Monday, February 8, 2016

My Path to Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer

After graduating from Baylor in 2010 with a degree in Sports Sponsorship and Sales, I thought I had a pretty good idea of where I'd be and what kind of job I'd have 5-10 years later. Boy was I wrong! After landing my dream job at the Denver Broncos straight out of college, I thought I'd work in the professional sports world for many years to come. While I loved my job and the people there, working in professional sports sounds a little more glamorous than it actually is...long hours, average pay, competitive job advancement, etc. Mix those components in with bad timing and I found myself a bit lost on what my next step would be come 2011 (the NFL lockout took place after my first season with the Broncos, so the league had to let most of the new employees go). 

Post-Broncos, I tried my hand at a few other jobs...a receptionist at a veterinarian clinic, sales for a start-up website, customer service for a nutritional supplements company, and most recently an executive assistant/office admin for a private equity firm. While I enjoyed certain aspects within each role, none of them had anything to do with my degree. I knew these jobs were not going to be my long term plan and I became frustrated not knowing exactly what I wanted to do. A degree from Baylor isn't exactly cheap, so I definitely didn't want it to go to waste. I considered working for another professional sports team, but I wanted to stay in Austin at the time, so my options were fairly limited. 

One of my reasons for moving over to Australia was to take a step back and really figure out what I'm passionate about and what kind of work I want to be involved with long term. I knew more of what I didn't want to do more than what I did want to do...which turned out to be helpful as well. 

Before I was 20, I never worked out because my metabolism kept me in good enough shape to not worry about it. But ever since junior year of college, I really got into running and fitness. With free access to a gym on campus and PE requirements needed to graduate, I soon found myself in the gym training for my first half marathon. My favorite class senior year was running (yes, that's a real PE class!) so I knew this was something I wanted to explore more. I spent the next 3 years after graduation casually running and working out, but didn't take myself too seriously. It's really when I started this blog and dedicated a year to running 1000 miles that I started to educate myself and learn as much as I could on my own about exercise and nutrition. 

The past 2 years I've dabbled in cycling, sand volleyball, yoga, Crossfit, Insanity, swimming, etc. and that's when I sincerely developed a passion for staying healthy and seeing my body and cardio abilities transform. Since 2013, I've had the personal training idea in the back of my head, but it seemed a bit daunting and intimidating to get started. 

Being overseas, unemployed with lots of time to think, I decided that personal training really is something that checks all of the boxes for me and I don't need to be scared to make it a reality:

Physically active - check
Away from a desk - check
Interacting with people - check
Dress in gym clothes - check
Be my own boss (eventually) - check
Paid to work out - check

But the biggest box it checked that none of my previous jobs did? Helping and improving the lives of others. 

I honestly think that was the biggest piece missing in my other positions. I know they were important in some aspects, but in the big scheme of things, I wasn't making a huge difference in anyone's life. It ended with me feeling under-appreciated and worthless at times.  

I ordered the NASM CPT Self-Study program and began studying early last week. I have 180 days from the time I order the program to take the certification exam, so I will take the test on or before June 30th. I have quite a bit of free time over the next few months, so I know I will be able to finish studying and knock out the exam this summer. Then I plan to apply to work at a gym for a year or two in order to gain some experience and meet potential clients. Eventually, I'd love to be my own boss and train my own clients, but I know that will take time to develop. 

While I'm still not using my exact degree, I'm okay knowing that I have a BBA from Baylor and just having a degree in general helps with a lot of things. I know having a business background and education will be beneficial in my future endeavours of owning my own business. I used to be scared of the future and the unknown, but now I'm so excited to see what it holds! 

If you know of anyone who needs a personal trainer in the Austin area this summer, you know who to call!


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Beautiful Bali

After New Years, Korie and I decided we wanted to take one more trip outside of Australia before heading back to the states. We originally were going to head to Uluru - Ayers Rock in Alice Springs, Northern Territory but the flights and tours were surprisingly much more expensive than traveling internationally to Bali. We were able to book a roundtrip flight with 5 nights accommodation in a nice villa for under $500 USD each. I randomly met this couple at the restaurant I was working at and they gave me some great suggestions on where to go, where to stay, and to hire a driver they highly recommended. We added our driver, Putu BJ, on Facebook and we made a rough outline of what we wanted to see on our trip. 

