Alice Guzman

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a 24 year old college student currently attending the University of Georgia, double majoring in International Business and Management, and minoring in Spanish. I’ve moved around quite a bit in my lifetime, but I’m now residing in Athens, GA, and I plan on staying here for quite some time. Something I like to live by is making sure that I try everything, even if it’s just once, because I don’t ever want to look back on life and wonder “what if”. I think it’s important to live life to the fullest and get as many experiences as possible 🙂

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

It’s hard to choose just one thing about fitness that I like the most (because there are just so many perks) but if I had to pick just one, I think it’d have to be the feeling after a great workout. One can go in feeling stressed and tired yet coming out feeling refreshed and optimistic. The endorphins and the “high” that you get after giving your all in a workout is seriously the best feeling ever!

How long have you been into fitness?

When I was younger, I absolutely hated working out. My dad literally used to have to bribe me to go outside and play basketball. Even so, I grew up playing soccer, softball, and basketball in elementary and middle school. As I got older, I would always go through ups and downs in my fitness journey. I’d get really motivated and work out every day as well as watch my nutrition for a certain period of time (usually no more than 2 or 3 months) and then I’d go back to my static lifestyle. I consistently started working out and have decided to make this a lifestyle change since November of 2016, and I plan on keeping it up for the rest of my life 🙂

How did you get into fitness?

The first time I seriously started getting into working out was my senior year in high school. I was overweight and extremely unhappy, so my roommate at the time and I decided to have a competition over the school year to see who could lose more weight. We both started jogging together and dieting (A LOT) and I became fascinated with not only exercise, but nutrition too. I lost about 40 lbs in 3 months, which wasn’t entirely healthy. I also didn’t make any changes that could be applied the rest of my life, so after the competition finished, I slowly started all gaining the weight back that I had lost. After that, it was a constant on and off journey with working out, until I discovered Fight Club at The Omni Club in Athens and decided to incorporate this into my everyday lifestyle.

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

After I was introduced to Fight Club/boxing, I immediately fell in love. Even so, life struggles and bad habits got in the way, so I didn’t immediately make the choice to do it consistently. Eventually though, I hired a personal trainer (who is AWESOME) and has greatly impacted my fitness journey.

The turning point for me was during one of our sessions. I still had terrible eating habits and only worked out about two times per week. I always told myself that I was “too busy” or “too overwhelmed” to make time for meal prepping and working out more often. During one of our sessions, my trainer and I were talking about his life and how he has so much going on. He has his own business, a second job, relationships, family, church responsibilities, etc, and he STILL has time to meal prep and work out very consistently. I remember looking at him like he was Superman and asking, “But how? How do you do all of these things and still have time to work out?” I remember him looking back at me and simply answering, “Priorities. Working out and watching my nutrition is one of my main priorities, so making time for it isn’t optional.” After he said that to me, something in my head just clicked. I knew that I needed to change the order of my priorities to make my health and my happiness something that I made time for on a daily basis. Ever since then, I haven’t stopped!

How has fitness impacted your life?

Fitness and nutrition has pretty much changed every aspect in my life in a positive way. I mold my entire schedule around my workouts now. I’m happier, healthier, more confident, STRONGER… It’s just great, overall. And on top of all of that, the friendships that I’ve made along the way are irreplaceable. It’s so great to have people at the gym cheering you on and vice versa, and it’s the best feeling ever to know that your trainers are with you 100% of the way. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?

There’s so much to say! Start small. Don’t just dive in and expect to immediately get it. Make little changes, one at a time. Set realistic goals, and once you achieve them it’ll give you way more motivation to keep going! Another important thing is to take LOTS of pictures. Do not rely on the scale!!! The scale will lie to you, but the pictures won’t. Also, don’t just work out just to burn calories. Find something you love to do! Get out of your comfort zone. It’ll be super hard to keep it up the rest of your life if you’re exercising but hate it. And last but not least, YOU’VE GOT THIS! Losing weight takes time, and this is something that I still have to remind myself of every day. But as long as you stay consistent and keep trying, you will be able to achieve all of your goals!

