1. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in life or business? Dealing with the pain and limitations caused by osteoarthritis in the hips.
2. How did you overcome it? Through bi-lateral hip replacements 8 years ago I can now do pretty much anything I did before, including water ski, except run. This was truly one of my most depressing, frustrating and challenging experiences. I went from being a dancer, amateur triathlete and mover, to being in pretty much constant pain. I couldn’t believe it was arthritis, and that I couldn’t stretch or lift my way out of this. I tried yoga, physical therapy, chiropractic, but ultimately had to have surgery. And the only way I could deal with it emotionally was to use my experience to help other folks who are active and want to remain active as they deal with orthopedic challenges. So I have become an expert in helping active people with orthopedic challenges stay active or regain their active lifestyles after treatment. I developed an extensive post-rehab pool program and do much of my work with clients in the water.
3. What has been a major key to your success? I found the right environment for me. I work in an independent club where we have to wear multiple hats, and I have the opportunity to interact with our members as the manager, but also as a teacher and trainer. I truly love what I do — both in terms of working with my staff and seeing them grow, in addition to creating an environment where our members can be better every day.
4. What do you like to do in your free time? Dinners on the back patio with family, almost any activity outside, reading and sushi, followed by an action movie at Alamo Draft House, where my daughters and I share French Pressed coffee and warm, chocolate chip cookies.
5. What was your first job in the health and fitness industry? In 1982 I was a Group X instructor at Combined Fitness Centers in the Chicago area.
6. What was the most exciting thing you did over the past 12 months? It doesn’t take much to entertain me, I find lots of small things exciting. My grandson will be 2 years old at the end of June and he is at the age where everything is exciting, from riding in my Toyota FJ Cruiser to going down the slide in our backyard for the first time. I get to rediscover the joy of small wonders in my time with him. Our oldest daughter, his mom — is our director of concierge services — so I get to see the two of them almost every day.
7. What’s something you’d like to experience in 2016? I’m going to take some trapeze lessons this summer.
8. What’s your favorite aspect of being in the health and fitness industry? I love being in the club, helping people make positive change in their life that leads to them feeling and moving better. I also really enjoy my time presenting and teaching other fitness professionals. I’m also a master trainer for Total Gym — I go into facilities that have purchased Total Gyms and work with the trainers and managers so that they can produce high-quality programs that will generate revenue.
9. What’s your vision for your future? To become even more tied-in with the health care spectrum. A number of our trainers are cancer exercise specialists, and most are also post-rehab experts, so we see a lot of clients who are looking to increase their function and well-being during and after treatment. While we have a number of medical practitioners who partner with us in their patients’ care, most clients find us independently. I would like to see us expand our connection with health care providers, acting as partners for the health and well-being of our clients and their patients.
10. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Two pieces of advice that are connected — to really listen first before speaking and to put yourself in the other person’s shoes before voicing your opinion.