Hi Team! Thanks for stopping by Fitzness.com. I’m excited to help you reach your fitness goals, while guiding you towards a better, healthier, and longer life overall. I started teaching fitness at age 15 in sunny Fort Lauderdale and fell in love with both the process of teaching and the outcomes of helping others get healthy. I’d landed in my first gym, “Spa Lady” as a result of having MCL surgery on my right knee from a clash playing soccer. The coach of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (pro soccer team) told my Mom that I needed to pursue strength training post rehab or I’d re-injure it. Thankfully, my mother lied on my gym application and said I was old enough so I could start working out and I instantly fell in awe with both working out and the uber-cool instructors. Who wouldn’t envy those fun girls with the hot thong leotards and massive scrunchies in their hair?
Shortly after joining, I applied for a job as an instructor. When asked if I had ever taught before, I replied “no, but I do aerobics all the time and am willing to learn”. I was hired to teach my first 30 minute “low impact aerobics” class three days later, on a Friday evening. After practicing my grapevine-laden routine in my bedroom a bunch, the class went pretty well and I accepted feedback from the participants when we were done. Overall, folks enjoyed themselves, but asked that I did more fun stuff with my arms and spoke louder. Hilarious to think I was ever not loud enough!
I quickly fell in love with my work, earned a few certifications and taught as many classes as I could each week. I also delved in to personal training. A few years later, I left home for the University of Florida and quickly earned a spot teaching fitness on campus. It was always a rowdy blast, and I couldn’t have asked for a better job in college. Along the way, I spent about three months as the Fitness Director on board the Crystal Harmony 5-Star Cruise Ship in Europe and about 18 months co-hosting a locally produced fitness TV show called Cardio Jam.
Cardio Jam aired on affiliates throughout Florida several times each week and gifted me with my craving for mass impact. While dining at a Sonny’s Pit Barbecue in Gainesville, Florida I met a waitress who was a fan. Now, this wonderful woman was close to 350 pounds and not someone folks would assume was exercising. However, she enthusiastically told me she loved me, loved my show, worked out with me every day as she recorded each episode and had lost 17 pounds as a result! I was dumb-struck by the idea that I had helped this woman which I had never even met before. I was also in love. Mass media would rule my world from that point on.
It may be of interest to you, that I wasn’t always lean and fit. I was an overweight teen who suffered from an eating disorder. I had a family member who tortured me from about age eight on with the phrase, “you’re fat and you suck at soccer”. It was a mean mantra which I heard 10-20 times a day. I was always in sports, but my family had pretty loose standards on the food we ate. Lots of soda, chips, dips, butter on everything, candy, cake, doughnuts … the list goes on and on. I don’t really blame my parents, because at that point … I’m not really sure they had all the facts. Sure, we ate tons of fruit too. But the overwhelming amount of food choices I made were bad ones.
Feeling bad about myself, hating my clothes and struggling with bulimia was no fun. I silently dealt with it on my own until my freshman year at UF. I had a hilarious friend, Missy (her real name) who lived down the hall from me in my dorm. Missy was a tad overweight too. After a particularly awful day, I had my “Come to Jesus” moment with myself. I remember thinking, “If Missy lost weight, would I like her more?” No way. I couldn’t like her more. She was already TOPS in my book. And then I thought, “If Missy gained weight, would I like her less?” Hell no! And that was that. I realized that I too, was a good friend who was funny, helpful and smart. People liked me for me and I was way more than just my thighs. I never intentionally threw up again.
I was a size 13 at that point, and I had finally found a way to feel good about myself. Thanks to my future education and evolving profession, I learned how to become truly healthy and a size I genuinely love. Once I figured out that I wanted fitness to be more than just a job and that I wanted it to me my profession … I applied to grad school at UF for a Master’s Degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences. I truly enjoyed every minute of this education, which lead to an almost perfect GPA (fancy, I know). During this time, I entered in to the phenomenal sport of full-contact kickboxing and had more fun than should be legal. My level of athleticism sky-rocketed while my eating habits took a major turn for the better. I tried new vegetables, cut out added greases like oil and butter, and stopped drinking so much alcohol. An Irish girl at UF is a disastrous recipe for too much beer. These choices became habits and I slowly moved from a size 13 to a size 6 and then eventually, much lower.
I felt great about my new body and loved being lean like an athlete. My family, they were a bit pissed. The words “shocked, surprised or horrified” would apply as well. They were accustomed to seeing me round and my new lean look garnered some nasty comments (you can read about those here). A couple of years in to it, when my Mom realized that I was eating TONS of food, but just being particular about what I put in my mouth … she called off the dogs. I learned that diets don’t work, but sticking with long-term great habits do. I also loved that I could eat so much MORE, as long as I was eating wisely. I’m not perfect, but staying lean has been much easier for me – both physically and emotionally – than being big ever was. (Read about how I balance it all here.)
While fighting, I became the focus of a variety of magazine articles … which was lovely. But I was often misquoted and the spelling of my name was always butchered – which was not lovely. Since I had both the Master’s Degree and the actual ring experience, I got up the courage to ask those magazines if I could just write the articles myself. I was immediately greeted with several yeses and my first published article was “How to Kick People in the Head”. Shortly after publication, I received a hand-written letter from a guy in Kentucky who thanked me for my tips and bragged about the folks he’d kicked in the head while sparring. SOLD! I was going to keep writing forever too.
