Elizabeth Pongo has an affinity for exercise science, and the human brain’s capacity to create reality. Through understanding transformational learning in relation to cognitive behavioral science, Elizabeth has designed a fitness community that supports true growth, joy, and wellbeing. Her passion for movement and psychology find harmony in her namesake gym, Pongo Power.
The practice of Medical Exercise Training, in which exercise performs the same function as medicine in the body, stems from her experiences as a young woman in a troubled home. Elizabeth’s memories of self-harm and self-hate begin as early as age thirteen, when she first began to feel isolated from her parents. These feelings developed into a battle with bulimia that spanned over fifteen years.
At age fifteen, she developed debilitating headaches and lockjaw and was diagnosed with a profound scoliosis. The American doctors prescribed a rigid back-brace that Elizabeth was to wear at all times, except bathing. With the back brace and scoliosis came more bad news. The doctors told her that if she wanted to heal, she must limit her movement practices and quit playing sports. Elizabeth was at an impasse in her physical and mental health. Luckily, her father László Pongo (a World-class fencer and avid athlete) insisted on getting a second opinion. So, the pair flew to Hungary, where the Hungarian medical community outright dismissed the back-brace and instead insisted Elizabeth restore healthy, frequent movement and sports.
When László Pongo suffered a stroke, Elizabeth found she took to the role of caregiver naturally. His passing in 2005 made her realize that she had her own wounds to heal before she could be fully dedicated to helping heal others.
"I was a psychology major at Middlebury College, where I learned that humans create their own reality. The brain’s ability to do that, consciously and subconsciously, is fascinating to me. I love to share this knowledge with our community."
In 1999, Elizabeth ran her first New York City Marathon, and completed 2 more in 2011 and 2014. She officially gave up feeling victimized by her body, and loves helping others triumph in similar ways. She then went on to complete the NYC Olympic Distance Triathlon in 2016 and the Lavaman Olympic Distance Triathlon in 2017.
"I am thrilled by movement. and I find it healing. Yet, how to perform these activities without creating micro-traumas, or repetitive stress injuries is paramount to success. I unraveled this mystery for myself, as well as discarding my coping through bulimia. Humans are complex creatures. Thinking about the effects of our sedentary culture on society can be overwhelming. At Pongo Power, we have created a culture in which we can help each and every person who walks through the door, through neurolinguistics, education, and attention to detail. We are committed to ending the obesity epidemic; helping others beat their eating disorders; and sharing our love of movement with the world."