We left Sunday morning for a 6 hour direct flight to Bali from Melbourne. We landed at 2:30pm and Putu took us to our villa for only $15! Our dollar is very strong in Indonesia right now and everything was extremely affordable (the villa was $37 USD a night and very clean, safe, and included a nice breakfast every morning). After settling in, we walked down our street and found a local restaurant to grab an early dinner (I made sure to try the good)! The service in Bali was great and everyone was extremely nice. We actually returned to this little restaurant every night to say hi to them and enjoy a glass of wine before going to bed. Since Bali is 3 hours behind Melbourne and we had woken up at 7am that morning, we called it early night and grabbed some shut eye. 

On Monday, we started our day with breakfast at the villa. There were tons of spas on every street and we had walked past one earlier with a fish spa! This wasn't quite on my list of things to do, but it had always intrigued me. Since it was only $4, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to try something new, so we put our feet in. It was such an odd feeling! I was a little scared to put my feet in at first, but once I got past the initial tickling sensation, I got used to it. After 20 minutes, I could tell a little bit of a difference in the smoothness of my feet and some dead skin was gone. Yum? 

We then got 60 minute massages for $8. For lunch, we walked about 20 minutes around the town and made our way to a beachside restaurant/bar called Ku De Ta. Afterwards, we walked on the beach to another restaurant lounge called Potato Head (which we liked a bit better because they had a swim up pool). We stayed there for most of the afternoon before heading to a restaurant called Laca Laca, which had some of the best Mexican food and margaritas we've had since leaving the states. 

On Tuesday, we had made arrangements with Putu to pick us up at 8am for a day trip around the island. Unfortunately, it was a bit rainy so he made sure to take us to a few indoor locations in the morning. We started out at a Batik factory where they make so many beautiful items of clothing, scarfs, bags, etc. by hand. Batik is a technique of wax dying the cloth multiple times, with each color they wish to use. They also hand weave items with this interesting machine. 

After buying a few things, we went to a traditional Balinese dance show, The Barong and Kris Dance, which tells the story between good and evil spirits. We were intrigued to learn that the main religion in Bali is Hindu, unlike the rest of Indonesia, which is mainly Islam or Buddhist. 

Following the performance, Putu took us to a handmade jewelry store, an art gallery, and the sacred monkey forest sanctuary before having lunch at the rice fields. 

I made sure to tell him before we even arrived in Bali that I HAD to ride an elephant while I was there. Thankfully, it stopped raining after lunch and he answered my wish! We arrived at a safari park where I was able to cross another item off my bucket list! 

I also got to hold a monkey. The day ended with dinner, drinks, and an episode of Vanderpump Rules. 

On Wednesday, we slept in a bit and had breakfast in bed while catching up on The Bachelor. We weren't quite done taking advantage of the inexpensive spas, so we opted for a 45 minute facial for $6 and I decided to try ear candling. This is another thing that wasn't really on my list of things to do, but again, I couldn't pass up the chance to try it while there. If you thought fish eating dead skin off your feet was gross, you should see the amount of wax that comes out of your ears after the candling. 

As appetizing as that sounds, we then grabbed lunch at a small restaurant across from our villa and I laid out by the pool for a bit before a storm rolled in out of nowhere. It stopped raining by dinnertime so we headed out to an Italian place on the beach called La Lucciola, which had some of the best pasta I've ever had! We then walked to Motel Mexicola for a few margaritas before calling it a night. 

Thursday, we slept in before heading to the beach. This was the only day (other than the day we arrived) where it didn't rain at all. We hung out on the beach for a few hours before getting ready for dinner. Putu picked us up at 5:30 and we drove about 40 minutes south to a highly recommended restaurant called Rock Bar. It's located inside the beautiful Ayana Resort and the restaurant is dug out of the side of cliff. It was a bit pricey (the most expensive place we had been so far...about $50 USD each for 2 drinks each and appetizers) but that's to be expected for the amazing view.

Friday, Putu took us to the main shopping streets where we used our bargaining skills and negotiated some great prices for Bali souvenirs before heading to the airport to return back to Melbourne. Our next planned trip is exploring the east coast of Australia and making it to Cairns, Brisbane, and Sydney before flying back home to Texas April 12th! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Years in Tasmania

Back in October, Korie and I were discussing what we should do for NYE over in Australia. We originally thought about Sydney, but quickly realized it would be quite expensive and a little too crowded for our taste. Korie's friend recommended Hobart, Tasmania, and after a bit of research, we were able to book a cheap flight and accommodation. Our flight left on the 31st at 6:50am, so it was quite an early morning. 