Folks. That’s why I do this. I have an absolute, craving … burning desire … to help each and every one of you get fit and feel good about yourselves. I know what it was like to hate my body and it’s an awful thing to go through. I spent too much time thinking about the roll of fat around my waist and not enough time focused on the people around me or the task at hand. Now that I live in a body I love, I NEVER think about it. I can truly focus my attention on those I live with, work with or play with. I think about what I’m doing and not what I’m not. I want YOU to experience that ease of life as well. It’s an incredible source of freedom and happiness to be at peace with yourself.
Throughout the years I’ve continued to pursue new ventures. I’ve contributed to news outlets as a fitness expert over 200 times, hosted several radio shows, published thousands of magazines, spoke for ginormous corporations, volunteered at schools and launched one of the largest running/walking programs for kids in the USA. Did I mention that I love kids? I have two of my own. I also consider the 80,000+ children who participate in The Morning Mile mine. I adore them all and hope that their regular participation in this program sets them up for an incredibly long fun life without the diseases and struggles most unfit families know all too well.
I’ve turned down millions of dollars from drug, supplement, shake, snake-oil companies, because I would NEVER sell out and take advantage of the consumer. Taking advantage of you and your desperate desire to become fit, lose weight and get healthy is unacceptable. Friends, if a miracle pill or shake existed … Oprah Winfrey would be a size 10. But it doesn’t, she’s not and I’m NEVER going to steer you in the wrong direction. Shame on those who do! If you see my name attached to a corporation or product it’s because I truly believe they’re awesome and I’m proud to share them with you. I only endorse things I genuinely love. Period.
My laser focus as a professional is teaching to the masses. I’m fortunate to now serve as a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated morning news show The Daily Buzz, talk show Emotional Mojo and many other TV news outlets across the country. I work with phenomenal companies like Oakley, Tropicana, and Office Depot who help me deliver my message to incredible audiences. I live for opportunities to help men, women and children figure out that fitness isn’t really so complicated and that they too, can earn a body and life they love. Whether it be on a TV set, a stage or behind my computer … I’m motivated by you.
I’ve got a resume, if you’d like to look at my fine print. But this is me … this is my “story”. I’m a girl who had a rocky start but figured it out along the way. I’d like to help you figure it out too. Exercising and eating healthy do require effort. But so does raising kids, earning money, owning a house or even going on vacation. Good things require effort! Let me help you find your way to this really good thing. I’ve created Fitzness.com, this online magazine for you. If you have questions that need to be answered – use the contact form here here in “Business Inquiries” to ask. If you’d like to hire me to speak at your event or work with your company … do the same. MASS IMPACT. That’s what this is all about. Live Better, Live Longer … with Fitzness.
Fitzy Fun Facts:
- I’m married to a police lieutenant and we have two kids. Ginger and Parker are the happiest people I know.
- Our dog, Piper is my business partner – kinda. She’s loves to be in my gym and can do lots of fitness tricks like burpees, box jumps and core training. Far too often, she tries to help me by plopping her head right on the keyboard of my laptop. She’s part yellow lab, part greyhound, part human. Sweetest, most obedient dog on the planet. She appears on my instagrem @Fitzness account a lot. #GYMDOG
- I love water sports, but don’t get to do them nearly enough. Water skiing and wake-boarding are my favorites. Wiping out is almost as fun as a flawless ride.
- I adore travel and started venturing out all over the world on my own at age 20. My favorite places outside the USA so far are Ireland and Russia. Both incredibly gorgeous countries with (from my experience) really lovely people.
- I’m afraid of bugs, frogs and other icky things.
- I’m not afraid of people.
- My workouts are all over the place, but they always happen and they’re usually hard. I run, walk, kickbox, swim, lift weights and work with tons of fun tools like the TRX, gymnastics rings, kettle-bells, tubing, big balls, small balls, the Lebert Equalizer and lots more. Lots of people need a schedule. I don’t. I just force it all in somehow.
- I’m a music fanatic. I enjoy almost all kinds but mostly listen to country in my car, and vulgar rap music when I’m working out.
- I have the nicest group of friends in the world. From all ages and backgrounds, I think I probably know the top 10% of the good people on earth.
- I’m pretty quick to remove jerks from my life though. The sign above my front door says it all, “Be Nice or Leave”.
- I consider the University of Florida to be my second marriage and am grateful I get to both lecture at UF and host interns each semester. I also take time to support Gator athletics, academics, student government and the alumni association.
- Even though I bleed orange and blue, I’d be thrilled to go cheer for Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA or any other college athletic program – as long as they’re not playing the Gators.
- I’m desperately in love with America, grateful for our freedoms and the hugest fan of our military. The constitution makes me happy.
- Speaking of happy … I almost always am.
- If a day goes by that I haven’t had at least a tiny bit of chocolate (which is rare) … I consider it very sad.
- I’m a natural gym rat who loves to look like a gym rat. The fact that I’m on TV and on stages a whole heck of a lot is taking me out of my comfort zone. Lots of makeup, hairspray, fancy clothes and jewelery have entered my life. I’m … a work in progress.
- Sarcastic people are the best people.
- Outside of my work and children, I hate dealing with details. This is likely why I’m awful at artsy stuff, golf, gardening and a whole lot more.
- My Hollywood crush? Jon Hamm from “Mad Men” is pretty fabulous.
- I talk to my Mom almost every day. She lives five hours a way and that’s just wrong.