A wake call came to me in November 2015. I weighed in at 217 pounds and was feeling fatigued most of my days. On top of that, I was diagnosed with HCM (hypertontrophic cardiomyopathy), and knew it was time to take control of my health. I had my initial consultation with Sonja soon after, and she put together a routine that would work for me. I got started after the holidays and was amazed how quickly the weight started to come off. Within eight weeks of training I was able to drop 17 pounds, and felt vibrant again! Her passion and understanding of a persons needs are second to none, and I must say, my favorite workout with Sonja is the next one.
I began training with Sonja in the winter of 2012, about nine months after my wedding. Three months before I started training with Sonja, I had a flare up from an old knee injury, and began experiencing constant hip and knee pain. I was unable to go jogging (one of my favorite pastimes) or participate in many of the other fitness activities I had enjoyed in the months leading up to my wedding. I became unmotivated to work out because I experienced pain when I tried, and I was feeling pretty low. Sonja’s personalized approach to fitness was a refreshing change from other trainers I had worked with in the past. By catering her training techniques to my personal limitations and expectations, she guided me through innovative exercises to target major muscle groups and shift the focus away from my pain. Through a series of personal training sessions including strength and cardio training, and Pilates reformer workouts, I gained valuable core strength, rebuilt muscle, toned, and improved my body in ways I never thought possible. Three years later, I am back to jogging 3-4 times a week, and I have never felt better! Sonja helped to shift my perspective on fitness, and inspired me to get back to living healthier, with a happier outlook on life!
I started working with Sonja in February prior to my May 2015 wedding. The bridal package purchased was a Valentine's gift from my fiance - it was a gift I wanted, and was very excited to get. My goals were weight loss and body toning (especially since it was a destination beach wedding) with focus to my upper body for my strapless wedding dress.
To start off I met with Sonja to discuss my current workout regimens, abilities and limits, nutrition, and goals. Immediately I was very excited to work with her. She was passionate, knowledgeable, and always encouraging. Sonja and I met weekly for our nutrition and bridal workout sessions. Our sessions consisted of home visits that she made fun and entertaining. Visits included Pilates, TRX, bands, and weights. She was always very motivating and had fun new exercises along with weekly homework sessions to continue throughout the week.
Sonja helped me identify the nutritional changes needed to make my wedding diet effective and healthy. In addition, she helped me plan a strategy that I could use to stay at my peak fitness and goal weight after the wedding. I achieved my goals, had a wonderful experience doing so, and felt beautiful in my wedding dress. I highly recommend Sonja to anyone looking to make positive health changes and reach your fitness goals.
"I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you. When we started working together last year, I had no idea how far I could go with getting in shape. I am totally different now: my eating is much improved, I am running 12 to 15 miles per week, boxing and lifting weights. I am in the best shape of my life. And I still do a bunch of the exercises and routines that you showed me. Thanks for helping to inspire me and for giving me some concrete ways to take my workouts with me on the road."
My fitness journey to motherhood...
I am a 40 year old, active fitness fanatic who was pregnant and delivered a beautiful baby girl on March 5th, 2015. I am sharing my journey for a few reasons. First, my age. Second, my level of activity during pregnancy. Additionally, how far into my pregnancy I continued my fitness classes and finally, my recovery after giving birth.
As a pregnant 40 year old, you are immediately branded high risk due to 'Advanced Maternal Age'. A three word label that you are constantly reminded of for 40 weeks. I never thought much about my age until at each appointment I was reminded about it and that I was not considered a 'normal' pregnancy. Hmmm, I thought. I will show them! In my mind, age is just a number.
I have always been healthy and due to a very flexible schedule, have been able to be extremely focused on my fitness/workouts. I was able to attend 2-3 different fitness classes a day. I vary my workouts to include Pilates reformer, Cycling class, Barre class, Pilates mat class and TRX class. They are each unique workouts, as are the various teachers I take classes from. I enjoy challenging my mind and body. I was not going to let my commitment to fitness change during pregnancy. I did not want to gain excessive weight, which I was very capable of doing. What's a few bites (or pints) of Ben & Jerry's here and there?!?
