My Journey to Strength

Those pink silk pointe shoes were everything to me. My world revolved around them. I spent the first half of my life trying to earn them, and then the second half of my life trying to be good enough in them.

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My mom signed me up for ballet when I was 3, and I fell in love with the art of movement. I started off taking a few classes at a small studio and ended up transferring to a prestigious dance school where it consumed my life. By the time I was in high school, I was dancing 25+ hours a week in a pre-professional company, while maintaining straight A’s in honors and AP classes at my high school. Dance was my first love and it defined who I was for most of my life. It taught me drive, discipline, perseverance, and what it felt like to be passionate about something. My dance career also provided me with some pretty awesome experiences, including dancing with England’s Royal Ballet and Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House, as well as attending Complexions Contemporary Ballet Intensive, the Pulse on Tour, and Monsters of Hip Hop.

When I was 17, I was drawn to the gym. Part of me was burning out with dance, and another part of me was curious about what opportunities were beyond the studio walls I knew so well. I had played a few sports casually while growing up, but I had never really lifted weights. Once I picked up my first IMG_1581dumbbell, I fell in love once again. I became obsessed and needed to know everything I possibly could about fitness. I really felt like I had found my calling.

Dance had brought many positive things into my life and I don’t regret all the time I had invested into it, but it had also brought some negatives, including body image issues only being fueled by instructors constantly telling us we weren’t good enough, or didn’t have “the body” to be a dancer. Dance is amazing and is a powerful thing for young girls. I danced my heart out day after day. I was told I didn’t have the “body” to be a professional ballerina because I didn’t have super high arches or hyper mobile joints. During my junior year of high school, I actually tore a ligament in my spine dancing, because I was forcing my body to do things it wasn’t meant to do. And I thought when I finally got to the level I was working toward, or got the role that I’d always wanted, it would all be worth it. But then I realized– that finally achieving those things wasn’t going to make me appreciate the body that I was given–the amazing body that allowed me to do all of the things I was putting it through, the body that gave me strength to perform difficult and beautiful movements in a seemingly effortless manner.

Lifting weights showed me how to love and appreciate my body for all it can do. And instead of wishing it were different or forcing it to do things that caused it pain, I was able to strengthen it safely and work toward my own goals. No one could stop me, but me. And NO ONE could tell me I wasn’t good enough. The only person I was competing against was the person I used to be. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have really high arches or super flexible hips…lifting weights made me feel strong and capable in my own way. I felt empowered. And with physical strength came mental strength as well. I suddenly had more confidence in myself. I trusted my body to lift heavy weights in the gym and I trusted myself to deal with difficult situations in life. I was healthy and happy and became the outgoing girl I was always meant to be. I startedphoto 3 seeing food as fuel instead of seeing it as just something to burn off. I am now the strongest and happiest I have ever been. I still take dance classes from time to time and dance will always be a part of me but strength training has changed me for the better. Once I realized this, I set out to help others realize the same. I don’t want any girl to feel like they’re in a constant battle with their own body, or feel like they’re not good enough. I want everyone to feel as happy and empowered as I feel.

I decided to achieve my certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, and trained throughout college to gain experience in the field. I interned at Equinox 19th St. in NYC, learning from top trainers and managers in the industry, as well at Test Sports Club in Martinsville, NJ, helping to train athletes for the NFL Combine in addition to working with some NFL pros. I am currently Parisi certified as well, training both athletes and general population clients here at the Newtown Athletic Club.

I want to bring you, your friend, sister, daughter, etc. the self-confidence and empowerment that I found through strength training. I have designed a program specifically for young women to build upon the physical and mental strength that you already have- Beauties in Beast Mode!

Beauties in Beast Mode is small-group strength training with 4-6 participants. Designed specifically for girls 12-18 years old. Sessions are capped at 6 participants to maximize individual attention.

I want you all to feel strong and beautiful! 

Request to try Beauties in Beast Mode for free by filling out the form below. Please email me with any questions: kristenr@newtownathletic.com



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