Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District: Connecting People, Parks and Nature: Instead of giving up, she got up – and now inspires as fitness instructor

by THPRD10 Emily Liedtke inspires fitness - 3-20-17

“I am enough.” THPRD instructor Emily Liedtke repeats this simple affirmation to herself at least once a day. It’s a reminder of who she is and how far she’s come. The Beaverton native lost an impressive 211 pounds in 24 months, was featured in Health magazine’s November 2016 issue, and inspires her students and coworkers.

As a child, Liedtke was athletic, always moving. She danced, skied and also played tennis and soccer with the park district throughout her youth. Yet despite all the activity, her weight yo-yoed.

In 2014, bedridden with back pain, Liedtke suffered a mini stroke. She weighed 340 pounds. “My daughters couldn’t get their arms around me,” she recalled. “They wanted to play, but I couldn’t move.”

Instead of giving up, Liedtke got up. She started walking, at first to the mailbox and back. Eventually she was able to walk three miles a day, six days a week. She dropped 80 pounds, joined a gym and started working with a trainer. Eliminating fast food accelerated her weight loss. Today, she is determined to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

She has taught barre, high intensity interval training and athletic conditioning classes at THPRD’s Garden Home Recreation Center and Conestoga Recreation & Aquatic Center as many as five days a week. A self-described workout fanatic, she adds more activities to her schedule every day and coaches families who want to be healthier.

“Fitness is my full-time job,” she said. She shares her journey with students and admits a few of them follow her from class to class.

“It’s an inspiration to have Emily working with us at THPRD,” said Meredith Schwartz, program coordinator at Garden Home. “Her story validates that all of us are able to set goals and achieve them when we dedicate ourselves. She definitely keeps both staff and patrons motivated!”