Qualifications: MS Health Education, BS Nutrition Science, Certifications and affiliations: AFAA Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor and Instructor, ACSM, ACE, Mad Dogg Athletics, Schwinn Indoor Cycling
Personal History: As every young person does at some point in time, I wondered what I was going to do for employment and which career path I would follow. After having a conversation with a woman I used to babysit for as a teenager, she was convinced that would be a fantastic aerobics instructor. Though I did not play on any competitive sports teams growing up, I used to run and workout on my own. I was very athletic, and I enjoyed physical activity immensely. Not to mention, I had a rather outgoing personality.
I began taking group fitness classes with one of my mother’s friends, and I fell in love! Soon, I expressed this interest in learning how to teach fitness to my parents. My father’s co-worker recommended a local teacher training program, and he gave me a check for $300 to enroll in 1993. I was 17.
I soon became certified through AFAA, and I began teaching classes while attending college. I attained my AFAA Personal Training certification as well, and I was able to complete my two-year degree, while juggling classes, clients and waitressing jobs.
I received an opportunity to work for a corporate fitness company as a fitness specialist, and this is where I expanded my fitness education. I was able to gain my certification through ACSM as a Health Fitness Specialist, and I was administering fitness evaluations and designing exercise prescriptions.
After about two years, I decided to return to school. I pursued my degree in nutrition and continued to grow as a health/fitness professional. I worked fulltime as a Corporate Wellness Advisor, while working towards my degree. After completing my BS, I continued on and completed my Masters in Health Education. Here I had the opportunity to attain my secondary teaching credentials for Health and Home Economics in New York State. Throughout this period of time, I enjoyed teaching classes at various commercial gyms in the Albany, NY area.
After teaching middle school and high school health for a year and a half, I relocated to California. I had the honor to work in South Central LA, teaching Health, PE and Nutrition to high school students. In addition to helping develop an after school fitness and nutrition program, I also coached Students Run LA, a marathon training program for students. During this time, I also became an established instructor at Equinox Fitness Clubs, as well as an AFAA Kickboxing Specialist/Presenter.
In response to an unstable school district, I made the decision to return to fitness full-time. In the fall of 2011, I took a position as Group Fitness Manager for Equinox Fitness Clubs in Hawthorne, CA. As I approached the year mark, I was recruited to the East Coast to my current position as the Fitness Director for Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA.
Throughout my fitness journey, I have continued to run and participate in various fitness competitions. I have had the opportunity to complete 14 marathons and 1 full ironman.
Workout Philosophy: I believe in helping people of all ages to get fit and have fun doing it! Fitness should be fun and accessible to all!
Sucess Story: My favorite success story stems from a marathon training program, that I led for Students Run LA. I met Blanca and Wendy in my freshman homeroom class. These two young Hispanic girls were never involved in any organized sports, and both came from poverty stricken immigrant families in South Central LA. By their junior year, I finally convinced them both to train for the 2010 LA Marathon with the SRLA team. They both finished well, and ended up doing it again in in 2011. From barely being able to complete a mile on the first day of training, to completing two LA Marathons is awesome!! Wendy went on to attend UC Santa Barbara, and Blanca went on to attend UC Irvine. This was an incredible experience of fitness and mentoring and a true testament to what types of values and skills can be taught and fostered through training, including commitment and goal setting.