How I’ve become the person I am now is a combination of many things, most notably: my parents, natural athletic talent, passion for helping people, and an overachieving nature. I’m not more unique or talented than anyone else. I’m authentic. My path to finding nutrition isn’t a genetic blessing but one of genuine passion, curiosity, and understanding.
My parents set the bar pretty high for me, running their own business while still taking college classes at the age of 22. It was my mom’s dream to run a gymnastics school. She and my father started from nothing and built a business and brand that will live far beyond their years. Both were gymnastics coaches, coaching at the Olympic level in 1988 and 1992. So, I’ve always been surrounded by athletes as we often had training gymnasts from around the county stay at our house. This is where I began to learn the importance of eating well.
Coming from a talented gymnastic coaching family, you’d expect me to be the gymnast right? However, imagine being a foot taller than everyone else in your age group when you are 8. Now I know I am only 5’3” but I was pretty much this tall by 2nd grade. So at the time, I felt too awkward and gangly to do gymnastics and decided to look for other options. From there I decided to pursue diving…and softball…and track and field…and well, everything else but gymnastics. This is where my love of sports started.My childhood consisted of playing sports, being a tomboy, and occasionally beating up the neighbor boy with my still best-friend Courtney. I’ve apologized to Mike Ross since then.
For high school my parents decided to send me to private school so I could pursue multiple sports and try new things. My overachieving nature really took form here.I participated in 7 sports including: softball, volleyball, track, cross country, diving, basketball, and…well let me preface my 7th sport with a story first. After my sophomore year of high school I found out that I was on track for breaking the record at my high school for the most varsity letters by a male or female athlete. If I stayed on track for the next 2 years, I would graduate with 14 varsity letters and break the existing record of 13 set in 1979. Everything was going according to plan, my Junior year I did Diving, Volleyball, Basketball, Softball and Track and Field. My senior year was going to be the same. Well unfortunately, the fall of my senior year, we got a new volleyball coach and she didn’t agree with my missing practices for diving meets on Wednesday so no varsity volleyball for me. Luckily, that same fall, my school decided to add a new varsity sport to our school…bowling. Yep, bowling. There were tryouts for the team, I made it and thus broke the record at my high school.
Post high school, I knew I wanted to attend a larger school so with a full academic scholarship I attended The University of Florida and walked onto their softball team becoming a division I athlete. With workouts and practice totaling 3-4 hours/day for 4 years, I was at the peak of my physique. Graduating college summa cum laude and inspired by Jerry McGuire, my goal was to attend law school and become a sports agent. Isn’t it funny how life doesn’t always go as planned?
In my year of applying post-graduation and moving back to Orlando, I was hired as a fitness model with Under Armour. Fitness modeling and a little swimsuit modeling gave me the chance to be on a travel show in Miami for a week. From that show, I was offered a host position for a new travel show and that is when my life changed. I decided to give up going to law school, pack my bags and move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television. I worked for this great company, Bennett Group, and it’s here that I learned the inner workings of television and production. I traveled with my shows for 3 years visiting some of the most incredible places in the world.
I found my way into sports television by chance and started freelancing for ESPN back in 2006. I loved working in sports and ultimately decided that sports was all I wanted to do. ESPN gave me the opportunity to work on Thursday night football 2 years ago and what an opportunity! This was, however, a new venture to me; I was newer to football especially live reporting on football. Preparing for games, you really have to be knowledgeable on all topics surrounding the teams and really prepared for anything that could happen on the field. So combine that with being on the road, an inconsistent schedule, and working with guys that don’t care as much about what they eat, I encountered some new frustrations. I focused all my free time on studying up on the teams that week. Soon, I found myself prioritizing my study time over workouts. It used to be easier to get back into shape (I turned 30 last year) and now that I’m not in my college prime, working out is tougher. Life gets in the way and workouts are not as easy.With a wedding just around the corner and wanting to feel and look my best, wellness has taken on a new meaning. Making health and wellness a priority will never be easier as we age. It’s our decisions to plan it out and following through that make all the difference. I don’t have it all figured out but through my own experience I know what works best for me.
So why did I decided to become a Brand Ambassador for GNC? I had my first ever executive physical last year. This is where my spark for a greater understanding for nutrition came into play. I used to think that supplementing with vitamins was just plain confusing. I now know and have felt a difference for myself. I’ve been consistent with my regimen for six months and can’t believe the difference I see and feel. So now, I want to spread the message. My overall vision for my ambassador role is to help people. I want to make a difference and leave a positive message behind to help others achieve their vision for life. I’m here to share with you successes, failures, challenges, and be real about it. I hope you enjoy.