Mother to four daughters, Merrile Stroud balances a career in fitness with numerous passion pursuits. While her proudest title is “mama,” she’s made it her life’s mission to always create her own happiness. “I never want to make my girls or husband feel solely responsible for my emotional well-being,” she explains. Consequently, she embraces passions ranging from being a professional makeup artist and fitness instructor to taking part in live theater roles, being an avid reader, and enjoying quality family time.
HS: What inspired your career in fitness?
MS: I’ve always worked, even when all four daughters were under the age of seven! I decided to get certified for positions in the fitness industry – I was certified through the American Council on Exercise to become a personal trainer and lead group fitness classes. I also earned my 200-hour yoga certification. I chose positions that let me take care of myself and allowed me to bring the girls to stay in the daycare for a few hours. Since then, I’ve stuck with it because we (my whole family) love taking care of our bodies. Exercise just makes you feel like Wonder Woman! Plus, my husband is very into fitness too, so it’s something we enjoy together that has always provided me with the schedule I needed.
HS: How do you like to spend time with your family?
MS: The six of us are all big live theater geeks! We used to go to New York several times a year to visit one of our daughters when she was in school, and we would catch a show or two. Another of our daughters is a teacher in North Carolina, and she is in charge of the theater department at her school.
HS: How do you continue to prioritize fitness?
MS: I just sit down on Sundays and as I make my calendar, fitness goes in, church group on Monday goes in, anything that is important, I make it an appointment. I’m currently teaching group yoga classes three days a week, I’m on the Fairyland tennis team through the Chattanooga Tennis Association, and I love to hit high-intensity interval training classes whenever I have the chance!
HS: What would you recommend to someone who is dissatisfied with her routine?
MS: The year I turned 50, someone told me this quote that has really influenced my choices since, and it’s what I would tell anyone who’s feeling stagnant – ‘What if you haven’t seen your best day yet?’ Basically, live every day knowing that your best time never has to be behind you.