Fitness and food has always been a part of my life, in one way shape or form. My path to becoming a trainer was not only driven from a physical point, but from an emotional one as well. I was a very athletic and active kid growing up, from swimming to tennis to basketball. In high school, I became very involved in sports and was part of the varsity teams in soccer, basketball and softball. But as athletic as I was, my knowledge of health, fitness and nutrition was quite scarce. I ate whatever I wanted and didn't really workout except for the daily practices. As a result, I was considered "overweight". I was teased and made fun of a lot. This caused a lot of insecurity and I developed a hatred for my body. Then it was off to college, where I gained the famous "freshman 15", or in my case closer to 20-25. I wasn't playing sports on a collegiate level, so I became quite inactive. I remember coming home for Christmas my freshman year, and being told that I was the biggest I'd ever been and my weight gain was shocking. As always, so great to hear for the ego. I went back to school and developed your typical eating disorder - I starved myself. It wasn't till some friends sat me down for my "coming to Jesus" moment, that I realized the damage I was doing to myself. I finally decided to join a gym. It was at this moment that working out became a staple in my life. I worked out almost everyday. My knowledge in nutrition was still not developed, so I experimented a lot with different ideas and philosophies. I was starting to feel good about myself but I wasn't ready to be a trainer yet, regardless of what everyone was telling me.
Long story short, it took me almost 10 years to finally take training seriously. I finally felt comfortable enough in my knowledge of fitness to be able to help others. I started training at Crunch Fitness a little over 10 years ago. I was one of the top trainers in the company for a few years, till I went on my own. I now run my own personal training business side by side with the baking. Along the way, I've learned A LOT about nutrition. I used myself as a guinea pig. I tested everything. That way, I could honestly tell my clients what I felt worked for me and what didn't. I wanted to be able to pass on any information I had learned first hand. A couple of years ago, I developed digestive inflammation, which really drove the idea home that there isn't one perfect way to eat. We're all different and what works for me, may not work for someone else, and vice versa. Diet and nutrition should be custom made, not cookie cutter.
I've taken all the ideas and information I've acquired about nutrition and used them to create my healthy line of treats - the clean treats. On the other end, my one day a week of pure epic gluttony, is what has driven the creations behind the crack line of treats - the cheat treats. All of this, along with years of working in restaurants and bars, is what has truly helped create my creative palette. More often than not, I can't even believe what I come up with.
My history of having an unhealthy relationship with food and my body, has allowed me this unique perspective, that translates thru my baking. It's given me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the value of nutrition and how it affects us. I want to show that balance is important. That it's ok to "cheat" once in awhile and allow yourself the reward when you're living a clean and healthy lifestyle. Healthy shouldn't equal tasteless, and indulging shouldn't equal guilt.
One of the biggest compliments I've gotten is when someone couldn't tell the difference between my clean and cheat treats. If I can convince everyone that being healthy tastes good too, then I feel like I've made a difference.