Alice Guzman (@aliceinwonderland.923)

Ken “Hulk” Terrell

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

My background is a bit odd for someone in this industry. I graduated from B.C. undergrad in 1997 and cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2000. I practiced law for eight years, played professional poker for three, was a bartender for two, and then began working as a trainer at The Omni Club. Six years later, I am now the General Manager of Athens Health and Fitness.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

I don’t know that I could narrow this down to just one thing. I love moving heavy weight and seeing how strong I can be into my 40’s (my PR for all three major lifts was set at the age of 40). But I have also grown to love running and training for OCR events. I guess I could say that what I love most about fitness is what I am capable of and then pushing to expand and exceed those limits.

How long have you been into fitness?

I was very fit back in law school, but eight years as an attorney and three years playing poker for a living resulted in a lot of weight gain. It was a very sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. I started my weight loss journey in March 2011, began working at a gym in the summer of 2012, and started running OCR events in 2013.

How did you get into fitness?

On March 24, 2011, I was playing with my son and his friends in the backyard at his birthday party and had to sit down. I was struggling to breathe, sweating like a pig, and thought I was going to be sick and he was only five years old. I realized then that if I didn’t make a change, I was going to be watching him from the sideline instead of as an active participant in his life. I was 275ish pounds with a 40 inch waist. I started the next day.

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

I had a two different turning points. The first was the one mentioned above playing with my son in the backyard. The second came when I was asked by a client to run a Spartan race in March 2013. I was instantly hooked. It changed my approach to fitness from just exercising/working ou to training for a specific purpose.

How has fitness impacted your life?

It has become my life. I went from being fat and out of shape to being healthy and fit to being an athlete to being a personal trainer to being the General Manager of the gym.

What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?

 Motivation isn’t going to be what gets results. Motivation is fleeting – it comes and goes. Dedication and determination are what gets results.

Think of it this way – we aren’t always motivated to go to work. We do it anyways because we are dedicated to the job and/or to getting our paychecks to pay bills and support our families.

There will be times you are motivated to workout and that’s wonderful, but there will be times you are not motivated. Do it anyways. Treat it like something important and dedicate yourself to doing what needs to be done.

The results are worth it.

And if you don’t know what you are doing, get help. I worked with a trainer and took Fight Club classes to make my initial transformation. It was well worth the time and money spent.

Instagram: @kenhulkterrell

General Manager of Athens Health and Fitness (@athenshealthfitness)

Simona Naujokaityte

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Hey, my name is Simona Naujokaityte. I was born in Lithuania but had a dream to live overseas and today, I finally live in the United States. One of the reasons why I love America so much is how many opportunities this country could give. A small country like Lithuania doesn’t really have anything good to offer. Being active is the way I live. My family laughs that before I started walking, I was running. I did a lot of things like kayaking, skiing, ice skating, playing hockey, snowboarding, and riding horses just for fun on my free time. For a time, I played tennis. But dancing and running track was the thing for years. But with time, track pushed dancing away and running became the thing that kept me alive. Half a year ago, I tried boxing and now, a day without it feels like punishment!

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

Like you probably already understood, running and boxing is what I love the most. To be specific about it, running hurdles are my babies!!! Also recently, I started lifting weights and this is becoming my new addiction!

How long have you been into fitness?

I’ve been into fitness my entire life. My mom put me on skies ever since I was 2 years old (haha), but personally I started taking it more serious when I started school. I started dancing when I just turned 7 and always did competitions for school. Whenever I turned 10 years old, I started training on track more seriously. I found a personal trainer, got into sports school and started running in competitions for both school or individually. Today, as I’m answering these questions, I’m celebrating my half year into boxing!

How did you get into fitness?

My way into fitness probably was my genetics, haha (My grandma was a runner and represented the country back in her glory days). To be serious, when school started we were told about dance classes after school and I decided to go. It was a very small first step. Having a flexible body lead me to be the first and help show my classmates how to do certain things in PE class. Teachers noticed that and started asking me to run for school in competitions. I realized the potential in myself, felt good doing it and decided to dedicate more of my time for this. That was the way to sports school and my weekends became booked by dancing shows and competitions. Later on, just competitions and it stayed like that till I graduated.

