Guest post by Shannon Wardrop
I’m a fairly new face around Yvette Salva Fitness so I thought I would share how I became a part of such a great community. My weight has been a battle since I was in 5th or 6th grade. I remember being 166lbs and probably around 4’11 the first time my mother and I went join Weight Watchers. That was my heaviest “number”. I was teased in school, I remember being referred to as a Mack truck, and Shamu was the other favorite “nickname”. I had some success with Weight Watchers but I don’t remember if I ever got down to whatever my goal weight was. I did lose the rest in high school though by hardly eating for 3 months. I got down to probably 115-120lbs. NOT the smart way to do it! It totally screwed up my digestive system.
When I started eating more meals again, it didn’t matter what I ate, it went right through me. It was obviously not a healthy thing to do. I managed to maintain that “number” for a long time. I was ok with my “number” but I still wasn’t ok with how my body looked. I was in my early twenties now and I was very self conscious. I hated my legs, never wore shorts. I really wanted to change that but didn’t know how so I decided to join the North Brunswick WOW. That membership came with a free session with a trainer that made me realize I needed more sessions with a trainer because I had no clue what I was doing! Boy did I learn a lot ! My body was finally changing, thank god! That trainer taught me so much about weight training and healthy eating habits. He was amazing, he taught me that lifting heavy weights will not make me “bulky” it gave me muscles and sculpted my body to show off what I was genetically given.
He taught me to eat the right foods to benefit the exercise I was doing. I was hooked. I actually had shoulders, and my favorite, teardrops. That’s what he called the part of your quadriceps muscle right above your knee so you can see there is a muscle there! I felt great, my confidence level went up, I loved weight training and I was hooked on kickboxing also! I was so healthy! Almost… In my early twenties I also became a registered dental assistant( just means I can do more than just suction).
This meant I had to take continuing education classes to maintain my license. There are all kinds of continuing Ed classes offered, one of which was on phytonutrients and super foods. I took this seminar and learned so much about the food we eat and what it does to our bodies! I was intrigued. This was the last piece to the puzzle. I stopped eating junk food and fast food and started eating clean. Packing my own lunches and being prepared. Again my body changed! I was in the best shape of my life so far. I got lean. I could actually see abs! I stayed at WOW for a few years and since then I’ve belonged to several others. I stayed pretty consistent with the gym but you know, you start seeing someone you go out to nice dinners, you start drinking too much wine, and hello! I’m gaining weight and I don’t like it! Where did the discipline go!? I started to go up a few down a few here. You know, you don’t let yourself get too far away from that “number”. I was ok with that then. Here’s when reality hit.
My fiancé and I moved to Monmouth junction in 2009 and I stopped going to L.A. Fitness in North Brunswick. I didn’t join another gym. Big mistake. We started doing stuff to the house, we ate whatever, and I wasn’t working out. Boy did it all add up. Before you know it I’m making excuses why I can’t go out because my clothes don’t fit. Now I’m depressed and when I got on the scale I almost threw up. I was 148lbs. How did this happen!!?? I was miserable living in sweats, even my scrubs were snug! This was not happening again! Thank God for my fiancé, Vincent! I was complaining I needed space to workout, but I didn’t want to join a gym at that point so he turned our spare room into my gym. Love,love,love him. I pulled out the p90x and the dumbbells, I bought Shaun T’s Insanity, we got a treadmill, and I started working out at home.
We cleaned up our diet and I lost about 20 lbs. I was ok with my “number” once again, but my body wasn’t looking like it used to. I knew I should have been doing more but my discipline was lacking. I was realizing that as I was getting older, maintaining was getting more challenging. Talk about timing…I go to get my hair done and my stylist tells me how she’s training for a tough mudder! I asked her what kind of training she was doing and she told me about Yvette. As she is telling me about Yvette and describing her to me I asked her if Yvette taught kickboxing at L.A Fitness. When she said yes I knew exactly who she was and I was so excited! I knew this is what I needed. I called Yvette and made an appt. After that first session I knew Yvette was an awesome trainer and I was hooked again! I would go once a week to Yvette and I would work out at home the rest.
My body started to change again, thank God, but it was harder this time. As we age our metabolism changes and our bodies respond differently making it more challenging to maintain. This was a kick in the butt for me to realize I needed to be consistent. Yvette drove that home and I listened. Consistency is key! Talking to Yvette during my sessions, telling her about my “exercise” past experience, she knew I loved fitness and saw I loved training and planted the seed to become a trainer. I am still a dental assistant, and I do love it. I love dental assisting because in the office I work in its about doing great dentistry and the relationships we form with our patients. Very few people like going to the dentist. When someone comes in and they are in bad shape they are scared. Sometimes crying. It’s my mission to get them through that appointment and leave feeling better physically and mentally. When a patient puts they’re trust and faith in me and the dentist I work with, it’s our goal to change how they perceive dentistry and to look forward to coming back to our office. Our oral health is very important. It is the pathway to the rest of our body and if we don’t take care of it properly, it can be a precursor to many other illnesses. So we try very hard to make it a good experience so patients like coming. My favorite part of being a dental assistant is changing someone’s life.
