The YMCA, Ensuring a Brighter Future

The Loss Family

Jamie & Janelle embark on healthy lifestyle as new parents

      Many new parents find their health routines fall by the wayside as baby care replaces self care. La Crosse Area YMCA members Jamie and Janelle Loss role model staying active after having children remains a realistic choice. The Losses, who both work full-time, discovered that with all of its family-friendly benefits and offerings, the YMCA makes keeping in shape an easy and attractive lifestyle. When Jamie and Janelle became engaged, they increased their workout sessions to look great for their wedding and honeymoon in 2010. Their fitness activities continued as newlyweds, in part because they enjoy lifting weights together. After becoming pregnant, Janelle learned that swimming and yoga offered better options for those months, but Jamie kept on exercising too. Moving from La Crosse to Onalaska with their baby daughter Harper, they felt fortunate that a childcare spot was available at the North Branch. “What started out as going to the gym has become a lifestyle,” says Jamie, sharing that they reside within walking distance of the Y. “We’ve grown our social circle too. We’ve met many members who live in our neighborhood.”


      The Loss family goes to the Y several times a day, every day of the week. Jamie, age 41, drops off Harper to childcare on his way to work and then returns to exercise in the Wellness Center during the noon hour. He enjoys a good workout on the spinning bike and the other cardio equipment. Meanwhile, Janelle, age 34, finishes her job mid-afternoon and works out before she picks up Harper from childcare. She recently discovered she loves to run outdoors, and she also likes the spinning bikes. The couple still enjoys lifting weights together, usually on the weekends. “We exercise more now than before we had Harper,” Janelle says. Jamie adds with a laugh, “We didn’t see that coming.” In addition to attending childcare at the Y, 3-year-old Harper participates in all of her sports at the Y, including basketball and gymnastics. Harper says her favorite activity is “school,” which means “childcare.” The Losses place swim lessons as a priority activity, which she began at 9 months old. Harper could swim before she could walk. “We have a boat and we didn’t want her to be afraid of the water,” Jamie says. “We want her to always be safe.”

      Their family’s healthy lifestyle became even more strengthened with the passing of Jamie’s father a few years ago from a rare form of stomach cancer. Fortunately, Jamie found emotional healing volunteering with the LiveSTRONG at the YMCA. He learned about the program for cancer survivors, as he works out the same time as they do in the Wellness Center. “I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for those who are dealing with cancer,” Jamie says. “Seeing the survivors’ progress from week one to week 12 is rewarding for me.”

      They strive for Harper’s childhood experiences to reflect an active lifestyle as “the norm,” Janelle says. It’s obvious they’re well on their way to achieving that goal. They choose outdoor and imaginative play over the television and computer. Harper enjoys books and they read to her each night at bed time. Jamie says he wants Harper to grow up aware of community service activities as well, and the Y provides a good foundation. Last spring the couple joined the Y’s Annual Campaign as first-time volunteers. They agreed it proved eye-opening to learn about the organization’s numerous projects to benefit the community, such as financial assistance for Y memberships.  “Many of our friends will tell us they don’t know how we maintain such a busy and active lifestyle,” Jamie says. “I’m quick to respond, ‘I don’t know how we wouldn’t do it.’ Just keeping up with Harper is exercise. We want to be healthy and active for many years to come.” ~ by Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC