What inspired you to become a personal trainer?
I’ve had a life long journey with fitness and movements of all kinds. I have also fallen off of that journey and directly seen the impact it had in all facets of my life. Overcoming that and moving so far past it that I would never look back, inspired me to quit my job in corporate marketing and share that passion with others.
I grew up as a gymnast in Massachusetts, training about 10 hours a week from age 3-16. In high school, I became more focused on theatre, singing and other extracurricular activities and ended up quitting gymnastics to focus on my other pursuits. At that time, I joined the the track team at my high school as way to stay active, competing in the 100 and 200 meter sprint and throwing discus. This felt like a relatively natural transition at the time going from sprinting to the vault and having a lot of full body strength. By the time I moved to New York for school, I fell off my fitness regimen entirely – only occasionally attending a rare yoga class. My life became filled with advancing my career in marketing, attending networking events, and socializing. Nearly 7 years after moving to New York, I found myself feeling low energy, not eating as well, and overall just not feeling like the best version of myself. I initially became interested in changing my diet, focusing on eating more plant based foods and cutting out all processed items, which gave me a lot more energy.
With my newfound energy levels and inspiration to get healthy, I signed up for a TRX class in Union Square and quickly found myself in the habit of training 5-6 days a week. A friend encouraged me to sign up for the Philly Broad Street run, a flat 10 mile race. At the time, I couldn’t jog more than half a mile to my local track before needing to turn back home, red-faced. Over the course of a few months, I built up to a 6-8 mile loop around North Brooklyn, where I lived, and ended up finishing the race in 80 minutes.
From there, I joined a running club with Nike, trained for my first half marathon, and a year and a half later, ran the New York City Marathon, finishing in a decent time for my first (3:45). I felt like a different person when I crossed the finish line. But – I found myself in Physical Therapy 6 months later with 2 stress fractures in my tibias. No running for 2-4 months. This is where I learned about the importance of specific strength training and corrective exercise for myself as a runner – and for all athletes and individuals.
Once I was back on the road, I joined a competitive local running team (Black Roses NYC), chasing down people who were much faster than myself, with the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Fast forward to today, thousands of miles later, I just finished my fifth marathon and first Boston Marathon in 3:15. The next goal: break 3 hours in the Spring. My dream: to qualify for the 2020 olympic trials.
How do the benefits of physical training in the gym translate into everyday life? (Mentally, physically, anything you feel applies.)
I have always felt that being on a fitness journey (whether that’s about being in the gym and getting stronger, weight loss, performing in a sport, cycling on the weekends, etc), helps teach you to set small goals in order to reach a goal that seems impossible. I truly believe that any person is capable of doing anything by breaking it down into daily goals.
Life throws you plenty of obstacles, emotions, and barriers. The question is how to you approach them, and are you approaching them as the best version of yourself that you can be?
What is your favorite part of being a personal trainer?
I love seeing my clients progress through their goals – whether its realizing that they can lift a heavier weight, or that their lower back pain that they’ve dealt with for years is gone, or seeing them smash their first 5k or half marathon. It’s an honor to be able to share my passion with my clients and practice it every day. After spending 10 years at a desk job, I also love being active and on my feet all day in an environment that appreciates wellness and being physically healthy as much as I do.
What is your sport or training modality of choice?
Running! I run everything from fast mile races on the track or road to trail ultramarathons, but the marathon is my favorite distance. I also love strength training, particularly TRX, Kettlebells, and barbell lifting.
If you could tell some brand new to fitness ONE thing, what would it be?
I would share a quote from one of my favorite ultramarathon runners, Scott Jurek.
“You could carry your burdens lightly or with great effort. You could worry about tomorrow or not. You could imagine horrible fates or garland-filled tomorrows. None of it mattered as long as you moved, as long as you did something. Asking why was fine, but it wasn’t action. Nothing brought the rewards of moving”.
What makes you unique?
As much of my life is filled with training – both others and myself – I also have a wide array of cultural and artistic interests. I collect records, I love watching old and rare art films, I love to read, and I have been passionate about cooking since I was very young. I also believe strongly that movement ties in directly with art and culture, that movement can be a form of self-expression just like any other cultural pursuits.
Train with Chelsea, or one of our Pongo Power trainers today! Call (718) 638-7722 or fill out this free fitness assessment form, and we’ll be in touch!