Have you ever driven across the continent? Most of the time, you’re on fairly flat, smooth roads and the way is easy. Then you come to a mountain range. Suddenly, the ride becomes frightening There are high peaks, low valleys, and areas with no guardrails at all. Does this describe your life like it does mine? At 18 years old, after an uneventful and mostly happy childhood, my world blew apart when my Dad, my role model, committed suicide. Back then, counseling had a negative stigma attached to it, so we forged through this trauma without any help. I don’t recommend that approach, as it took years to find a way out of the guilt, remorse, and self-doubt that enveloped me after this loss, but life eventually did get better.
Rather than following in my father's footsteps and becoming a physician, I withdrew from college at the end of my sophomore year, found a job and an apartment, and put my life back together. I got married, had 2 children, and worked full time as a phlebotomist. In my mid-30's I went back to college and earned my AS in Radiologic Technology, my BS in Health Sciences, and my M.Ed in Health Education. Even with all that education, I had not learned how to exerciseand stay fit, and that was very obvious if you saw me back then. There are very few photos of me in my late 20's, 30's, and early 40's because I was so unhappy with how I looked. I didn't see any way to change that with my new job as an 8th Grade Science Teacher, but my twin sister did. She received an 8-week pass to a large gym nearby and insisted that I go with her. Neither of us had done any real exercise since high school, but off we went!
When I got to the gym, I quickly realized that I had no idea how to use any of the equipment, and I was pretty sure that someone would have to call an ambulance if I tried. I took the gym up on the offer of a free intro session and, to my surprise, met an amazing personal trainer. He was young, just out of the military police, and completely terrifying, but I knew that I wouldn't go and work out without a teacher. He pushed me hard, but that was just what I needed. Within 5 weeks, I had lost 11 pounds and was not completely fried at the end of each workout. 8 months later, I was down 63 pounds and in the best shape of my life! None of that would have happened without the unfailing support of my trainer. He believed in me when I didn’t, and that made all the difference. Just as important as the physical changes were the emotional and mental effects of getting fit. I was happier, I had more energy, and my self-esteem was much higher than when I first entered the gym. I wanted to share all of those positive results with as many people as possible, so I enrolled in the full-time, 6-month program at the National Personal Training Institute and graduated in December 2009. After having gone through 2 job losses and the deaths of 5 family members in a 3-year period, I had really been struggling to see a bright future ahead. Experiencing success and becoming a fitness coach changed all of that for me. When my 32-year marriage ended suddenly in a bewildering, family-splitting divorce a few years later, I felt completely blindsided! It seemed as though, once again, I was losing every single thing I ever loved, and my heart felt shattered beyond repair. But you know the saying "When God closes a door, he opens a window?" It’s a cliché, and it's incredibly hard to see any small windows of opportunity within such huge losses - but they truly can be the catalysts for some amazing new directions in life. What surprised me the most was discovering that I was still able to find reasons for joy - even in the midst of deep sorrow. Move after move, change after trial brought me all the way across the country (literally! MA, throughout the South, up to WA, along with my twin sister)— back to working as a full-time Master Personal Trainer which I loved—until Covid-19 closed our gyms in March of 2020. When they reopened, things were just, different. I left the large gym I was at to become the Fitness Director for a much smaller local one, and was able to build a wonderful personal training program there. Ultimately, I chose to resign and design a more personal coaching business of my own that can encompass fitness and life coaching. That was a huge leap of faith, but one that I am extremely happy I took! Here’s the point of all of this is: If I can get through these things and end up in a good place, you can too! You just need the right people with you on your journey. My wish is that you’ll find your way to a happier, more fulfilled version of your own life. My promise is that I and the members of this community will be here for you and with you every step of the way.