Influencers in FitBiz
In this section, we are spotlighting people at the helm of fit-focused businesses who drive and inspire our community.
These leaders are at the helm of fit-focused businesses who drive and inspire our community. They inspire trends that keep our city vibrant and evolutionary. Whether they’ve been around for many years or they’re coming onto the scene, these austinites are influencers in fit biz.
Wellthy Soul Health Coaching and Weight Loss for Women is a tribe of health coaches and fitness profession passionately guiding women toward joy and happiness. Ranging from ages 28-46, these coaches have 16 children between them ages 2-22 and are actively experiencing the life stages of adult women. The Wellthy Soul girls have been through real-deal, life challenges like anxiety and depression, eating disorders, autoimmune disorders, chronic pain as well as breast cancer and multiple open heart surgeries. Bottom line, they get it and they know what it means to fight for joy, happiness and overall wellness.
In 2016, Wellthy Soul began as a motivational Instagram page created by founder Layne Bruner on a trip to Winter Park, Colorado. The online brand empowers women by encouraging authentic conversation. In a blog series called Strong Women, they tell tough stories about childhood abuse, anorexia and even the process of a double mastectomy. They use the Wellthy Soul platform to talk about real life situations that helps level the playing field for women so they don't feel alone or isolated. Every woman is welcome into the community.
Wellthy Soul currently offers four different online wellness series for women.
Rev60 A 60-day lifestyle reset with daily, personal accountability by your coach and also includes full length fitness videos, sample meal and wellness planners and suggestions to connect to your spiritual side.
Ignite14 A 14-day vegetarian nutrition and fitness plan that includes full-length fitness videos and a strong online community of women.
Wellthy Soul Run Club An online running challenge lead by a 31-time marathon finisher. She offers onsite run training if you live in Austin.
Wellthy Soul Work The newest series; a 15-day happiness series based on social science research. The program includes daily activities and self-reflection focused on gratitude.
All Wellthy Soul programs are virtually accessible for client convenience. Every series is built around three foundational pillars of whole food nutrition, safe fitness for women of all ages and soul work. This holistic approach to wellness intentionally serves the mind, body and soul.
Massage Sway & Organic Bronze
Rei Leigh Harmer
Rei Leigh Harmer, originally born in Michigan but raised Austin, has thrived in her career while consistently committing herself to her fitness goals. Her aspiration for fitness and health have been a part of her life ever since she can remember. While growing up, Harmer was very active and she developed a deep-rooted appreciation for teamwork and sportsmanship. Her competitive nature grew stronger and stronger into not only bettering herself but empowering other women as well. Togetherness and community have always been a top priority for her, and that has shown through her ability to connect with others through exercise. You can always count on her to bring the girls together for a cycle date or lifting session.
In the summer of 2014, Harmer was involved in a life-changing car accident which left her in a wheelchair. Her life completely changed overnight, as she had to learn to walk again. After many months of physical therapy, she was finally able to walk normally again and regain the strength for basic physical activity. Her traumatic experience led her to live her life by the words “any day that involves a workout is a grateful one.” Physical therapy led to healthy lifestyle change across the board for her. She realized more than ever how vital it is to appreciate her health and how easily life can flash before your eyes. Every day was a hurdle, but she overcame it. “Everyone is going to encounter their setbacks in life— it’s how you move forward that sets you apart,” she says.
Harmer is now able to enjoy all of the activities that she partook in before her accident such as cycling, weightlifting and small group training. She enjoys having an accountability partner, as she and her business partner aim to do at least one weekly work out together. The two ladies run two very successful businesses in the Domain together, Massage Sway and Organic Bronze. They are very fortunate to have each other, in good health and in bad.
Gabriela Bogner, a Texas girl by nature but a Brazilian at heart, has been passionate about holistic health and athletics throughout her entire life. She played competitive sports such as volleyball and cross country during her upbringing, which built into her an undeniable passion for challenging herself. In 2012, Bogner embarked on a four-year journey in the NPC as a bikini body-building competitor. She fell in love with the sport from the very start, while gaining an invaluable sense of self-discipline.
