Fitness is one of those amazing things that can change your life with every single day you commit to it. For Fitmark Ambassador Chloé Gallo, she says that fitness lifted her “from a dark place after being diagnosed” with thoracic outlet syndrome.
“20 surgeries later…the gym is my safe place,” and lifting weights and staying fit “has acted as a second heartbeat that keeps me going.”
A Medical Mystery and Still Going Strong
The diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome cut short a promising career in NCAA rowing for Chloé. She was well into her second year of college, when she underwent surgery to remove four ribs, and this was just the beginning. Chloé suffered through 20 more surgical procedures and still, she says, she remains “a medical mystery.”
On top of everything, she was also diagnosed with “a serious autoimmune disease that cannot be cured.” But that hasn’t stopped her from remaining fit and active. She told us:
Fitness have been my backbone through all of the testing, scans, doctors visits, etc. I often have bad days – days that I cannot get out of bed due to the severity of my illness. The gym is the only place I feel “normal” and the only place I am not watched like a hawk by parents or doctors. The gym is my safe place.
The Fitness Journey
The backdrop to Chloé’s life growing up as a kid was active and full of dance. She says,
I was a dancer for 16 years, an avid soccer player up until my senior year of high school, and basketball, you name it!
It wasn’t until the age of 14 that she started lifting iron, and that was when the gym became her second home. Then in high school, she decided to try out for rowing. She said:
I quickly picked up the sport, and was recruited to several universities (UMiami, Washington, University of Delaware) to row on a scholarship for the pre-medical programs.
Change of Direction
When Chloé received the diagnosis during her second year, she knew that things would be different. Procedures and recovery took some time, but Chloé took life by the horns, laced up her sneakers and just kept crushing it in the gym:
After the diagnosis, I began to take my lifting career much more seriously. I now compete in bodybuilding and work at an intense bodybuilding gym.
Through it all, Chloé knew one thing for sure – whatever new direction she was headed in, fitness would be part of the equation. She told us:
Fitness has changed my life by giving me an unlimited goal- a vision of no plateau. I work every day to achieve what my body tells me is impossible.
Chloé is now a full-time student at the University of Delaware, studying Exercise Science, Neuroscience with a minor in Strength and Conditioning, and plans on pursuing a doctorate in Sports Medicine. She says, “My ultimate goal is to work with the NFL.”
She says her fitness lifestyle and educational career balance each other out nicely. She told us:
I have learned proper mind-muscle connection and how to engage each muscle in a neurological way. I am also a personal trainer and diet coach. When planning a training program for clients, I use both my knowledge from my educational background, as well as my own techniques to design an unique program.
Balance is easy, because I do what I love both in and out of the gym: I train and study and work! I hit the gym early for cardio, go to class and study groups, hit the gym again at night for lift and cardio!
Meal Prep and Staying On Track
Of course, meal prep has a lot to do with balancing everything and staying on track.
I am totally in love with my Fitmark Bag! I have the Shield, and I use it daily! I wake up, grab my food from the fridge for the day, put it in my Fitmark Bag, and I’m ready to roll! I am usually out of the house by 7 am every day and come home at about 10 pm. The Shield keeps all of my food cold through class, training, working and clients! I seriously depend on it to get me through the day. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So what does meal prep look like for Chloé? Here’s what she told us:
Meal prepping! Woohoo! Typically, I cook all of my meals for the week in bulk. I dedicate Sundays to meal prep day. Whatever is on my plan for that week, it goes in the oven! The house ends up smelling like fish and Brussels spouts. Yum! After I prep my food, I divide it out into my meal containers and label each of them for the day and time of the meal! I LOVE seasonings – lemon pepper with herbs is my go-to! Each morning, I pack all of my meals into my Shield bag and I’m ready to go! No excuses!
Favorite Healthy Recipe
“My absolute favorite recipe is poached salmon with fresh asparagus and polenta and goat cheese. I am a HUGE fan of farm fresh veggies. We have a local growers market nearby, so I always stock up!”
Funny Meal Prep Story
We’ve all had those moments when you arrive at a family gathering with meal prep in hand, and everybody does a double take. Here’s what happened to Chloé the first time she showed up with her meals all prepped and ready to party!
I come from a family who LOVES to eat… literally anything! I can distinctly remember one family Thanksgiving that I brought my meal to. Everyone was sitting down to eat, passing around each dish, taste testing everything. I pulled out my meal container filled with cod fish and broccoli… Like that’s really a Thanksgiving meal! The room got quiet and everyone just looked at me. Questions were asked… “Why aren’t you having a cheat meal? One meal won’t hurt ya!” And I just kept going with my own tupperware! Finally, my grandmother was trying to feed me everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink. I looked at the table and said “that cookie is the difference between 1st and 2nd place.” From there on out, no one bugs me about my food! They even offer to cook it for me on the grill!
Top 3 Fitness Tips
- If you had a bad day with diet or training, remember, there is ALWAYS tomorrow. Drink a gallon of water and start fresh tomorrow!
- Eat your meals! Skipping meals will NOT give you results! Each meal gives you the energy you need to train like a boss!
- Fitness is a JOURNEY! There is no end date! Work yourself hard every single day – but do not expect immediate results. Greatness takes time.
As The Rock is known to say: “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistency and hard work gains success. Greatness will come.”
Chloé’s amazing story shows us that anything is possible when you lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. You can find Fitmark Ambassador Chloé Gallo on Instagram @chloefitt
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team