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Hidden Gems: Meet Kathryn Chanel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn Chanel.

Hi Kathryn, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My journey started in 2013 when I was following a path I thought I was meant to be on. But that is just the thing, I was following and not leading. I was in the hospitality industry and going to school in pursuit of one day being a hotel owner. Until my life flourished in another direction, toward a purpose. That purpose is health and fitness. I was always an active person and loved playing sports growing up but after secondary school, I became too familiar with a sedentary lifestyle and fell into a cycle of bad habits of poor eating and lack of movement/ exercise. This was until I was introduced into the gym world, and not just any gym world. I was among some of the best fitness and nutrition coaches San Diego had to offer and was instantly impressed with the skill that surrounded me. I started utilizing the people and tools to immerse myself back into movement, starting with foundational basics such as balance and stabilization until leveling up to strength, endurance, and power. I started becoming educated on proper nutrition and how to live a balanced life by consuming a variety of foods with an “eat the rainbow” mentality. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good pizza and a glass of wine from time to time, but again, life is about balance! I started to feel happier, stronger, healthier. My mental and physical self was at its optimal level.

I now had more clarity with what I wanted out of life and who I truly was. I was determined to help others with their healthy lifestyle journeys and inspire them to be the best version of themselves through fitness and nutrition. I was excited to share my knowledge, so I decided to finish my school semester and pursue my new calling. I put hospitality behind me and I became a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and a Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, home of the world’s top nutrition coaches. Not too long after, the pandemic hit and as you know, life as we know it was put to a complete halt. I was so disappointed and somewhat discouraged that my new career in fitness was put on hold right when it was starting to blossom. But yet another opportunity and path arose. I found the world of Pilates. I had heard of it but did not know much detail as to what it was and somehow found myself taking an intro to pilates class. After 30 minutes, I was eager to get involved in the community. Days later, I signed up for a 500 hour teacher training program to become a comprehensively trained Pilates Instructor. Once completed, this is when my true passion was born. Becoming a Pilates instructor was one of the best things I’ve done and it has brought me so much fulfillment.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think every success story has its bumps along the way. The struggles are part of the process of finding your path. I had already given so much time and effort into one idea of what I thought I wanted, it was hard to take that leap into something new. I group up finding comfort in routine and always felt uneasy with change. But with this comes complacency. As I got older, I realized this was not a way to grow and I would have to step out of that comfort zone to find my true self and what was meant for me in life. I also knew it would not be handed to me and I would have to work for it. My mind would constantly run in circles with thoughts of “what should I do” and “is this right for me”. I knew changing directions was going to be hard, but no one is going to do the work for you. Often moments of feeling stuck, unhappy, and even defeated. Some of my struggles were fear of failure. That brought on feelings of learning to let go of thoughts and even people that no longer served my happiness and were preventing me from taking risks. Risks that would change my life moving forward. Change is a scary thing, but staying the same is even scarier. It felt like a long road and too many wrongs turn before I took the right one, but eventually life gave back. I wanted to grow as an individual and to find something I was great at and loved to do. I found that in Pilates. There is still so much room to grow and my clients inspire me every day to do and be better. There will still be times of struggle along the way, but now I know my WHY and that makes it worth the ride.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I teach people Pilates! In my teachings, I emphasize the control method where Pilates first originated. Focusing on six principles: breath, concentration, control, center, flow, and precision. It is a mind-body form of exercise. It is proven to improve flexibility, strength, balance, and body awareness. I encourage them to move with intention and enjoy the process of growth mentally and physically. There are multiple apparatus used for Pilates but I utilize my favorite and most popular, the reformer. Being a fitness coach as well, I incorporate strength training with Pilates for a more optimal form of movement allowing the body to grow longer and stronger, more stable and balanced, all while having the benefits of recovery at the same time. In Pilates we focus on the powerhouse, being defined as extending from the pelvic floor inferiorly to the ribcage superiorly. This is effectively the center of the body. With a strong powerhouse, it creates the foundation for all movement. Some people may even refer to it as the “core”. There is a saying that Pilates is good for everyBODY, and it’s true! The low-impact exercise is safe for all demographics. Those with injuries, conditions and other special populations can leave their session feeling accomplished and always better than when they arrived. Where are my pregnant ladies?! Pilates is pregnancy-friendly for every trimester and assists with recovery after. Even if you are just looking for a challenging yet safe form of movement, Pilates is it. With every Pilates exercise, there are always ways to progress or even modify to fit to each individuals abilities and needs. I love working with any and all because it challenges me in a way to learn more about the person and their specific goals. I am currently working at Club Pilates and also growing my own personal brand. Stay tuned! I run my private pilates business in central San Diego. If you want to learn more, check out my google page under Kathryn Chanel Pilates. I offer reformer-based private pilates sessions with the use of weights and props for a fun yet challenging workout! If you have never done it, I encourage you to try something new and am confident you will find yourself wanting more.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
First and foremost knowledge. You need to be a master at your craft, especially when dealing with people’s bodies. In depth knowledge of the human body and proper use of biomechanics so people can feel safe in their exercises, especially when adding resistance and weight-bearing movements to their routine. What feels good to one person may not feel good to another, and as a professional, you must be able to change variables so they can perform the exercise with precision. Being approachable is also very important! People you are working with or are inquiring about what you do should feel comfortable and confident in talking to you about their goals and concerns they may have. I ensure to give my undivided attention every time I am teaching. I explain the why and how behind movements so they can start to understand the importance behind the exercise and it teaches them to use these new habits in their daily life. Building trust with my clients adds value to my services. They will choose to continue their Pilates practice with me having a sense of loyalty and that creates a solid coach-to client relationship. Success derives from many different things, but these are a few I find to be paramount.

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Image Credits
Photo Credits: Motionscape Photography IG Handle: motionscape_photography

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