OWNER/Founder : Ann Sloan
Hello friend! I wanted to start off by saying THANK YOU! I cannot begin to explain how much your support means to me. You’re probably wondering where this whole “BlackOut Fit’ thing came from and I want to help you understand my mission.
I had a rough childhood, a lot of us did - a very toxic environment. I won’t go into great detail but without knowing it, I spent most of my life generating self-love to ignore the chaos around me. My Mom is one of the strongest women I know and also affected by her mental health as most of are at times. She was tough, but so was her life. In the era of prescription drugs, over the course of 20 years, her emotional struggles were diagnosed as: insomnia, depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder. What started with ambien to fall asleep, turned into several other medications to counteract the side effects. That plus alcohol can cause quite the imbalance in brain chemistry. And a bad state of mind combined with a decaying marriage is a recipe for disaster. As a child, I was very intuitive. I could tell even at a young age that this clearly wasn’t a solution, but instead apart of the problem. Sadly, when I was 17 she attempted to end her life. She ended up in a coma and the doctors told us she was brain dead. I remember the pain of losing my mom and the confusion. “She has everything? A great job, a great boyfriend, great kids?” But the truth is, it doesn’t matter what’s going on outside if the inside doesn’t match. By the grace of god and contrary to the doctors diagnosis, she came out of the coma almost three weeks later - with NO brain damage. Simply incredible and beyond anything I’d experienced in life. The sad part? I saw her earlier that day. I’d spent my whole life making sure she was okay, and that day I knew she wasn’t. But when someone is so deep in darkness, it feels impossible to shed light. I left her apartment to go to class. I knew she wanted to die. I had no idea she would actually attempt it, but emotionally I accepted it. I was losing myself and I didn’t have it in me to fight. I was hopeless and numb. As much as I felt responsible for healing her, for saving her, I knew cosmically I wasn’t equipped. I was only 17, I had no idea what was going on. SO MY MOM LIVES! She comes off all her medication and begins picking up the pieces of her life. Magically, as she comes off her medications, alot of the symptoms go away. She can sleep sometimes! She is happy sometimes! I say sometimes, because her original problems didn’t go away. She still deals with depression and insomnia, but all of the terrible combined side effects that acted like a big cloud over her, went away. She could feel the sun again, the light. Its not always sunny, but she can feel it when it is.
Simultaneously, I was doing everything in my power to create healthy habits that would keep me out of that dark space. I was 200lbs at 15 years old. I’d also dropped out of highschool and had alot of free time. What does a 15 year old with no obligations or supervision do? I’m sure you can think of many dangerous routes that could have led to. I can too. Luckily, I found the gym. I had NO IDEA that running to the gym and messing around for an hour every day would totally transform my life, but it did! While my home life was WHACK, I was BLACKED OUT at the gym. I found sanctuary in the gym, in exercise, in music, in movement. I felt so much better at the gym than anywhere else, that I became ADDICTED to the gym and feeling good. After losing 50 lbs in 4 months, I broke my leg! Every doubt and fear flooded my mind as I thought I would never be able to workout again. I’d just found the almighty solution and yet it was taken from me - defeat. BUT as soon as I could, I was back in the gym. I rehabilitated myself! The gym was once again the solution. And over the course of a year, my leg healed entirely! Another miracle. And it taught me an invaluable lesson - to exercise my body for longevity and to feel good INSIDE, even when the outside isn’t cooperating. Rehabilitation, rest, recovery and therapy are just as important as exercising. Fast forward to now, my life is entirely different. All the pain and destruction of my broken family slowly mended itself and everyone is thriving. It is amazing, another miracle! I couldn’t believe it for a long time. I was waiting for the next disaster, the next defeat but it never came. I eventually settled in to my new life of peace and love. So if you’re wondering why I seem to be in a good mood most days, just know that I am simply happy to be here - now. These days I maintain my health without a particular diet or workout regimen. I have documented most of the process via instagram @annimalfit and have truly freed myself of most of my food, weight and body image issues. I am human and I have my days - we all do. But I can genuinely tell you that I once thought I would always be addicted to food, prone to gaining weight, having to restrict myself to keep the weight off and never being able to participate in taco tuesday, christmas cookies, birthday cakes and bachelorette weekends. Now I am on the other side, enjoying life by living this ideology. Working out to feel good a couple times a week, being mindful about what I eat and living in the moment - focusing on all the beautiful things life has to offer now that the weight (literally) of restriction is off my shoulders. I've been every shape and size. Ive been up 20lbs and down 20lbs. Chubby, skinny, muscular and everything in between but I've learned to love myself at every stage. At every stage someone has had something negative to say - believe it or not. When I lost weight people said not to lose my ass. When I gained weight, people asked me if I'm still working out. There is no winning with others which is why you must win with yourself. I've learned more about recovery and recently started practicing yoga. I am interested in expanding my knowledge of spirituality, meditation, exercise, nutrition, physical therapy and mental health. I aspire to help my community lead genuinely happy, fulfilled lives.
I started working out with no clue what I was doing. Seriously, just copying other people in the gym and dying on the stairmaster. I will say that cardio is by far the most effective way to lose fat. But over time, by listening to my body and reading those silly labels on the machines - I slowly figured it out. I got a trainer, he taught me a few things. But I never wanted the pressure of a strict regimen or workout. For some reason that ruined the fun for me. As a matter of fact I have never liked conventional systems. I dropped out of highschool and college. I've learned to listen to the rules as an adult, but when its my choice I want the freedom. I was a ballsy kid but it was hard to ignore judgement especially because I was new to it all. I would remind myself "I am here to be more healthy. None of these people are going to help me do that. Don't pay attention to them." I wore all black, not as a fashion statement but because it made me feel incognito, powerful and in the zone. I would put my headphones in - my time to be truly alone - mind and body. This became an addicting ritual. When I put my headphones in, the world around me melted away. I realized that for each practice, I had a different genre. AHAH! My state of mind is directly linked to music. The more I got into the music, the less I paid attention to the world around me. I unlocked the power of free movement. I learned to express myself physically by dancing and moving my body as I pleased, not just at the gym but everywhere. We are so confined in the judgement of others that we sacrifice this freedom of expression. I once found the gym to be the most accepting of physical expression, but after practicing it there it translated to the rest of my life. I realized sound, rhythm and music, combined with movement = freedom. Dancing. Yoga. Meditation. EDM festivals. Exercise. Dance parties in your god damn living room. They are all cosmically connected. And I am figuring how I can bring my own music in to this space. For every occasion. Which is why I became a DJ - @DJANNIMAL
BlackOut Fit is an advocate for mental and physical health. We are a community that uses exercise, music, movement and practice to “BLACK OUT” in a more constructive way. Our message is that wellness doesn’t require obsession or extremism. It requires mindfulness, balance and self-love. Health and wellness is so much more than one's physical appearance or dimensions. Well-being is a balance between the mind, body and spirit. It is evident that physical activity in any form can reduce stress, regulate the body and help fight depression and anxiety. For many, exercise is an escape and becomes addicting - almost like a drug. Imagine if we could replace a sad, crippling and even life ending addiction with a different way to BLACKOUT.
Thank you for taking the time to understand my story and my mission. Welcome to a new kind of community. The kind that is accepting, positive, realistic and rooted in self-help.