My Journey: Part 2
- Describe your leadership role in the industry and how your work has positively impacted industry peers.
“My leadership role in this industry has been humble, non-flashy, and non-traditional over the past sixteen years. Because I live in a rural area with limited accessibility—and have certain constrains because of my kids’ limitations—I’ve built my influence and authority predominantly through social media, text messages, hand-written letters, and my online presence. By speaking on podcasts, volunteering on YouTube tutorials, and writing articles for leading experts in the fitness and strength and conditioning field, I have expanded my reach in creative ways. I have spoken and/or written about topics dear to me that I have the most experience in and feel most passionate about. These include family fitness, fitness for people with special needs, softball sports performance, and how to build an online fitness business from home. Through sharing my unique approach and expertise, my intention is to positively impact industry peers by demonstrating the success of an unlikely business model. I want other professionals in this industry who live in rural areas or who do not have access to a gym or workout space, to think outside the box and create a business model that works best for them.
Also, compelled by my passion for supporting people with special needs, I recently designed a CEU course titled “Adaptive Fitness Exercise Programming” that is now available through the American Council on Exercise. The course helps fitness professionals understand how to train clients with special needs, how to effectively communicate with them and their caretakers, and how to foster adherence to programming among this population. Course participants get access to weekly programming samples for ambulatory and non-ambulatory people. Serving people with special needs is important to me and is one major focus within my business. This population is underserved largely due to lack of education and information, which causes many trainers to be fearful of trying. I hope to inspire change within the industry through education and awareness so the alarming health disparities among this group can begin to shift.
- Describe the successful programs, mentorships or content you have developed and specific examples of how this improved your local community and/or the fitness community at large.
“I created the sheSTRENGTH internship program in 2019 for college females interested in pursuing a degree in fitness, physical education, or fitness business management. The program is designed to educate and empower young women in the areas of fitness, coaching, and entrepreneurship. Each intern gets practical experience and rigorous feedback working in all the main areas of focus within my business: programming for diverse audiences, coaching youth fitness programs, setting up online fitness programs in my app, making quality videos for production/distribution on social media, assessing and completing an intake on a new client, and coaching various movements in regular class times. In addition, during their internship, the girls are required to plan and host one charity event. They also routinely shadow me in training sessions for people with special needs. So far, three young women have completed the internship program, and I have hired one of the interns as a part-time employee.
During the summer and fall, my interns and I host a youth strength training and empowerment course for young men and women called “summer of sheSTRENGTH.” During the eight-week course, participants work out in person 1‒2 days a week. They also complete workouts at home through the sheSTRENGTH fitness app. Throughout the course, they learn how to lift safely and effectively, and we introduce them to all different kinds of training with the intention that they develop a love for a lifetime of fitness. As part of their training, we test their skills in many different areas of fitness including speed, power, strength, coordination, balance and skills to keep them improving and motivated. To support them in nurturing a healthy mindset, we have them watch personal development videos and coach them on how to apply insights to their lives. Each summer we host fifty-plus local kids in this program.”