A persons smile is a thing of beauty to me, and I don’t say that because of the teeth. It’s because of the confidence. Many of us take it for granted, but when you can’t smile freely because your so self-conscious of how your teeth look, that breaks my heart. So when a patient comes to us in bad shape and is scared and doesn’t know what to expect, and we change all that by doing great dentistry and giving them a smile they are proud to show off, it literally brings tears to my eyes. It’s life changing for them. They leave crying happy tears because they can’t believe they can smile naturally now without thinking about it and without being embarrassed. That is truly my favorite part of being a dental assistant. But…it’s always been in the back of my mind the idea of being a personal trainer ever since my own experience in my early twenties with my first trainer. That trainer made such an impact on me because of the way my body literally transformed from “skinny fat” to muscular and fit. He was a genius in my mind.
Becoming a personal trainer was a dream for me. I didn’t think I could be good enough to do that for someone. Well, when I told Yvette that’s what was holding me back she said I was crazy! She kept telling me I would be such a good trainer because of my passion for it.She kept telling me its not about being good enough to change someone’s body, it’s about my passion for exercise and fitness. She told me they will transform because your guiding them. My first trainer didn’t change my body, I did! I did the work he just guided and pushed me to do it. She made me realize training someone is a little like being an assistant. People who hire personal trainers want to change, just don’t know how, or need a little push to get through it. She saw how much I loved training, and she kept pushing me to do it. I didn’t believe in myself, but she saw it. She told me its about making a positive influence in someone’s life and being there to motivate them, to make them like working out, to make them realize they have to make the time to take care of themselves so they can live their best life everyday! She said the training is a bonus! So after Yvette’s training and motivation I made up my mind last December. I got my study kit and read the first chapter. I freaked out! Oh my god! How am I going to study all of this content in 6 months and pass this exam! It was ridiculous! I called ACE and spoke to a member of the support team and she calmed me down. She said everybody has this reaction. Told me to calm down its just an overview to refer back to. So I took her advice. I started studying and realized I loved what I was learning about. That definitely makes it easier to retain. Yvette told me its not an easy exam to pass. You have to study a lot! Well, that’s all I did for 6 months.
When I bought my study kit I told myself I was taking this exam in June and that’s it. No procrastinating. I finally decided to do it so just get it done! So from January to June all I did was work and study. Thank you Vincent. You are amazing and your stuck with me! We didn’t go out, no movies, no dinners. I would come home from work and study. Vincent would make me healthy dinners and “brain food” as he liked to call it. We went on vacation to Puerto Rico and I studied every day while he went out exploring on his own. Well boy was it worth it! I took my exam June 6, 2013 and when I clicked the “submit” button my heart was in my throat! It said congratulations! You passed! What an adrenalin rush! I became an ACE Certified personal trainer! A dream come true for me. Talk about finding your passion. They say your passion is where your mind goes on its own. So true! I love training clients! I’m constantly reading magazines and looking online for new material and I love every minute of it. I shouldn’t admit to this, but even at work I’m thinking of new workouts in my head.
I can’t thank Yvette enough for pushing me to do this because I truly do love it and if it not for her it never would’ve happen. I can’t thank Cris enough for letting me observe her with her clients, and for her motivation and support. LaVerne I can’t tell you how happy I am that we went through this together, your an amazing woman! You all inspire me! So, what a difference a year makes,huh? This time last year I was doing my same routine. I was ok with that, but just ok. I was missing something. Today I’m training women and I love it! I love being a part of such a great community of women! Everyone in this community is about helping each other and supporting each other! We need more of that in this world. I love training! It’s so much fun! I want to help women reach their own personal fitness goals. I love when someone starts a fitness program and sees how they can transform their own body. It’s all about the confidence it gives them, and feeling better about yourself and what you are truly capable of. How you carry yourself changes and your mindset changes. When we feel this good about ourselves it spills over into other aspects of our lives and we want other people to feel this good. It’s such a great feeling. Pay it forward. I know how it feels to not want to leave the house because your ashamed of how you look and feel, it’s awful. I don’t want anyone to feel that way. I believe that’s part of what Yvette Salva Fitness is about.
Paying it forward. Inspiring women to live their best life everyday. Be kind to yourself and be kind to each other. This world needs so much more of that. I can’t express how truly blessed I feel to be a part of such a great team! Yvette, Cris and LaVerne thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me part of this team! It really is a gift. I feel as if I stepped into a pot of gold when I became a part of Yvettesalvafitness. I have so much to be thankful for this year! Thank all of you!