CrossFit Coach, Nutrition Coach
I grew up as the baby of four in a very competitive family. (For instance, my Dad NEVER just “let” us win for the sake of it. Heck, at 66 years old, he’s actually still undefeated at pretty much any backyard sport you can name - even if only because he has a penchant for making up new rules on the fly!) Coming from a family that valued physical fitness from both the performance and aesthetic side, I was molded at a young age to desire to be the best I could be and to recognize and respect the importance of the discipline and practice it takes to get there. For me as a youngster, this manifested as hours of pitching lessons and softball practice with my Dad which took me from my glory days as a star fast-pitch pitcher in Little League All Stars to my star role as bench warmer by the time I was on the Varsity fast-pitch softball team in high school. It was a pretty anti-climactic sporting career.
Eventually, I traded in my glove and cleats for other endeavors like drama club and academics in high school, and later in college, I spent most of my time attempting to balance excelling in academics with extreme partying, while constantly in pursuit of weight loss. I was pretty much a self-proclaimed HATER of physical activity and exercise for the next 17 years of my life. Sure I experienced intense, painful encounters with exercise throughout the years - beaten down by the pervasive cultural message that to be FAT was the worst thing a woman could be in the world. Most of my adolescence and young adulthood was spent in an unhealthy obsession with hating my body or trying to be thin at all costs, without regard to overall health or wellness. Like many women of my generation, exercise was penance for the second (or fifth…) helping of cake shamefully sneaked while no one was looking at a family gathering, or sometimes merely used to justify eating food at all. Suffice to say my experience with exercise and dieting, while sadly not unique, was about as miserable and disordered a relationship could be.
Until one day after a couple years of consistent sedentary living (I’d finally had enough of the exercise torture, Smirnoff and cigarettes treated me better...), my fiance (now husband) and I won a free ballroom dancing lesson at a local wedding show. After a year of 2-3 lessons a week, I started feeling better than ever, and for the first time since I could remember, I was actually enjoying movement! I gave up weeknight drinking in favor of dance lessons, and fast forward a couple more years, I had quit my job in corporate America and was teaching ballroom dance lessons part time while attending the local YMCA to step things up a notch with my fitness. It finally felt good! It didn’t take me long to discover that when I removed the pressure to lose weight and started to workout because it made me feel awesome and strong, exercise was kind of great! At this time I also discovered a love of running because I actually won medals in the races I’d entered - which started with a Beer Run, (of course)! For the first time, I realized I could set PERFORMANCE goals that were completely independent of aesthetic or physique goals, plus I was halfway-good at it, and it felt incredible!
This logically led to my personal training certification and obsessively researching all things related to fitness. I was starting to learn about CrossFit through the interwebs, although Beloit didn’t yet have a CrossFit. Fast forward another year to 2012 and lo-and-behold! I searched Google again and stumbled across CrossFit Beloit! From my very first baseline test with Scott, I was sold. The legend that is Lani was the first person to introduce me to Olympic Weightlifting demonstrating the snatch in my elements class. Crossfit had so many skills and movements and CHALLENGING physical demands that it was simultaneously the most frustrating and rewarding fitness modality I had ever experienced, with not one mention of ‘firming or toning’ any piece of my body. After only a few months I wanted my L1. I needed more.
Shortly after getting my L1 in 2013, (with a horrifyingly slow and painful Fran time, just under the 10:00 min time cap), my husband and I relocated to Dublin, Ireland where we would reside for the next three and a half years. My goal before moving was to find an apartment near a CrossFit box and come hell or high water figure out a way to get involved. Ideally as a coach. And as the Universe would have it, after my VERY FIRST class at CrossFit Dublin (now CrossFit Perpetua Dublin), the coach of my class asked if I’d be interested in coaching! Say What?! True story. (Now tell me directed thoughts and visualization--prayer-- or whatever you want to call it isn’t a “real” thing.)
