I love reaching out to strong women who inspire others for a living. The core to EcoFitYogi is to empower women. Kelly is an amazing woman who uses the tool of fitness to change peoples lives. A wife, mother and trainer.. I am happy to share this interview with you all.
What is your personal mantra?
My personal mantra is to strive for happiness… everything else will fall into place. We all work so hard to maintain a clean diet, hit the gym every morning, achieve a successful career, make a decent paycheck… but if you do these things without finding happiness in them, the point is gone. When my daughter tells me what she wants to be when she grows up, I hope she says “happy”.
What sparked your passion in fitness?
My passion in fitness started at the University of Dayton when I was a freshman. I, like so many others, gained the freshman weight and had no idea where to start living a healthier life. I started taking Group Fitness classes, Turbokick and Spinning, at the UD RecPlex and quickly became the “front row groupie”. One of the instructors, Melissa, who is a wonderful friend to this day, pulled me aside and said that I should think about becoming an instructor. My enthusiasm and passion led the way. Almost ten years later, the passion is burning even brighter.
As a fitness trainer, how do you sustain a mindful workout routine during the week?
I’m extremely blessed to have such an active career. I’m always on my feet, demonstrating exercises, lifting weights, moving equipment, etc. For my personal workout, however, I am big into running (where I can stay silent and simply focus on breathing) or you will find me in the back row of a Group Fitness class. Currently, I’m obsessed with CycleBar and Orange Theory. I’ve grown comfortable in the back row these days…. That’s where I don’t have to worry about being “on” but can really zone in on my personal effort.
What advice do you have for women who struggle with body image issues?
I tell them, “congrats on being human.” I’ve been working in the fitness world for almost ten years and have yet to find a woman or man who can look at me and say “This is the exact body I have always dreamed of having.” There is always some way we can improve, just as there is always a way for us to succeed. Everyone is traveling a very unique fitness journey and it’s my responsibility to find a path they can stick with and feel good about. If that means working on the perfect squat, awesome. If that means running their first 5K, done. If that means holding a plank off their knees, let’s get after it. Body image issues will always be there, but when we are equipped with the right tools to view our health as the primary focus, they tend to not matter as much.
As a mother, how to you teach your daughter to accept and love her body?
I tell my daughter every day how strong she is. When she started to crawl, when she took her first steps, when she started climbing upstairs… such a strong baby girl. My daughter and I fought through labor and delivery… it was a 36 hour process that ended in a caesarean and I thank God every day that He gave me a fighter. As my daughter grows into the beautiful woman I know she will become, I hope she equates beauty with strength. With compassion. With gratitude. If I can fill her plate with these things, the love for her body will come hand in hand.
How do you respond to a client that is focused solely on looking slim rather than feeling good?
It’s a gentle process. As a trainer, I like to take my time and really learn WHY this client is so focused on looking good. Is there an event coming up? A wedding, a reunion? Okay, absolutely, let’s get you feeling confident. Is this a “just 5 more pounds” type of client? Let’s work on what those 5 more pounds really mean and how we can start to appreciate how much more your body is capable of with this healthier lifestyle.
Looking back on your FFC career, what was the greatest lesson you learned?
It’s difficult to encapsulate six incredible years into one “greatest” lesson, but if I had to, it would be that I am replaceable. I mean this is the most positive way possible. In the fitness world, there is a ridiculous amount of ego. My mentors taught me self respect, but that I should have gratitude. There are a million other qualified and charismatic trainers that would kill to have the opportunities that I have been handed… and I should not take a single of those for granted. As soon as you learn that there is someone else that can come along and take your place, you work a little harder every day to make sure that you stay on top and can prove that you are worth it.
How do you stay healthy on your fitness rest days?
YOGA! It took me a long time to warm up to yoga, mainly because my mind moves a 100 miles a minute. I was fortunate to find talented instructors in Chicago who showed me the benefits, the calmness and the paramount importance of flexibility training.
What does your personal workout routine look like?
That really depends on the day and what I’ve done the day before. I am a firm believer in full body works out in the shortest amount of time. Give me 30 minutes and a set of dumbbells and I have you exhausted by the end. Work in a method of Cardio, Strength, Core and you can’t go wrong.