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Yudy Deng: Eastside Mother and Fitness Entrepreneur

Photo by: iStock

On any given day, you might see Yudy Deng running through the downtown of Bellevue Washington, pushing her jogging stroller with her son Ian tucked inside. With her quick sprinter’s strides and muscular build, Yudy, or for those in the know “Lion Yudy,” runs with purpose. This is a woman who can power through 1,000 burpees in a day. It is this strength that has helped her successfully navigate the challenges of being a new mother in a new country, finding her place in the community and building her career as a fitness entrepreneur.

Today, as owner of the fitness franchise, Yudy has not just found her place in the community. She’s expanded and strengthened her community, a community of mothers who get fit together, share their lives with each other and help others. In the following interview, she recounts her long and strenuous road to becoming a fitness instructor, and then eventually owner of the Bellevue franchise. We hope you find her as inspiring as we do.

- Jessica and Segah, Owners, Petite France

Jessica and Segah: You’re from China originally. What brought you and your husband to the United States?

Yudy: My husband’s job brought us here. My husband and I met in college in Shanghai. He worked for Microsoft Shanghai for two years and I majored in accounting, then he was transferred to Bellevue.

Jessica and Segah: What role did fitness play when you were growing up?

Yudy: I was pretty active when I was growing up. Back in China we were raised in a loving community and supported by the neighborhood, so I had this very strong community sense that I should contribute.

Jessica and Segah: Tell us about FIT4MOM. What motivated you to first become an instructor?

Yudy: When I moved to Bellevue six-and-a-half years ago, I got pregnant immediately. After I had Eva, I was kind of lonely because I was new to the area and I knew I was kind of out of shape, so I walked in Bellevue Downtown Park every day. One day I bumped into this group of active moms. They were sweaty but smiley, and I thought, “This is the kind of community I’m looking for, I want to join them.” So I talked to the previous owner [of FIT4MOM]. She said “Yes, come and try a free class tomorrow”. I tried it out and went to class every single day after that.

Jessica and Segah: What do you enjoy most about FIT4MOM now that you’re running the franchise?

Yudy: It’s about building a community.

Jessica and Segah: Tell us about the FIT4MOM Our Village program.

Yudy: Our Village is a free, open-to-the public group that all the moms in the community can join. We organize a monthly mom’s night. Sometimes we try out a new restaurant or go watch a movie. Most of the time I host it at my house. We share everything in our lives and sometimes we cook together. Last year, we cooked together and made a huge meal and donated it to The Sophia Way [an organization that provides programs and services to help women experiencing homelessness in King County]. The next event I’m planning is to plant pumpkin seeds with the moms and their kids.

Jessica and Segah: How old are your children Eva and Ian, and what are they like?

Yudy: Eva is almost six and Ian is three. Their personalities are totally opposite [laughs]. Eva needs time to observe. Ian, he can talk to a rock.

Jessica and Segah: What values or things are most important for you to teach your children?

Yudy: I want them to be social, to be emotionally well developed. I want them to be sound kids, well-rounded kids. They will get all the knowledge later in school, but right now I want them to be well-mannered, kind to others, have mutual respect and I want them to be able to separate their feelings from their behaviors. They’re still little, their brains are not fully developed like adults. And sometimes as adults we can’t control our tempers and our behaviors. So I adjust my expectations all the time. And you have to be on the same page with your spouse as well, so the whole family grows together.

Jessica and Segah: What are your hopes for your children as they grow older? What experiences would you like for them to have?

Yudy: You know, as parents you always want your kids to have a smooth life path with just enough challenge to keep them growing [laughs]. But that’s not true, right? Accidents happen every day, and you just want them to have this resilience to fall and get back up again. Don’t lose hope.

Jessica and Segah: What advice do you have for new moms?

Yudy: I want to encourage them to talk to others. After joining Stroller Strides, I practiced my English, had my public speaking skills sharpened [laughs] and I made a lot of friends. They say it takes a village. It’s true. The motherhood is real. You just step out of your house and open up your mind, and it’s a whole new world for you and your kids.

Jessica Lalloz was born in a small town in the East of France to a family of hotel and restaurant owners. She is very fond of her childhood and attempts to recreate the same rich experience for children in her community. She lives with her family outside of Seattle, in Bellevue, WA.

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