I felt relatively good my first trimester (weeks 1-13). I did have morning sickness, but would not consider it severe. I was able to put the morning sickness to rest with working out. I remember feeling very sick one morning, but getting over to the fitness studio for TRX. I told Sonja I was there with the intention of taking class, but may not be able to finish class. She understood, but encouraged me to do what I could, pace myself and stay the course. I managed to do all 3 and felt so much better after class. The sick feeling was gone and I had my energy back! I promised myself from this point on that I would take each day of working out one day at a time and listen to my body.
My body continued to allow me to take the classes I love and that challenge me. Of course there were days that I was tired and didn't feel 'well'. Luckily, the next day I would wake up feeling great and ready to go. I credit my overall fitness to how well my pregnancy went. I did not have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy related health issues.
When delivery time came along, it went very smoothly and it was fairly easy. The doctor commented that I did not have the body of a 40 year old and did better than most patients in their 20s. Because I trained for this major body stress up until the day before delivery, my body responded well to the challenge of birth and the recovery from birth. I was surprised how strong I felt, minus the soreness in my lady parts and internal plumbing stoppage associated with birth. I was in a barre class 8 days after giving birth. It felt great to move around and experience a new body awareness after not being pregnant. 8 days is too soon for most, but I felt strong enough to go to class and knew my limits. I did not push myself beyond what I thought was reasonable. As a result, I went to TRX the next day, then Pilates mat the next and slowly resumed physical activity. I feel great and can't believe I gave birth 3 weeks ago.
This is my unique journey. I encourage all pregnant women, women who are trying to conceive and women thinking about conceiving to stay active and keep moving. Your body knows its limits, it will appreciate the movement and activity even during pregnancy!
I weighed in at a soft 149 lbs in February of 2014 and at 5"6 this was my personal limit for lack of motivation and utter laziness. I have scoliosis and was not able to put on socks in the morning without sitting down due to the tightness and immobility of my spine and back muscles. I had given up and threw all of my fitness routines out the window for an entire year!! I moved to Alexandria and joined the Army Navy Country Club to try to climb this uphill battle to health, fitness and well being. It is here where I met Sonja taking a Body Blast class twice a week, that I began my journey back to beauty inside and out.
I am a massage therapist and was lacking energy, endurance and integrity in practicing what I preach with health and well being. I knew I needed guidance, motivation, inspiration and encouragement. I needed someone with experience, knowledge and flexibility. This is exactly what I receive each time I train with Sonja. I found out through this class that she also teaches pilates and is a personal trainer. I decided to start taking private pilates classes with her because of the problems I was having with my spine. In the meantime, I was engaged and found my wedding dress and had a goal to strive for in October to be a hot and healthy bride!! It was a halter dress and fitted through the hips so I knew I had some serious work ahead of me. It was that time that I showed Sonja my dress and she knew the areas to target and the transformation began.
Sonja's approach to her classes and always fueled with encouragement and kindness. She motivates you to do those last painful repetitions with her sweet smile and confidence in you. Her sessions are versatile, challenging and tailored to suit your needs in every way. I once had a full blown melt down from the loss of a dear friend and she held my hand, listened to me, let me cry and supported me just like a best friend would. It is with great pleasure that I continue to see this amazing woman three times a week!!
My goals have been met and exceeded!! I have lost 12 lbs. I have lost 2 inches in my chest, 4 inches in my waist, and 3 inches in my hips. I spring out of bed every morning without any back pain, I have much more endurance with my clients and most importantly I feel beautiful on the inside and the outside. I made the commitment to myself and Sonja and finally feel like the woman I have always wanted to be.
Thank you Sonja for changing my life, my health and my well being.
The hot and healthy bride,
For many years now, I've struggled to find realistic solutions to eat better and exercise. I've used the usual excuses to explain why I couldn't find the time to workout and how convenience was king when it came to food. Yes, my work schedule is crazy. But that's the life of a Washingtonian unless you're blessed to work government hours.
That all changed when I met Sonja through my childhood friend Jeni. Sonja immediately impressed me with her positive attitude and her professionalism. Jeni's best friend trained with Sonja and saw jaw-dropping results in time for her wedding. You'd think her friend was fit her entire life. That alone was motivation enough.
With my wedding less than a year away, I started to think seriously about personal training as a viable option -- and maybe the only real option to succeed. The truth is that I wanted a lifestyle change, not just a "get skinny quick" solution for my wedding. Sonja was the answer I had been searching for to meet that goal.
