I’ve been an athlete my entire life and over six years ago I started bodybuilding and fell in love with it. Taking care of my body and being a strong and healthy woman just feels right to me. All of us have certain insecurities or moments of self-doubt, but it’s an amazing feeling when your exterior matches how you’re feeling on the inside - strong, confident, and independent.
PĒK designs stylish and professional clothes for strong, muscular women.
You are a gymnast and a figure competitor. Have you always been active or was it something that you came to later in life?
Fitness has always been a passion of my life. I started gymnastics at the age of 3 and trained 5 days a week - I don't know how not to be active!
Over the years, I dabbled in different sports like:
- Diving (Where I learned that I’m not a fan of heights)
- Cycling (I learned quickly that I did not enjoy pedaling or the hard seats)
- Speedskating (So fun and so challenging. I loved it!)
- Karate (I trained for 8 years and loved learning about the different aspects of martial arts)
Six years ago I started bodybuilding and I fell in love with it. I can’t imagine ever not doing it! It is the best feeling to understand how to train my body in a way that makes me feel strong and beautiful.
This year, I started incorporating my first passion, gymnastics, into my workout regimen. It is humbling to realize that it might take me years to be good at it again, and this challenge is the perfect way to keep me motivated toward new long-term goals.
Not too long ago you made a career switch from a more corporate/scientific field to being a Personal Trainer and Coach. What prompted that move and how has it changed your life?
Before personal training, I spent 10 years in the biotech industry. Even though I liked it I wasn’t finding any real joy or inspiration in my job and felt eventually burned out. I walked out and never looked back, but had no idea what I wanted to do next.
Thankfully my friends and family pushed me in the direction of personal training. At first I resisted for different reasons, one of them being that I was afraid making my passion my business would make me lose my love for fitness, but after some serious consideration I decided to go for it.
I have no regrets. In fact, it is the best decision that I’ve ever made. I feel excited and at home in my career and love working with a community of like minded colleagues. I love that I can directly help my clients stay motivated, accountable and achieve their health and fitness goals.
So many of us strive to reach our peak in fitness, work, family, life. These are often moving targets, but at this moment, what are a few of your goals or “peaks”?
I truly love what I do and I never want to stop learning how to better help my clients. For example, some of my coworkers are trained in P‑DTR (Proprioceptive-Deep Tendon Reflex), an amazing form of therapy that addresses musculoskeletal problems by focusing on our body’s receptor system. I can’t wait to learn this skill and bring this modality into my training.
I also recently started blogging through my new website, www.urbahnfit.com, and am really enjoying the process. Publishing my own experiences, client transformations, and observations on challenges to achieving our goals allows me to connect on a deeper level with my clients and the larger community of like-minded people.
What is your favorite body part to train?
I actually like to train all body parts. I used to really dislike back and shoulder days, but they are probably now my favorite. I’m happy to say that the times of not enjoying a workout are over.
You work with other women to become stronger, healthier, and more empowered versions of themselves. What are some of the most significant changes you see in other women as they go through their journey (mental, physical, and emotional)?
The most significant and rewarding change is the one that they see in themselves. Too often clients, especially women, don’t realize their own strength, downplay their progress, or are embarrassed by not having achieved a specific fitness goal. We place so much value in the number on the scale that we forget that progress comes in many forms and also comes in different waves.
Within weeks of working with a new client I hear something like, “ I feel more energized. I feel happier. I feel lighter”. A few weeks later, I’ll hear, “I like what I see in the mirror. That gives me confidence. I believe again I can do whatever I put my mind to.”
Ultimately, my clients will start to see what I saw in them from the beginning - that they are incredibly strong and beautiful and empowered individuals. It’s fucking amazing to witness!!!
Though you spend most of your days in the gym now, working with others and doing your own training, I imagine that when you worked in a more corporate environment, you faced some wardrobe challenges dressing your strong body. Any particular issues that stand out from that time, trying to get ready for work in the morning?
God, yes. The vast majority of attractive and professional clothes are simply not made with fit women in mind. It was almost impossible to find dress shirts, dresses or jackets that would fit my shoulders and lats without looking sloppy around my midsection. Dress pants were also a challenge. Any pair that fit my quads would be far too large in the waist.
How does the way you dress impact how you feel?
I’m not a huge fashionista, but it is important that I look well put together. Well-fitting clothes make me feel confident, and it’s always lots of fun to wear outfits that compliment my figure.
What's your favorite thing about being a strong, muscular, healthy woman and spreading that message to others?
Taking care of my body and being a strong and healthy woman just feels right to me. My exterior matches how I feel on the inside - strong, confident, and independent. All of us have certain insecurities or moments of self-doubt, but I was raised to be independent and self‑sufficient and this lifestyle is a perfect fit. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and love the body that I’ve worked hard for.
I also encourage my clients in their individual transformations. Watching them learn, grow and realize confidence in themselves is something that I don’t take for granted.
If you could describe your body in one word, what would it be?