Hi! My name is Nika! To get a better understanding of my fitness journey, I think it's important to go way back to my childhood.
I became self-conscious of my weight when I was five years old. The entire kindergarten class went to the nurses office to get their weight, and my weight was almost double that of my classmates. It's important to note that I was a tall kid - like 5 feet in kindergarten tall, and of course that resulted in me weighing more than they did. However, at the time I didn't understand that.
Middle school came around and I wanted to fit in. I knew I couldn't change my height, but I could lose some weight. At age 11, I developed an eating disorder. I'll spare you from all the gore-y details, but it was something I struggled with for 9 years.
In college, I stopped playing sports, and wanted to find an avenue of exercise that I enjoyed. I tried to take up running, but that didn't stick. I went to group exercise classes, and while they were more enjoyable than running, I still felt pretty lost. That's when I asked my brother to teach me how to lift.
Over the next week, he showed me exercises, taught me how to use the equipment, and wrote me a very basic training program. I felt amazing after the first week, and decided to keep going. As with all previous fitness endeavors, I thought this was just a phase I was going through and I'd stop after a couple of weeks.
But I never stopped. Lifting ignited a fire in me that I never knew I had. I went to the gym 4-5 times per week, and noticed that both my strength and my body were changing. Immersing myself in research, I began programming my own workouts backed by scientifically supported data. The more research I did, the clearer it became that I needed to eat more to fuel the muscular growth that I wanted.
I tried to, but my eating disorder was in full-swing. After several failed attempts, I knew that this disorder was much more serious than I previous thought, and I sought professional psychological help.
Therapy was hard. It was a fight between my inner voices. But with a LOT of work, I overcame it. My relationship with food slowly improved, and as it did, my performance in the gym improved, too.
After two years of lifting, I pursued my personal training certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). I passed my exam and began training clients in person. It was the best job I had ever had. Working with individuals to improve their overall wellness was extremely rewarding, and I decided to take my training services online.
At the time, I was still in college. I assumed that online training would be a small source of income, and that being a personal trainer would just be a side hussle until I graduated.
I was wrong. My online training grew, so much so that it became my full time job by the time I graduated college. I continued to do research to stay up-to-date on the science behind training, and pursed specialty certifications to be a better coach. I hold specialty certifications in fitness nutrition, sports conditioning, and functional fitness, all through ACE. I have worked with over 2,000 individuals in the last 5 years, helping them reach their performance and physique based goals.