Alison has been in the fitness industry for most of her life--a former athlete and competitor!
She has also been an entrepreneur for over 20 years with a Masters' degree (ECU). She has worked in corporate fitness, education, and the private sector and created her own podcast
focusing on self care and its journey.
Alison is a faculty member at a local women's college.
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One of the biggest lessons I've learned from her is that we have to learn to live in the am and not the, orSpeaker 2:
Hello and welcome to in the rising podcast. My name is Betina brown, and this is the platform I've chosen to talk of about living a life that's in alignment with your hopes, your dreams and your goals. And there are so many aspects of life that we can do that in and today. My guest is Allison Kowski and we talk about health and fitness and mindset. So I welcome you to listen to today's episode, super, super, super thrilled to talk with a fitness person as a physical therapist. I love fitness people. Um, and Allison , thank you so much for joining me on in the rising podcast today.Speaker 1:
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.Speaker 2:
Absolutely. So I , um, I love, I love your, your, your energy just from reading about you and , and getting to talk to to you right now. And you said to yourself, you know, you are a 25 year fitness entrepreneurSpeaker 1:
And yes, ma'am,Speaker 2:
Those are two very difficult , difficult things. One is fitness for a lot of us, not always, but to stick with something, to realize that, and also entrepreneur, how have you combined them and what keeps you motivated to, to with this ?Speaker 1:
Well, I mean, I'll just, you know, preface what I'm about to say with just a little bit about how I got to where I am. I mean, it's interesting that you're a physical therapist, cuz that was my first choice when I went to school and when I was waitlisted, when I got into to , you know, to apply to the , to the different programs, I was encouraged to look at something that would be a good compliment to physical therapy. So I was in , and I , I grew up with competitive athletes, so I was always interested in health and fitness anyway. And so it was one of those things where I, I finished my undergraduate degree and then I went on and got a master's in exercise science and I absolutely fell in love with it and I just have never looked back. So it was one of those things that was completely meant to be. But to answer your question, I think for me, what it took was going out and working with other people in the fitness arena to figure out what really could , it could be done better to serve the public. And going back to my rehab roots , you know, to my thought of, you know, going on and becoming a PT, you know, it's so hard for people to get the hands on service that they really need in a traditional gym or somewhere else. And so for me, the decision to go out on my own was based in that, is that, you know, it , it went right to my service route for wanting to really help people, not just stay active , but to make a contribution to society that was along those same lines every single day, especially now, you know, coming out of the pandemic. I mean, there is nothing that people need more than health and physical activity. Um, it is the one of the Premo ways to strengthen, not just strengthen your immune system, but just to help you with health and longevity and disease reduction and everything. And so for me, it's every single day it's how can I make the lives of the people that I serve better? And so that's where I really find that's what really what's so rooted than my why .Speaker 2:
And when you said your service, like you just, that was a value for you, did you know, kind of early on like, was that, was that just in your heart? You know, some people have values and it's not even, they , they don't even know they have that value. Did , how did that come to be for you?Speaker 1:
Well, for me, I think it was, you know, my dad's, my dad's a physician he's retired now and my mom is a registered dietician . She's retired as well. And so, you know, I grew up in a household where it was always about serving the patient, you know, taking care of making sure that it was about the patient and in the healthcare system today, it's really not a patient centered system anymore. It's really more about insurance fan , all of that. But I watched my dad take calls from people at nine and 10 in the evening who were in pain and he would go off to see them because that's what he said, you just do. And so for me, it was always about serving and helping other people. And so as I got into my athletic career and got into made the decision to have a career , it was always about helping other people. I mean, I just, I , I think I just, I have the heart of a servant anyway, and I just feel like that is, that is what we should be as entrepreneurs. We need to be serving our clients first and foremost .Speaker 2:
