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I was a pudgy pre-teen with a love for dance and an obsession with music. Like most girls, I took a little tap, jazz, and ballet. My parents let us experiment. Lacking the grace of my younger sister Jenelle, who excelled at ballet and pointe, I gravitated toward jazz. I really had no clue, wasn’t that good, but man I loved to dance, and I thought the recital costumes were way better.
I guess you could say I grew up on aerobics. As a kid in the late 70’s, my mom was one of the very first Jazzercise instructors in the state of Michigan. My sister Jenelle (3 years my junior) and I would accompany my mom to each of her classes, most of which were in the evening in local church basements or elementary school gymnasiums. The two of us would take turns dancing to the routines in our shiny spandex and changing her records between songs. I remember my mom watching the VHS tapes (although I think they were actually Beta tapes back then) to learn the Jazzercise routine for each song. She loved teaching the classes, and we watched her become strong, lean, and more confident. Growing up, I always remember my mom being on a diet. In fact, I remember every woman in my extended family always being on the latest fad diet. It wasn’t until my mom starting teaching Jazzercise that we saw her become very fit and just enjoy eating healthily. It was a great experience and one that certainly inspired me. Little did I know how profound the impact would be on every aspect of my entire life.
I began teaching aerobics when I was 18 years old. I was still a student, and I had a part-time job at a J.R.’s music store, but it seemed like a great way to stay in shape and hey, I’m not gonna lie...I loved being on stage! There were no courses to teach you how to teach and really the only formats were low or high impact aerobics. There was no spinning, kickboxing, sculpting, Pilates, or funk—at least not that were in popular demand. It was just “impact,” and unless you were a Jazzercise instructor, you made up your own routines, put together your own music, and just kinda went for it.
So that’s what I did. I mixed a tape of my favorite songs and practiced doing little routines to each one. I invited my girlfriends Liz, Katie, Nancy, Meg, Dawn, and Jenni over to the basement to “workout” with me. Those were my practice sessions. They were my guinea pigs. I stood in front, and they just followed along. There was no cueing, and I kind of doubt I was ever on the “beat.” I was, to put it bluntly, terrible, but having a good time.
Nonetheless, I had to wait until my 18th birthday before I could start teaching at a local women’s club. I loved it! I have no doubt I was the least popular instructor on staff, but I had a burning desire to be better. There are certain things you try and from your very first taste you know it’s for you! I just knew that if I had the right coaching and a whole lot of practice, I could be really good someday. That’s how many of you feel today. You know deep inside you have a calling to do something…and maybe it’s something that today you’re not that good at, but with some focus, you know you could master your destiny.
I met my then boyfriend, now husband Bret while were students at Michigan State University. He was from California, so after we graduated, we moved to Southern California. I took the LSAT, worked as a paralegal by day and applied to law school. In the evenings and before work, I spent my time teaching fitness classes. My life’s path was to be an attorney. Yet I never felt passion for law or for anything the way I felt passion for helping others find a way to live a healthier, more balanced life. I needed to follow my passion.
First and foremost, I am a mother. It’s the most important thing I do. My husband Bret and I have two children. But I am also an Entrepreneur, business expert, TV fitness personality, lifestyle coach, motivational speaker, author, clothing designer, artist, and reality TV junkie! I believe my calling is to help others find ways to simplify and improve all areas of their lives, from fitness to relationships. I have been referred to as the “Rachel Ray” of fitness; I am just like the girl next door. I was not born with a fitness model body. I have to really work at it. But when you find workouts you love, exercise doesn’t feel like work. It’s no surprise that fitness has to be fun or people won’t do it! Once you find something you love to do, like Turbo Kick®, you’ll stick with it!
A little bit about my signature program, Turbo! In the early 1990’s, I blended Tae Kwon Do, dance, and aerobics into a group exercise class that combined the sexiness of dance and the hip feel of funk with the power and strength of kickboxing. I’m a total closet DJ; I taught myself to digitally re-master and edit music to match the moves of every pre-choreographed routine. I have a blast adding sound effects and highs and lows to create exciting, electric, and energetic music that will hype up the participants and leave them wanting more! Music is such an important motivator and a huge part of the FUN factor. So that’s how Turbo Kick® was born. Turbo Kick®, PiYo™, Turbo Jam®, Hip Hop Hustle™, and ChaLEAN Extreme® are some of the most popular exercise formats around. Despite the fact that I have sold millions of videos, I still teach 7 days a week. People are often shocked when they hear that. I’m shocked they’re shocked! Why wouldn’t I do what I love? It’s a dream come true to know that millions of people have changed their lives from the ground up using my DVD’s, but nothing fuels my passion like getting in front of a live group and personally involved in someone’s life transformation. So yes, I teach every day, and I plan to continue until I’m 100!
She’s got the look! I’m a girlie-girl! I love fun fashion. I’m easily distracted by anything shiny. I’ve been known to stop my class in the middle of Turbo to find out where someone bought their shoes! Most of us feel like a million bucks when we have a new outfit that fits well, flatters the body, and says something about our personality. That’s why I created Turbo Wear. Part of the fun of working out is feeling great. It’s not easy to “feel great” if you don’t think you “look great.” I created a line of clothing that was flattering, fun, and made women feel great when they worked out! Put on a pair of my lightweight sweat wicking cargos, a cute tee shirt, a hip baseball hat, and some funky knee high socks, and you’re transformed and ready to TurboKick™!
I’m the founder and CEO of Powder Blue Productions, the fitness and lifestyle company that produces Turbo Wear, Turbo Kick®, PiYo™, and Hip Hop Hustle™. My husband Bret and I started the business in 1997, in a spare bedroom of our home, and now it’s a multimillion-dollar company. Both of us share the same priority, our children. We share a partnership in business and in our personal lives. As partners, the commodity we work to build is not wealth, but well-adjusted children with good character. We plan our lives around them. They are first. No job, no email, no amazing opportunity will ever be more important than being there for our children. Period.
When I re-read my own bio, it sounds like I do a lot. I do, but don’t be misled. I don’t do it all, and I have no plans to! I don’t believe you can “do it all” and enjoy a balanced life. I do what is important to me and my family, and everything else comes second. I’m not bothered when some “fan” calls me out for not answering their email or taking on the next project. I do professionally what I can with the time I have left over after my family obligations. Family comes first for me. I believe in balance. I often say, who cares if you’re the perfect weight or the perfect shape if the rest of your life is falling apart. Balance is the key.
I’m most passionate about family, fitness, to-do lists, prioritizing your time, and being good to others. But don’t be surprised to hear me blog about everything from the latest techno-gadget I’ve fallen in love with, this fantabulous bra I found, the life-changing book I’ve just read, the killer recipe I just found, or how to get rid of toxic friends. Let me be your “go-to” girl!
I want to help you live a fuller life by finding a way to do the things that are most important to you and the important people in your life. I want to help you understand how to identify your priorities, get more done, have more time, and stop worrying about what other people might think! I’m your straight-talking girl-friend who will give you a swift kick in the booty when I think you’re off track, and I’ll be the first to give you a high five when you accomplish your goals. I hope that you’ll allow me into your house as a fitness expert, but that you’ll understand my message is about far more than fitness. I look forward to getting to know you!
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