I grew up in Houston, Texas, a city girl with an appreciation for country life. My parents moved from Atlanta to Houston only a couple of years before I was born, so they were still getting settled in a new city when I entered the picture. For this reason, I attended 5 different schools and lived in 5 different houses all before the age of 8. You could say transition was a normal part of my life. As an extremely shy kid, constantly having to adjust to new environments wasn't easy, but I was always able to find a couple of close friends.
When I was 8 years old, gymnastics became my life. I would go straight from school to 3 hours of practice each day. My walls were covered in posters of gymnasts. I was obsessed and thought I was going places.
However, as I got older and the sport became more competitive, I started to doubt my ability to keep up. I became self-conscious. I even started wishing I would get injured so I would have an "out." Finally, at the ripe old age 11, I officially retired.
My sports career after that consisted of a little bit of soccer, a little bit of volleyball and some cheerleading - but nothing ever really stuck. After 9th grade, I was done with organized sports for good.
Despite feeling like a failure in sports, one thing that I did excel at was school. From an early age, my dad had emphasized to both me and my brother the importance of education. I never skipped class, always did my homework and wouldn't settle for anything less than an A. I just didn't think there was any other option.
Naturally, I applied to all of the top universities, and when I got into the Engineering School at Duke, with a little financial aid (and of course student loans), the choice to accept was a no brainer. However, after arriving, I quickly realized that while I might have been the 5th smartest person in my high school, I was in the bottom of the intelligence pool at Duke. I spent 4 years feeling like an imposter both academically and economically. Instead, I focused on being social and did what any shy kid would do to get by at parties - I drank.
I graduated from Duke in 2009 with no job, a lot of student loan debt and a high tolerance for alcohol. I knew that I wanted to live and work in NYC, so I applied for every job I could find and finally landed one in investor relations.
Two years in IR and 2 more years in marketing, and I found myself living a life where I was living for the weekend. I knew that this couldn't be it. There just had to be more to life.
You may be wondering what any of this has to do with fitness. Well, having always been insecure about my body, after no longer playing sports I knew I needed to do something to stay active. In high school, I dabbled in the weight room and also did pilates, yoga, kickboxing and bootcamp classes. In college I started running and completed my first of 5 half marathons. While I didn't mind exercising, I never would have said it was fun.
Then in New York, I joined New York Sports Club and was soon introduced to kettlebells and functional training, which reminded me of all of the aspects that I had loved about gymnastics - focusing on learning new skills and getting stronger. This was around the advent of Instagram - circa 2012 - and I started following all of these strong CrossFit girls, taught myself how to do the movements and for the first time ever I thought, this is FUN! I was also motivated to stop drinking so much because I didn't want it to affect my performance in the gym.
I came to love this new style of working out so much that I knew I had to make it a career. Much as I had done when I was trying to get my butt to NYC, I applied to any and every job in fitness to try and get my foot in the door in the industry.
I ended up getting a job as an Assistant Instructor at the Fhitting Room, a boutique high intensity training studio. I taught classes before and after my 9 to 5 job until I finally decided to take the leap and jump all the way in. In December 2013, I left the security of my corporate job to work full time as a fitness instructor, something I never would have imagined just 4 years earlier.
Soon after, I was coaching CrossFit and training one on one clients and my dream of forging a full-time career in fitness had become a reality.
As happens often in the fitness industry, I started burning the candle at both ends. Working early mornings, late nights, and trying to get my own training done, compounded with the stress of NYC-living soon became a bit too much for me. Now that I had established myself in the industry, I was ready to take my skillset to a warmer climate and slow down a bit.
I'm now back in NYC, and my passion for helping people has only grown stronger.
I know what it's like to feel like a failure. I know what it's like to hate your body. I know what it's like to fall into the comparison trap. I know what it's like to never feel like you're good enough. I know what it's like to want more out of life.
If it weren't for developing strength in the gym, I might still be that shy girl too scared to do anything and would have missed out on all of the wonderful opportunities that I've had so far.
Are you ready to change your LIFE?YES, SHOW ME THE WAY!
CrossFit Level 1
Crossfit Level 2
Weightlifting Seminars with Catalyst Athletics, Diane Fu, Steve Swistak
Power Monkey Fitness Camp
B.A. Economics, Duke University