Yes, yes, absolutely. And now when I wanna touch point on that, not, not to bring it up, but because a lot of us, like you said, it was meant to be. And , uh , I just had a conversation today with sometimes what you really, really want that door is shut for you. For example, was physical therapy. I have had plenty door shut. Um , but then you can be so grateful for that shut door because of what had , what you had the opportunity to see.Speaker 1:
Did, did you feel like, did you feel that you already knew that that door was shut? Like how did you respond? How did, how did that, how explain that process to you? Because that is also a hard process.Speaker 1:
It is a hard process and it , it took me a little while to figure that out. I really wasn't ready to accept it for a long time. If I'm being personally honest , um, you know, I've always been the kind of person I've known exactly what I want most of my life. I mean, most of the things that I have done and invested myself in have been, I have instinctively known that this is what I wanted to do. It was, I knew when I was a child that I wanted to swim, I always loved the water. And so I knew that I wanted to be a , and I loved, I loved competition. Um, and you know, I just knew that was what I wanted to do. And I just felt like, you know, I watched a , a teammate of mine, completely rehab her shoulder. And our coach had pretty much said that it might be a season ending injury for her. And she was not accepting that. She said, no, I'm not gonna do that. I've got big plans. And I watched her go through that whole process. And that's what gave me the idea. This is, this is some I could do this. This is something that would really like go with my whole thing about, you know, wanting to serve in the healthcare industry and knew I didn't wanna go to med school. I didn't wanna go that route . Um, and so, you know, I began the process and you , you , you know, you start to think in your mind, I check all the boxes. You know, I've got the grades, I've got the experience, I've got the, you know, recommendations. I've got all, I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing. And even doing all of those things, an always guarantee that you're gonna get the result that you want. What I, what it took me a long time to figure out was is that all that time a lesson was, was kind of in front of me at that point that I can do all these things I wanna do. Maybe it's not PT, maybe it's something else. And it just became apparent to me every year. I would , I applied for like four years in a row and I got waitlisted and I just kept thinking, you know, the universe is trying to tell me that I need to, let's take a look at what's over here and let this is gonna work. And I started having all of these opportunities dropping my lap, almost like it felt effortless. I mean, so I just felt like this is definitely where I need to be. And once I finished that program, I was like, I'm gonna make a go of this and just see how it goes. I just knew in my heart, I was that feeling that I had when I was a kid about swimming and doing the other things that I did, I just knew that it was what I needed to beSpeaker 2:
Doing . Yeah. And I, I like how you describe that because I, I have, everyone has their own journey and I'm in that place now where what I had wanted is not really what I want anymore, because now I see the limitations of that. Yeah . But I didn't see it right away, but to see thatSpeaker 1:
You don't see it. Yeah . You don't see it right away because you you're told, okay. Maybe I just need to work a little harder. I'll applying. They can't ignore me forever. You know , I'll just keep doing all these things and you get so focused on the action steps that you question, well, you know, what's wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? Well, you're not doing anything wrong. You just maybe need to think about maybe something else. Maybe there's another door over here. That's gonna lead you to something that's even better. Yeah.Speaker 2:
And so that you even better is where you are right now. Yeah . Describe, describe what you do professionally, you know, like what, what is your day to day life ?Speaker 1:
Well, I do a lot of private coaching with people. I'm a , what I like to call a fitness innovator. Um, you know, I , I , I did a lot of personal training for a lot of years. I've been a group fitness instructor since I was in college. Um , and that's something I , I can still pursue now, but what I have felt felt appalling to do over the last five years or so is to really more 10 years or so is to divert go more to a coaching role because having a brick and mortar studio for all of these years, I've moved my office. Like, you know, four or five times each time was a growth move as my business started to grow. And I just, I felt like, I felt like as it with each move, my business model was evolving.Speaker 2:
And ,Speaker 1:
You know, I started to feel a pull to serve of at a much higher level. So I'm , I do a lot more private coaching now. And most of my business is virtual now, thanks to the pandemic, but I was already going online before that. So one of the things that I've added for the last three, or , you know, three years or so is now I coach other health and fitness and wellness entrepreneurs on how to build out their , and use my zone of genius, which is innovation.Speaker 2:
