About my work (Let’s build an outdoor rec community where everyone is welcome!)
Outdoors are for everyone. All shapes, sizes, genders, races, sexual identities, ages, abilities. All bodies are good bodies, and all are welcome here. This hasn’t always been the case in outdoor recreation, but we have the power to change that.
Strength is the key. Functional strength helps us play in the mountains without injury, and have more fun doing it. And you don’t have to give up your other priorities -- or do a workout program perfectly -- to get strong. I've spent the last decade helping people build the kind of true, embodied strength that allows us to listen to our bodies, give them what they need (sometimes it’s a chocolate bar or an extra hour of sleep!) without guilt or shame.
Mental health matters. Exercise supports mental health when we ditch the “no-pain, no gain” pressure and replace it with titrated challenges, shifting our relationships with our bodies, & gradually increasing our capacity to do hard things without overriding our nervous systems’ cues. We build capable nervous systems so that we can handle hard times in workouts, mountains, and life without fear, overwhelm, or shutdown.
I help outdoorsy women build mind & body strength so they're resilient when times are tough, and have as much fun as possible the rest of the time.
I'm a down-to-earth Alaskan girl with a big heart who wants to make the world a better place. I love a good book (send me your faves!), try to spend as much time outside as possible, and I'm always up for a dance party.
I'm a mental health-informed adventure fitness trainer, helping women have fun outside (and in daily life) without the pressure, perfectionism, & proving we’ve learned from adventure/fitness bro culture.
Over the last decade, I’ve built a body of work that brings together fitness, mental health, and outdoor recreation. I've worked with hundreds of women from Alaska to Antarctica, helping them build the mind & body strength necessary for life & mountain time.
My clients want to enjoy their workouts & their time outside, without feeling like they’re failing or falling short. And they want strong minds and bodies so they can keep up with their friends, handle life and mountain stress, and have fun doing it.
The Lineage of my Work
Learning is one of my favorite pastimes, as you can tell by this ever-expanding list! The lineage of my work traces back through these incredible teachers (I’ll include recommended podcast episodes if you want to dive in too):
Fitness & Movement.
My ethos: always listen to your body. All bodies are good bodies. Build functional strength & mobility through self-awareness & titrated challenge.
- Tabata Bootcamp by Mindy Mylrea was the original form that Ski Babes & Summer Strong grew from.
- Elizabeth Dialto's Wild Soul Movement allowed me a new level of self-acceptance & taught me that listening to my body was magical. Elizabeth’s Podcast
- Pre- & Post-natal Pregnancy Certification through Girls Gone Strong has helped me provide appropriate modifications and guidance for all my clients on the pregnancy path.
- My personal training certification through AFAA opened doors to the many different ways of working with health & fitness.
- My experience teaching a variety of fitness modalities, including Spinning, Barre Above, TRX, Plyo, Yoga, & Insanity has shaped my appreciation for the human body's movement potential
- Leigh Lubin introduced me to a version of yoga that helped initiate my awareness of my own internal experience and recognize the importance of interoception. Leigh taught my Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training, and the teachers at YogaDownload.com, including Christen Bakken, Jackie Marhou, & Elise Fabricant have helped my practice continue to evolve.
- My Online Trainer Certification through the PTDC helped me transition my in-person workouts to an online program without losing quality or impact.
- My high school track coach, Mr. Devenney taught me the foundations of fitness & modeled impactful leadership, commitment, & purpose.
My ethos: Curiosity, experimentation, & self-awareness are key. Listen to your body. Notice how your food, energy, mood, cycles, and performance interact. Build sustainable habits. Make it easy.
- Precision Nutrition taught my nutrition coaching course & I appreciate their integrative approach to building holistic nutrition habits
- I appreciate the Intuitive Eating movement’s listen-to-your-body messaging, which integrates well with my fitness & mental health practices
- Stacy Sims' work with female athletes, including her book Roar, helped me evolve my practices to incorporate gender differences
My ethos: everyone can benefit from attention to mental health. Self-compassion first. Healing comes in many forms. Increasing nervous system capacity improves everything -- workouts, mountain time, relationship, & daily life.
- My Masters degree is in Social Work, and I am working toward my LCSW license. The bio-psycho-social-spiritual model that informs all of my work was originally introduced to me in my social work studies with mentors including Kathy Trawver, Matt Wadsworth, & Brandy Stratman.
- Somatic Experiencing teachers Peter Levine, Kimberly Johnson, Sabia Wade, & Irene Lyon have tremendously impacted my own healing and helped give me language for the value of nervous system work.
- Movement for Trauma Certification with Jane Clapp, as well as her ongoing webinars on breath, pelvic floor health, etc helped me integrate my fitness background with mental health & trauma healing work. Jane Clapp podcast interview
- My training in the modalities of Internal Family Systems, EMDR Level 1 & 2, Mindful Self-Compassion, and Trauma-Focused CBT is incorporated both in my workouts and my sessions with clients.
- The Realization Process with Judith Blackstone and teachers Brooke Thomas and Michael Lydon is the embodied meditation methodology I practice and informs much of my work. Judith Blackstone & Brooke Thomas podcast interview
My ethos: liberation is the goal. Black lives matter. Intersectionality matters. Healing & repair matter. Commit to a life-long effort of learning, healing, & unlearning. This work can be sustainable & joyful!
- Dr Tee Williams has been my primary social justice teacher, helping me expand my knowledge, skills, & self-awareness in practicing liberation work for all. Dr Tee podcast interview
- Resma Mennaken's books and teachings inform social justice from a somatic and trauma-focused perspective. Resma Mennaken podcast intervew
- The Health at Every Size movement has brought together body positivity and social justice in the fitness world.
- The Seeing White podcast is a great place to start to understand racial dynamics in the US.
Family & Culture.
My ethos: we are shaped by our families, our teachers, our communities, and by the land we live & recreate on. Recognize where you came from, take what works for you & leave the rest. Follow your passion and your joy.
- My Mennonite heritage instilled in me the values of service, simplicity, generosity, and humility.
- The Alaska Native people whose lands I grew up and still reside on have touched my life in countless ways. Alaska Native cultures have much to teach us about connection to land, community care, and resilience.
- Ani Difranco & Lauren Hill taught me that passion, art, anger, & social change can all go together.
- Indigo Girls give me hope and helped me feel supported in the darkest times.
- Lizzo taught me to twerk, to embody joy, and to shine so that others can shine too.
What does this mean for you?
You’re in good hands. I’ve been studying bodies, minds, movement, and healing for over a decade and find that my most effective work blends techniques from all of these methodologies. Outdoor adventures and healing demand complex solutions that incorporate pieces from all of the above!
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How SMH Training came to be
SMH Training was born in the mountains outside of Valdez, Alaska, where I was learning to backcountry ski, teaching fitness classes, and finishing up my Social Work Master's degree.
I live, work, and recreate on the unceded land of the Dena'ina people. I'm using my life and work to create a world where colonization and oppression are no longer normal or possible. #decolonize