abbeyxgriffith-1538356716541Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

I’m an NASM Certified Personal Trainer pursuing an Industrial Engineering degree at University of Miami in Florida. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio but have learned that snow is not my jam. I’m blessed to have a family that stays supportive regardless of how far I am from home, and I love them more than anything! When I finish my degree this June, I’m going to move to Atlanta, Georgia to open a gym focused on wholistic wellness, balance, and self-love. Hope to see you there 🙂

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy most?

For my own fitness journey, I love reaching new goals. Getting a higher box jump, sprinting faster than I realized I could, or trying fitness events and races are all so exciting. For personal training, I love when my clients leave the workout proud of themselves. Helping others realize that fitness doesn’t need to be more cut throat than they want it to be, and that there are an infinite number of mini goals to be proud of every time you work out makes the job 110% worth it.

How long have you been into fitness?

I was obese as a child, and my doctor stressed the importance of fitness and changing my eating habits. I got into working out with a personal trainer around 5th grade to lose weight that was damaging to my health, and by taking my time with working out I learned to love coming to the gym. Slowly but surely, I increased my workout intensity and variety, and had even more fun! I’ve tried boxing, CrossFit, volleyball, soccer, track, basketball, skating, dance, cycling, and lacrosse, but really stuck with general weight training mixed in with cardio, boxing, and spinning.

How did I get into fitness?

I give full credit to my amazing personal trainers! This is why I see my role as a personal trainer as such an exciting and important position in peoples’ lives, because I know how much of an impact my first trainer had on me. If I had had a terrible first trainer, my workouts would’ve stopped right there, and I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now in terms of fitness, pursuing my passion, or knowing what I want to do with the rest of my life. I was able to endure some not-so-fun trainers because I knew how empowering the right trainer can be.

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

This is the toughest question for me. In high school, the healthy relationship I had with fitness and nutrition turned sour, and I spiraled myself into a pretty serious eating disorder. I was obsessed with coming back to my new school looking lean and being the “hot” new girl, and really pushed myself to ALWAYS get in the workout and NEVER go over my calorie goal. After high school, it got worse. The guilt of enjoying life, skipping a workout regardless of how logical the reason, and giving myself permission to eat food I genuinely enjoyed was too much, and I developed bulimia. I couldn’t see that I was losing weight, couldn’t give myself credit for workouts I did complete because they were never good enough, and couldn’t focus on spending time with friends and family because of my desire to only eat the few foods I deemed “good”.

Flash forward about a year, and I got caught trying to make myself sick on spring break. I was sent to therapy, and felt like everything I believed to be “good”, “noble”, and “respected” in fitness was challenged. I was mad, embarrassed, and depressed that I had to change the system that was working for me. After a few months of therapy, I realized that I could enjoy fitness and take it seriously WHILE taking care of my mental health. I have established a balanced lifestyle where I can eat what I want, when I want, while remaining mindful of nutritious and delicious foods. I can work out as hard as I want for as long as I want, while focusing on what my body is telling me is too much. I am on the same team as my body instead of fighting against it.

How has fitness impacted my life?

Fitness IS my life! I love my workouts, I love training, I love supporting people on my fitness Instagram page, and I cannot wait to open my gym after this semester of college! I have gained a lot of knowledge from my experiences inside and outside of the gym that I know can improve the lives of others who struggle with finding that balance, and I genuinely want to share them with the world. If sharing my experiences could save one person from looking at his or her body in disgust, discrediting the work he or she does in the gym, or hurting his or her body in an attempt to change it, I will have succeeded.

What words of advice would I like to give to a beginner?

The fitness industry currently makes money off of convincing people that they aren’t pretty, thin, toned, or muscular enough and that achieving these goals will bring happiness. This happiness comes from inside, and the only way you will ever be satisfied with how you look is by changing what goes on in your head. Trust me that I know from experience that when you lose those five pounds there will be another adjustment that comes up, another body part that bothers you or a different piece of clothing that you just need to fit into. My advice is to focus on finding that love for yourself and your abilities regardless of the physical changes. Use fitness as a mental escape from the day, soak up the endorphins after a good workout, and use the time to develop a positive relationship between your body, food, and soul. You ARE enough!

Instagram: @abbeygrif_fit


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