in my Career
After a 20-year career in education, I made the leap into a new venture: health and fitness. As a lifelong athlete, my passion for helping others with their fitness goals began as a high school cheer coach. In my tenure as a coach, I helped to grow a program that educated athletes about proper nutrition, the importance of strength training and mobility, and fueling the body for performance. As many of my cheerleaders moved into adulthood, they reconnected with me, and I began “coaching” them again as they got ready for their weddings, wanted to get back in shape after having a baby, or found that they needed to change their lifestyles into healthier ones for their kids. I started running online challenges and educating my old students through this format in 2013 while teaching English full time as a busy working mom of two girls at a local technical college. And as much as I loved being in the classroom.
I couldn’t deny that my heart was in educating others on health and fitness far more than in grammar & writing.
During this time, our family faced financial ruin when the recession hit, and we found ourselves jobless and within months of losing our home, the only asset we hadn’t liquidated. We had two young children, one with a disability, and we had no insurance and no income. It was then that I hit rock bottom and almost ended my life. In that moment, I turned around, and I saw my two little girls with their baby hands pressed against the back door. They were both looking at me as I was standing there on my back deck with smiles on their innocent faces-big blue eyes and a mess of brown curls on one, the other with perfectly blonde hair, oblivious to what I was contemplating in that moment. It was at that point I realized I had to come back to the light and crawl out of the darkness for them.
I had to face and fight what was in front of me for those who were behind me.
One decision at a time, I recommitted to a healthy lifestyle. I quit alcohol and anxiety medications cold turkey. I started feeding my body with healthy foods and used the gym as my escape and therapy – a place where I could break myself down to build back up, a place where I developed a physical strength that lapsed into a mental and emotional strength to face the struggles of the next day.
I continued to teach college as a means to support my family as we rebuilt our life and ensure my daughter had access to insurance and quality medical care and therapy. It was a long, difficult road back, but I knew if we could survive those years, we could survive anything. The last few years of my college teaching career felt empty and unrewarding. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the universe had different plans for me, that my purpose and passion were changing. I denied it for a long time, mostly out of a sense of responsibility to my family, but in the last year, it became so apparent that I couldn’t deny it anymore. It seemed as it every day, someone else was reaching out to me for help with nutrition or workouts. I found an incredible supplement company, 1stPhorm, and began working for them. In just a few months, I knew my life was shifting. I went on to get my personal training certification and continued to grow as part of the sales force for 1stPhorm. I started working part-time training clients at a gym and online, and I ramped up my online challenges helping hundreds reach their fat loss goals.
In December 2016, I quit my teaching job to pursue personal training full-time. In January of 2017, I was named one of five Brand Ambassadors for 1st Phorm. When I was thinking of a name for my brand, I kept coming back to images of Spartan warriors. This elite group, their mental and physical training, and their mission as an army fascinated me. I came across a quote that said, “A warrior fights what is in front of him to defend who is behind him.” This quote sent me reeling back to the day when I nearly took my life, and I realized that it was on that very day, unbeknownst to me, a Warrior was born, years before Warrior Fitness and years before I was going to be ready to take this leap.
In four years, I have grown an army of over 1200 elite Warriors in a private Facebook community. I run fat loss challenges quarterly for people of all ages and levels. I host monthly free boot camps in GA and for various groups within my local community. I train private clients online and in their homes. I write nutrition and exercise plans for local clients and online clients, providing check-ins, support, and accountability. I continue to be part of a growing sales force and movement within 1st Phorm and was named Legionnaire of the Year as well as Elite Trainer in 2017. I have spoken in various cities across the US to promote health and wellness. In 2019, I became a Leader for Balance Athletica, a fitness apparel company that focuses on inclusivity and making men and women feel confident in their skin. In 2019, I added two coaches to Warrior Fitness to expand the services under my brand to include topics and coaching for intentional living, yoga, the mind-body connection, and clean living. 2020 brought a new addition to the services that Warrior Fitness is now offering: Corporate Wellness. In 2021, Warrior Fitness is partnering with corporations to build an in-house corporate wellness programs to improve the health of its employees.
I am excited for the opportunity to work with you in any of these formats and welcome you into Team Warrior Fitness, forging an army of individuals on a mission to become their best and healthiest selves, to find strength in the struggle, and to fight what is in front of them to defend who is behind them. As Warriors, we show up for ourselves first and work hard to be better each day.
– Stephanie Lawler