Start off by telling us about yourself and your journey so far!
Beyond any credentials, I am a mover. Not only do I love to various explore movement within my own body, but I am continuously fascinated by the human body in general.
This fascination is what led me down the path of becoming a Doctor of Physical
Therapy. After leaving the private outpatient clinic, not only do I treat clients privately in Los Angeles, CA, but I have also created two online programs that allow people globally to drop into their bodies, learn about their own restrictions and relieve pain and injury without even having to come see me! Going into physical therapy school back in 2012, I never saw myself as a business person. I used to say, “business?! That’s over my head!” I never would have imagined that I would be building a following of half a million on social media, selling online products, speaking on stages from 50-1000 people or be in discussion with publishers about a book! Yet, here I am. I am so grateful to have followed my passions, focused on providing people with massive value anyway I could, and that I’ve remained open to possibilities beyond my belief. Much of my journey has been created and sustained through continued support from friends and a belief in myself.
How did you get into fitness?
Fitness has always been a part of my life. From an early age, my parents required that we find a sport that we would stay in all through grade school into high school. I dabbled with different sports before falling in love with gymnastics. I stayed with gymnastics for 9 years, competing until age 16. Shortly after quitting, I stumbled upon Pilates one day when going to the gym with my mom. Since I never trained much with weights through gymnastics, the gym always felt foreign to me. But as soon as I tried Pilates, I instantly fell in love. Many of the challenging movements reminded me of my gymnastics conditioning. After coaching gymnastics for a couple of years, I began teaching mat Pilates and then reformer Pilates. I taught for six years through undergraduate and graduate school. Once I entered graduate school, I began training with various people to learn weight training, proper running and sprinting form, yoga, and many other exercise practices.
What is your fitness specialty?
If one were to stumble upon my Instagram page, I would say mobility. As a physical
therapist, I love guiding people back to the foundation of where their fitness should
begin. The majority of the fitness community is built around strong, faster, bigger. Such a narrow focus can create injury if our foundation is not stable first. The ability to have the adequate and necessary range of motion in our bodies helps to prevent
compensations throughout the body, improve our resiliency against injury and even
relieve pain. A baby does not crawl or walk until they can touch their toes to their mouth. Mobility is our foundation and essential to the longevity of our health.
What's your preferred style of encouragement?
Compassion. We are often taught to ignore, mask, and diminish what our body is trying to tell us. This treatment can often lead to injury or chronic pain. I create a space of open communication, compassion, and understanding for whatever someone is going through. This creates a connection, trust, and commitment toward accomplishing goals together and overcoming any obstacle.
What would you recommend to someone that is new to the city, or working out, in terms of meeting and connecting with others?
Do not be afraid to try different studios, locations, and instructors. Understand that
everyone at some point had to begin their fitness journey somewhere. Every person has failed at something new, looked awkward or funny at first and overcome the fear of judgment. Know that most people are too stuck in their heads worried about the same thing (fear of judgment) … even if they’re advanced! The most courageous people (and the ones I look up to) are the ones who go out there and do it anyway!
How do you track fitness goals?
By listening to how my body feels :) A scale will only tell me a number. Counting macros will only place limitations on me and create a mindset of scarcity. Yet, when I listen to what foods and movements allow me to feel energized, I am able to understand how and when to eat and why I get to move into my body almost daily.
What do you track for fitness goals?
The way I feel! Feeling sluggish, moody or tired? I most likely need to work out. Feeling weak or extremely sore? I probably need to rest and recover. Listen to what your body is telling you and respond from a place of awareness.
Who are your fitness icons/mentors/heroes/inspiration?
My 60+-year-old mother and my sister – a teacher and mom of three.
What is your favorite food?
Depends on the time of day! But I love a salad from my favorite restaurant called
What’s your go-to song or artist at the gym?
I typically just throw on the “HIIT workout” playlist provided by Spotify.
What are three interesting facts about you?
1. I have probably spent about a third of my life upside due to how much I love
handstands! (They are literally meditative for me).
2. I had an X-Ray done of my spine when I was teaching Pilates during
undergraduate school where I first discovered I had scoliosis. Oh well! It’s never
impeded my body from learning new skills!
3. I had a year of severe stomach pain when I was in graduate school. Turns out, I
had a twisted colon in three places!! It took a colonoscopy and refusal to take IBS
as a suitable diagnosis.
What is your greatest achievement and how has it shaped you?
It’s hard to solely pick one achievement. I’ve had many achievements through life such as getting 1 st on the balance beam in my last gymnastics competition after injuring my foot in the warm-up, getting into physical therapy school in the first round after it was taking friends multiple times to apply, growing a social media following to more than half a million followers and leaving the security of working at a private physical therapy office to launching a business online and helping more people than I could imagine. Each of these achievements I faced with an uncertainty of the outcome and focused solely on my belief in myself and what I could create. Each achievement has inspired me to continue following my own path, my own passions knowing that when I have complete faith in myself, I am able to create a greater impact in the lives of others.
If you could master one skill, you do not have, what would it be?
Both physically and mentally, I cannot think of one skill. I am on a journey to continue learning more about the body so I can help others more, as well as continuing to push my own body past any limitations and grow in strength, endurance and try new skills yearly.