A few days ago I posted my transformation picture on Instagram. On the left: a skinny noodle of a girl on her last day of high school. On the right: a stronger, more empowered version of the same girl, with a college degree and a personal trainer certification under her belt. Four years doesn’t seem like that much of a difference, but an absurd amount has happened in that time. I will make one disclaimer: this post is going to skip over a lot. I merely want to touch on the most important points that have helped me get to where I am right now. There were plenty of challenges along the way, but I am choosing to reflect on my mostly positive experiences and be thankful.
I’m writing this post in case anyone is interested in how I found my way into the fitness world, and also to show that things can change for the better really quickly. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so in an attempt to minimize the length of this article, here are some snapshots.
This little high school nugget loved science and thought she knew exactly what the next four years looked like. I was going to attend Baylor University, study nutrition, and come out as a Registered Dietitian. After a horseback riding accident in 2011, I had lost a fair amount of weight. Since I wasn’t riding as much anymore, I still hadn’t really put that muscle back on in 2013. At this point, the only weights I ever picked up were the tiny ones I used when I did P90x videos (yes I still have those DVDs).
Fast forward to that fall. I was an overeager freshman and felt like home in Texas. I immediately found my group of friends at Baylor and felt stimulated by all the intense philosophical and theological discussions that surrounded me. However, the enthusiasm didn’t last. I realized that Baylor wasn’t the right fit. Between personal matters and not loving my classes anymore, I decided to make a change. I learned a ton about nutrition this year, but my time spent at the recreation center was spent solely on the treadmill. I was really missing riding and having an outlet for physical activity. Baking and cooking filled the void for me, as my dorm had a 4th floor kitchen that was almost always empty. Somehow I got the idea that being in the bakery business would be the right fit. Spoiler: I was very, very, very wrong and it should’ve just stayed a hobby. However, it led me to the University of Houston, specifically the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management.
I knew I loved Texas, I just hadn’t picked the right city the first time. Houston quickly became home and I plan on staying here for the foreseeable future. I changed my major to Hotel & Restaurant management and had more fun in my classes than ever before. They were easier than my classes at Baylor for sure, but that left me more time to work and pursue other interests. I also joined a sorority, which probably shocked everyone back home.
Around this time, I discovered Nikki Blackketter on Youtube. She lived in Houston at the time, and watching her videos taught me about fitness and about the city. She is/was such a bright bubbly personality, and I wanted to be as strong as her, both mentally and physically. I started using my apartment gym and going to the campus recreation center with my sisters. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I learned from my more experienced friends and took in what I could from the internet. The gym very quickly helped fill the space that horseback riding had left.
Here’s one of my earliest gym selfies, just for laughs. I clearly thought I was super cool. After spending a couple of years working in foods service, I decided that hey, working in a gym would be a nice change. Seeing as it fell under the umbrella of hospitality, I started working in the shop at Equinox. I can thank Equinox for so much. I met one of my very best friends, Ashley (also known as wifey, and soon, roomie), and learned so much about fitness. The energy of the members and the staff was exciting to me, and I knew this was where I wanted to be working.
Graduation rolled around in December 2016 and I luckily had a job offer shortly afterwards. At this point I decided to start studying for my NASM personal trainer certification. All of the pieces were starting to come together, even if it didn’t seem that way sometimes. I passed my NASM test in April.
So what’s next? I have recently accepted a new management role and am going to put 110% into that. I am doing everything I can to improve my management skills and become a stronger industry professional. I hope I can use this blog to share a little about what gym operations consist of on a day to day basis, as well as document my fitness goals. I’m going to use this next month to decide what exactly those goals are. I do know that I want to ramp up my training, and especially focus more on my nutrition. I want to take personal growth to the next level, both in the gym and outside of it. I’m lucky to have supportive friends and family to help me pursue my passions and help me push through when I feel stuck. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me the past four years, and I can’t wait to see where I am in 2021.