Wise Girl Workshops is introducing Tina Parrish, a certified personal trainer, who is teaming up with Wise Girl Workshops to offer a fitness and body component to the several series of workshops this summer. Check out a little Q&A to get to know Tina and her work better and help you decide if Wise Girl Workshops is where your girl needs to be this summer!
How did you get into physical fitness instruction?
While I’ve always been active – I played both competitive and recreational sports in high school and college – I took movement for granted and didn’t think about making a career of it until my mid-thirties. I thought everyone moved like I did and that is wasn’t a special skill to have, so I didn’t listen to my inner voice. It wasn’t until I started working in a community center as a swim instructor and was given an opportunity to teach water fitness that I witnessed a need for safe and effective movement, especially with older adults and those that were injured. I was also told I was good at it, and this pushed me to listen more to myself.
What kind of clients do you work with?
I work with all ages and abilities, and think of everyone as a bio-individual who will respond to movement in a unique way. I use both the water and land to train; you don’t find a lot of on-land personal trainers who can unlock the power of water, and that’s one of my niches. I also like working with young girls/teens, and teaching them movement can help develop confidence and manage anxiety or other big feelings they are dealing with.
How are you able to reach young girls/teens through movement?
Remember my own vulnerability. Everyone who is asked to move is also being asked to if they are willing to be vulnerable, to do something they might not be good at, be embarrassed, or to even fail. Movement can actually push through a lot of these roadblocks and build something better inside and out. Young girls/teens need a positive outlet that is of their own creation, that isn’t hinged on a screen or the opinion of another. Something they can see has been there their whole life, and will be there tomorrow, giving them endless benefits. I aim to create “life-long movers” when I work with this population, getting them past the idea that fitness means competition or perfection, but rather movement is freedom, exploration, science and art.
Dealing with teens, you might also be dealing with body image. Where you always happy with your body image?
I’ve always been thin or what I technically know now is called ectomorphic, a body image term used for those who have difficultly gaining weight. Although that sounds like the ideal problem to have, my struggle with body image feels just as real as anyone else’s. The desire for change can plague us all. The key is doing something about those feelings, and I find using movement makes myself and the clients I work with feel so much better about where health is headed. I think of losing weight or gaining muscle a side effect and not the main goal to feeling truly healthy, which also requires emotional and mental changes.
What keeps you on the cutting edge of movement?
I never stop learning. That can be through ideas I pick up on social media, feedback from students, new certifications, or even great quotes. I tend to think I’m only as good as the last class I taught so I constantly push to make the next class better. Also, because exercise and medical science is always changing, I need to stay on top of concepts that could help one of my clients. Recent studies show positive effects of performing :20-second high-intensity intervals, so through this application I have been able to help one client control their blood sugar and another lower their blood pressure. What I learn can make a difference in someone’s life.
What is currently exciting to you about the field of health and fitness?
Functional medicine excites me. Our current “sickcare” system is failing so many people, especially those with chronic metabolic or degenerative conditions like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Our overworked doctors and medical professionals, to no fault of their own, received conventional care training where the solutions involve drugs and a “sad” diet (the Standard American Diet of high carbs, low fat). If I use more of an integrative health coach approach with my clients, which means looking at their sleep, gut health or diet, stress, exercise, and even collaborate with other providers they might be working with such as a nutritionist or physical therapist, I can better get to the root cause of their issues. This is the functional medicine approach, and it helps people lose weight, get off pills, and feel better than they have in years. I learn a lot from field leaders like Chris Kresser and Dr. Mark Hyman.
You can find out more about Tina and her services here.