Because I really think, especially now with what's happening in the world, that we have to have multiple ways to serve, but that doesn't always mean creating multiple offers. It just means getting really clear on how many different ways can you serve your clients, doing what it is that you really love. Yeah . So answer your question. A typical day for me is, is I'll do I do some private coaching? And then I work with my business clients too. Um, so I feel like I have the best of both worlds .Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. And what I loved was that you talked about your center of genius. You're like, I, I know I can innovate and to yeah . You know, and it doesn't even matter what profession we're in that some of of us are people that see a big picture. Yeah . And we can move that direction. And now you're using all of those experiences open and shut doors to help guide other people. Um , so that is really incredible. And now you see both the best of both worlds.Speaker 1:
I do. I really do. I, I, I really have very few days that I get up. I don't wanna go to work. So , and in fact, I'll tell you , I'll tell you a quick story. I was driving through downtown Raleigh yesterday, and I passed by the city block where my last studio was not where I am now, but where I moved from, and it was a 4,000 square foot building. And one of the reasons I moved was that that building is, was slated to be torn down. And they're gonna build a high rise there, which is kind of the nature of what's happening in downtown Raleigh now. Um, and yesterday they finally tore the building down and I by , and I knew that it was coming and I was kind of , you kind of prepare yourself for you. Don't really know how you're gonna feel when you sort of feel like a chapter of your life is like really with them . But you know, my husband's in construction and he's like, yeah, this project's a go . Now it could be any day. So I've sort of been keeping an eye on it, but, but to get back to what you were saying, it's talk about a door closing and another one opening it's like, it was really symbolic of the fact that, you know, this is in fact, the only thing that we can count on is change To be able to embrace it, but we don't have to lose what it is that we're really passionate about and what we're really good at at the same time.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And that there is a lot of change. And , um, and there tends to be a lot of resistance, right. Physically resistance, emotionally, spiritually. And you also, you know, you have a lot of things going on. You also have a podcast that , um , I do share, share about yours.Speaker 1:
Well, my podcast is pulled the ultimate journey of selfcare. Um, and I chose that title because it's really symbolic of my journey . Me . I mean , an entrepreneur yourself, you understand that you , you don't really work harder until you work for yourself years and years that I spent building my business, I, you know, would , and you would think being a fitness person that I wouldn't have any trouble scheduling time for me. Well, I always can say yes to plenty of people that I'm gonna help, but it's something that I've had to learn along the way to prioritize my own. Selfcare the way that I do to teach my clients . And now that I coach my business clients on how to do as well. Yeah . You can grow and run a business if you're you run yourself into the ground. So I had the opportunity to be on a local radio show down in the Florida keys. When I was leading a fitness retreat, I had some clients down there. That's something else I've added in my business model too. Um, and I had the opportunity to be on a happy hour show to help promote my retreat. And so it turned into what I thought was gonna be a 10 minute interview, turned into a two hour guest hosting spot with the host who invited me to stay in cuz we were having such a good time at the first commercial break. She covered her mic and she said, can you stay and host the rest of the show with me? I'm like, Yeah. And it was, I say that because it was that night that I got the idea to do my podcast and I thought I can do this. I can be on the air . I can do this.Speaker 2:
Yeah .Speaker 1:
The next month that I launched my podcast and that was two and a half years ago.Speaker 2:
Well, it took you a lot less time than it took me cuz I was doing like over researching again , what do you need? But you know, now the anxiety, for example , and just for example, your , your , your podcast , uh , cuz that I could relate to for sure that again, shifting that you had this idea, it didn't mean you squashed something. It means you pivot, you can add. Yep . And um, it took that opportunity of being on broadcasting that you're like, I can do this and I have a lot to offer in another way of service. Uh that's well , andSpeaker 1:
I think , and I think we have to remind ourselves that, you know, it's like my mindset coach tells me , um, um , my I've worked with a mindset coach off and on for the last year and a half. And one of the biggest lessons I've learned from her is that we have to learn to live in the am and not the , orSpeaker 2:
