Pam Slater at a RideSTRONG cycling event to raise money for Central Ohio cancer survivors to attend YMCA programs to build strength and heal at no charge.

Pam Slater at a RideSTRONG cycling event to raise money for Central Ohio cancer survivors to attend YMCA programs to build strength and heal at no charge.

Pam Slater, 38

Non-Profit Executive Director

Columbus, Ohio

"As a youth, I was active in outdoor backyard sports. I was convinced we were poor, so I never asked about joining a club or a team. I was a sports enthusiast, following most professional athletes, but never really paid attention to how they go to be so good. I cannot recall a single person who was into fitness or working out. I had never seen a gym until I decided to play softball as a sophomore in high school. 

Q: What inspired you to start working out? I would try to work out based on my limited knowledge. I have always been overweight, in my eyes, and felt like I needed to lose weight. I went with a friend as a college sophomore to Bally's to see what all the fuss was about. We both joined, but because my checking account was from Cleveland and we were in Columbus, the membership never went through. I recall trying to run at a local park a few times a week.

In hindsight, I had the wrong shoes, the wrong clothes and the wrong mindset. The inspiration to have fitness as a regular part of my life, rather than a way to lose weight, was on a beach vacation with friends two years ago. We were sharing a house with two other families. The parents of one of the families would take turns going for a run, while the other watched the kids. I was perplexed as to why they would be doing something so horrible on a vacation. To me, vacations are a time to sit around and drink and eat. It never occurred to me that you could do both. As a mother of a 3-year-old, the gift of time on a vacation has a new meaning.

Q: What was the turning point when you realized you had transformed from an exercise hater to an exercise lover? I think the turning point was realizing that I was speaking to other people about what I was doing, instead of it being a secret thing I was doing to get skinny.

Q: What are your favorite workouts? Surprisingly, I enjoy indoor cycling. The concentrated effort is good for me. I also enjoy playing pickleball and sometimes running. I don't like running, but I like that I can do it, as I always thought I was fat and would never run.

Q: When it comes to exercise, are you a pack trainer or a lone wolf? I think I like pack trainer. I think too much when I am by myself.

Q:  What’s the piece of workout gear that you can’t live without? Good shoes and socks.

Q: What songs are on your go-to workout mix? Pandora, ’90's hip-hop workout.

Q: What’s your biggest workout obstacle, and how do you overcome it? Just getting back into it after I've taken any kind of break. The challenges that I have been doing at my YMCA really help to keep me on track. I'm especially motivated by miles of activity versus minutes of activity.

Q: What inspires you to work out? I want to be a fun mom and active with my son. 

Q: What’s been the biggest benefit to becoming an exercise lover? Anything surprising? Weight loss! Finally! But also, the fact that I am stronger than I think. I started with the RideSTRONG challenge and lost about 15 pounds. Total weight loss is about 30 pounds to date. I am pretty close to what my driver's license says! That's my new goal.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who hates exercise? Start with something you like. Try to never skip a day and do something for at least 20 minutes."


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Photos courtesy of Pam Slater