Fitness hasn’t always come easy to me. A healthy lifestyle isn’t something that was instilled in me from an early age. I struggled to learn to be healthy and balanced, and I started Better Image Fitness because I want to share my success and help others to not have to stress and struggle with weight and body image issues. I grew up in a home where healthy eating wasn’t practiced. Pizza and wings were the dinner of choice. No one in my family is or was particularly healthy or fit. This is where my struggle started.
Looks were always very important. Lets be real, looks are important. People judge and value you by how you present yourself. I learned this at an early age through competing in beauty pageants. From little miss tomato to Miss Pennsylvania, I have competed in them all. When you’re putting yourself on stage asking people to judge you against other women starting at the very early age of three, you learn that what you look like matters. This fosters the idea that you are always being judged, and in my case fostered a great deal of anxiety, but also a love of healthy competition.
In high school I stopped competing in pageants and started playing sports. I realized then for the first time that I was “overweight”. I couldn’t run as fast as the other girls, I couldn’t fit into a smaller uniform, and I most certainly did not look or feel fit like the other girls. I was 186lbs at my biggest, and when it was time to go to college I realized I needed to change.
College is where it all really started in fitness. I was required to take a fitness class and thats where I was introduced to step aerobics. My favorite all time fitness class to this day is step aerobics. I started attending group fitness classes regularly and eating “healthy” foods. I lost almost 30lbs that first year, and I felt great. There unfortunately is where my eating disorder started.
I felt great and I looked great. Everyone told me I looked so fit and I started getting attention based on my fit physique. It wasn’t long before my competitive nature and underlying body image issues kicked in and I took it too far. I developed a severe eating disorder. I got to a point where I was not only working out too much, but binging and purging multiple times everyday.
Luckily I only struggled for a few years before I found real fitness. With the help of friends and some family I was able to focus my energy on working out and actually being healthy. I started going to the gym regularly and learning my limits. I learned to eat whole foods, and moderate my activity. I learned to LOVE to workout! I learned that I wasn’t alone in my struggles and what I had learned could be taught to other people in the search for health and fitness.
In 2008 I started my fitness career taking some group fitness certifications. I had been leading classes and helping people for some time by then, but that’s when I became certified, and that is a very important thing. This is where I started to show people my love of fitness and how it could help them like it had helped me to overcome my issues. In 2011 I became a personal trainer. I realized that I could reach people better with a personal connection. Personal training became my passion as I was able to get to know my clients personally and watch their transitions. I was able to see the change in them not only physically but mentally as well as their body image shifted and they were proud of their physique and their hard work.
The desire to help people change their lives is what drives me. I wake up every day knowing that the things I say and do can have an effect on peoples image of themselves, and that I can help change that image in a healthy way. I can help people find fitness and feel good.
In addition to Online and In home training you can find me teaching group fitness and yoga classes at various locations in Southeast PA as well as competing in fitness competitions in my area to help me feed my competitive spirit.