After several years of great experiences in the gym, and a new-found passion for training and lifting, Laura got certified through the ISSA to become a trainer herself, to motivate and guide others as her mentors had done for her. We sat down with Laura to find out how she got where she is today and what she loves about the ISSA.
A Personal Journey
“My fitness journey began on January 1st, 2010, with a simple New Year’s resolution: I vowed to myself that this would be the last year that I put “lose weight and get in shape” on my list of resolutions. I originally set out to lose 20lbs, but during my weight-loss journey I fell back in love with fitness and the way it made me feel.”
Finding A Mentor
In 2012 I decided that I wanted to become a certified personal trainer in the hope of improving and changing the lives of others just like my first personal trainer did for me. I worked at a local gym, American Fitness, and this is where I met my original powerlifting coach and mentor, Gary Pendergrass. Gary showed me how empowering strength training, bodybuilding, and powerlifting could be. He did more than just teach me how to lift; he also taught me that if I set my mind to something, I could achieve it. Through this experience, I developed a love for the sport of powerlifting. The techniques and the knowledge that I learned while working with Gary serve as the foundation for my personal training programs.
Losing a Mentor
Tragically, I lost my powerlifting coach in 2014. I was not only heartbroken; I was lost. Gary was not just a coach; he was so much more than that. He had taught me everything I knew about strength training, powerlifting, and bodybuilding.Two years after his death, I decided that I was finally ready to find myself a new coach and mentor. This was challenging, and I found myself constantly comparing each coach and their methods to Gary, but I knew if I took my time I would find the perfect coach for me. After months of searching, I decided to reach out to Josh Bryant with Jailhouse Strong. Josh’s training methods, knowledge, and beliefs are very similar to Gary’s. Josh filled the void that was left in my life after Gary’s death, and he has constantly pushed me to be the best athlete and trainer that I can be.
I believe that the better I become the more I have to offer the world. I like the phrase “be the change you wish to see.” I wanted to change lives – like mine had been changed by fitness and by a certified personal trainer – make an impact, and make the world a better place. I wanted others to learn the things that I had learned. There are several reasons why I became a personal fitness trainer. But, the original thought to pursue a personal training certification was simply to conquer a fear and to help others with this as well. We all know fear can be a huge motivator, and the way I deal with fear is through education.”
By learning all that I can about a subject or a fear of mine I solve that problem and “conquer” that fear. Being overweight and out of shape in the past and struggling through dieting and weight loss is something I didn’t want to have to go through again. My biggest fear was regressing and waking up right where I started my fitness journey.
I had an extraordinary personal trainer that helped me through my weight loss plateaus and the ups and downs associated with fitness and chasing goals. She was an amazing role model and a source of constant support for me throughout my journey. So, of course, I wanted to emulate her because I knew how much of a positive impact she had had on my life and I wanted to be able to do the same for others.
I was on a completely different path in life up until this. I graduated with an MBA and had big dreams of pursuing a career in international business, following in my dad’s footsteps. But, here I am five years after my first fitness certification, owning and running a private, personal training studio, #strong.
I chose ISSA because of the case studies that helped with program design and because the course authors had actually come from the trenches. The authors and advisors with ISSA are some of the most prestigious and respected names in the industry. There is good, evidence-based practical information to support the theories based on years of scientific research and the hundreds of professional publications and college textbooks that they have authored to show for it. The name warrants respect in the industry and the ISSA has a very well-known and outstanding reputation.
I have always been self-motivated. I’m obsessive and intense by nature and extremely focused and goal driven. But, I can’t deny the influential mentors and coaches I have had to guide and support me along my journey nor the family and friends that have shown their unrelenting support to me and my goals. I think I motivate others by teaching and pushing them to be strong. I help others push past their fears and eliminate roadblocks that have kept them from reaching their goals. People come to me completely hopeless and discouraged and I offer them hope, simply because I have personally been through it myself. I believe in them all the way through the process –from start to finish – and sometimes that is all it takes: someone else to believe in you when you can’t believe in yourself. I provide them with a plan to follow, knowledge, the tools to use this knowledge to transform their mindset and their lives and most importantly the support as they form new habits and create a new life.