|Will Travel:||10+ miles|
|Illinois Benedictine||Lisle||Exercise Physiology Cardiac Rehab||Master|
My journey to becoming a fitness professional was unconventional and not without twists and turns, but ultimately very personal. I was always an active chubby child, and became an active obese adult, coaching my children in swimming, football, soccer and baseball. In 1991, when I was 357 pounds and on my way up to 400, I realized that if I did not take action, I would die. I would not see my four children grow up and become parents; I would not see my future grandchildren.
I began with water exercise because that’s what my joints could handle. When I finally lost 135 pounds, I went on land to continue my fitness journey – and to share it with other women in my situation, I became a personal trainer in 1992. My father recommended that as a Jewish woman I advertise to the large orthodox Jewish community in Chicago. I became THE trainer for that community. Back then it was all about exercising to lose weight. And so many women, myself included, were trying every weight loss program that came out – none of which have ever proven successful long term.
By 2010, I started focusing on nutrition in a more enlightened way, which led to exploring my limiting beliefs in myself. Though my weight has fluctuated over the past 25 years, I am now healthier, happier and in the best shape of my life – having lost a total of 177 pounds and still reducing. My boutique fitness studio catering primarily to mature and some senior women who have faced life challenges similar to mine is thriving. My professional journey has focused on gaining the skills and knowledge to best serve them in the areas of exercise physiology, body mechanics, the latest in nutrition science, and perhaps most important – addressing and dealing with the emotions around body image, fat shaming, and reliance on food as comfort.
My journey mirrors my clients’ journey: The difficulty of carrying around so much weight and thinking “If I just exercise more and eat less I could beat this obesity thing!”; undergoing six knee surgeries due to teaching up to three step classes/day and having back pain due to poor functional fitness. The Grey Institutes 360 program changed my life and how I train clients. We no longer do squats; we do hip hinges. We no longer do sit-ups; we work the abs and back like they were meant to be worked – standing and for stability. And just like my clients with 50-100+ pounds to lose, I have dismissed the fitness professionals who simply don’t understand my struggles, or who themselves complain about having difficulty losing five pounds.
I am my client. I have walked in their shoes. I fight the battle every day and will for the rest of my life. I want my clients to be healthy no matter their size or their age. To find a lifestyle they can live with forever without deprivation and self-sabotage.
I am my client.