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 fOrla Dirks - Before & After Two years ago, this warrior was hit by a truck -- literally. She suffered broken teeth and bones, and serious head trauma. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a year later she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Now, she’s doing push-ups off her toes and is an inspiration to us all…

1. How did you find The Studio (MDR) and what inspired you to start taking classes?

Mary Miller is a good friend of mine from college, and when I moved back to LA at the beginning of the year, our friend Sara DRAGGED me to The Studio (MDR) to check out Mary’s class. I was recovering from some serious injuries, as well as coming off two years of a very junk food-filled, sedentary life. I was petrified I would throw up, pass out, cry, or all three. But I was glad Sara made me go because after that first class, I came home sweaty and inspired.

2. What kind of serious injuries were you dealing with?

Two years ago, while living in New York City, I was run over by a Bud Light delivery truck as I was crossing the street. I sustained many injuries, including lost teeth, broken bones, and head trauma.  I was shipped back to California, where I spent months having surgeries and recovering. Then, a year ago, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I underwent surgery to remove my thyroid.

Needless to say I was in a dark place. I did no physical activity, ate and drank CRAP every night, and gained 15 lbs. My boyfriend and I, along with our dog and cat, moved back to LA at the beginning of the year. I'm blessed with a supportive family, amazing network of friends, and a great boyfriend who all gave me so much love and encouraged me to be more active and healthy. Maybe it's the California vitamin D, the support I get from my loved ones (and new FIANCÉ!), or the fact that I can hold plank (sometimes), but since overcoming the challenges of the past few years I am stronger and most importantly happier than ever before.

3. We hear you’re a bonafide Studio (MDR) addict! Did you ever think you'd look forward to working out like you do now?

Since taking classes at The Studio (MDR), I have lost almost 10 lbs and I can actually do a push up. My clothes fit better, I feel more confident, and I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I hold plank without modifying. I also love the community at the studio. I took my first class here because I knew Mary and some friends from college, but since attending weekly classes, I've gotten to know other regulars and I love watching their progress almost as much as I like seeing mine! I actually look forward to my sweat sessions at The Studio (MDR) … and I'm obsessed with those vanilla shakes!

4. What goals have you achieved since you started taking classes at The Studio (MDR)? And what are the new goals that you've set for yourself?

I was physically broken when I took my first class at The Studio (MDR). I was totally out of shape. So at first, my goal was simply not to throw up mid workout. A few months after starting to take classes regularly, I wanted to do a real push-up without modifying on my knees, and last month I was able to do two in a row. It sounds like a tiny accomplishment, but it’s these attainable goals that keep me motivated. My new goal is to do an entire abs class without modification by December, and by April I hope to be brave enough for one of the classes. I recently got engaged, so my long-term goal is to look like Mary by next October, in time for my wedding.

5. What's your best advice for fellow (MDR) classmates who are struggling -- whether they're struggling to hold plank without dropping or having a rough time with something else in their life? What would you say to someone who's hitting a rough patch to help them through it?

I've learned that with any challenge, there is no such thing as a quick fix. If you want to be healthy, lose weight, or be happy, you have to create a lifestyle change. It's about building habits and being patient. I did not see the physical results I wanted in the first few months of working out, and then one day I put on a bikini and I didn't want to break the mirror. This also goes for breakups, losses, or sad days. I believe everything improves with time, and when you create positive habits, the changes last. I also don't think there is any shame in modification. Listen to your body and take your time.