Our Personal Trainers
My journey with movement started just like everyone else’s journey. I was born, I learned how to roll around, crawl, stand, walk, run, jump, climb, so on and so on… and before I knew it, I was 27 years old with crippling pain in every joint and barely able to move through the day. Yet to the untrained eye, I was a lean, mean, 220lb muscle-maxed machine, that looked incredibly fit. My whole life I was told to push past the discomfort, and to keep digging, and that pain was weakness leaving the body. I can finally see now that what I once believe was true fitness, was all smoke and mirrors. So where did I go wrong?
The moment when you are told to “sit still” and “be quiet” goes much further than the meaning of those words. It is a halt of our true expression of ourselves through movement and play that we now must learn how to govern and control. We lose our intuitive and playful inner child, and that child is now forced to “grow up” and act like an adult. What many of us don’t know is that this playtime is essential for our maturation into adulthood and stopping it has serious repercussions regarding emotional, mental, social, and physiological development. It is our birthright to play and move, and we are robbed of it too soon in the process of domestication. Play is what allows us to test the boundaries of our physical capabilities without even realizing it, and also a means for us to explore social interaction and role playing. This is the most natural form of training there has ever been and studies have shown that using the method of play is a catalyst when it comes to learning.
I stopped playing so much when I got to middle school. There was no more recess, girls where now on my radar and I actually began to become self-conscious about how I looked, dressed, moved and acted. In other words, I stopped being my playful, imaginative self and wanted to fit-in. Later, competition in sports added more pressure and lack of confidence (or fear) drove me to a place where I just wanted to be as big and tough as possible, to ward off any danger or threats. This fueled a disembodied career of body building, powerlifting, aggressive behavior in sports and the ultimate road to completely forgetting how to move properly.
So what do you do when your body is broken and you can’t do the things you love anymore? You do what anyone would do and you go to the doctor so he can fix you. I spent thousands of dollars of my own money to be told by numerous medical professionals to; “take a few weeks off”, “don’t do anything that hurts”, let’s try exploratory surgery”, “you’re getting old (really?! I’m 27). Deep down, I knew all of these answers were a load of crap, and I was not about to let my life just erode before me. My fate was to be changed by the hands of a body worker while traveling to Sri Lanka- I thought I was getting a sports massage, turned out to be much, much more This experience was not only one that “woke” my body up (starting with the feet), but it was the first time that all of my ailments could be explained simply by how I was moving my body. It was the most revealing moment of my life and I knew right then and there it was up to me to take responsibility for healing myself from all the damage I had done.
The past 3 years has been transformative physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And it all started with regaining control over my big toes… Switching to barefoot shoes and waking the soles of my feet up opened the gates to countless breakthroughs in body awareness and my approach to movement in general. The traditional methods I used to train for sports and build muscle had greatly distorted my ability to move fluidly, and the tension was so great, I could barely feel my body. I began to study yoga, martial arts and natural movement. Using my passion for the outdoors to provide an arena of testing my movement capabilities, mountain biking, hiking, surfing, skiing and tree climbing all became my benchmark to measure progress, instead of hitting new personal records in lifting weights or how much body fat I am carrying. Spending my time studying how the body should move instead of studying the physical features of fitness models who aren’t moving on the cover of Men’s Health or Instagram. In other words I shifted my focus from “looks” to “performance” and viewed playing outside as my gym.
Through the practice of natural movement, I not only restored function and relieved chronic pain in my body, but became so much more aware of how I am moving in general. From how I sit at the dinner table to how I take out the trash. I am more and more present in my movements everyday, and in doing so, my body finds the most efficient way to do things- it is a constant process of refinement and awareness. Most of all, I have confidence in the way I move because my life revolves around playing (making everything a game), which means I am constantly testing my capabilities in a fun setting. Total freedom to express myself in movement anyway I want; dance, yoga, riding and skiing, swinging on trees and just viewing the world as my playground. My relationship with myself and my body has been greater than ever before and I am truly “loving” myself for all my strengths and weaknesses as I continue on this journey of healing and self-development.
