I have a cool treat for you today! You will get to meet my friend and personal trainer, Shelah. She is strong, fun, patient, tough, persistent, gentle, and awesome! Her passion for fitness is contagious and she has kindly agreed to let me interview her. Our bodies are amazing. You have been wonderfully made by God. I hope this post inspires you to get moving! 🙂
What is your favorite exercise and why?
I’m a big fan of body-weight training… push-ups, pull-ups, etc. I believe being able to lift your own body weight in different ways is one of the most useful & valuable skills one can have.
How many hours do you think an average person should work out in a week to stay healthy?
If done correctly, 20 min/d can make a world of a difference.
How many years have you been a personal trainer?
14 years (since 2001).
Have you trained anyone famous?
What attracted you to this line of work?
Initially, it was having been an athlete most of my life, but a few years ago I became incredibly fatigued & had a whole list of symptoms that were concerning (from bloated belly & slurred speech to hair loss & a pounding, irregular heart beat). So I began a quest to have my own health be restored. This journey rekindled my love of studying the human body… how it moves, functions & heals. And yes – I also get excited about the study of the human body, food & water on a molecular & cellular level. I’m a total science geek! 🙂
What requirements did you have to meet to be certified?
I have several certifications in the fitness and wellness industry. Plus, I have taken many graduate level classes in the area of kinesiology & nutrition. I have my BS in Pre-Med (biology) and have assisted &/or interned in cardiac rehab, medical clinics, athletic training & physical therapy. I am also certified in wilderness first aid, search & rescue, CISM, etc… along with several years of emergency/disaster response training out on the field.
Do you have hobbies?
Yes. I collect salt & spices from around the world. I also LOVE to create yummy & healthy renditions of various ethnic cuisine & travel abroad.
What motivates you?
I have a passion to defend, protect & restore life.
Do you have a favorite dessert?
Ooo, only one?!? lol. I love ice cream, gelato & all things cold ’n creamy. Recently, I’ve been hooked on making the world’s easiest ice cream… simply put frozen organic strawberries/blueberries & Arroyo-D coconut cream in the Vitamix, blend & enjoy! Yum!
Why is working out so important to our overall health?
The list of reasons is actually quite long, so I’ll just highlight one that I think is very relevant in light of the current health conditions & diseases plaguing America. The rise of obesity, or what many doctors are now calling “diabesity” (due to the strong correlation between obesity & diabetes), is becoming unprecedented. Movement of any kind will use glucose (sugar) reserves stored in the muscles & help make the body more sensitive to insulin. Most Americans are becoming insulin resistant from the excess carbohydrates consumed, meaning they can no longer handle glucose very well, which in turn, increases the risk of chronic disease. So the more you move, the more you help your body handle glucose properly, and thus, reducing your risk of obesity, diabetes & heart disease.
Where is your favorite place to visit?
Sicily & anywhere there’s a waterfall. I love being around water & waterfalls.
Can you share some success stories about your current/past clients?
Absolutely! Several come to mind, but I’ll share a recent story that is dear to my heart. Nina* first came to me two years ago, at that time she was 63 years old, weighed 217 lbs, 5’5”, wore size 18, had been on a plethora of diets, yo-yo-ing up & down with her weight for many years. She was hopeless & frustrated because any weight lost always came back with a vengeance. Over the last 10 years, she has been on several different medications for pain, depression, acid reflux, a series of infections, osteopenia, high blood pressure & for being pre-diabetic. She had periodontal disease & was over-taken by sugar cravings that never seemed to be satisfied. Moody, sluggish, experiencing memory loss & riddled with pain was her normal way of life. I worked with her to get her body stronger so she can enjoy life again. After a few months, she not only could walk, but chase her new little granddaughter around for hours. Playing & giggling with this little treasure was Nina’s first reward. Then we began to tackle the seemingly impossible. I often wondered, “Could we reverse the damage her body endured from chronic disease & the 10+ years of medications used to treat it?” This has been our focus over the last year. I coached her step by step through the twists & turns of navigating nutrition. We never counted calories, we never measured her portions & for the first time in her life she experienced freedom with food. No longer held captive by sugar cravings, she began to enjoy eating real food. She finally became at peace with one of life’s primal pleasures. To date, Nina has lost 25 lbs & 4 dress sizes with no backlash. As of February 2015, her doctor has reduced her Metformin from 1500 mg/d to 500 mg/d as her fasting blood glucose has dropped from 117 (on Metformin) to 103. Her periodontal disease has disappeared & pockets in her gums that once measured as deep as 7, now measure 1-2. We increased her fat intake dramatically, yet her triglycerides have gone from 211 to 126, HDL from 49 to 78, VLDL from 42 to 25. All of which are in a favorable direction & have lowered her risk of heart disease. Nina is a brave woman to embrace a whole new lifestyle & relationship to food. She now tastes the sweet reward of increased energy, decreased pain, increase in memory & brain function, better sleep, more stable mood & weight-loss in a steady, consistent manner. This is what it looks like to be a hero in training. Oh, did I mention, she has also learned to collect & purify water, start fire, safely shelter in place & keep her body healthy in the event of a disaster. Nina has the fire of life back in her eyes. She is a treasure & great delight. 🙂 (*Nina’s story is told with her permission & her name has been changed to respect her privacy.)
Anything else interesting that you think we should know about you?
I am a bona fide chocolate snob. I am slightly addicted to kambucha. I’ve been stung by a sea urchin while spearfishing in Hawaii. I love to dance. And lastly, I am the founder of Heroes In Training FitnessTM & H.I.T. Fit WellnessTM. I believe there is a hero inside each one of us just waiting to be unlocked. I’ve spent my life walking out the journey & collecting keys along the way to help others get unstuck in whatever hinders them from achieving their goals, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual…I love seeing the whole person become whole again. I’ve created several on-ramps for the journey to health: H.I.T. FitTM Bootcamp (where members learn emergency/disaster response skills integrated into a fitness program), H.I.T. FitTM 1-on-1 (custom tailored fitness & nutrition strategies & coaching in a 1-on-1 setting), cooking classes, H.I.T. FitWellnessTM (corporate wellness programs & consulting). It is such a joy to help individuals, groups & corporations achieve health & wellness success.
If someone wanted to contact you, what is the best way to reach you?
My website is currently in development, so for now please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Shelah!