Since January I've been training with Sonja, and together we mapped out a six-month nutrition and exercise plan to help me reach my goal of losing 20 pounds in time for the wedding. I'm happy to say that we accomplished that feat and I couldn't be happier! This is the healthiest and strongest I've felt in years and my family and friends agree.
The best part is that Sonja is incredibly creative and accommodating when she trains. She not only works around your schedule (sometimes on a week-by-week basis), but she also creates custom workouts that never feel repetitive or boring. What's more, she is very knowledgeable about how to deal with clients with chronic pain, adjusting workouts when my pain acts up.
I'm so pleased with the results that I am continuing on with Sonja twice a week. It's refreshing to have someone in your life who is not only your personal trainer, but is also a friend, a cheerleader and a nutrition coach. You won't regret your decision to train with Sonja. It's the best investment I've made all year.
Fasting for Ramadan
I think just about every trainer would agree that skipping all your meals then working out is a bad idea. Couple that with avoiding water and you’re verging on a disaster, but that’s exactly what I did when I decided to continue my workout routine while I fasted during the month of Ramadan. Every year over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world fast during this month, which spanned from June 28th to July 27th. During Ramadan, Muslims, like myself, fast everyday from sunrise to sunset without any food or water. With sunrise at around 4:30am and sunset at about 8:30pm, it made for a very long day of fasting!
Typically, we would wake up around 4am, eat a full breakfast and then fast until sunset. After sunset, we would have dinner and then snack until we go to bed sometime around 10 or 11pm. In prior years, I would typically gain 10-15 pounds during this month. A lot of that was due to the type of meals I would eat. I never paid attention to portion sizes or the type of food I consumed because I felt that after fasting an entire day with no food or water, I had the license to eat whatever I wanted. Fortunately this year, I had already been training with Sonja and had a regular nutrition plan in place prior to Ramadan.
Right before Ramadan began, I met with Sonja; she designed a plan that would work best given the circumstances of my fasting. We were already used to training 3 times a week, so all we had to do was adjust the types of exercises I did and the workout intensity level since I couldn’t have any water during or after my workouts. She also put together a great nutrition plan for my two meals (breakfast & dinner) that concentrated more on proteins and vegetables and less on carbohydrates, which is something I wasn’t really used to during Ramadan. In prior years, my meals included more carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, and potatoes. Instead, I focused more on proteins such fava beans, lentils, and eggs for breakfast, and chicken & fish for dinner. She also recommended having a protein shake late at night before bed to hold me over until breakfast. Another great thing about this plan was that she introduced me to coconut water, which was never part of my regular diet before. I quickly got in the habit of having coconut water with my early breakfast, which helped keep me hydrated throughout the day.
During the 30 days of fasting, both the exercise and nutrition plan worked well for me. In the past, I would feel bloated and dehydrated during the day. But this year, I felt great all day long. I rarely felt any hunger or thirst during my fast and my tailored workouts worked perfectly for me. Thankfully, I was able to maintain that throughout the month. For the first time this year I was able to lose weight during Ramadan! I lost 10 pounds and a few inches off my waist, thighs, and arms. It’s been a challenging month but I’m happy to say I’ve come out stronger, thinner and happier because of it.
“Sonja is simply amazing. I've been working with her since January 2013 and my body has transformed. She makes a point to listen to what my goals are fitness wise and designs workouts that are challenging without using bulky weights. Each workout is different and keeps my body guessing. Sonja is also really great at developing challenging workouts that take into account my physical limitations - having chronic knee problems - it is difficult for me to do certain types of exercises and work certain muscle groups. Sonja incorporates such a range of exercises I am able to work on toning muscles that previous trainers just ignored. Working out with Sonja has made me excited about fitness again and motivated me to recommit myself to a healthy lifestyle. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed! ”
"Sonja I am so sad you are leaving Hawaii. I want you to know how much you changed my life and look what you did for me? I never had definition like that ever until I met you, you have added years to my life!"Mari Olson
"Late last year, I decided that I needed to make some lifestyle changes with my upcoming wedding. Sonja is an amazing trainer but an even more amazing person. My path to fitting into a wedding dress one size too small, was filled with obstacles. As my body and its quirks changed, Sonja never gave up and constantly adapted sessions. My relationship with Sonja helped me lose over 30 lbs and still going. But most importantly, her guidance and unwavering support has made me change my habits for a better and healthier lifestyle. In fact, her training sessions prepped me for the Warrior Dash! I feel stronger, healthier, more confident and happy not just from the sessions of burpees but from the knowledge and strength Sonja bestowed upon me beyond the studio. I cannot express how fortunate I feel to have her as a trainer and friend. There are not enough words for me to tell the world just how amazing she is as a trainer and person!"
