The first person I ever trained had a bad back due to herniated disks from a car accident, diagnosed short hamstrings (thanks, doc), weak painful wrists, and unremarkable strength (read: none). In fact, I was happy just to complete a workout using the training bar. Yes, my first “client” was myself, and I learned so much just trying to fix my own issues. I spent hours pouring over information on mobility, flexibly, proper form, and rehab principles because I wanted to become more athletic and move better in everyday life.
My eye was always on the future. I asked myself, “If I have a bad back now, what will it be like when I am 40?” I saw strength and conditioning as a gateway for people to do the thing they enjoy. Things like: picking up your kids, hiking through the woods, or scoring the game-winning goal.
I dreamed up Hygge Fitness as a community of people who felt the same way, and I have been lucky enough to turn that dream into a reality. Along the way, Fitness has done more than just fix my back. It has made me productive in everyday life, allowed me to surround myself with great people, and even given me a six-pack. It is amazing how your outlook on everything can change from just 5 hours a week working out.
I have accumulated thousands of hours teaching people proper weightlifting mechanics and positioning.
Before starting at Hygge Fitness, I had never lifted a weight in my life. I was a dancer, cheerleader, and have a little bit of gymnastics background. I started Fitness as a training program for an upcoming Tough Mudder race. At the time, I thought I was only going to do it for the three months leading up to the race, but here I am today and I really can’t imagine doing anything else.
Since joining Hygge Fitness in January 2011, I have become a certified Fitness Level 1 trainer, competed at the 2012 and 2013 Fitness Games Northeast Regionals, and competed in the Elite Division at Wodapalooza in 2015 and Teams Elite Division in 2017.
With this type of training combined with proper nutrition, I quickly noticed improvements in my energy level, strength, speed, endurance, and body composition. When I first started, I couldn’t even do a pull-up. I had to use the huge green band to help me get my chin over the bar. Today, I can do 30 unbroken pull-ups.
Everyone here at Hygge Fitness is so inspiring and pushes me to be the best coach and athlete I can be. I love seeing someone get their first pull-up or back squat some weight they never thought would be possible. I find myself looking forward to getting in the gym every day. It doesn’t matter if I am coming into a workout or to coach and motivate everyone to perform to the best of their abilities.
I have loved sports and being active my entire life. I was never the most talented athlete, but I love to work hard and train hard, putting the time is necessary to improve. In college, I thought I would end up becoming a teacher or a lawyer, but at that time, my father’s health was deteriorating. He had congestive heart failure and had a transplant on Sept. 11, 2001.
As a result, I decided that I would follow my heart and do something in the field of Exercise Science. In graduate school, I discovered strength and conditioning, and I have never looked back. I have been in strength and conditioning since then and I love working with athletes of all ages and ability levels.
I found Fitness through Olympic Weightlifting – somewhat backwards for most people. Fitness is the best of strength and conditioning all in one place. I love the weightlifting element of Fitness, but I also love how all of the major elements of Fitness (weightlifting, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning) relate to one another. I love to find a skill and develop it, which is why Fitness is so appealing to me and it leaves me constantly trying to improve as an athlete and a coach.
My favorite part of coaching is seeing people conquer things they never thought possible. Anyone can do Fitness, no matter what their background or ability level is. The Hygge Fitness community is something that can’t be adequately explained until you experience it. I encourage everyone to try it, no matter their age or fitness level. You will challenge yourself and discover the strength that you did not know existed. And there will be other awesome people cheering you on every step of the way and experiencing the highs and lows by your side.
Growing up I have always been a part of competitive sports. Not only did I love to play it, but I also loved to coach. I did not have the most traditional experience after graduating from high school. I wanted to get some sort of higher education but I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I decided to go to a tech school.
