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Inspiring Conversations with Estella Gardinier

Today we’d like to introduce you to Estella Gardinier.

Hi Estella, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born in Kansas City, KS, but was raised in San Diego. I was blessed to have grown up with two amazing, hard-working parents. My father & brother were both Deaf and we used sign language in my family. It was such a unique and beautiful way to grow up. We were part of a large Deaf community here in San Diego and spent most holidays and summers at picnics and other deaf events.

My incredible father, who I absolutely adored, believed in hard work, strong values, and kindness above all. He taught me that you can do anything you set your mind to, no matter the obstacles. He believed that being Deaf was not a handicap. Instead, it was just a different identity. My parents both worked two jobs to take care of our family. It was extremely tough at times, but we always made it through. Although we weren’t rich financially, we were definitely rich in love. We had a strong faith in God and always knew that if we stayed connected to God, we could get through anything. This is something that carried me throughout my entire life.

When I was 16, my parents decided to move back to Kansas while I stayed in San Diego on my own. This was the very first time I would see my father cry. We all cried. It was definitely a hard decision, but somehow we trusted that it was the right one for my life. I knew that my father’s lessons of hard work and strong values would help me achieve success.

I believe that growing up in a Deaf family and being on my own at such an early age matured me a little quicker than most and gave me invaluable gifts of insight and awareness. These gifts would help me find strength early in my life and it was these gifts that helped me to have a successful career. I knew how to listen, pay close attention, and connect with people on a deeper level than most and I would definitely attribute this to growing up in the Deaf Community. In this community and in my family, I was taught to listen to people not only with my ears but to listen with my heart.

When I was 24 years old, I was at my office and was told that I had an important call waiting for me. When I picked up the phone, it was my mother crying as she told me that my father had passed away from a heart attack. I remember dropping to my knees and screaming. That was no doubt the most devastating day of my life and I knew that from that day forward nothing would be the same. Within a few months, my mother moved back to San Diego to be close to me. She was older and not in very good health. She needed me to help provide for her and care for her and at 24 years old, I would step into a new role, the role of a parent.

Over the years, I researched and read many books about health and wellness. I remember thinking that I needed to make sure my mother got healthy so that I wouldn’t lose her too. It was a battle for sure! I stayed working in my corporate jobs while simultaneously becoming more passionate about health and fitness. I started working out with a trainer, doing the typical strength and training workouts, I did Pilates, yoga, various cardio workouts and then I was introduced to Lagree Fitness. If Pilates & strength training had a baby, it would be Lagree Fitness. I became obsessed with the workout because of how quickly it healed the back pain I was dealing with, the strength it gave my body and just how incredible it made me feel. I knew that I wanted to help others feel as good as I was and the Lagree workout would be the start.

In 2009, I decided to become a certified Lagree instructor and taught at my very first & favorite studio, Core40, under the co-owners, Dean & Lisa Grafos. They were incredible mentors and an absolute inspiration in the way they lived their lives. Over time, I taught at other Lagree studios while continuing advanced training with Sebastian Lagree, the founder of Lagree Fitness. In 2014, I decided to walk away from the corporate world to expand my knowledge and teachings by becoming a certified yoga teacher for adults and children. I also worked to get my nutrition certification and grew my business, “” I absolutely love teaching and helping others. I currently teach Lagree Fitness at an incredible studio, Pilates Plus, La Jolla. I absolutely love all my clients and feel grateful everyday. It took me a while to finally align with my purpose but once I did, I have felt so much joy and fulfillment ever since.

In 2016, I was given some heartbreaking news that would once again change the trajectory of my life. My beautiful mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The sadness and despair I felt at the time was truly unbearable. I was not prepared for it and had no understanding of the disease, so I started educating myself. I made one of the best decisions and went through an intensive program to become certified as a Brain Health Specialist with Amen University-Brain MD. The knowledge I gained there has been invaluable and has given me hope in times that have felt so hopeless.

During Covid, my mother has rapidly declined. She can barely talk, does not remember her husband and does not remember me. We FaceTime weekly with the nurses and they always tell me that it’s the most they have seen her smile. She can barely talk, she just cannot find the words, but as soon as I hold my hands up with “I Love you” in sign language, she remembers and does it right back to me.

One thing that I have learned in my life is that no matter what language you grew up speaking, love is a universal language and can be heard & understood by everyone.

It has become my passion and mission to help educate others on ways to help keep our brains healthy & strong and help prevent this awful disease, as well as other brain debilitating illnesses.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there is a lot we can do to help prevent, delay, detect, and even halt the disease and other forms of memory loss. As a health & fitness coach, I work with people to heal and strengthen every part of their bodies, starting with their brains. My motto is simple, “ heal the brain & the body will follow.’

This year I have something very exciting happening. I am working with my incredible partner to open a one-of-a-kind Lagree Studio that will incorporate all of my experience and knowledge in healing and repairing the mind & body. Stay tuned for an incredible new Lagree studio, Lagree Red, coming to North County Coastal.

In honor of my mother and father, I will spend the rest of my life dedicated to educating and helping others live their healthiest & best life!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Definitely has not been a smooth road, but that’s life. All of us experience struggles. It’s not if we will experience them, it’s when and how we will handle them once they come. 

I have had many struggles, but my father’s passing and my mother’s Alzheimer’s were definitely the hardest.

As you know, we’re big fans of Estellarenee & LagreeRed. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I’m a Health and Wellness Expert, working in the industry for over a decade with a focus on total body wellness as Nutrition and Brain Health Coach and Fitness Trainer. My clients come to me because they want to look good, sure, but more importantly, they want to feel good. Bottom line: they want to live their best life!

I work hand-in-hand with my clients to establish clarity and understanding of needs and desires and together, we set realistic, sustainable, mindful and achievable goals.

During Covid, I built a virtual platform on “ “where my clients have the ability to work out from the comfort of their home and have daily access to all my nutrition & mindfulness tips.

This year, my partner and I are opening a One-of-a-kind Lagree Studio that will incorporate all of my experience and knowledge in healing and repairing the mind & body. Stay tuned for an incredible new Lagree studio, LagreeRed, coming to North County Coastal.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Fun Fact: I was a contestant of ABC’s The Bachelor, Season 4 and was given the final rose by Bob Guiney.

Contact Info:

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