Meet Steph Hammerman!
Hey, how are ya?!
It is my honor to re-introduce a category of the blog called Guest Blogs. Going forward, I will introduce a different “Guest Blogger” every month to share their personal experiences and how they have overcome tough challenges. In the past, I have written about certain obstacles and how I managed to get through them. However, I am far from the only person facing obstacles and battling through tough times. My hope, through this category, is to give you the chance to hear more amazing and motivational stories. Stories from people who have truly embraced their time on Earth and who strive to be the best version of themselves every day.
I am honored to introduce one of my personal hero’s, Steph Hammerman. I will allow Steph to tell her story, but her inspirational attitude towards life is the reason why I stuck with CrossFit and exercising when I was 18-years-old. Seven years later, I still continue to work hard at exercising. Thanks to her. She is a wonderful person and I’m excited for you to meet Steph Hammerman!
Steph Hammerman’s Guest Blog
“Inspiration should be the spark, motivation is what will create a blazing fire.”- Steph Hammerman.
My name is Steph Hammerman and today I’ve taken over Joey’s blog! It’s crazy to say, but at 30 years old I think I have gone through more in life than most people have in a lifetime. While I have definitely experienced challenges in my life I have also learned how amazing it can be and how every day is a new opportunity to learn, grow and motivate.
Shortly after I was born, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and doctors told my family to prepare themselves for a life where I may never walk, talk, read or write. While I do walk a little differently and have to rely on assistive devices to get around I would say with confidence that those initial doctors couldn’t have been more wrong… can’t say I’m mad at it!
I grew up on Long Island, NY and at a very young age, I was taught about the importance of advocating for myself. I am very grateful for my ability to communicate and all the opportunities that have been awarded to me. I grew up in an able-bodied world and became really good at blending in. To be honest, I never really saw the value of standing out, so I did what most kids did. I went from middle school to high school and then did something that shocked a lot of people. I got into an out of state school. In 2008 my life would be forever changed. I had gotten accepted to Lynn University in Boca Raton and it was there, at 18 where my life truly began.
I am speeding this timeline up a little bit because well, you’d be sitting here for hours if I didn’t, but it was in college where I learned the power of my uniqueness. I was loud, outgoing, and ready to change the world for the better. I was involved in more extracurricular activities than I probably needed to be, but I loved being busy! In 2010 I created a whole month of events surrounding people with different abilities. My goal was to take people out of their comfort zone and try to emulate a small piece of my reality. From spending a day in a chair to having dinner with some sort of physical impairment or the now annual wheelchair basketball tournament it was amazing to feel like I was really being heard and seemed to be making a difference.
Ironically enough, while I was trying to make a difference in the lives of others, I was quickly forgetting to take care of myself. In 2010, I had to take a moment and reflect on my own health. I knew that I was beautiful and I had always been someone who was very confident in their own skin, but I had forgotten to truly love myself. So in 2010, I started a fitness journey. I had no idea at the time that this decision would completely change the trajectory of my life, but looking back at it now I couldn’t be more proud.
My fitness journey began with a personal trainer. We set small goals at first and little by little I would check them off the list. I started progressing. I wanted to think bigger, so we found this hand-cycling team and I began training to race. At first, it was a 5k, then a couple of 10K’s, a half and then I got crazy and did my first 26.2mi marathon. Dec 4, 2011; 4:34:16. Numbers I will never forget. When I crossed that finish line it’s like someone had flipped a switch.l I went from casual rider to athlete. My mentality shifted, there was a fire burning inside my belly I couldn’t control. I wanted to get better, I wanted to be faster; I wanted to do it again. I would soon find something to help me, but little did I know my life would change forever.
On May 3, 2012, I was introduced to CrossFit. “Constantly varied, functional movement done at high intensity.” Okay, how was I going to do that? The answer was simple, I wouldn’t know unless I tried. After my first class, I was hooked. I was sweaty and sore, but I knew it was something different, and I needed different. At this time I was the only female in the world with CP doing CrossFit so, I began documenting my journey. I used social media to connect with people all over the world. Over the years, I went on to get a master’s degree and I have gone from athlete to coach to now gym owner. My social media following has grown from a few hundred loyal followers to 25K+ and each day is an …
In 2016, life got a little more interesting. I had just begun falling in love with the man of my dreams when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 3B—Cancer. That was the last thing I ever expected, but the reality was that I needed something new to challenge me. So I guess that this was the universe’s way of doing so. Some may say I’m crazy, but at the end of it all, I am very thankful to have gone through everything I’ve been through. The challenges have taught me to truly cherish the things that are important to me. 3.5 years in remission I’ve learned to take nothing for granted.
If I’ve learned anything in my first 30 years of life, it’s to never let anyone else define you or create the blueprint of your life. If you feel inspired to do something, do it! Don’t wait, because you never know how many people you could potentially affect. Believe in yourself the most. You are worth it and if each of us can believe that this world will be a much better place.
Thank you for joining me, reading this and diving into my journey!
Be Extraordinary. Stay Driven.
Joey and Steph Hammerman