After a first-place win at Texas State Naturals and a top ten placement at nationals, Bogner decided it was time to turn in her training belt and redirect her focus to finding everyday balance. Transitioning to normality after years of a restriction-based approach to life wasn’t easy at first — in fact, it’s still a mental and physical hurdle to this day. It has taken extensive time and determination to rebuild the mental image of how “fit” and “healthy” should look. It can be a slippery slope to get caught up in self-comparison, social media and the idea of being “perfect.” Making the shift from old thought patterns were a true test of her ability to master self-love.
As the years went on, things began to change for Bogner. She battled several health challenges such as breast implant illness, thyroid deficiency, and multiple digestive disorders. During the summer of 2018, she made the decision to have her implants removed, which was a milestone in turning her health around. Since then, she has found a new joy for life and continues to implement holistic healing in her everyday routine. She lives by the simple words, “if it’s in God’s will,” as we are not guaranteed anything in this life. She hopes to be a pillar for other women who have encountered breast implant illness and is forever grateful to return to her everyday life of running Massage Sway and Organic Bronze with her business partner, Rei Leigh Harmer. Entrepreneurship and health have grown into an even deeper passion for both women, individually and together.
Austin Bouldering Project
Kaytee Hernandez, Yoga Manager
In 2015 Kaytee Hernandez was in the middle of a successful career as a graphic designer when yoga transformed her life.
“Yoga woke me up and broke me open. I realized I was unhappy at my nine-to-five job and I needed to devote myself to something more fulfilling. I needed purpose.”
After completing her 200-hour teacher training at CorePower Yoga, Hernandez quit her job and dove head first into teaching yoga full time.
“A lot of people told me I was making a career mistake. To remind myself of the reason I chose to take this risk, I kept a post it note on my bathroom mirror that said ‘the most dangerous risk of all [is] the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.’ It kept me going.”
Fast forward three years, Hernandez is doing exactly what she wants to be doing. She has earned her RYT 500, taught over 1,500 hours of yoga and is the Yoga Manager at Austin Bouldering Project (ABP). She leads continuing education programs for yoga teachers and is studying to become a Yoga Therapist through Yoga Yoga. It’s clear Kaytee has found her calling as an educator.
While her path has not been easy, she has stayed true to her purpose. When her mom suddenly passed away in 2016 she used yoga to cope with the grief.
“My mom was a talented teacher. She made people feel safe, empowered and cared for in her classroom. Teaching yoga makes me feel connected to her and to something bigger than myself,”Hernandez says.
Her classes and education programs share a common thread of self empowerment.
“I want to remind people that the most important influencer in your life is you. You have the power to influence your wellbeing and to heal. You are the greatest project you’ll ever work on.”
At ABP, Hernandez is building a robust curriculum that exceeds the expectation of gym yoga. With over 55 scheduled yoga classes per week and formats ranging from Ashtanga to Yin, ABP could be called the Austin Yoga Project.
“At ABP we call ourselves a ‘project’ because we are always learning, growing and improving.,” Hernandez says. For us, it’s not about reaching the top of the boulder or achieving a peak yoga pose. We want to learn from our journey and have fun along the way. We hope that shows through in everything we do.”
Miller Moss, Fitness Manager
Twelve years ago, Miller Moss, a kid from Sumter, SC was on the brink of starting a 10-year track and field career in the decathlon. Moss accepted a track scholarship to Clemson University for an event (well ten events to be exact) that he had never tried before. “They pretty much just recruited me off potential. I had to red-shirt my first year to learn the technical events in the decathlon,” Moss says.
Fast forward five years, an NCAA championship, a USA Championships bronze medal, four All-American Awards and several ACC conference medals later, Moss was poised to make a run for the 2012 London Olympic team.”I needed a new training environment, so the opportunity to train and volunteer coach at UT with Mario Sategna and Trey Hardee came up and I jumped at it.” Despite a debilitating knee injury, Moss still placed a respectable seventh at the London Trials, only four spots away from making the Olympic team.
“Going into the Rio trials, I knew it was make it or break it. I came up short of my dream to make the Olympic team, but I will never look back on my experiences as a decathlete and regret any portion of it.”
Now retired from track and field, Moss is back in Austin and hard at work delivering a top notch fitness experience to the east side as the Fitness Manager at Austin Bouldering Project (ABP). “I love helping people ‘find their project’ and go after it. Every person is different and my goal as the manager of a gym is to provide something for everyone in a positive, uplifting environment.” Since taking over the program, the class schedule has doubled, three new class formats have been added, and ABP has consistently offered new workshops that are on the cutting edge of fitness in Austin. “I expect the highest quality in every part of the gym from our equipment, to our classes to our instructors.” Through Moss’ leadership and guidance, ABP is climbing it’s way to the top as one of the best fitness facilities in Austin.
