Lora Bleijenberg

 
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Lora is a love machine. The second you meet her you instantly feel safe, cared for, and excited for what’s next - which isn’t what you’d expect walking into a gym. She’s the co-owner of a private gym, a personal trainer, a massage therapist, a wife, a dotting mom to three dogs and she is a survivor. She’s an outlier who beat the odds of poverty, obesity, alcoholism, drug abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Having experienced some of the greatest challenges life can present, today she creates the world she dreamed of as a child one filled with love, laughter, people she can rely on, and most importantly hugs.

Born and raised in Cypress, California, Lora spent her childhood commuting back and forth across the trailer park between her mom’s and dad’s trailers. She was surrounded by alcoholism and drug abuse which accompanied verbal and physical abuse. Then the sexual abuse began from a step-grandfather. When there was extra food around, to cope Lora would eat her feelings sneaking treats into her room and hiding them in her stuffed animals.

She grew up lonely and just getting by in school spending her days day dreaming about being ‘Lora Famous’, the celebrity she would be when she grew up. At 10 she met her best friend, Cameron, who is still her best friend to this day. Cameron was the first person Lora had as a sidekick and the first person she told about the sexual abuse when she was 11. Cameron told her it would be ok and told their teacher. Within hours Lora was protected from her abuser and the process of prosecution and healing began.

From 12 to 19 Lora was on a journey of being wild and free searching for love and completeness. She was boy crazy. She dated the wrong guys. She was drinking, experimenting with drugs and working 1-2 jobs at a time to be free from her parents. She was attending just enough school. She graduated high school, got her massage therapy certificate and was working a second job as a server. On night at 19, she looked in the mirror, black eye make up streaming down her face and saw looking back at her, not Lora Famous, but a lonely, sad restaurant server with a daily meth addiction just like her mom. How had she become the person she vowed to never be? She quit meth that night cold turkey. It worked. That doesn’t happen. It’s a miracle and another example of the angles watching out for Lora. The next day she applied for a Personal Trainer certificate program. In a month she was certified and had started working with clients.

Over the next ten years she built a successful personal training business, worked with great clients and met her husband. During that time she realized she had to give up one final vice that was holding her back, alcohol. After a 4th of July blow out with her soon to be husband, Lora gave up alcohol, too. It was hard. She was worried about not being funny anymore or having any more fun or how to keep her friends of which so much of their togetherness revolved around drinking. For a year straight she didn’t go out so to avoid falling off the wagon. She went to meetings and kept going to therapy like she had been since a child. She put in the work to get real, be honest and wherever possible get complete or find closure with her past.

The world Lora dreamed of as a child exists today in her gym. It’s a safe space to be yourself, to be loved and supported, to get unlimited hugs, to laugh often, to have people who are supporting you to be your best - physically and mentally. We’re all glad that Lora made the choices she did to free herself from the habits and cycles of her childhood. Thanks to her there’s so much more love in the world and the example that if she can do it, you can do it, too.

To connect with and support Lora OR find out how you can work at her gym (hello dream job!) you can:

  • Follow her on Instagram @exercisewithlora

  • Email her at Exercisewithlora@gmail.com