I would like to share my journey and struggles with you. Let’s start at the very beginning. I am from a small town of 3,000 people called Newcastle, Wyoming, where most people stay close to home or don’t leave at all. When I was a senior in high school, I decided that I was going to move to Maui and pursue a career in fitness. Everyone thought I was crazy. Not only did they believe that I would be back in 3 months, but they also couldn’t imagine people paying me to teach them how to workout, and that there was no way I was going to be able to make a living.
I Moved to Maui to Pursue My PASSION
I moved to Maui in 2003 at the age of 17 to pursue my passion for health and fitness. I attended a trade school called Strong, Stretched and Centered, beginning my career. My thirst for knowledge had been ignited, and my thoughts and goals were running through me like wildfire. I wanted to learn everything that I could, and I only wanted the best. I researched endlessly before I would make up my mind for my next education experience. I had no ties, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time. My passion had deepened so immensely, and I would say I was borderline obsessed.
I went to nutrition talks about vegan-ism, took every training that came to Maui, saw a nutritionist regularly, went to endless classes. I was broke all of the time, but I was happy. I worked on a snorkel boat during the day, as a hostess in the evening, and in the gym on the weekends. Regardless of my work effort, Maui is very expensive, and there were times that I had a hard time putting $3 worth of gas in my moped. This is why I find it difficult to understand when people don’t want to pay for bettering themselves. If I did it at the age of 19 anyone can!
Pilates… My True LOVE
I will admit that I am the type of person who puts her mind to something and can’t think of anything else until it gets accomplished. This brings me to my next journey… pilates. When I took my first session, I knew that this was something that I needed to know to the very fullest. I rode my moped 45 minutes through the Pali to take three private pilates sessions a week to prep me for my next training. I put my stuff in storage for a year to move to Seattle to attend Metropolitan Pilates with Dorothee VandeWalle. I spent a year working with Dorothee learning the classical repertoire of Joseph Pilates. Dorothee is an internationally renowned classical Pilates teacher, and is recognized as one of the leading teacher trainers and master Pilates practitioners in the world. She was the protégé of Romana Kryzanowska, who herself was the protégé of Joseph Pilates, and started her teaching career with Romana in New York City.
I taught at many resorts in my years in Maui; Marriott Ocean Club, Westin Kaanapali, and Hyatt Regency. Before I left for Seattle, I was training at the Ritz Carlton and running the fitness program for Four Season on Lanai at the age of 20. I loved my job but I wanted more. When I was in Seattle, I found what I was missing. I worked with people at Pro Sports Club and transformed lives. The heartfelt experience that I felt was something that I needed to continue when I went back to my home, Maui. I started with what I knew first, resorts, I began running programs for Honua Kai Resort and Spa and Kaanapali Alii. I also worked at local studios. After time passed, I felt stagnant. I need to feel like I am growing… and I wasn’t. It was time, I was 27 and I felt like I now have the experience and knowledge of 10 years under my belt. I needed my own studio to run the way I wanted to. It was my forever dream, so I thought at the time… Little did I know I was in for a little awakening.
My Food CHOICES
Let’s go back a bit. I became vegetarian at 16. This was unheard of and looked down upon in Wyoming. My grandpa had a ranch and all. However, I always loved animals, and I can remember when I was a young child not wanting to eat the animals that I just played with at the ranch. What put it in full circle for me was a family trip to Jamaica. I was 15, and when we arrived, we ordered a quick bite to eat, a hamburger. I can tell you that it was not beef. I was so disgusted and sick to my stomach that from that day forward I decided that eating meat was not for me.
When I moved to Maui, I became a strict vegan shortly after. I continued this path for 5 years. It was the best I have ever felt! Loads of energy, my skin was radiating, and I was lean without even trying. I became lazy with my diet after time, and slipped into vegetarianism for 11 years or so. I recently went back to being vegan because of how good it makes me feel. Finding what foods work best for YOUR body is so important. Not everyBODY will react the same on each food plan. I understand that most people are intimated by a vegan diet. With that being said I encourage eating as unprocessed, and as balanced as possible.
The majority of my life I only ate for fuel; I was a drill-sergeant when I taught classes, focused on my workout, and didn’t take the time to see how my students were doing. I was all about me, my body, my workouts, my diet. I remember spending time with friends, surfing, and when it would come time to eat, I would leave to make my healthy extremely low-calorie meal at home. I would never take a sip of alcohol because of the wasted calories and so forth. I got light headed a lot when I would stand up, and at times felt nauseous and shaky. This is not only unhealthy, but it affected my metabolism is such a major way.
Jumping ahead… I found my soulmate and got married at 26. He is born and raised on Maui and grew up surfing. He makes amazing gourmet food and turned me onto what it is like to enjoy what you eat. To be honest, Wyoming doesn’t have the best food available, and people mainly just eat meat and potatoes. To experience the flavors and yumminess of food was a whole new concept to me. I have always been so controlled and strict with myself with diet and exercise. I slowly became a foodie, lover of good wine, and my diet and workouts became more scarce. Bad habits were starting to develop.
Running a STUDIO
Now as I’ve matured, and owned my own business for over four years I understand what it’s like to not have time for yourself. When I did have time, I was beyond mentally exhausted. I was always stressed out, had anxiety on a regular basis, couldn’t sleep lots of nights, started craving and eating comfort food, stopped working out, and so on. At this point my bad habits were in full force.
My passion runs so deep that I was consistently disappointed with people’s lack of work effort, loyalty to my company or me. I took everything personally and micromanaged every little thing. This attitude does not create a healthy studio space. I started questioning what am I doing? I have lost myself, my passion for health and helping others. It was time to take a different direction, bring it back to my roots and why I started this in the fist place.
I gained a whopping 35 pounds in 4 years, most of it was within a two year period. I went from being a role model to the community, to people asking me what happened to you? I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want to go to the beach, surf, kite surf, etc. I truly understand what it feels like to not have a “perfect” image anymore, or what others deem as “perfect.” I can relate to what the pain feels like to not be your best self. I understand what it’s like to feel defeated.
My Growth and Finding BALANCE
I do want to mention that the experience was critical for my growth in character and teaching style. Gaining the weight and feeling what I felt was beyond humbling and brought me to a fully different understanding and perspective with how people struggle. I have empathy and compassion now. Life happens, there are bigger things that need our attention at times, and mental stress is a real problem with exhaustion, and lack of motivation.
Helping others is my passion. Understanding other people’s stories is my passion. Creating programs that are geared toward your body, and your goals is my passion. Educating people on comfort eating, and relating to the struggle of breaking bad habits is my passion. Being the person that encourages you to keep going, and knowing that I too was once where you are is my passion. I am here for you. I am all about you. If we work together, I will always be a 100% for you.