Amy Clover is a personal trainer and the creator of Strong Inside Out, a site that helps people unleash their strong through fitness and positive action. Last year she embarked on a 30-city tour to raise awareness about suicide prevention. This year, she’s headed out again and raising money for TWLOHA along the way.
You’re about to travel across the US to “empower people out of struggle.” Why is this cause so important to you?
Less than 10 years ago, I lived in a constant state of struggle. I thought that’s what people dealt with every day, and I just assumed I wasn’t handling it as well as others did.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder in high school, and I had always been extremely embarrassed about it. I never talked about it, not even with friends. I was in so much pain every day, but I was too afraid to reach out to anyone because I felt like no one wanted to understand.
Holding everything inside for so long led me down a lonely and painful path. I only realized how bad it had gotten when I ended up hospitalized against my will for attempting suicide.
Many of the suicide prevention and depression support organizations that existed back then felt far removed from what I fought through every day. I couldn’t relate to their messaging, so I just wrote them off and tried to do it on my own. After years of struggle, I found my key to recovery: exercise. It was only after years of feeling stronger and healthier that I stumbled upon TWLOHA by accident.
We know there are many paths to recovery. What helped you when you were struggling?
I didn’t find TWLOHA as a source of hope back when I really needed help, but thankfully, I fell into fitness during my recovery period. I discovered that it served to strengthen both my body and my mind, and as I started my workout regimen and became more consistent, I found that the work I was doing inside the gym translated to a more resilient and determined mindset outside the gym as well. With the help of a therapist, a support group, and a regular schedule of at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week, I have been free of suicidal thoughts for years.
Now, I teach people the effect that fitness can have on one’s mindset by encouraging them to fight through the struggle of a hard workout. It is my belief that by physically pushing through an exercise, we get better at mentally pushing through the rest of the time. In fact, aerobic exercise has been proven to relieve the effects of depression, anxiety, and stress.
What can people expect from your tour?
My passion for your life is what drives me to do what I do. My mission is to convince you that you’re not a lost cause, and I think I can help you prove it to yourself.
Last year, I taught 30 fitness classes in 30 cities across North America to raise awareness and funds for TWLOHA. This year, Strong Inside Out is touring again, visiting major cities across the U.S. to help those struggling to rise out of darkness. Because TWLOHA is a fellow champion for hope, I am donating 50% of our proceeds directly to them.
In our classes, we work together toward one goal: to rise above the struggle. The only way we can get stronger is to face life’s challenges head on. With our intention-driven workouts, that’s exactly what we’ll learn to do.
I want to personally invite each and every one of you to come out to the tour stop closest to you and at least try our workout. Come sweat out the struggle with us, and let us help you rise. You are stronger than you know.
We’re honored you chose to donate 50% of the bootcamp proceeds to our organization. Why does our work resonate so much with you?
The reason I’m so passionate about TWLOHA is because the people behind the organization understand what it’s like to be where many of us are right now, and they are with us in the trenches. They talk to us like we’re human, instead of handling us like fragile little birds.
They want to help you stand up. They want to do this with you.
TWLOHA is a movement for the people who really need it. For the first time in my life, I’ve felt like someone really wants to help me and the people I help.
Do you remember when you first heard about TWLOHA?
I discovered TWLOHA just a few years ago on Flickr while searching for a picture for my blog. At this point, I had already done a lot of work to get a handle on my disorders. When I looked into the site and read the story of how this movement came to be, however, my heart ached for the girl I’d been.
What she would have given to know about a movement like this! How much less alone she would have felt! The message, the resources, and the overall tone of the movement were exactly what I needed: understanding, empathetic, and offering the drive to help us rise out of the darkness.
Finally, if you could tell our readers anything, what would it be?
I’ve been to the bottom, and now I’m here. I’m living in the fullest sense of the word, and I’m begging you to please stay alive. You have a voice that needs to be heard, dreams that will make the world a better place once you go after them, and people who need you just as much as you need them.
Right now, Amy is fundraising for this year’s tour. If you want to help her reach her goal, you can donate here.