I’m 29 and raised in Buffalo! I recently got married on 11/09/2019 to the best guy ever, Michael Forgione! My two parents are still together and live locally. I have an older sister and younger brother. Both are married. And my sister gave me the sweetest niece ever!
What is your history with the health & wellness/fitness world? How has your trajectory brought you to where you are today?
I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from SUNY Geneseo. During undergrad I had the opportunity to play collegiate softball as one of the starting catchers. I took a year off from school after I graduated, and then decided to go back for my Masters in Occupational Therapy at the University at Buffalo. I initially worked with children with various developmental and behavioral disabilities. I now work for the Buffalo VA Hospital with veterans in an outpatient setting.
For those who don’t know what an Occupational Therapist is, we help people to function to the best of their abilities and live as independently as possible. My knowledge base in the human body and how it functions has helped lead me into my second life as a fitness instructor. I have been active and interested in exercise, stemming from my years of sports and dance. SWEAT has given me the opportunity to share all of my experiences with others! With the guidance of our fierce leader MJ, I have been able to share my strengths and work on my weaknesses as I begin my life in the fitness world.
What is your primary role at SWEAT? How long have you been with the studio? Where else do you instruct, if anywhere? What is your major area of expertise?
I began teaching at SWEAT in April 2019. This is the only gym I have instructed at. I have experience coaching girls softball, where I have been responsible for building team workouts and in/off-season training/nutrition goals. At SWEAT, I focus first and foremost on twerking! I love the energy it brings and how it allows everyone to get comfortable with their bad self. I incorporate twerk into a HIIT-style class. I also teach a spin and core class. Both classes are fast-paced and high energy. I prefer a workout style that requires non-stop movement during the 30-45 minutes that you dedicate to exercise. (Gives you less time to think about why you signed up in the first place.)
Do you have a particular ethos about health & wellness/fitness that you wish to share or that would be inspirational to someone coming into the world with no prior knowledge or experience?
I have done a lot of research on nutrition and how it impacts behaviors and overall health. After my undergrad, I worked in a research lab which focused on children suffering from obesity. With my own research, I have decided to live a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. My advice to newcomers would be to listen to your body. The more connected we get to ourselves, the more we are able to recognize areas we can change or want to change. My journey to change what I put into my body came from years of trying different things. So it’s never an overnight fix, but a process. It’s your journey and at SWEAT we do a really good job at guiding you towards your best life!
Do you have any tips/tricks you can share on how to succeed in reaching personal health & wellness/fitness goals? What are some best practices you’ve developed or witnessed in your time as an instructor? Some of the biggest or most common mistakes one makes when embarking on this journey?
One tip I have is to make a workout schedule. I still keep a handwritten planner, and when I write something in there I can’t cross it out. So when I write a workout down, I am way more likely to go. Working out shouldn’t be a negative part of your day. Choose something you look forward to or feel good about doing.
Nutrition is way less complicated than it may seem. Just eat real food! Plants are a great source of nutrients. And the more you eat, the better you feel! Stop looking at the scale and start looking at what you are putting on your plate. Did it grow or did it come in a package? Simple. Choose whole foods!
Common mistakes: following trends. I have followed some very restrictive diets to try to lose weight. A.) I never needed to lose weight and B.) my health suffered for it. So don’t always believe all the hype. Also, your body is different than anyone else’s. It’s why we as humans are unique! So what might be good for one person might not be good for you. Just focus on yourself and what works well for you.
Do you have any other words of wisdom or advice you can share with people considering a new fitness journey in 2020?
In 2020, I hope that people realize that achieving health and wellness is important. I see way too many people that suffer from chronic diseases that could easily be reversed by lifestyle changes. It does not have to be hard and it does not have to be a chore. Fitness can be fun and there are so many avenues out there now to get your body moving. Eating can also be fun! When we stop worrying so much about how many carbs we can eat, we can actually enjoy ourselves and still get the nutrients our body needs. Fitness and nutrition are fuel for our body! Start making those lifestyle changes this year, so the world can enjoy how truly amazing you are. 🙂