!
Her endurance and energy levels have skyrocketed, and she finally feels like she’s back where she was before all of the health issues and injuries.
Today, Valerie has become somewhat of a jump rope evangelist. She now owns all the ropes in the Premium Set, and is obsessed with how the Quick Handles fit so well in her small hands. She’s even organized a ladies’ jump rope group at her gym, and teaches children how to jump rope at local fitness centers.
“I hope to one day complete an official jump rope training certification so I can share my passion with as many people as possible. It would also be nice to have a Crossrope Convention so I can meet all my jump rope friends in the Community!”
What’s Valerie’s advice to those overcoming health setbacks?
“Just keep going. Set small goals for yourself, and do them. And everything you do, make sure you do it 150%. If you go above and beyond, you will start to notice positive changes and others will be inspired by your hard work.”
Thanks so much for sharing, Valerie! You are an inspiration to all of us at Crossrope.
Got Questions or Comments for Valerie?
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