“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it” [Paulo Coelho] This is exactly what happened for me in my life.
When I was 13, I was diagnosed with a condition called fibromyalgia, which is basically a full body, chronic, system shutdown. My body, muscles, joints didn’t like to work. I was prescribed heavy painkillers, but didn’t want to take a pharmaceutical route and tried things my own way. It took a long time, but after many years I was able to live a fit lifestyle once again through natural supplements, dietary changes, Pilates, kettlebell sport, yoga, and running, all of which I believe has brought me back up from my chronic pain and keeps me in a pain free, manageable, fit, and healthy lifestyle.
As a lifelong multi-sport athlete, actor, singer, dancer and former competitive gymnast, I have been passionate about fitness my entire life. After 10 years of chronic pain stemming from neck and back injuries and a frustrating diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I turned to Pilates. I received my initial Pilates certification from Jill Cassady of the Pilates Technique Certification. I have received advanced Pilates training with numerous master instructors including Jay Grimes, Kathi Ross-Nash, Mejo Wiggin and Peter Fiasca.
After less than two years of Pilates my pain was nearly gone. I was able to function on a basic level again but had dreams of regaining my former athletic abilities, so I began reintroducing weight training into my personal fitness regimen after almost three years of doing solely Pilates. More pain disappeared and my body mechanics were improving, and with that I became an NASM certified personal trainer and received certification in Kettlebells from Jason Brown of KB Concepts, Inc. With the help of Pilates, kettlebell sport and weights, and nutritional supplementation, I am now not only 100% pain free and free of other related conditions, but I am once more a competitive athlete!
Even as I train for the world championships in kettlebell sport that are coming up this November in Dublin, Ireland, it is important that I find time to do pilates once or twice per week. Ideally I do a fast advanced reformer with some supplementary exercises in about 30-40 min on a Friday and a quick advanced mat in 30min on a Wednesday each week. I have to keep my neck, back and knees happy as I weight lift!
My own transformation improved my quality of life so much that I decided to help others achieve their goals and live a more active, pain free lifestyle. With that goal in mind, not only do I work in Sports Nutrition and Fitness, but also as a Chronic Illness Advocate, working with my production company Team Access to create Invisible: The Film, a documentary about fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses. It is a passion of mine to take my own knowledge and pass it to help others.
Fitness is more than something I do, but something I am. Fitness is integrated into almost every aspect of my life, helping grow stronger physically and mentally, creating a more positive environment for myself and others around me.
Knowing that my career is helping people overcome physical pain, bringing them to a place they feel more comfortable in their bodies is so rewarding. It’s a treasure and I look forward to helping myself and others, increasing awareness of chronic illnesses, and improving lives every day.