“For the first time in my life, I have found freedom. Freedom from the cycles of bingeing and starvation – the brutal voice in my own head, I was never enough – the ability to see food as fuel and nutrients, rather than something that had complete control over me for years.”
After a long journey of my own, I have found the perfect career (and passion!) for me as a coach. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado, where I fell in love with learning about human anatomy and the functions of our body’s systems. After college, I set my sights on a career in medicine, and worked as a medical assistant, pharmaceutical representative, and a director of a laboratory, yet felt gravitated to help others on a deeper level.
Coaching is the perfect way to balance my passion for science and the human body, with my innate desire to help others achieve their goals of bettering themselves both physically and mentally. My philosophy for coaching is to work with clients to discover their recipe for success, rather than try to fit every client into a cookie cutter approach of nutrition and training. Flexible dieting provides the evidence-based platform for all clients’ success, but coaching gives me the ability to create individualized methods to personalize the journey.
This process is about balance in all aspects of life – not just health – and speaking of balance, I love to escape to the mountains with my better half. I am a snow bunny and love a good powder day and some Rocky Mountain R&R, but the urge to explore doesn’t stop there: Our current bucket list is to taste our way through New York City this fall, ski the French Alps next year, and eventually make our way to Eastern Europe. Or Asia. Or…both. Because, balance.
Hannah is a NASM certified personal trainer, WBFF Bikini Competitor. She lives in Wheat Ridge, CO with her husband, loves to travel and snowboard.
If you’re interested in getting to know me on a deeper level:
“As I began to love myself, my relationship with everyone changed.”
My fitness journey began decades ago – an athletic kid who played sports throughout her life. But also a girl that battled with her weight. I’ve been a low carb dieter, yo-yo dieter, binger, and cardio junky. I’ve had a damaging relationship with food for as long as I can remember. I grew up as a happy and adventurous kid that absolutely loved sports and athletics from the day I can remember. I played as many sports as I could get my hands on – ballet, tennis, swimming, soccer, and basketball. I absolutely loved the competition, skill, and energy that went into the practicing and competing. Although I loved sports, I was not a string bean lanky kid by any means. As I would now describe, I learned I had a very adaptive metabolism early on…I was a chubbier than most, but happy and healthy. In second grade, a group of girls pointed out that I only wore leggings to school (I was ahead of my time!) and it was because I just couldn’t find a pair of jeans or pants with a button that I felt comfortable in. From that moment on, I was hyper aware of my weight and shape, and was constantly reminded that I was heavier than anyone else in my grade. I felt uncomfortable eating in front of anyone, crawled in my skin at the thought of having to be in a bathing suit for a birthday party, or have to share or borrow clothes from a friend at a sleepover. I was 7 and already aware of my weight, eating habits, and developed a highly sensitive awareness to my body image. I remember hoping that my round midsection was just because I was so young, and eventually I would grow like a weed and that this was just a phase. Well, it wasn’t.
I was heavier set throughout my entire childhood and adolescence, but by no means obese (although I absolutely felt that way). I remember running the hills in our neighborhood with my dad before the sun came up in middle school. I would go to bed at night begging my little brother to help me control my eating habits during the day (which were not unhealthy, but I would eat minimally at school and binge on snacks when I got home because I was so hungry.) There were times I would have seconds or thirds at dinner, knowing that it was far more than I needed but I could not stop. I played tennis competitively and worked hard, but my weight didn’t change. In high school, my habits became more damaging. I began developing disordered eating and found that my weight started to drop with a very low carb diet. I would shop with my mom and buy any foods that said “low carb” or “zero carb” on it, without even blinking an eye or reading what the product actually was. I quit eating yogurt because it had “too many carbs in it.” My first meal of the day was a pack of Planter’s peanuts and a diet Pepsi from the vending machine at about 10:30am. I tried my hardest to occupy my mind with class and my belly with carbonation to forget I was hungry. I lived off of eggs, proteins, cheese, and salads, and the weight did come off, but my mind was an absolute wreck. I remember seeing girls on our tennis team fuel with Gatorade and a protein bar, and I would salivate at the thought of eating something sweet or “fuel” my workouts or tennis matches with carbohydrates. To make matters worse, I had a boyfriend whose “dream girl was blonde and thin” and those words were seared into my mind. Not only was I the farthest thing from a blonde, but also I was the smallest I had been in my entire life and it was not enough.
My senior year of high school, I quit the tennis team. The sport was a huge outlet for me, and suddenly, it was gone. I missed the athletics, activity, and the mental benefits from organized sports so I began going to the gym every day after school. I got on the same elliptical every day, set to the same resistance, for exactly 32 minutes. I would listen to the same playlist and read half of the same magazine each day. I was 18 years old and about to leave home for the first time and head to college. Cardio became a habit, and doing the same exact thing each day helped me keep my anxiety in check, but looking back the obsession only worsened the existing issues I had with food, body image, and mental health. I lost the purpose and importance of health and fitness, and all focus was on getting as thin as possible.
