All my life I have felt out of place. I’ve been told what to wear, what I should look like and have lived in constant confusion of how others saw me.

I was always wondering how I appeared to everyone else. Growing up dance was the only thing where I just felt free and loved doing it every day. I danced as much as I could as an escape to the real world and even though I was always in front of a mirror I knew that this is where I was meant to be. I lost this feeling when starting college and I had gotten to the point of getting out of breath walking up the stairs to my apartment, I couldn’t get through the workouts I was teaching people, and I was physically disgusted and depressed with myself. I kept ignoring the problem and just kept buying bigger sizes and getting more frustrated because nothing ever looked 100% right on me.

Once I finally started my journey Junior year at UT. I didn’t know what this path would become or who I would become by teaching fitness and personal training, but I gave it my whole heart. Fitness then became apart of me, of my every day life. If I wasn’t teaching or training I felt off like something was missing again. My way of life and the way I look at life is what I want to share with all of you.

Once I realized that I could be this voice, this example for others I started pushing even further in my skills and how I was teaching. With people walking into class, asking me where the instructor was, to saying things like “you are a big girl” to “ I’m surprised that was a great workout”. I was always underestimated. I decided to start turning the negative into a positive. I challenged my frustration, and my aignst and told myself I would be known for being one of the hardest working and challenging instructors and trainers wherever I went.

Once I started realizing I could do this, that I could really be one of the best instructors and make the statement that I was strong no matter my body fat, I wanted others to know they could to. I decided to start empowering women and men who felt like they weren’t good at working out, or didn’t know what they were doing or how to change their lifestyles. I wanted to change the situation to “healthy living is for all” it’s not an exclusive club.

From there I started creating a safe place for those in my classes or when I trained my clients. This safe place was a mindset of, we are here to work and love our bodies. Get out of your head and just start moving. Who cares what you’re wearing, or how good the person next to you is doing, this space is not for competing or comparing it’s for doing your best and becoming your best self.

I have worked in many different atmospheres from judgment, to feeling completely at home, to people watching my every move. No matter where I went I knew that this is so much bigger than caring about society’s view of my weight and what I should look like. I had to become selfless in the fact that I never wanted anyone to ever feel how I had let myself feel all of my life.

Dani D. Fitness is:
Working out, feeling empowered, becoming stronger, creating longevity, becoming more mentally strong, positivity, loving your body, fighting for what you want, losing weight, gaining muscle, having fun, and finally stopping the nonsense. Let’s start enjoying this journey together.