We landed around 8:15am, walked around the docks and grabbed breakfast before we could check into our hostel. There was a big yacht race called "Sydney to Hobart" that had ended a few days before we arrived, so tons of boats and people were around the harbor. 

After browsing some shops, we were able to check in and grab a quick nap since we knew we'd be up late for NYE. We ended up going out to an area called Salamanca with tons of restaurants and bars where we easily grabbed dinner and wine before finding a place to catch midnight. This area was definitely our scene! Low key, fairly casual, crowded but not impossible to get a drink or walk around, and overall the perfect place to enjoy the beginning of 2016. 

We ended up meeting a really fun group at an Irish pub and coincidentally they were staying on our hall in our hostel. We spent the night and the entire next day hanging out with them. Thankfully, they're from Melbourne and surrounding cities so we can see them again. 

On the 2nd, Korie and I woke up early to catch a jet boat tour of Bruny Island (an island off the coast of Tasmania and similar in size to Singapore, but only has a population of about 500 people). The boat tour lasted 3 hours and we got to see some of the highest cliffs in Australia (Tasmania is considered part of Australia). 

It was about 50 degrees and windy out so these jackets helped a bit...

We sat in the back and made friends with the captain so he let Korie drive for a bit!

The best part of the trip was seeing dolphins swim and jump alongside our boat for about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any pictures to turn out, but I'll never forget it. Once we returned to shore and warmed up, we grabbed dinner and were in bed by 9:30.

We weren't scheduled to leave Tassie until 9pm on the 3rd, so we made the most of our day and took a bus tour up to Wineglass Bay. It's about a 2.5 hour drive north of Hobart and had some of the best views I'd ever seen. 

Then we drove back down a bit to Honeymoon Bay and Tourville Cove. Honeymoon Bay came super close to measuring up to the Fiji views we had.

Tourville had cool views of the Tasman Sea. It reminded me a bit of Western Ireland. 

Around 3:30, we made our way back to Hobart and headed to the airport for our flight "home" to Melbourne. Now it's time to plan our trip to Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, and Brisbane! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Settling Down in Melbourne

When I last left off, we were just getting back from Fiji 3 weeks ago. We got back to Melbourne on November 23rd, but weren't able to move into our apartment until the 30th. Thankfully, we were able to book an amazing AirBnb for a week in a great area off Chapel Street. Our hosts, Liam and Chris (and Liam's black lab, Oscar), were hands down the best AirBnb hosts we had ever had and the house was spectacular. Thanksgiving fell during this week so Korie and I found a family dinner style meal at a cute restaurant in the CBD. The food was delicious and there were about 40 or so people there to celebrate with us (a mix of both Americans and Aussies). Korie also got a little handy and whipped out the arts and crafts. We almost didn't want to leave Liam's, but we were pretty ready to unpack and move into our place. Graciously, they've agreed to stay friends with us. :) 

We found our apartment on AirBnb as well and got a discount for renting it out for 5 months. It's a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, completely furnished, and all utilities included. It's about a 15 minute train ride to the CBD and 15 minute tram ride to Chapel Street (our new favorite area). Since moving in, we've gotten really familiar with the neighborhood and started the job hunt. Korie stumbled across a little Italian cafe on Chapel Street that was hiring, so she quickly found a job. It's taken a little longer for me. I am open to waitressing, but it is kind of my last resort, as I wanted to do something different than what I can easily find back home. But for now, it seems like waitressing and babysitting will have to do...which I'm starting to be okay with. It provides a flexible schedule so we can travel around and still have enough free time to explore. I may look for something a bit more substantial once Korie goes back to the States in April/May. 

I have a trial run at a swanky Asian fusion style restaurant off Chapel Street tonight, so we'll see how that goes! I haven't waited tables since college, so I'm a bit rusty.

Recently, we journeyed to the Melbourne Zoo and I got the full Kangaroo Experience! I really wanted to hold a koala, but learned that it is illegal in the state of Victoria to do so, so that'll have to wait until we travel to Sydney or Brisbane. 

Our next trip is over New Years Eve when we travel to Hobart, Tasmania! I'm really looking forward to a low key NYE in a new place. We plan to travel around Australia in either late January or late well as hopefully go to Bali or Thailand. It all depends on the job/money situation! We have Korie's boyfriend, Ashley, and Dee all coming over the course of February-early March. I can't wait to show them the city that we're falling in love with!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ahhhh Fiji!

