1. Can you tell us something about yourself and what you do?
I am the mother of 4 amazing children and married to my best friend. My family is the most important part of my life and we share many similar interests, particularly in sports, recreation and travel. I am the Wellness Director for the YMCA of York and York County, focusing mainly on community health initiatives. I oversee York City’s Eat Play Breathe York initiative, implementing policy, system and environmental changes to improve health through improved nutrition, increased physical activity, and decreased tobacco use and exposure. Through my work, the city has implemented Complete Streets policies and added bike lanes. We have developed an urban garden association that not only provides education but space for those living in the city to grow fresh produce. I am the chair of Bring On Play, which implements family and youth physical activity events as well as renovates city parks. My passion is improving the health and well-being of others and through Eat Play Breathe York, we have been able to positively influence the lives of those who live, work and recreate in the city.
2. Are you a full time fitness professional? Do you have another profession aside from being a fitness professional? How are you able to balance fitness with your career? How are you able to manage?
Yes. In addition to my work in community health, I oversee the YMCA Wellness department. I still teach a few group exercise classes each week, although my primary focus within the Y is developing and implementing new programs for our members and those in the community. My current focus is implementing the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, which is a free 12 week program for adult cancer survivors. I also recently started a blog with my oldest daughter, Paige, who is a kinesiology and Public Relations double major at Penn State University. We are working to roll out an upgraded website Wealth-of-health.com by the end of the year. Wealth Of Health will be a membership site that provides everyday “how to be healthy” information to the general population. The site will include videos, photos and printouts regarding quick nutritious meals, effective exercise programs, family fitness and more.
I have worked in the fitness industry since 1984, in one capacity or another. For the last 18 years I have been fortunate enough to work within the field as my primary career. During the years that my children were young, my focus was on personal training and group exercise. The flexible hours allowed me to spend time with my children, who are only 1 1/2 years apart in age. At this risk of sounding quite “old”, I have to mention that when my kids were young, the internet was a new idea. Today, it is much easier for me to juggle family and a career because of the ability to work remotely from any location. I can write policies, or grant reports or blogs while sitting in the stands of my youngest son’s college swim meets or while waiting in the car at the dance studio.
3. How did you start training and what was your turning point?
I remember quite vividly when strength training became my focus for the first time in my life. In 1984, my father sent a book to me at college :Flex Appeal, by Rachel McLish. I began training in Shotokan karate under my father’s direction in the mid 70’s when women, at least in my home town, didn’t really study martial arts. I was the only female in our dojo and I trained on my own in college. My father suggested that strength training would make me a little stronger and better able to compete with the men who were always my opponents during tournaments. After seeing Rachel McLish’s physique and her beauty, I was enamored. Once I began strength training, I was hooked! Of course over the last 28 years, my focus has changed. In the 90s I was a cardio junkie. In the last 12 years, I can honestly say that I have the most balanced fitness routine that includes strength, cardio and flexibilty training.
4. What motivates you to do fitness?
I learned at an early age that those who were fit were the best at sports. I am a pretty competitive person, so even as a pre-teen, I recognized that to be the best, I needed to train to be the best. I am not sure if it was the thrill of the fitness challenge or the thrill of fitness success that motivated me when I was a youth. But as an adult, I love the way I feel when I exercise. I thrive on the challenge to improve, the feeling of fatigued muscles, and, yes, the sweat. Another driving factor for me is health; the absence of disease. My mother had breast cancer at the young age of 32, while she was pregnant with my brother. She died 14 years later while I was pregnant with my first child. She battled cancer for many years and I knew that I never wanted that to be my fate. So a healthy lifestyle, complete with a clean diet, regular vigorous exercise, and lots of laughter, was something that I was and still am motivated to achieve.
5. Do you compete for fitness? or do you have plans of competing in the future?
I do not and I don’t have any plans to do so. Although I am considering throwing my hat back into the martial arts ring.
6. Do you have brands or business related to fitness? or do you see yourself having projects related to fitness?
For the last several years, I would have to say that my brand has been the Eat Play Breathe York brand. I am known within my community by this work primarily because I am so vocal and so passionate about improving the health of an entire city. I aspire to be known as someone who genuinely cares about the health and well-being of others. I am working to make my newest venture, Wealth-of-Health.com, become a resource for those seeking a realistic way to improve health through lifestyle.
7. What supplements do you take?
I take Vitamin Code’s Raw Calcium +D, Multivitamin and Vitamin D; Omega 3,6,9 blend, antioxidant blend, and probiotics
8. What is your typical diet?
I eat a clean diet that includes whole foods: lean proteins, vegetables, fruit, nuts and beans. Due to an allergy to gluten, corn and oats, i only eat brown rice and quinoa from the grain family. I do not eat anything processed. I conscientiously eat to feed my body the nutrients that it needs to be strong and healthy.
9. What does your training regimen look like?
Cardio workouts (minimum 45 mins) daily, strength training (2-3 muscle groups per day 6 days of the week), flexibility training daily (plus 2 60 minute yoga sessions weekly), martial arts training (minimum 3 days per week)
10. What made you attend the FMI Conference? What are your top 3 take aways?
I attended FMI with my daughter at the suggestion of my cousin, an FMI alum. Paige is interested in competing in fitness and so I went to conference to support her and learn about branding. I have been a national presenter for the last several years in the realm of Public Health. While attending FMI, I was reminded of my past dream to write and present seminars about how to easily improve health through exercise and nutrition. My biggest take-away was that I could implement steps right now to fulfill that dream. While still at the conference, Paige and I purchased our web domain, Wealth-of-Health, started a twitter account and began blogging. Through tips from the conference, we have developed a comprehensive plan to implement a member website and to provide workshops/lectures on healthy living.
11. How would you like to be known in the fitness industry?
As an expert in educating and inspiring children, adults and families to obtain and maintain healthy lifestyles
12. Where can we find you on the internet?