Gym.  Kitchen.  Punk rock.  Sleep.  These are a few of my favorite things.  My fitness journey began back in college when I started skateboarding.  I was a real couch potato before then, spending hours every day reading in my bed.  A worthwhile pursuit, to be sure, but I had the muscle tone of a malnourished calf.  Skateboarding opened my eyes to the world of physical activity that I had never known.  I got hooked.



Fast forward a few years and I find myself with a full-time day job.  My late-night skateboarding excursions ravaging the streets of NYC become practically impossible.  What is a girl to do?  I start partying and going to shows with friends.  This is the period where I considered getting drunk and dancing a form of exercise.  Then, one day, my show buddy, Erin, invites me to come with her to a punk rock jump rope class (whaaaaat?  that exists?!).  This is a pivotal moment in my fitness journey.  “Punk Rope” is a jump rope and HIIT class set to a mostly punk rock sound track.  I fall in love.  The jump rope becomes my new best friend and my serious gym-going days commence!  Phase I.


In addition to taking my Punk Rope class every week, I enroll at a basic gym close to my home in Astoria, where I have space to jump rope for just $200 a year.   Pretty sweet deal.   Flash forward another year or two and I am still working my day job at UBS.  The company organizes a weight-loss challenge.  Although I have never had particular issues with weight, when this challenge comes along I am 5-10lbs heavier than I had ever been.  I decide to enroll, because why not?  Long story short, timing is crucial and I end up winning because the final weigh-in is the Monday after Thanksgiving.  You might be inclined to believe that I have amazing self-control, but it really just boils down to the lack of food options I face every year at Thanksgiving as an a vegetarian (now vegan).  It is pretty sad that my meagre 7-lb loss was enough to take the cake, but in all fairness, the winner was determined by the overall percentage of bodyweight lost.  Sorry, peeps.  My prize:  a 6-month membership to a super fancy gym!  The Equinox.  Phase II begins…


The Equinox is known for its great facilities, dynamite classes and magical way of divesting you of a large chunk of your monthly paycheck.  Though I started off with a free 6-months (total value of something like $1100, thanks UBS!), I eventually had to start paying – and boy, did I!  This was a surprising turnaround for many people who knew me, because I had always somewhat ridiculed people for paying extravagant amounts of money to run on a treadmill.  Why don’t they just run outside?  Hellloooo, it’s free?  I soon understood that barbells are sweet! and that regardless of the type of training you do at the gym, often it is the psychological component that you are truly paying for.  If paying close to $200 a month for a gym membership makes you get your ass to the gym every day, then it is well-spent.  If being at the gym inspires you to greatness, then it is well-spent.  If taking a class with an awesome instructor keeps you coming back for more, then it is well-spent.  The sauna is a pretty good bonus, too.


With time, and the help of the great people I met at the Equinox, I became a veritable beast.  I developed a passion for pushing myself to my physical limits.  That passion would encourage me to become a personal trainer.  One success after another led me to the realization that with enough determination and fearlessness, I could do anything.  With that in mind, after several stagnating years spent worrying that my day job was slowly stealing my soul, I quit and moved to Europe to be with my partner.  There, in warm, sunny Belgium (try saying that with a straight face), I learned French, found a gig as a personal trainer, and transitioned to a 100% plant-based lifestyle (because plants are awesome and enslaving animals is not).


The moral of my story, dear pals, is to overcome your fear of the unknown.  Seize the opportunities that intrigue you and make change work in your favor.  Change is a vehicle that forces you to question what you think you know about yourself.  Change will make you stronger and more bodacious.  Take a deep breath, throw your arms out wide and welcome the world of possibility that surrounds you.  There are no limits to what you can achieve.  No matter what happens, you will RISE ABOVE!