While I really enjoyed New Zealand, I couldn't wait to get to the island of Fiji for some warmer weather and beach time. We left Auckland around 8am on Tuesday and arrived in Nadi, Fiji by 11. We were greeted by natives singing some island songs and quickly made our way through customs. We grabbed a shuttle to our first destination, Bamboo Travelers. It was about a 15 minute ride from the airport and we were able to check into our room soon after arriving. Our room was oceanfront and right by the pool. 

They had a restaurant and bar there, so we didn't really have a need to leave. That night we had dinner and played beer pong with 2 English guys and a girl from Russia. It's so interesting meeting people from all over the world and hearing their traveling stories and backgrounds. We also tried Kava for the first time. It's a local, natural Fijian drink made from a root that makes you feel all good inside! It's not really alcoholic but can have "hallucinagenic powers"...or just makes your tongue numb and you sleep well. Didn't taste super great (kind of like dirt) but we had to give it a try. 

Janie quickly made a friend with one of the dive instructors, who offered us a discount on a half day of snorkeling and a boat ride out to Cloud 9 ($75 US dollars). Snorkeling was great, but exhausting! We saw a few schools of fish and a 5 foot shark. Cloud 9 is a floating restaurant (about 1000 square feet) and they serve cocktails and wood-fired pizza only. I'd say maybe 50 people can fit there at one time? But the water was the bluest, clearest water I had ever seen...clearer than a pool. There was nothing around it for miles (we were shocked to learn they had free wifi!)

We hung out, ate, and relaxed on Cloud 9 for about 2 hours before heading back to the main island. Unfortunately, the water was pretty rough and I got sea sick for the first time ever (first time throwing up in about 10 years too...I blame the beer pong the night before). We made it back around 3pm and I laid down for a while to recover. We had dinner and hung out with yet another English fellow (we've met more British people than any other nationality). 

Thursday morning, we were picked up and taken on a 45 minute boat ride out to a small island called Mana Island. We stayed at a dive resort called Ratu Kini. Our room was maybe 20 yards from the water. We were greeted by locals playing guitar and were immediately on "Fiji Time!" No rush, no worries. 

It was such a steal! We had private rooms, bathrooms, and AC...snorkeling gear and all meals included for 3 days, and ran us about $150 US total each. Who says traveling has to be expensive? Just need to look for places where our dollar is strong (it's about $2 Fiji dollars for $1 US dollar at the moment). We laid out for a bit, browsed some of the homemade jewelry for sale, ate lunch, had some pina coladas, went for a walk and snorkeld a bit. We also got beach massages! It was $20 Fiji dollars for 30 minutes ($10 USD)...what a deal! We had dinner and participated in another Kava ceremony. 

There was another resort right next door where our English friends from the night before were staying so we walked over and hung out with their group for a bit before calling it a night. 

Friday, we woke up and went snorkeling on the other side of the island. You can walk around the entire place in less than 2 hours, so a quick 30 minute cut through brought us to Sunset Beach where the snorkeling was amazing! We felt like we were in Finding Nemo. We swam out about 150 yards to a huge drop off. Going from 5 feet deep to immediately not seeing the bottom is a tad scary, but worth it! We made it back for lunch and then the wind really picked up. We wound up hanging on the porch with our friends playing games. It was so nice not having wifi for a few days...people were forced to socialize and it felt like we were kids again. That night after dinner, we went to bed by 9:30. Snorkeling and the sun zaps ya! 

Saturday, Janie left for an early flight, so we hung around until 11-12ish to see her off. After lunch, Korie, me, and our friend Matt walked to another beach to snorkel again...still awesome but not quite as cool as Sunset Beach's drop off! We tried to go back there but it was already mid-afternoon by then and the wind and current had really picked up. We decided not to risk it and went back to our beach, which was the calmer side of the island that night. 

We were thrilled to learn that the staff would be performing Fiji Night entertainment for us on our last night there. The men did some traditional Fijian dances and chants, along with a fire and knife show! 

We all agreed we highly recommend Ratu Kini to anyone going to Fiji and hope to return some day. Everyone was extremely friendly and knew you by name. We left Sunday afternoon for a 6pm flight back to Melbourne. 

I loved traveling around NZ and Fiji, but part of me missed Melbourne a bit! 3 weeks of constant travel can be exhausting, but I saw so much. Now it's time to move into our apartment next week and start job searches...and plan our next trip!