In college, I began running daily, and set a goal with a roommate to run a half marathon. I started to feel better about my body and although activity was still just cardio, I loved the training schedule and goal of running a half marathon. I felt I was working toward something and making progress. Although I was running between 15-30 miles per week, my eating remained out of control. I cooked daily and was determine to “eat clean” during the week, but the drinking, partying, and take out on the weekends wreaked havoc on my metabolism. It was a cycle of binging to a certain extent – the ‘I worked so hard and ate so well during the week I earned this’ on the weekends. It created a new cycle that was equally damaging. I punished my weekend antics by forcing myself to run a minimum of 3 miles on the treadmill, whether that was in between classes or at midnight. At one point I was diagnosed with shin splits because of overuse, and I panicked. I couldn’t imagine not running, and forced the trainer to approve elliptical workouts in the meantime while I healed. Although I was enjoying my college years, I loathed myself for so many reasons, primarily because I could not give my mind a break from thinking about my body. There was always someone smaller, skinnier, and blonder than I was, and I let body image, appearance and food take over my mind and thoughts. I was obsessive about looks and being thin. I finished college and moved to Denver, and the cycles of cardio, “clean eating” (with WAY too large of portions), and partying on the weekends continued. I reached my highest weight in the summer of 2014 – I remember the exact moment I broke down, and so badly wanted to make a change. A change that was maintainable, effective, and healthy for my body and more importantly my mind.
I was in the car on the way home from the airport from a summer vacation at our beach house. I felt disgusted in my own skin, and struggled to even be seen in a swimsuit that week. I had a friend from high school that was getting into lifting and making amazing progress while eating a variety of foods. She was crushing goals, PR’s, and transforming her shape, and I had to ask her more about it. She began to explain flexible dieting to me – the concept of having a daily amount of calories to hit, made up of specific grams of carbs, fats, and proteins. I remember specifically telling her, “but I cannot eat that many carbs.” (Note: it was only 150 grams!) She explained that carbs were not the devil, they were crucial for fueling muscles and workouts, and when paired with the calculated fats and proteins, carbs were incredibly important to our diets and our brains! With a degree in Integrative Physiology (human anatomy and function) I loved learning about the human body, and the concept of macronutrients and their functions were very familiar to me. I began reading more and more about flexible dieting, wrapping my head around not only the macronutrients piece, but also the fact that I could hit my daily macros with any food groups I chose. Suddenly, no foods were restricted. Nothing was “off limits,” and I did not have to “earn” any foods with excessive cardio and starvation during the day. It was not an overnight transition, but I promised myself I would commit to flexible dieting and weight training – I was so exhausted of the past disordered eating, years of living on a diet, and my weight yo-yoing up and down for decades that I was desperate to find something maintainable. Over the next 18 months, I did my macro adjustments and training on my own, and lost 20 pounds. I felt better than ever, and my shape began to change while my strength dramatically improved. Suddenly I felt like I found my calling, and fit into a community. I began to crack the shell I had been living in for years, and found something my body responded to.
After nearly two years of training on my own, I knew I wanted more. I wanted to join a team of like-minded individuals, and I wanted to work with a coach that is not only dedicated to her clients, but understood my history with disordered eating and body image issues too. I had followed Jessi Jean on Instagram since the start of my fitness journey, and finally had the chance to meet her at the WBFF Denver show in the summer of 2015. She announced SoBoss that fall, and I knew I had found my training match. My husband surprised me with a 12-week training with Jessi for Christmas, and my life forever changed. Jessi provided support, insight, and education far beyond my expectations. She has helped me change how I view my body, my capabilities, and my outlook on life. The SoBoss brand is built on the foundation of knowledge and empowerment, and Jessi so passionately believes in the ability to share this with each client, motivating them to embrace the ability to create their own destiny. I have continued my training and nutrition with SoBoss and will forever be a part of this team. Fitness is now engrained within me, rather than me trying to find my way into a “fit lifestyle.” For the first time in my life, I have found freedom. Freedom from the cycles of bingeing and starvation – the brutal voice in my own head I was never enough – the ability to see food as fuel and nutrients, rather than something that had complete control over me for years. I have so many goals that will take a lifetime to achieve, and I owe it all to the knowledge and power I have learned from SoBoss. Flexible dieting is built on the foundation of evidence-based science, rather than any short cuts, gimmicks, or drastic measures. Each individual possesses the ability to learn the building blocks of flexible dieting, and is capable of reaching goals they never imagined tangible. One day, I stumbled on the perfect phrase that has been my motto ever since: Flexible Lifestyling. This philosophy is so much greater than just “dieting,” and provides such insight to living a balanced lifestyle, not just a balanced approach to nutrition and training. I have found such balance in all aspects of my life, and I am so passionate sharing this sense of empowerment with others – everyone is deserving and capable of feeling empowered! The most fulfilling part of coaching is the relationship that develops between the client and myself and not only the joy of joining a client on his or her journey of self-discovery and growth, but the impact each client has on my life too!