New York, NY

I was a dancer for all of my young adult life, primarily ballet and modern dance. I never played any sports, I competed for dance and thought I was going to take it professionally before discovering how fitness would soon change my mind.

As a dancer, I suffered from knee injuries, I navigated body image issues, lack of confidence and a confusing relationship with food. I started working out as a means to recover from my injuries, to become a stronger dancer and to learn how to lose weight. I was talented and strong but a little "too big" for the ballet aesthetic and didn't feel like I was fully able to embrace who I was in that environment. Once I started seriously strength training, it was an immediate game changer for my mental and physical health. I was amazed at how naturally strong I was and really felt empowered by how my body could evolve and change as a result of pursuing a more serious strength training path. My relationship with food started to shift because now I was eating to build myself up versus having to restrict and diet to become smaller. I was no longer stressed about food or overly obsessive and had a renewed sense of peace and freedom that comes from educating and training yourself.

Fast forward, I competed in regional bodybuilding competitions for figure and wellness and really witnessed what my body was capable of on the other end of the spectrum. Today, I would say both of those experiences shaped how I view nutrition, fitness and most importantly my relationship with myself. Fitness provided a sense of confidence, knowledge and empowerment that dance couldn't necessarily provide for me. It has taught me so many lessons about how to achieve anything you want with the right structure, discipline and desire. I feel grateful to have built my lifestyle around fitness and feel like I'm showing up as my best self in whatever chapter of life I'm in because of it. It's the avenue in which we can truly evolve, develop resilience and operate at a high level during our time here.

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