Within a couple of months I was participating in my apprenticeship with Crossfit Perpetua Dublin, and before long taking my own groups of clients through the beginners’ fundamentals classes and finally coaching regular daily classes at one of the oldest and most renowned Crossfit boxes in Ireland! I may be biased, but I still believe this is true.
For the next three years, I coached alongside brilliant physio therapists, strength and conditioning specialists, former professional acrobats, former professional rugby stars, and Ireland’s top weightlifting coaches and top-ranked national weightlifters. I did my best to take advantage of the amazing resources available to me, and fell into a dedicated weightlifting practice with Capital Strength Weightlifting Club in Dublin. Training with the best coaches and some of the best weightlifters in Ireland was instrumental to my newly found love and appreciation for weightlifting as a sport, rather than merely as a component piece in Crossfit. After a couple of years primarily training and competing in weightlifting, I started coaching the Olympic weightlifting classes for Crossfit Perpetua, too.
Through competing in multiple county, national, and international weightlifting competitions, I managed to snag six Irish national records as a Masters weightlifter (snatch, clean&jerk, and total for both 63 and 69 weight classes in the Masters 35-39 category). In my last year of competing I took gold at the 2016 Irish Masters Weightlifting Championships; silver in the 63 kg weight class at the 2016 Irish National Championships; and a third place overall masters finish (second in my category) at the 13th Annual Eleiko Women’s Grand Prix in Tenerife, Spain rounded out my year. Competing was incredibly nerve wracking and absolutely thrilling!
Simultaneous to my coaching and weightlifting experiences, I became certified in nutrition through Precision Nutrition. Having a strong background in food science and culinary arts to begin with, the nutrition side of fitness was an easy leap. Drawing on my own tumultuous history with obsessive dieting behaviors and disordered eating habits, I felt the best way to make sense out of my experiences and to serve my own health and wellness was to help others figure out a healthier approach to navigating food and eating. With a particular interest in sports performance nutrition, I became the go-to nutrition coach in Crossfit Perpetua Dublin. I worked with individual one-to-one clients as well as facilitated nutrition and wellness challenge programs which I developed and ran in multiple Crossfit gyms and several corporate offices in Dublin. I was even interviewed and quoted as the nutrition expert for a lifestyle piece in the Irish Times (Ireland’s top news publication)!
It has been an extremely gratifying experience working with so many different people from so many different backgrounds, yet all with a similar common thread: a desire to feel better and get stronger, fitter, and healthier. With each interaction and successful program completion, I have adapted, evolved, and modified my approach to try and be the most positive and beneficial health promotion advocate that I can. Staying abreast of the very fluid field of current nutrition science, I feel a deep desire and responsibility to help people find a path that works for them - void of the dogma or almost religious fervor that some diet-gurus espouse. This passion for helping and not hurting people has continued to lead me through various avenues of truth seeking and ultimately led me to start my own private wellness coaching business: Fueling Strength. I want to offer a safe place to help guide people through rational nutrition choices, sound wellness habits and behaviors, and a non-judgment pursuit of personal growth and development.
CrossFit Beloit has given me a platform and a community that I am already in love with. The members' and coaches' dedication and willingness to work hard, play hard, and lift each other up in a fun and supportive environment have been a blessing. I am eager to continue coaching and training in CrossFit Beloit, and hope to keep sharing my passion for helping people discover fitness as a tool to enhance their quality of life.
"The Body Project" Facilitator
Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification
CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Certificate
Weightlifting Ireland Level One Club Coach
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
American Council on Exercise -- Sports Conditioning Workshop
Strong Women Strength Training Leader
YMCA Healthy Lifestyle Principles
Certified Personal Trainer -- American Council on Exercise
Associate in Culinary Arts -- The Art Institutes of Atlanta
Bachelor of Science in Agriculture -- Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia
What are your goals?
63 kg snatch (139 lbs)
83 kg clean & jerk (183 lbs)
118 kg back squat (260 lbs)
Facilitate “The Body Project” body image groups for adolescents
Intuitive Eating Counselor certification
Precision Nutrition Level 2 certification
Attend a USAW coaching course