So as you've probably gathered by now, my name is Kayla. Hi! I was born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii and moved to NYC at 18 to pursue a career as a professional dancer. Shortly after the move, in the midst of trying to navigate a career as a performer in the city, I started to struggle with disordered eating and body image issues. Although I had been immersed in movement and fitness my entire life, my eating and body image struggles led to overtraining and adrenal fatigue. I was living in a constant "fight or flight" mode with cortisol incessantly pumping and feeling completely burnt out. When I summoned up the energy to force myself to workout, I was only fueled by the pursuit of my "ideal" physique. I became obsessed with my body image and spent hours in front of the mirror tearing myself to shreds. Comparison ran rampant in my mind. I didn't care about the internal health benefits of working out to live a long, healthy, and happy life. This spiraled into a several-year-long battle that expanded into extreme binging and restrictive eating, anxiety, orthorexia, and body dysmorphia. I lost my period for 3 years, along with my self esteem, energy, and hope.
It was really tough and for a long time; I couldn't figure out why I was going through something like this. But being on the other side of that journey now, I know that I would absolutely NEVER be where I am today had I not gone through those trials. The healing journey took time and patience, but with my amazing support system of friends, family, and holistic practitioners, I started to become healthy again. Actually, not just healthy, but strong and thriving. One of the most profound shifts that happened was that I started to listen to my body. No more ignoring hunger cues or cravings that led to frenzied binges. No more forcing myself to hit a killer workout when deep down I knew I needed rest. Now, I eat what I want, and I eat to complete satisfaction, without a side of extreme guilt. Of course, I am health conscious and love colorful, nutritious foods, but I understand that true health means balance and community. Now, I workout because it brings me joy and makes me feel unstoppable. I love feeling strong, training hard, and challenging my mindset to see how far I can push my limits. That being said, I have major respect for rest days and take mine very seriously. I want to be able to do obstacle courses and relay races with my children one day...even my grandchildren! Taking a holistic approach to nutrition and fitness transformed my life and heavily influences every decision I make. I'm all about living a healthy and active lifestyle that is sustainable, not overwhelming. One that brings joy and empowers us over the course of our lifetime. No more fad, restrictive diets or workouts that drain us rather than lift us up.
My heart is to help others discover their own beautiful and unique version of a lifestyle that suits them; moving in a way that makes them feel unstoppable, eating for their beautiful body, and living a vibrant life.
I started classical ballet training when I was three years old and began to explore theatre in high school. At 19, I had the honor of touring the world with the iconic Broadway musical West Side Story for one and a half years. Since then I've performed around the U.S. in shows including Evita, An American in Paris, Chicago, and yet another dream-come-true season of West Side Story at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
I've seen too many friends injured, inhibiting their performance, removing them from of shows, and severely impacting the rest of their career. After an injury to my back took me out while on tour, I was determined to learn more about the human body and help other dancers. I was brought up with the antiquated mindset that "dancers only dance." If I wanted to workout outside of class, I was told to only do cardio...absolutely no weight training. "Weight training makes you bulky and over develops muscles that dancers don't need." As current athletic performance studies and exercise science tell us, those statements could not be farther from the truth. Dancers are at the top tier of elite athletes, and as such, cross-training is essential for peak performance. Learn more about training for dancers, here.