Ever since I can remember I loved being outside and living an active life. From competitive cycling to physical professions, to obstacle course racing, I loved to push my mind and my body. I approached my activities and the way I treated my body with extreme mindsets. I had to push harder, endure more, shut my mind off and go. I was truly of the belief that pain meant to gain. I viewed my physique the same way, need more of ‘this’ and less of ‘that’. As time went on and I continued ever forward with this view of fitness, the pains and imbalances in my body become more and more taxing, more confusing. Why does movement on one side of my body feel completely unbalanced and different than the other? How is it that every morning I have debilitating pain in various parts of my body? Why isn’t there symmetry in my physique when its something I work on 2-3 hours a day every day? Almost worst of all was the mentally draining frustration of why at 29 years old, at the peak of my physical fitness, I felt this way? The short answer? I’d become completely disconnected from my body and how it had evolved to move. This realization, coupled with a radical course shift in how I approach fitness and movement, has given me a new body. I feel better, stronger, and more in tune with myself than I ever have. I train not only for strength and physique now but longevity and health 10, 20, 30 years from now. My passion is learning how the body moves and helping other people to realize better, healthier lives. Whether you can relate or simply want the best for your physical health, come check us out and let us help you Connect to your body.
From a young age, playing sports was my favorite thing to do. I played competitive sports into young adulthood and was regularly plagued with injuries. My injuries were never really properly rehabbed, so I kept reinjuring myself. This was very discouraging because I worked so hard and did everything my coaches and trainers asked of me. To add to that, my most challenging health crisis began when I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease at the age of 25. The following 4 years of recovery laid the groundwork for my self-transformation process. I experienced terrible daily symptoms of chronic fatigue, joint/muscle pain, crippling anxiety, and chronic depression. I also lost about 50 lbs. of mostly muscle, due to my inability to properly digest food. I knew I needed a major lifestyle change and the most important change I made was in the way I approached exercise. Early in my recovery I rarely had enough energy to do any exercise at all. But as I progressed, I began to learn more about corrective exercise. I started focusing more on using exercise as a means to promote muscle balance and good posture in order to reduce joint pain and improve my quality of life. Most of my training included using self-massage and flexibility techniques, along with targeted strengthening exercises using mostly resistance bands. Over time, and with persistence, I restored balance to my body. These results have been sustained because I have made it part of my lifestyle to include corrective exercise as part of my daily routine. My weight is back to normal, and best of all, I feel great! I’m happy to say my lifestyle changes have paid off in so many ways!
In much the same way that a snowstorm is made up of millions of individual snowflakes, my life is an accumulation of hundreds of decisions, some major and others seemingly minor. I have learned over the course of my life that each decision I make has one central thing in common: intuition. I am driven by instinct and how certain things make me feel. I live in tune with my body; I listen, wait, nurture, and crave the connection not only mind to body, but body to surroundings. Intuition has led me to many different aspects of fitness, but a life-altering change I made was in nourishing my body with real food. Unprocessed, made-from-scratch, whole food. The food that we eat is the foundation of our health. I believe in its power to heal, because I have experienced it firsthand. When I began to eat more mindfully, I noticed how much more energy I had to move. And I wanted to move. I felt incredible, and I was not the only one to notice. People responded to me differently and I soon realized that not everyone felt this amazing. In that realization, I developed a fierce need to help others become their most healthful self. I believe that everyone has the power to feel incredible. Everyone has the power to lead a pain-free (or pain-minimal) life. I’m excited to be a part of this journey for my clients and leading others to a healthful life is something that truly feels right. Health isn’t just what you put in your body or how much weight you lift. It’s a culmination of awareness, love, community, comedy, and connection. It’s a collection of snowflakes gathering together towards one singular purpose.
For so long I thought in order to be happy I needed to look a certain way, work out a certain way, live a certain way… Little did I know, those thought patterns completely clouded my judgment. I was spending tireless hours at the gym striving for a superficial acceptance of myself. And the worst part…i felt awful. it wasn’t until I started practicing yoga when I truly started to understand it’s not about what I look like or what others think of me, it’s about how I FEEL. Yoga taught me how to breathe, how to slow down, and how to connect with myself. It has and continues to guide me on my journey to live my best life and be the best version of ME.
Once I became a certified Yoga instructor I realized my calling was to help those around me find the same path that I had found. I want people to feel what it’s like to connect with themselves, be present, and teach the importance of taking time for themselves.
Our mobility is a gift that we have to consistently work at and never take for granted. When you learn how to truly move efficiently and effortlessly the possibilities are endless. You don’t need to walk around constantly in pain, you don’t need to “just deal with” that nagging back injury you’ve been dealing with forever. With some direction and a commitment to change, you can improve your quality of life and I’m here to help you on that journey. In the busy lives that we all live, it is crucial that we take time for ourselves and realize that we deserve to focus on our individual needs as well as those around us. Namaste.