"Sonja is an amazing trainer. She listens to what you want and makes it happen. She mixes up her exercises and makes sure you're never bored. Her classes and personal training sessions are very intense so you definitely know you're going to get a good workout in! She's also great with giving diet and health advice, and has helped me change my life around."
"I have really learned how to workout - I never realized how having good form and technique can really improve the workouts....remember engage the core!" Jon
"I have always been a cardio junkie but hated lifting weights. Sonja made weight training fun and enjoyable. The more time I worked out with Sonja the more toned my muscles got. I really noticed a huge improvement in my upper body strength after just a couple of weeks. Sonja made my exercise routine much more complete with the balance of cardio and weight training." Ruth
YOU INCREASED MY MILITARY PHYSICAL FITNESS SCORE!Sonja, you are the greatest. You made me get results, despite me.After 24 years in the Army, I felt that I was stuck in a physical fitness rut. All I did was the same old routine of push-ups, sit-ups and running. I could not get past a score of 260 and seemed to be holding to a PT score of 250-260. When I first met you, I asked you that we try a variety of exercises and you immediately began working on my core, strengthening my back (I remember you saying my back was very weak) and making me do "planks". Oh my god, I hate planks! They really suck... After about a month of training with you, I felt a lot stronger and felt that I was cranking out a lot more push-ups. A few days later my assumptions were verified when I scored 285 on my PT test! It was the best I had ever scored, which isn't bad for a 44 year old. I was extremely happy and I really attribute it to you Sonja. Sonja, you are as professional as they come. You have a great personality and obviously have a lot of experience in physical fitness and training. I was always amazed at how you could bring the best out of me. You would always say, "are you tired now?" and I would say "huh-huh" and you would say, "okay 12 more!". It is like you know exactly how much more I could take and make sure that you maxed me out. I would recommend you to everyone and I feel that you have the motivation, experience and knowledge to get anybody back in to shape.Sincerely,
Lieutenant Colonel Ken Jennings
I've been seeing Sonja for 2 years and impressed with my progress. She's an excellent trainer who transformed my body and made me stronger and will customize workouts to help you reach your goals. When I first started I couldn't do one pull up but now I'm able to. What a huge accomplishment! I got married in September 2009 and she helped me lose significant inches and body fat in less than 1 year. Sonja is reliable, fun, knowledgeable and will always keep the workouts fresh and challenging. My week is not complete without her and I would highly recommend her to anyone that wants to get in shape, tone up & live a healthy lifestyle. She's worth every penny!"
Sonja is great! I am extremely satisfied with my results so far. I started off weighing at 122 pounds and now I am at 117, in a matter of two months! She helped me tone up, gain muscle, and lose fat with a great set of workout routines. Sonja individualizes each workout routine so that it will work out for you and you only. She not only helps you to lose weight, but she also makes it fun! I use to dread going to the gym and working out, but with her as my mentor, I enjoy and look forward to seeing her each week. I lost a significant amount of inches off my waist, arms, and thighs and significantly reduced my body fat as well. She is an extremely dedicated person. Knowing that I have a really busy schedule, she is really great at working around it so you will never have to worry about that. Sonja totally changed my perspective to live a healthy lifestyle as well. She will give you tips and advice on how to eat more healthy. I owe her so much and I am so glad that I got the opportunity to train with such a great person. I am definitely satisfied with her and I promise you will be too!
Training with Sonja has definitely changed my life. I started training with Sonja during a time in my life I felt I needed new inspiration and changes. Not only did she help inspire me and teach me how to make small changes that eventually led to huge weight loss results, but she also became a great friend. With Sonja’s help and motivation, I have accomplished so much and am still constantly reaching new goals. I have learned great life changing lessons from training with Sonja that I will use for the rest of my life!