When I was young I never dreamt of fairy tales or what-ifs. I have always been resourceful and innovative. I grew up in the gym and immersed in athletics...When you have the last name Sport, fitness just comes with the territory!!
Mediocrity was never in my vocabulary! Being the best was the only option, and I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with others. It wasn’t until years later that I realized just how much I loved contributing to helping others be the best they can be.
The human body and mind always fascinated me. I loved reading, learning, and discovering new things! I graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Recreational Therapy and Psychology; I then had a stint in grad school before my interests and career path would change.
During a brief three months in my hometown of Luverne, AL I was going to enjoy some time off, soak in my degrees and wait to hear from a job that I so desperately wanted. It was during this time I found my true love and passion – personal training. I couldn’t sit around and do nothing during that time period in 2009; so I decided to get my National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)- CPT certification. I studied, prepared, and aced the test and got straight to work. Those 3 months soon turned into 3 years- in that time I opened my own training facility “ Sports Fitness” and had a successful run before selling for a profit to pursue more training options.
I moved to Dothan, AL to pursue an interest I had found in Cross Fit. I was looking to compete, take a step back from administration duties, and strictly train myself and others. I took a job at BBS Fitness Systems in which I met people and clientele that would change my life. During my time there I competed at several high level CrossFit and Power Lifting competitions which I won and it would continue to fuel my drive. I spent 3 years there, got my Fitness Nutrition Specialist degree from NASM, and my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification. It was also where I met my future business partner and adventure.
In 2015 the business bug bit again. I picked up everything and moved to Birmingham, AL to open CrossFit Laminin with a regional teammate and friend. This was a little scary, a lot risky, but incredibly exciting. Building a successful business from ground zero where I had no friends or family at the time was a challenge I accepted!
We began work, gained members, took some programming courses, used a vast amount of knowledge from previous experiences. In 2016 we sent a team to the Atlantic CrossFit Regionals, placing 6th. Finishing one spot out from qualifying for the CrossFit Games was a huge accomplishment, especially for being open for only eight months! I was at my peak athletically, financially, and on my way to pursuing all my dreams.
Then life took a drastic turn.
In July of 2016, two weeks after regionals, I had an accident during a local competition. I fell eight feet from the pull-up bar, was knocked unconscious, and I couldn’t get up. After hours in the hospital that evening, I learned I had fractured the L2, L3, and L4 bones in my spine, and the C6 in my neck. I felt a sudden rush of nausea, panic, fear, and sadness. Thoughts rushed my head... How would I pay for all of this? Would I compete again? What would the recovery be like? How would I get up the stairs in my apartment? I found myself in a place of self-pitty, sadness, and anger- a place very unfamiliar and uncomfortable for me. I cried more over the next two weeks than I had my entire life. It was at this point that the people in my life, the ones I was used to helping, helped me!
I was not able to return home for two weeks until I could walk with the assistance of a cane. When I returned people cooked meals for me, took me places, covered my classes, and raised money. They did everything for me. It was the most humbling experience I have ever gone through and I learned more than I could ever put into words. I spent the remainder of 2016 and 2017 recovering. It was during this time that I knew I always wanted to help people in every way I could and make them better. That experience showed me how it feels to feel helpless, to start again, to work back into something, and to go to the gym for the first time in a long time.
I worked hard, I did mundane things, I cried, I fought, I stressed, but I found it- I found my fire again. This is what I want for everyone that I work with- to find their fire, their passion and be relentless in what they want!
When I healed and found my purpose again, I worked my way back to the competition floor. In 2018, I qualified for Wodapalooza as an individual, my first competition back after my injury. In this exceptionally large event, I gave it my all, learned a lot, and went back to the drawing board. That year, CrossFit Laminin returned to the Atlantic Regionals and placed 8th.
After working with several coaches and companies, I decided I was ready to begin a new business adventure. I had been working with so many individuals over the years: crossfit regional athletes, power lifters and avid racers- that I wanted to expand my reach and share my programming and experience with others. I gained my National Strength and Conditioning Association (NASCA) CSCS, and my CrossFit Level-2 Trainer certification. I have been learning to program my entire life, from school to certifications, training to coaching, and I know what it takes to get you where you want to be!
This is why I started this company, for you and for me, so we can find your fire!
I was not born a gifted athlete. I always had to work hard in sports to keep up with everyone else. I was never the fastest or strongest athlete either, so I dedicated myself to technique in the sport of baseball. With this dedication I was able to go a long way, but eventually fell out of sports my senior year of high school and did not participate while in college. My collegiate years were filled with many activities, but fitness was not one of them. I graduated with a business degree from the University of Georgia in 2012, but had no idea what I was truly passionate about. After graduating, I moved to Los Angeles to begin a new journey. I got into running and Muay Thai at a local MMA gym in East Los Angeles. I quickly discovered my first true passion in life, fitness. It was at that moment that I decided to pursue a career in the fitness world as a trainer.
After I moved to the Westside of LA, I went looking for a new gym to join. I quickly found one close to my new residence, but as I approached the building I made a decision that would shape my future. I decided that instead of asking for a membership, I would attempt to get a job. After speaking with the owner, he decided that while I lacked the necessary knowledge and qualifications, I possessed the dedication necessary to learn the required skills to be a trainer. We made a deal that very day. I would go get a CrossFit certification, and he would pay me in knowledge my first few months working. I threw myself into the work and learning. I acquired my certification only a few weeks later and began to shadow every single class he taught, along with shadowing him while doing 1-on-1 sessions. Eventually I was allowed to help teach class, and then begin teaching classes on my own. I worked my way up to head trainer where I continued to work for the next 6 years.
However, not everything about my journey was linear or positive. After about three years I developed many health issues that made me have to step back from training myself. I was still teaching, but was unable to attend class myself or work out very much at all. This was a dark period of life for me, and it took sometime before I was able to get back to the fitness that I loved so much. Looking back it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. It forced me to learn about the human body and how to fix it. This sparked an interest in medicine and a trip back to school in order to begin the process of becoming a medical doctor. I am currently completing a Masters in Biology, and will be applying to Medical School in June of 2020.
One of my greatest strengths in training others is the empathy I have garnered throughout the years. Like I mentioned, I have always had to work for the things I have. I know what it is like to have to practice a muscle up thousands of times to conquer it. I am also familiar with the struggles of nutrition and maintaining a lean physique. As a trainer I have a unique insight into the common plights of many of my clients. I also like to use all of the knowledge I have gathered while in school and bring it to clients.
While continuing to learn more about the human body in academia, I am excited to continue my journey as a trainer and programmer as well. I am interested in training anybody with goals, no matter how different they may be. Whether you are attempting to add 100lbs to a deadlift, or simply want to age gracefully and have the capacity to play with kids and grandkids endlessly I will formulate a plan for you!