When I moved to Athens, it was supposed to be a temporary spot, so I had a lot of free time and the gym was down the street. Also, my roommate was trying to get in shape and this is how I crossed the gym doors. She had been boxing for a while already and invited me to join her, at least to try. I’m not gonna lie, I was scared to do it. Pretty sure I’m not gonna like it. When class started, I hated that I wanted to leave after 3mins but stayed till the end. As soon as we came back home I looked at my roommate and asked when we going to do it again. The feeling after class is not possible to describe in any words! I was tired but so alive from inside… and we started doing it daily 🙂

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

The turning point for taking it seriously was how it made me feel. I always felt emotionally better after workout. In a little bit I started seeing result and it was another turning point. When these two combined, it’s a life changing moment.

How has fitness impacted your life?

Fitness impacted my life in all possible ways. It was my strength when I got sick; it was my motivation to do anything I have. It was my best medicine whenever I was emotionally down. I would just leave all my concerns, worries and pain in that workout. Also, it made me super close with Grandma. She always understood and supported me no matter what. When I hit a flat period with my results and was getting mad at myself, giving up, she would always build me up and inspire me. From fitness topic, it led us to all the other ones and she became my best friend, my mom, my queen, my ride or die, my most important person. And it was super hard on me when I left the country and moved to States all alone. Fitness connected me with my roommate and now we are like one! I honestly consider my roommate like a part of me. I never had a sister but this friendship let me understand how it feels to have one 🙂 We might not have the same blood but other than that, it’s not a joke we have same feelings, same thoughts (even bruises at the same spot) at the same time! Also, fitness allowed me to have a family again. Strength and Strike fitness crowd became not just people who work out together, but the family! I got blessed with all of it just because of fitness.

What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?

At first it, will be hard. Seems to be not worth all that pain and struggle but keep pushing. Don’t give up, believe in yourself and don’t quit. Quitting lasts forever and you don’t want that. Push thru that hard period and then you will see how any hard period will be pushed for you. You will see how life is changing to a better one and that word fitness is not just a physical activity, its way more than that. It’s the best of what could happen to you!

Instagram: @samoa.cookie

 

Sarah V.

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

Married, with a dog named Guinness and cat named Hobbes. Currently I have a few jobs.  My main one is being a Nutrition Manager for Oglethorpe Elementary School.  I also own the GO Kickball League here in Athens that plays in the fall and spring.  I still coach gymnastics part time at Oconee Gymnastics and Cheer.

I am a UGA graduate with a degree in Dietetics and Consumer Foods.  I was also a competitive cheerleader for UGA, serving as team captain for 2 years. During my time in college and some afterwards, I was in the United States Air Force Guard for 6 years where I was in computer operations. I served a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all aspects of fitness. I can probably say my least favorite is cardio.  I tend to choose activities that cardio is mixed in, so I don’t notice it as much.

How did you get into fitness?

I cheated and started young.  My mom had me in gymnastics at the age of 5 and it continued from there.  I played basketball and took on some track and field events in high school.  In college, I was competitive cheerleader and of course the military “made me” do physical training.  Currently, I still do as much as I can with my students in gymnastics, even if it’s only conditioning and basic tumbling. I have also found boxing and weight lifting at Strength and Strikes, which is my thing now.

How has fitness impacted your life?

It’s my escape from all of life’s stresses.  It helps me clear my head and release any pent up emotions of everyday life. I guess it’s my meditation.

What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?

I have found that just signing up for a gym membership doesn’t necessarily commit you to exercising, including me. Finding a group activity is usually a good way to go regardless if you are starting out or not.  I find that an instructor and a group of people to be the best motivator for me. You also get to meet great people with similar interests along the way.  Try different things, and eventually you will find one that gets you hooked.  For me it’s a boxing class, for my mom it’s currently a line dancing group.

Instagram: (@vondensa)

Nutrition Manager for Oglethorpe Elementary School, owner of GO Kickball League in Athens, GA, and part time gymnastics coach at Oconee Gymnastics and Cheer.