Growing up, I was always athletic, and lean. At family parties, I would be called 'string bean' and I'd laugh and think nothing more of it. I was always busy with sports, softball and soccer, and I'd be outside more often than not. It wasn't until I hit junior year of high school, 2007, when I stopped playing sports, that I quickly lost all of my muscle, and had started gaining weight, unnoticeable to most. It's not like I was pigging out with a 1Liter bottle of soda and a bag of fast food. I didn't drink soda, and I didn't eat fast food, but I did enjoy ice cream and comfort foods, and I would eat large portions. My metabolism, I noticed in particular, had started to slow as the years passed. I was not confident, not only in the way I looked, but in myself in general. It wasn't until I came home from a vacation in the Dominican Republic with my boyfriend in 2012, and I was looking at pictures of myself in a bikini, that I realized I needed to take control. I had just graduated from college, and did not have a full-time job just yet, so I knew there was no better time than right that second.
I quickly found myself googling 'tone it up,' because where else do you turn to when you need answers? Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up popped up on my page, and I marveled at how beautiful and strong these two women looked. They provided free workouts and recipes, fitness challenges, and healthy prize packs. All of that wasn't what had hooked me though, it was the community of strong, like-minded women who were all in the same boat. They all wanted to gain confidence, and lose weight. I found myself connecting with other girls, nearby and across the world, who pushed me and motivated me to workout and change my way of eating. Instead of eating whatever and whenever I wanted, I started keeping track of what I was eating with a food journal. I started eating every three hours, and limited my intake of the 'unhealthy' foods. In my mind, the unhealthy foods were carb, so I didn't eat pasta or bread. Since I didn't have a full-time job, I had time to workout twice a day. Sometimes I would find myself leaving the gym after a great workout with my boyfriend, and going home to workout more in my room or run outside. One might say I became a little obsessed with getting fit. While I was gaining muscle, I had lost weight, too much for my height. The stress I was putting on my body, by working out twice a day, six-seven days a week, began to really affect me negatively. My menstruation cycle had stopped, and I was honestly scared.
I knew I had taken it too far, so I started to scale back. By that point, I had a full-time job, I took off working out for awhile, and began to filter in newer foods, testing out new recipes, and occassionally savoring those old comfort foods I had let go - spaghetti and meatballs, french bread with melted butter on top, and... well you get it. I let my body rest, long enough for my cycle to kick back into gear, and then I took up working out again, but this time with a new mindset and new goals. I didn't want to be skinny, I wanted to be strong... fit and strong. I made it a point to workout only when I could 3-4 times a week at most, kickboxing at CKO and doing workouts at home, occasionally going to the gym, but quickly realizing it wasn't my favorite thing to do. My goals became clear, while I wanted to get stronger, I wanted to focus more on how I felt during workouts, than how I looked. I felt confident, I felt on top of the world, after I finished a difficult workout, and it made me feel powerful.
I wanted to share this newly found, healthy, passion that I had found in fitness and nutrition, and while I didn't see myself going back to school for it, I found myself constantly looking up personal training Instagram accounts. I researched online how to become a certified personal trainer, and compared a bunch of certifications, ultimately deciding to go with NASM - the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I still wasn't convinced I could actually become a personal trainer though, not until my boyfriend pushed me to see what he saw in me - a confident, knowledgable woman who could do anything she set her mind to. I hit the purchase button, and had six months or less to complete the course and pass the test, by myself. I took every moment I could, when I wasn't working out, working, or having a social life, to study. It wasn't easy by any means. I did not take many science courses, or anatomy and physiology for that matter, and I struggled. The information was captivating, but memorizing the muscles, was difficult. I signed up to take the test on August 13th, 2014, and it poured while I drove to the testing center. I had read the book, studied almost every day, made flashcards, took the practice tests throughout the chapters, took the final practice test, went over what I didn't get right, and I still was nervous. My boyfriend had no doubt that I passed... me on the other hand, I wasn't so sure. I heard the power of positive thought truly works though, so I walked into the center with my head held high, knowing I had already passed.
And what do you know? I PASSED! I skipped out of there and called everyone. I wanted to shout it to the world - I, Kristyn, was a certified personal trainer! The news quickly passed to the owner of the kickboxing gym I went to, and he wanted me to train with him to become a kickboxing instructor! I was ecstatic and could not think of anything I wanted to do more. For weeks we trained, on the bag, with the mitts, and on the mic, and I left bruised up, but confident, at least in everything except for the mic. I was not a great public speaker by any means, and having everyone stare at me is not something that I liked. However, when I taught my first class, all of those nerves melted away, and I knew I was meant to be standing in the center of the gym, mic on, gloves on, all eyes on me.
It's been such an amazing journey, and one that is definitely not even close to ending.
I'm here to inspire you to want to make a change. To take the first step. To take control of your life and start living.
I'm Kristyn, and I'm your personal trainer.