One morning, I woke up completely fed up. I had enough. I was severely unhappy with myself and how I had let myself go. This isn’t a valid argument at all, because I had always let myself go. I never made the slightest effort to become better. I was never taught the importance of exercising, eating healthy, or forming healthy habits. On the contrary, as a child I was an emotional eater who hated Physical Education class, constantly hearing the words, “you would be so much prettier if you lost weight”.
When you keep criticizing kids, even with the purest intentions, they don’t stop loving you. They stop loving themselves.
I bought my first gym membership at age 25 from a well-known big box gym (for the sake of this story we will call them "Gym A"). The membership card was nothing but decoration for my keychain. I didn’t go to the gym. Not once.
Now let's go back to what I said before...
I woke up one morning, five months after I initially started my membership, and that was the moment of self-realization.
THIS WAS MY DAY ONE.
I laid in bed and reflected on myself: I had three pregnancies, three c-sections, and three beautiful children. My youngest son had just turned one year old the day prior. I was done breastfeeding; he was done breastfeeding. I needed to work on myself. Now.
I looked in the mirror and stepped on the scale for the first time in years. 262 pounds and a size 22 in jeans. Why?
I know why.
It wasn’t because of my pregnancies or surgeries.
It wasn’t because of how “busy” my life was. It wasn’t because of my countless “excuses”.
It was me. I was the problem. My priorities were not in order...
From that day on, I became my priority.
I went to Gym A for the very first time that same morning and took an aerobics class. I was the embarrassed student allllll the wayyyyy in the back corner, hiding behind the punching bags so nobody would see me.
But let me tell you, I fell in love.
I walked out of that class with the biggest smile on my face and came back every single day. Slowly but surely, months went by and I felt more and more confident in being in a group fitness class setting. My gym friends would cheer me on and push me toward the front row because they believed that I was very good at memorizing and executing the choreography. There were days when the instructor would have an emergency to attend to, leaving the gym students waiting around until the class and the gym manager would ask me to lead with music streaming from YouTube! We would laugh when an ad came on and then get right back into our workout.
About six months after that first experience of walking into the gym and taking a class, I had lost about 50 pounds and my favorite instructor told me, “Stephanie, you’re really good. You need to get your license to teach.”
So, I did.
I attended a live instructor training and had my very first aerobics fitness license, the beginning of many, many more.
In the next few months, I prepared for an audition with Gym A, the very first gym I went to as a member. I failed my first audition (I was so nervous!) and passed my second one. I started teaching classes (officially, on a payroll) for Gym A.
Time went by, I took over quite a few permanent classes and I lost even more weight.
However, I was getting extremely weak because I was not lifting weights. I hired two personal trainers to help. My biggest regret in my entire fitness journey is not hiring a personal trainer sooner. Nonetheless, I was astonished at the amount of knowledge I cultivated as a client. Everything improved: my strength, my figure, my habits, my outlook on eating…everything!
At the one-year anniversary of working as a fitness instructor, I had over 10 licenses/certifications and lost 100 pounds total!
I decided I wanted to expand my career even further and applied to become an instructor for a second company, Gym B.
Immediately hired, I taught almost every format they offered and excelled. My classes were very successful with my biggest class at almost 100 people in attendance multiple times a week.
A few months go by, and I receive a phone call from someone of extremely high importance in Gym B’s company. Let’s just say she was right below the CEO. She called me and asked me, “What will it take to have you exclusively with us (Gym B)?” She proceeded to say that because I was so successful with my classes, Gym B wanted to offer to pay for my education to become a personal trainer. Now, this was a huge decision to make because I was already a 3rd-year Biology major at CSUN, with my heart set on going to medical school.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would make a complete career shift just from falling in love with fitness.
But I did, and I loved it. So so so much.
I made the easy decision to leave Gym A, became exclusive with Gym B.
Upon completing my first PT certification, I became what’s known as a “hybrid”. I would teach group classes and train individual clients. With all humbleness, I became one of the most requested trainers there, with a completely booked schedule six days a week. I’m not even kidding, I would have clients on layaway, meaning they would be “on-call” to come in for a session if someone in my schedule canceled last minute. It was insane and so amazing. By then, I had over 20 certifications and my hunger for knowledge hasn't stopped since. (literally)
I quickly moved through the levels of Personal Trainer status (1-3), to Master Trainer, and finally to Assistant Fitness Manager within a year or so...
But then the entire world stopped with Covid.
All employees at Gym B were put on a leave of absence in March 2020. This required me to think outside of the box as my clients were reaching out to me needing to continue training to avoid regression. I started doing in-person (socially distanced) sessions and virtual sessions with them, and by word of mouth I had people from other states and different time zones signing up for virtual training with me. The best part, is that I was able to offer rates on my own terms, and my clients were delighted that I was reasonable and super competitive to the rates they were paying to train with me at the gym before the pandemic.
By December 2020, we were nine months into the pandemic, technically still holding a job to return to...at least we thought so.
After a few rounds of layoffs, Gym B let go of all of employees permanently because the gym location did not have the permits or proper permissions to open outdoors. It was two weeks before Christmas. I was devastated. I cried for about two days and then woke up one morning with the same fire I had years ago when I started my weight loss journey.
It was my day one, again.
The nine months prior to my layoff, I was unknowingly building something great, and it was time for me to officially file as a legal business when I got the news I would no longer be branded to someone else's company.
And that is how The Bodyology was born.
I filed my own company, my own name.
If this pandemic taught me anything, it taught me the importance of being brave and taking risks. Every trainer out there will tell you their biggest dream is to have their own company. Very few are brave enough to implement those dreams.
Whatever your dream is, make that dream big and go after it.
Because if you don’t have big dreams and goals, you’ll be working for someone who does.
My passion is fitness and I would be honored to be a part of your fitness journey.
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