Hi, I’m Shauna!
I’m an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Health Coach & Personal Trainer (ACE-CHC, ACE-CPT).
As part of those requirements, I am certified in infant, pediatric, and adult CPR/AED. Last and maybe more unexpectedly, I am also a Certified Management Accountant. Although wellness and movement are my passion, I am a sucker for good data and feel like I’m never done studying something.
My Health Journey
Have I always been health-oriented and fitness-minded? Uh, no. Definitely not. As a child, I routinely tripped over my own two feet. As an adolescent, I drove to school drinking Dr. Pepper with a cigarette in my hand to spend my first period “study hall” in the student lounge with another soda and a greasy cafeteria breakfast sandwich. I’d then leave school and grab fast food as a snack on the way to work where I’d drink more sugar-laden beverages while I munched on buttery pretzels. To say I’m a different person is not an understatement, but it didn’t happen overnight either. And it certainly wasn’t linear. It has happened slowly over the course of the last 15 to 20 years.
I was never overweight, but was also never skinny or athletic. I ate food that carried little nutritional value and definitely did not exercise aside from riding bikes with friends when younger, eventually ditching the bikes and going by foot when a bit older until we got 4 wheels under us. I was always self-conscious about my body and weight, often manipulating my eating for periods of time to get temporary results. Basically, I’d restrict until I could see that my body would recognize the change. Then eventually I’d stop, gain weight, and the cycle would continue. I never lost a lot of weight nor did I gain a lot – this was maybe a 5-to-10-pound yo-yo, so it probably never seemed like an issue.
Things hit a turning point in college. I definitely gained the classic “freshman 15” and felt a loss of control in general with all the change that my first year there had brought about. That summer between my first and second year, I lost a pretty significant amount of weight. I had spent the summer eating typically one meal a day while being a hostess/server, often working double shifts. I went back to school in the fall and it was then I realized how much weight I’d lost by my friends’ reactions… which weren’t great. It was so confusing. I looked the way I thought I should, but I was miserable. You know what I wasn’t thinking about? School. What I wanted to do with my life. The rest of that year didn’t play out any better and I decided not to go back for a third year.
When I got back home, I got a full-time job at an accounting firm and started to find a routine. I began dating and living with someone that provided a different sort of stability than I’d previously had, and that’s really when my true health journey began. I knew what I had been doing all the years up to that point wasn’t healthy. So, I took things slowly. I started by drinking water. Just, in general. I honestly don’t know how I grew up without drinking water, but I literally almost never did. It’s truly wild. In that time, I also started educating myself about things like whole grains vs. refined grains and started making small switches like wheat bread and whole grain pasta for white. I swear, learning to read food labels can feel like learning a foreign language.
In my mid-20s, I got more focused on my eating habits and decided to go fully meatless (not something I advocate to others – just a personal choice). Through going vegetarian, I ended up trying so many foods I hadn’t tried in YEARS prior and discovered all sorts of vegetables I hadn’t realized I actually like; I learned to cook easy meals from scratch to eliminate eating out so much; it really opened me up to trying so many things, which was not something I had expected. The more small, healthy changes I implemented over time, the better I kept feeling.
Eventually, in my late 20s, I got the itch to add fitness into my lifestyle. I tried all sorts of workouts, but found it hard to stick with anything long enough to feel or see a difference. Minutes of each workout felt like hours. I hated it. I continued doing that for a few years where I’d complete various workouts off-and-on without any real regularity or enjoyment. It wasn’t until I hit 30 that everything changed.
At this point I was living 6 hours from home going through a pretty difficult time. A friend of mine was very into working out and was constantly trying to get me to join her. Eventually I relented and joined a group of gals from work to go to my first yoga class. And you know what? I didn’t hate it!
Yoga was it for me. It was the gateway into what would ultimately lead me to find myself, and the passion that I would eventually dedicate my life to (it’s this, in case that’s not clear). Yoga was something where I could go after a really long, stressful day at work and it still energized me, but also helped me sleep. I was able to appreciate the changes I could feel in my body, and the clarity and sense of accomplishment I had when it was over. And most importantly, it allowed me to slow down, love myself, and learn that I’m capable of things I never would have imagined when I really, really needed it.
I got the bug for resistance training, moving on to Jillian Michaels. Around this time I decided to move back to my home city, which was much harder on me than I had anticipated when it came to fitness. I didn’t have my yoga studio anymore. I didn’t have my classes or my workout partner to push me. It took a while to find a rhythm, but I eventually discovered a trainer online who’s program really resonated with me, which was largely because the program was designed with a workout each day of the week. I needed that sort of discipline and direction. I started that in early 2016 and by late 2019, I knew that empowering others to advocate for their own health and wellness was going to be my life’s mission. I was certified as a personal trainer in 2020, which was also a prerequisite to NCAA-accredited certification as a health coach in 2021.
Unfortunately, in early 2020 I had some major muscle imbalances come to a head and caused injury through the workouts I was doing. It’s hard to know when your form isn’t correct if you don’t know how to feel the difference, and I didn’t. Even after all the working out I’d done. Through working diligently with a chiropractor, putting my knowledge gained through the personal trainer certification to use, and much advice from a good friend who is a physical therapist, I have been on the road to recovery since late 2020.
I still love heavier resistance, don’t get me wrong, but I have realized – first hand – the importance for a well-rounded physical regimen that includes things like functional movement and flexibility because those are the areas that are really going to prevent injury and help us as we age. As I’ve worked through my own imbalances and rebuilt my own foundation, I’ve been developing creative ways to use movement to simultaneously stretch and strengthen. If that’s your jam, definitely check out of some of the workouts I’ve posted on Instagram or Facebook.
My life has been permanently changed through the empowerment I feel by taking control of my health and finding what works for me, and I want to spend the rest of my life helping others do the same.