Moss has maintained a generalist, decathlon-like approach to fitness. “I love all aspects of human movement and for me it’s about quality of life and finding joy in whatever I do.”
Austin Simply Fit
Krista Bergeron, Owner/AFPA
Krista Bergeron, Owner/AFPA Certified-trainer at Austin Simply Fit (ASF), has been a part of the Austin Fitness community for almost a decade.
“When I look back I feel immense gratitude and pride to be a gym that has made a lasting impact in a city of great gyms. I reflect on how we have evolved, yet how some of the initial values and vision imagined by my business partner and founder, Mark Rogers still remain exactly the same.”
Bergeron’s main focus has always been on personalized, private training through strength and conditioning.
“We do not believe in fads or quick fixes, we believe in sustainable, measurable progress,” Bergeron says.
“It is no secret that ASF has a reputation for strong people. I can absolutely say it is our passion to see people discover their strength. Over the years, our definition of strength has expanded to include so much more than lifting heavy weights, although we love that too. We believe in strength with purpose.”
She and her team at Austin Simply Fit understand the science to achieving each individual’s unique goals.
“Whether we are working with an elite athlete, a senior trying improve mobility and stability, or a new parent trying to regain their fitness and sanity, we understand how to implement a plan designed specifically with that goal in mind. .”
For her, the greatest joy in this process has always been the people. This includes the trainers that make up the ASF family and the clients who are the heart of ASF. “Hearing stories of lives improved, love of self elevated and a place to belong is what drives me and my team. My goal will always be to make you feel and perform better. Come see us today!”
Shea Boland’s powerful journey started six years ago when he boarded a one way flight to Austin, a city he’d never been to before. The circumstances were quite dire. He was facing homelessness and the severing of ties with his family as the result of a painful opiate addiction.
“I knew I needed to get help. I desperately wanted to change the way I was living but I was so afraid of all the unknowns of what this new life would look like,” he says.
Boland hit the ground running with a new way of life once he arrived. Throughout his rehabilitation stay he got reacquainted with working out.
“Learning to push myself in the gym completely changed my life,” he says.
“Through physical movement I started to gain access to a space within me where I felt empowered. Once I got a taste of that empowerment, it started to have a ripple effect on other areas of my life. I embarked on a journey to be the healthiest version of myself and to help others do the same.”
This profound sense of connection with himself led him to listen to his intuition and take a leap of faith into Austin’s fitness industry as a private personal trainer. He was managing a local restaurant at the time and was craving a new experience. Something where he felt more fulfilled and aligned with the man he wanted to be.
“I knew I wanted to be my own boss, use my own creativity and I wanted to help people. Those were the three criteria I came up with that needed to be met for me to leave my stable career and venture into the uncharted territory of doing something I was passionate about. Fitness has always been a part of my life but I never imagined being a personal trainer.”
Fast forward close to two years of being self-employed and Boland’s vision for himself and his community has blossomed in so many ways. His business is thriving and he continues to expand his vision with exciting side projects. Most notably, the ATX Sprint Squad, which started with just him sprinting at Zilker Park. In than a year it grew to over a hundred people all lining up to sprint together. Through that, the Vancouver B.C. based activewear brand, lululemon, reached out and recruited him as an official ambassador.
Currently, Boland is planning to bring groups of men together in a more vulnerable way.
“I feel a calling to find skillful ways to bring more men together in a way that allows a sort of softening, to tap into something deeper.,” Boland says.
“To gain a little more insight into the power of emotions and what they are trying to tell us. I’m seeing more than ever how we as men struggle with this. My life has changed dramatically as the result of pursuing this path and I feel it’s my duty to show others how rewarding it can be.”
Boland also devotes a lot of his time to fight the addiction epidemic our country is facing by speaking at local treatment centers and mentoring other men who are desperate for help.
“People are losing their lives and it seems to only be getting worse.
Most times, the only people that can truly be of help to another addict are the ones that have gone through it themselves. My help is needed more than ever”.
If what he’s accomplished in less than a year is any indication, Boland is fighting the good fight and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Follow him on Instagram @sheaboland or email email@example.com.
