With certifications in personal training, corrective exercise, and yoga, Hillary is a real asset to the Aatma team. Get to know Hillary better.
Tell us a little about your journey with fitness.
I struggled with weight for a long time. At one point I was 200 lbs, and had very poor self-image. I was very mean to myself. I was going through a very hard time in my life. I went through a divorce. I was having a hard time listening to myself. One day, I went out on a run, and I could hear nothing. For the first time in a while, I did not have to think. This became a habit, and I started to run. I then started my certification with the NPTI (National Personal Training Institute), but I did not do anything with it for a while, due to my negative self-image. However, I slowly figured out what exercise had done for my life, and slowly worked away at it. I did not know where to start, but I started with my friends and family to build a community, as I could not find a gym that met my needs at the time. What inspires me to be a coach is knowing that there are others out there in a similar situation who are struggling with something, whether it be a relationship, job, or something else and could be going through something similar. I want to be there for them to help them discover themselves and love themselves again. Whether that means clearing their head, getting the body that they want, or finding a community so they can discover who they are and be confident.
What is a common misconception about fitness that you come across?
A common misconception that people have is that they are not ‘fit’ enough for a fitness program. They feel as if they need to work out in their home first. Being afraid to step into the gym is the biggest one. This is what I love about classes, that they build a community. No matter your fitness level, they all remember their first day of fitness. This builds a community.
Being that your focus is body mechanics and posture, what are some common issues that you see in your classes?
I see a lot of improper shoulder mechanics, limited range of motion in shoulders and hips, and improper hinging. All of this can cause severe issues later on. Often issues stem from the foot and ankle, whereas people think it’s coming from somewhere else. With activation of the appropriate muscles it is very easy to see some improvement. If you stick with it for a month, you will see things improve but it takes dedication and undoing of what we’ve been doing in our adult lives.
How do you spend your day off?
On my day off, I work out in the morning. I usually do this with my dogs to give them exercise. I try to spend time outside gardening, hit up a farmer’s market, and cook an awesome meal for my friends. If I have no friends over, I’ll just bake a meal for myself (and possibly give it away)!
What’s your favorite pre-workout or post workout meal?
Before my workout I usually eat something that is fibrous like cereal with fruit or oatmeal. Something that is hearty. I always eat an hour and half before my workout. Post workout I eat something big and delicious. Grilled chicken salad with veggies and nectarines.
What’s your favorite healthy treat to bake?
Toasted coconut macaroons. Half a cup of sugar in the entire recipe and it makes 50 cookies. Each one is a half dollar size. That means you can eat three of them and not feel bad about it!
Toasted Coconut Macaroons
Yields 40-50 cookies about the size of a half dollar
· 3 egg whites
· ½ cup sugar
· 2 tsp. vanilla extract
· ½ tsp. almond extract (optional)
· 14oz shredded coconut
· Preheat oven to 325 degrees
· Combine egg whites, sugar, and both extracts in bowl of mixer with whisk attachment
· Whisk on high until stiff peaks form
· Gently fold in coconut until evenly coated with egg white mixture
· Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
· Measure batter with a tablespoon as you place each cookie 2 inches apart on the parchment (It helps to wet the tablespoon from time to time to keep the batter from sticking to it)
· Bake in preheated over for 25-30 minutes until the outside is a nice toasted golden color