This is the cover feature for the May 2020 issue of Centerville-Washington Neighbors Magazine, which is mailed monthly to 3,661 homes in Centerville and Washington Township. The photos of the Monbeck family were taken by Ashley Mauro Photography. The snapshot was provided by Erica Monbeck.
By Jeff Louderback
It would be understandable if Erica Monbeck crumbled under the weight of her challenges.
Multiple neck surgeries and a gall bladder procedure, as well as about with pancreatitis from a soaring heart rate and elevated blood pressure, have served as bookends to a breast cancer diagnosis that resulted in a double mastectomy. She has endured all of this as a wife, mother, and entrepreneur who has built Turbo Zone Fitness into a thriving wellness movement. Her responsibilities and obstacles are abundant, but her appreciation for the here and now serves as a reminder that it’s all about perspective.
“It’s been a long time since I haven’t been confronted with some type of health-related issue,” Erica said. “Sometimes it is discouraging. After all, I’m human. Yet I draw my resilience, strength and belief in today and tomorrow from the love and support of my husband, Mark; my daughters; my parents, Mark and Jane Curtis; and my Turbo Zone family.
“I definitely never anticipated experiencing all I’ve dealt with; but because of where I am now—with a loving husband and daughters, and a business that is more a passion than work—I am happier and more fulfilled than I was before the complications arose,” Erica added. “It truly is all about your mindset.”
In her 30s, Erica was figuratively and literally not in a healthy place.
“I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, didn’t care what I ate, rarely exercised and was in a marriage that wasn’t working out,” Erica recalled. “I was overweight and unhappy, and I didn’t like where I was in life.”
Gradually her world changed for the better. She divorced and eventually met Mark, a Centerville High School graduate and financial consultant who is a fitness and rock climbing enthusiast.
“He encouraged me and motivated me, and I started making healthier choices,” Erica said. “I stopped smoking cold turkey and haven’t picked up a cigarette since. I started eating healthier and exercising, and I saw results, which inspired me to keep on that path.”
Erica became enamored with kickboxing at the Brown Institute of Martial Arts in Centerville. Friends noticed and asked her to train them at their homes.
“I started with cardio kickboxing at homes, and I hosted boot camp classes at Stubbs Park,” Erica said.
At the time, Erica worked at Select Signs. Personal training was her side hustle. She opened a studio inside of Club 51 Fitness in 2013. By 2016, her loyal following had grown, and she left a comfortable job to move into Turbo Zone’s current location.
“When she said she was quitting her job and opening a fitness studio, I was scared. I know how uncertain it is when you launch a business,” said Mark, who is a financial consultant with Wells Fargo Advisors. “She’s the strongest person I know, physically and mentally. The odds were in her favor.”
Mark and Erica were a seasoned married couple by then. Their wedding was held at Red River Gorge in Kentucky, where Mark proposed. It is a haven where they share their mutual love for climbing, hiking and each other. Getaways with their daughters, McKenzie Howard and Cidney Monbeck, and their beloved dachshunds, Carson and Ruger, represent family bonding time that continues to draw them closer.
Erica has inspired hundreds of women to live healthier lives and reach weight and strength goals they never thought were achievable. Her Turbo Zone team members and clients alike agree that she has the knowledge, ability and desire to transform people to believe in themselves.
Turbo Zone offers classes, as well as personal training, in the studio and at home.
Erica is the author of the “Turbo Shred 21 Day Clean Eating Plan,” a booklet that offers guidance; motivation; suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and recipes. There are multiple stories of women who have shed more than 100 pounds incorporating the plan with regular workouts at Turbo Zone.
What Erica discovered when she was diagnosed with breast cancer is that the inspiration, encouragement and support of the 300-strong Turbo Zone community is reciprocal.
“The business has never been interrupted, and it has never suffered, during times when I’ve had surgeries,” Erica said. “My team members tell me, ‘We’ve got you. It’ll be fine,’ and members check in on me because they are family, not just clients.”
Before her double mastectomy procedure, 70 members wore Turbo Strong T-shirts as a rally of support, and many women were motivated to get mammograms.
Erica will have another double mastectomy in the future, because the original procedure did not heal properly. She remains positive about the present and the future, appreciative of life’s simple pleasures. The family has a new addition: a dachshund puppy named Susan Quinn. Their home in Centerville is their sanctuary.
The backyard features a 1,000-square-foot stamped concrete patio with a hot tub, a TV, a gas fire pit and a 12-person concrete countertop table. In the enclosed porch, there is a concrete and stone wet bar with an icemaker, refrigerator, concrete countertop, slate floor and seating for eight. Mark and Erica love to entertain; and when friends and family aren’t there, the house is a perfect spot for the couple, their daughters and the three dachshunds to unwind.
“I know I’m blessed,” Erica said. “Even with what I’ve survived and any challenges that are ahead, I’m blessed to be where I am.”