Skin by Rachel
Rachel Spillman-Johnson, Owner
Skin by Rachel, locally owned and operated by Rachel Spillman-Johnson, offers innovative, rejuvenating, and holistic aesthetic services from natural-looking lash extensions to progressive facials. She believes the skin is a versatile and intelligent organ and that responding to it in a respectful way can yield the healthiest and most visually pleasing results. She researches and applies traditional beauty practices from all over the world, such as India’s copper facial toning system, as well as modern skincare modalities like superficial cryotherapy and light-emitting diode therapy to promote healthy and happy skin.
The Loop Running Supply
Ryan and Pam Hess, Owners
When Ryan and Pam Hess decided to open The Loop, they put lot of thought into these things so that the experience at The Loop is uncomparable.
“We believe The Loop is beyond a storefront in the heart of this city,” Ryan. “Rather, it’s a brand that pays homage to the sport of running. A place to fall in love with the sport all over again.”
Ryan, 30, and Pam, 28, are young entrepreneurs in the fitness industry, but they have a long history of passion for running. “In our opinion, run specialty is an industry that has been watered down over the years. We believe The Loop breathes new life into run culture, how one shops, train and weaves that passion into their everyday life.”
My Body GX
Kati Epps, Founder
512.777.9787 | firstname.lastname@example.org | MyBodyGX.com
MyBody GX represents their founder, Kati Epps’, interconnection of distinct passions and expertise: science and serving as a conduit for healing and joyful living. She consults with clients who are on every phase of their health and fitness journeys. Leveraging the latest advances in genomic testing, she’s able to eliminate the guesswork that previously surrounded coaching practices to align programs with clients’ goals and distinct genetic profiles. Epps is a lifelong athlete and former competitive bodybuilder. She is enthusiastic aboutbreakthroughs that are opening new possibilities to fitness for a broader spectrum of the population to meet clients where they are today and offer insights that bring their goals within reach.
Annette Howard, CEO and Founder
royaltyfitfamily.com | email@example.com
Annette Howard, CEO/Founder at Royalty Fit’s mission is to help guide our future generation towards healthier living, while inspiring them to never give up on their dreams. Annette shares her journey, “One day it hit me, I was bored. Bored of the same gym and weights. So I started doing parkour, calisthenics, obstacle course training, trail hiking & climbing. I felt alive again, I felt purpose. If I feared it, I attempted it. If I failed, I'd get up and try again till I conquered it. I was starting to do things I didn't know I could do. I started diminishing fear and learning how to conquer myself: mind, body, & soul.” Annette hopes that an increased awareness will lead to families making healthier decisions in their day to day life. “I would like our community to have everything they need to know, when it comes to keeping ourselves healthy, fit, and happy.”
Strong Like Her
Gina Borgetti-Evans, Founder
Personal Training & Coaching Services
Gina Borgetti-Evans, founder of the personal training and coaching service, Strong Like Her, has a mission. She works to to support, inspire and embolden her clients with an education and program to help each woman conquer her unique goals by providing a "safe space" where she feels comfortable and confident to discover her potential. All while building an empowered community of fierce lady friends.
"Gina's motivation, encouragement, and ceaseless cheerleading have truly helped me learn to love myself. I'm no longer afraid or ashamed of taking up space. Not only have I lost around 50 pounds, I've regained my sense of self." - Daniela F., Strong Like Her client
Find Gina at Strong Like Her and find yourself without a crowd.
Knockout Austin Kickboxing
Melissa LeBaron and Diane Borejsza, Founders
Founders, Melissa LeBaron and Diane Borejsza, are at the heart of Austin’s latest fitness craze, KNOCKOUT, a boutique kickboxing studio on West 6th Street. From the gritty, minimalist design featuring a dimly lit heavy bag room to the graffiti walls and sound-system, KNOCKOUT immediately feels like a NYC club. "You feel like a badass when you walk in but there’s no pretentiousness or intimidation factor. KNOCKOUT is inviting and approachable for every fitness and experience level. We’re most proud of the community we’ve built from people who’ve never taken a kickboxing class in their life,” says Melissa. “Creating KNOCKOUT has been a dream come true for us. The quality of classes and instructors is always top of mind. We definitely have some of the top instructors in Austin and they each have their own unique style,” says Diane. Each 45-min class consists of kickboxing rounds and high intensity interval training that will have every muscle sore and endorphins flying high. Because there's nothing more empowering than hitting a heavy bag, you'll get a sweat session as well as a therapy session. Be prepared to get hooked!
