Meet a Health Hero: Allison Schwartz
» You can vote for Allison on our Facebook page October 7th through 13th. Mark your calendar!
Name: Allison Schwartz
Occupation: Founder of GFit Women
Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
It’s funny to reflect on this question to realize how the motivation of being healthy evolves over the years. In my elementary days, it was not conscious; I ran around and played with my friends on the playground. Middle school and high school, I wanted to be fast and agile for the sports I played. Then college rolled around and competitive sports were not a part of my daily life, but being active was ingrained now. So in college, I became a personal trainer and taught classes for my fellow classmates. During that time, most activity was for physical appearance reasons: looking good in a bathing suit or fitting into a pair of jeans. Now it’s about setting a good example for my five-year-old daughter, showing her how important it is to eat healthy and exercise daily. So I realize my motivation for being healthy and active has evolved through the years, but one thing that stays constant is how being active and healthy makes me feel: inspired and confident.
Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
I worked for 13 years in advertising in New York. It was a very grueling job, with long hours. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Doing something you are not passionate about eventually takes a toll. I had a wake-up call when I lost my best friend. We would always talk about a career change. At that time, it was just cooler talk, dreaming, thinking of a different future where we loved what we did. After he passed away, I decided to re-evaluate my career. I wanted to help women make changes in their lives. I wanted to help them be happy and confident, even if it’s just for one hour at the gym. I wanted to create a supportive, strong, motivating group of women for all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels that they could lean on. I want them to feel empowered, challenged and celebrated. So that is why this nomination was so incredibly moving to me. We have created what I had dreamed of by the water cooler.
What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
Being healthy and active has to start in school with the children. I believe that having a nutrition course as part of the curriculum is crucial in educating children to start making healthy choices. I also firmly believe that every child should be required to play at least one sport during the school year. This will build confidence, help them learn to work as part of a team, and get them off the couch. This age of social media and video games has taken away interpersonal communication. Required sports would get them to interact, be active, and develop social skills.
What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
Change and diet. The workouts I program for GFit Women change every day. My ladies have not done the same workout in over two years! With change comes consistency—there is no set routine, and you don’t get bored. You trick your body so it doesn’t adapt to the same move over and over. But while you may be consistent in your workouts, diet is where you really enter a whole new level. Not just results you can see, but results you feel: more energy, sleep better, better workouts. So change and diet are crucial; together they are unstoppable.
What is your number one piece of health-related advice?
Focus on how working out makes you feel, not how it makes you look.
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