I moved down to Houston, Texas, and attended Universal Technical Institute. Sports were put on the back burner for a little while. When I returned back to NJ, I started working as a painter at an auto body shop. While working long days I began realizing that this wasn’t what I wanted my life to be. I decided to enroll in classes at Burlington County College where I began playing soccer again. Playing competitive soccer brought me back to life and energized me to want more for myself in the fitness world. I was then recruited to play soccer at Wilmington University in Delaware where I graduated with a degree in applied sciences and a minor in math.
I have worked in franchise gyms as a personal trainer as well-coached at the college level while assisting with the strength and conditioning program. When I saw the 2011 Fitness games on ESPN 2, I instantly fell in love with the athleticism and passion these athletes showcased. When I began Fitness I was a high school math teacher so I would spend my evenings at the gym. I realized that I was spending my whole day looking forward to what workout I was about to do and the people I was going to see. It felt like that’s where my mind was 24/7.
Since then I have competed in local competitions and participated in The Fitness Open. I began my coaching at Wodify Strength and Conditioning. Upon their gym closing down I found a position at Frontline Fitness in Wilmington, DE, and then luckily found my forever home at Hygge Fitness. Every time I come into the gym it immediately puts a smile on my face. It is the one place I can go where my energy level is instantly picked up and keeps me happy. The amount of smiling faces that gather in one spot is unmatched and inspiring. Giving people a second chance at becoming a better person and a healthier person is something that I love and will continue to do for as long as I am able to.
Athletics has always been a huge part of my life. Since I could start walking I began playing every sport I could. This eventually led me to competitively swimming year-round when I was just 11 years old. I swam throughout high school and eventually college at Bloomsburg University. On my ‘off’ (we were never truly off!) seasons of college swimming, I found this amazing workout called Fitness.
During my years of collegiate swimming, I learned quickly that you don’t have the metabolism of a teenager forever and I really started diving into how my training and nutrition work together. I read every article, book, and piece of information I could get my hands on to better educate myself and then began helping my teammates. This is when I first learned how much I love to help others achieve their health and wellness goals.
I graduated with a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology, but I decided to change my career path and pursue my master’s degree in Exercise Science with a specialization in injury prevention. At the same time, I also took my first (real) job as a collegiate swim coach for Dickinson College. I loved coaching, but I quickly began to see that college athletics wasn’t my calling.
As Fitness became my full-time sport after retiring from swimming, I got my Fitness level 1 certification and began coaching! Being a coach for all different types of athletes was something I truly loved to do and I knew I had found my passion. I moved out west to Arizona around this time and was fortunate to continue to build my coaching skills at a gym out there before finding my true home here at Hygge Fitness. My favorite part about this sport is how the community brings everyone together! Watching athletes crush their goals day in and day out is one of the most rewarding feelings ever and its amazing to be surrounded by dedicated individuals every day!
I have always had a love of fitness. I grew up dancing and competing in dance. I ended up getting a BS in Accounting and I knew quickly that was not what I wanted my career to be. After taking a college course in nutrition, I decided to go for an MS in Exercise Science. I worked in many gyms as we moved around for my husband’s military career, holding jobs managing gyms as well as working in group exercise teaching yoga, pilates, spin, and boot camp.
Even though I was very involved in fitness, I had never done any Olympic lifting prior to trying Fitness. I was interested in trying it because I wanted a new challenge. Being in my late 30’s at the time, my first impression of Fitness was that it would be a really great workout, but there was no way that I was going to climb that rope…or ever be able to do a double under…or even think about doing a handstand pushup. Now I can do all of those things and I actually really love all three! There are so many exercises that I am still working on and I always hope to improve, but Fitness has given me a sense of accomplishment and motivation to encourage others that they will be able to do it!
The Fitness Level 1 training was amazing and I love constantly learning and improving for myself as well as being able to help others on their fitness journey. I started our current kids & teens program in September 2019 and it has been so awesome to watch all of the kids come in and have fun with fitness. We laugh and have fun but I am also helping kids who want to improve their sports performance as well as help kids who have not found a sport that they like learn to be confident in themselves and be healthy. Fitness & nutrition for lifelong health is my passion and I love that I get to share my passion with others every day!