Five years ago, Lindsey Durnil was a stay at home mom looking for a new workout. She took a class at The Bar Method and unknowingly found her calling. The Bar Method became her one hour every day, to devote solely to herself and her physical and mental health. She found external and internal strength, a workout that never plateaus, a way to practice self-care and a community of like-minded women. The workout quickly became a passion and having never taught a fitness class, Lindsey underwent the six-month process of becoming a Bar Method instructor. Lindsey’s favorite part of being an instructor is watching the change that can happen when a woman spends time working on herself. She will notice women standing taller, holding their heads a little higher, smiling bigger. All from having the opportunity to spend time on and for themselves in an encouraging and supportive environment while getting a safe, effective and challenging workout unlike any other. While the physical changes at The Bar Method are quick and noticeable, the change inside her clients are what gives Lindsey the most enjoyment and satisfaction. Being a part of her clients’ journey to improve themselves, both physically and mentally is what inspired Lindsey to take over ownership of the studio in the Spring of 2018. Relying on her belief in the workout and love for The Bar Method community, Lindsey strives to create an environment where people can come to exercise, but leave feeling confident, connected, empowered and unstoppable.
Austin Skin Plus
Skincare and Acne Clinic
Carly Pilar founder of Austin Skin Plus and Skin+ Clinical Skin Care is changing the way acne is treated with a holistic approach that has a 98% success rate without the use of harsh prescription drugs. Skin+ is focused on putting an end to complicated skin care issues through transformative treatments, client education and specially formulated products that make it easy to maintain clear, radiant skin. The Skin Coaches at Skin+ take a deep dive into your genetics and behavior to devise the best approach for your unique skin care needs and empower you with easy-to-follow instructions for a sustainable clear complexion - and along with it, a renewed sense of self-esteem and confidence. Follow them on Instagram to see their awesome before and after @austinskinplus.
I Could Never Do That Podcast
Carrie Barrett is a longtime Austinite.
“When I moved to Austin 20 years ago, I was far from fit,” Barrett says. “Everything changed, however, when I crossed the finish line of my first Austin Marathon in 2002 thanks, in part, to Austin Fit running group, RunTex, Gilbert Tuhabonye and others who showed me a vastly path from the one that I was traveling.”
Today, Barrett is a coach and freelance writer for outlets like Austin Fit Magazine, Active.com and Ironman.com. She also hosts the “I Could Never Do That” podcast which features inspirational stories of athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, and others who are achieving goals beyond any perceived limits.
“Every story I tell and every interview I conduct is a “thank you” to this city that has given me more than I could’ve imagined for myself. It’s my turn to shine the light for others!”
Dr. Nahal Delpassand is a Licensed Psychologist and has been working in the field of Counseling Psychology for eight years. Her practice principles are derived from the Biopsychsocial model of health. This model conceptualizes health and illness as multifactorial, addressing the relationship between biology, psychology, and social factors. Simply put, when one or more of these factors is out of alignment it often leads to distress. Dr. Delpassand emphasizes emotional wellness as a way to build self-efficacy; the belief that one is capable of tolerating and most importantly acting adaptively when faced with adversity. Dr. Delpassand helps to empower her clients by guiding them to acknowledge rather than suppress their emotional experiences. Psychotherapy, she believes, is analogous to emotional strength-training. Psychotherapy creates space for understanding the nuanced relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In her experience, when emotional awareness is applied to everyday acts of living, clients evolve and become more self-reflective. This increased self-awareness helps clients to clearly identify what drives both progress and stagnation. Ultimately, Dr. Delpassand believes that emotional wellness helps to cultivate motivation, intentionality in decision-making, and sustained fulfillment in various realms of life.
Dr. Nahal Delpassand is currently, in private practice, in central Austin. She enjoys working with adolescents and adults. Some of her areas of interest include: chronic illness, depression, anxiety, disordered eating, body image, life transitions, advocacy and mentorship. Dr Delpassand obtained her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at Our Lady of the Lake University, in San Antonio. She completed her doctoral residency at Emory University in Atlanta.