So who am I? Non-existentially speaking...

 Of all the gin joins in all the towns, you end up in mine...

Of all the gin joins in all the towns, you end up in mine...

Health and fitness can be a complicated world of over-information and false information. My goal in this website and in our work together is to keep it simple. There's a lot of bullshit out there. (Sorry Mom, that I said bullshit). I want to cut through the crap and get to the basics.

When you work with me, we outline your goals and together come up with a plan for achieving those goals. We use strength training as our main tool, but fun is the second most important piece of our work together. In fact, fun is the most important piece of our work. Kindness is the second most important, and then we bring in the tool of strength training.   

The health and fitness industry is  flooded with messages about self-judgement, especially for women: body-shaming, food shaming, hell, even exercise-shaming. We won't do that here. Fitness is not about shrinking yourself with a goal to be less. It's not about punishing your body or earning your food.

Your fitness journey is not feeling good about the prospect of who you will become. It's learning to feel good about who you already are as you learn the ins and outs of a daily exercise routine. 

Health and fitness is self-care, not punishment. It's compassion, not harsh judgement. 

About me - the non-fitness journey

My first word was "ball" and my original career choice was to play in the Major Leagues. 

I was a three-sport athlete in high school, but softball was where it really came together for me. I was fortunate to spend four summers as a teenager traveling the country with a junior olympic softball team, the Johnstown Jewels. I learned important lessons here, like library book is another word for beer, chewing tobacco is nasty, and there was something in the water that made all the girls from Philly six feet tall.  

Seriously. All of them. 

I was a pitcher, and was decent enough to get a few college offers. Looking back now, I was an early victim of the burnout that can result from playing one sport for six months out of the year. After two months of fall softball at NCAA DII Gannon University, some friends convinced me to join the lacrosse team, even though I'd never seen a lax stick before in my life.

What can I say. They were fun. And so I was part of the inaugural season in 1996, which wasn't really 20 years ago. It just wasn't, ok?

 
 Can you pick me out in this picture? That's right; long hair, panty hose, lipstick, and a dress. What the wha???  

Can you pick me out in this picture? That's right; long hair, panty hose, lipstick, and a dress. What the wha???  

 

Because lacrosse involves a lot of running, that's the recreational hobby I took up after college. I ran, and ran, and ran. Had a knee surgery, ran some more. First I ran a 5K, then a 10K and I eventually worked my way to a half-marathon. But a few years ago, battling chronic injury and pushing the softball team I coached to get in the weight room, I decided to spend more time there myself. And I've been hooked ever since. 

 
 I fell in love with picking things up and putting them down. Heavy things. And if you fall in love with that too, I get a free toaster. Win. 

I fell in love with picking things up and putting them down. Heavy things. And if you fall in love with that too, I get a free toaster. Win. 

 

Career Path

I had a hard time taking those career tests in high school and college because they always came back telling me I was best suited to be a writer. I knew that. That I needed to do a profession that was value based (like teaching). I knew that. But I didn't know how I was going to make a living. Or what I'd do for a career.

I didn't even know what a personal trainer was back then. 

My career path is so varied that I've become a sort of renaissance woman. I have been, in no particular order, a newspaper reporter, freelance photographer (which I still do and for more on that, please check out my services page), a college teacher, a caregiver for senior citizens, a resident director, a sandwich artist, a salad bar attendant at a chain restaurant, a retail extraordinaire, a college softball, cross country, basketball and lacrosse coach, an athletic administrator, and a personal trainer. I've played in a band, done open mike nights, read at poetry readings and started more than one blog. 

There was also a stint in a Catholic convent for a year, but if you want to know more about that, you'll have to wait for my miscellaneous section to take shape. And possibly buy me dinner. 

What that means for you is that I bring a lot of life experience into my practice as a coach/trainer.  I've developed a lot of opinions on training over the years, but they are just that; opinions. There are no absolutes. In training, in life. And those opinions I do have are not set in stone. My approach to training is rooted in compassion and kindness, which may seem counterintuitive to the stereotype of a weight room. But it's really not. Lifting weights and taking your personal health and fitness more seriously is one of the most compassionate things you can do, for yourself, for your loved ones, and for other people. Or at least, as a very wise person I know says after dropping knowledge bombs; that's just a thought.

My thought. 

My goal is to keep an open mind because there is no such thing as one size fits all. Not in fitness and certainly not in panty hose. Whether it's strength training, Crossfit, yoga, running, cycling or Zumba, it's up to you to find what works best for you. And if I can help you a little along the way, then that is a privilege I take very seriously. And if I convert a few of you to lifting heavy things, I get a free toaster. Win.


 With Rooney. Named for the owner of the Steelers. He looks grumpy, but he just dislikes the camera. And fasting between meals..

With Rooney. Named for the owner of the Steelers. He looks grumpy, but he just dislikes the camera. And fasting between meals..

The facts...

  • I am a Certified Personal Trainer from the American Council on Exercise.
  • I am a Certified Senior Specialist through the American Council on Exercise.
  • I am a Precision Nutrition Level One Coach.
  • I am a former intern at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Mass.
  • Prior to getting hooked on strength training, I exercised by running. Though I don’t run as much now as I used to, I understand the appeal and simplicity of running. I've done a few half-marathons along with countless shorter races. I even ran a bi-athlon once. You know, where you shoot things after every mile...
  • I have a vinyl record collection and a working turntable. My favorites include Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker and Marvin Gaye. 
  • I have a degree in Communications from Gannon University (Erie, Pa.), and a Masters in Sports Leadership from Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.).
  • I am from Western PA, where we say PA instead of Pennsylvania and go to this wonderful place called Sheetzes (and it's Sheetzes not Sheetz)
  • I’m a diehard Pittsburgh sports fan. The Pirates usually have me dying the hardest. 
  • I’ve been a head coach for college women’s softball, cross country, and an assistant coach in lacrosse, basketball, and soccer.