Mm .Speaker 1:
Cause something doesn't work out the way we think it doesn't mean that something else can't also work out over here and in our minds we're like, we think we're we're so laserlike focused on one thing. We think that that's the only thing that can happen for us. And so it's live the, and why not have those ? Why not have a business in a podcast? You know , why not try it ? You know, what's next. So we, we have to teach ourselves to get into that space so that we can come up with those different ideas.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Now that's really though , that's a really good point. I'm gonna write that down when I get my pen to work again. So live in the end and not the, or yeah , because it is not always black or white. It is not just this or that. Yeah . Um, and what you also said as successful as you are that you still have a coach you still have. Yeah . Yeah.Speaker 1:
Well coaches need coaches. Yeah . I mean, we can't see our blind spots, you know , We just, we sometimes we need someone to call us out on our, when we start to tell ourselves to say of story as to why someone won't work, you know, we need someone that will call us out too and hold us to the same standard that we hold our clients and our customersSpeaker 2:
Too . Um , yeah,Speaker 1:
For me. And you know, the , the other thing is this too, when we're encouraging people to invest in themselves, we have to be prepared to do that too. You know? Cause you know, we don't know, we don't know much easier to walk the path with somebody than to try to figure it all out by yourself. You'll spend your wheels and waste a lot of time. And if there's anything that we've all figured out over the last year and a half is that we do have no idea what is around the corner. We don't even know what's gonna happen tomorrow. You know , I , I am all in. I'm like I'm all in on the experience because you , you don't know when it's, when your time is up.Speaker 2:
Now I wanna get to the end of my life and think I should have done this. You know, I just , I'm not doing that.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. No, I , my friends always joke cuz I say I view life like a wet wash cloth and I'm gonna ring it out with everything. Yeah ,Speaker 1:
Totally. I love that. ISpeaker 2:
Love that . I'm gonna put everything out there. And so you, you are really with all of nutrition, you're , you know , obviously with mindset, but also nutrition. What would you say are, are two things that you see are lacking from, for clients? Um, that, that we don't know. Um, you know , that, that is a blind spot. That's very common.Speaker 1:
Well, I think there are two things that come to my mind right away. One is, is that I think people wait until they're hungry to eat. Mm . Get into a , a routine or a mindset or a schedule. And they wait for their, they wait for their body to tell them, Hey, I'm hungry. I spend four or five hours since eaten . I really need to eat. And so one of the things that I teach my clients as part of my signature system is I call it energy. You eat to fuel your body versus eating when you're hungry. It's a big difference. A lot of it is just comes down to the different choices that you make and how you put food together in combinations, you know, and how, how the, that literally makes you feel in terms of energy. Cause you know, example, you know, if, if you're working long hours and you're trying to finish a project or you're under a deadline or whatever, what's one of the first things you're probably gonna do is probably gonna eat some type of convenient food or hit the coffee machine or hit the vending machine because your goal at that point is just to get through it. Well , you're really not fueling your body when you do that. Um, the other thing that I see people do is they don't drink nearly enough water. You know, they, people, people put coffee, juices, energy, drinks, all that into the same, if you will, as water and you know, water is like one of the best things that you can give your body. I mean a colleague of mine, she's also a PT and , and a massage therapist. She's retired now, but, but she used to always have a saying, she said, you know, if your body doesn't get enough water, it becomes very sticky. Love that. Because if you think about , you know, when you have a , a cup of water and it sits on your desk for a period of time and it doesn't move, you know , and what happens to it, it gets cloudy. It kind of, you know, it might like get some dust particles or something in it and you don't wanna drink it. Well, the same thing happens to your body when you don't hydrate it and you don't move on a regular basis, it gets sticky and you kind of get stuck and that affects everything we can do.Speaker 2:
Yeah. And that's, that's a very good analogy because we can, we, that can make sense. Like we understand it sticky.Speaker 1:
We can . Yeah . Well, and , and one of the easiest ways that I , that easiest ways that I teach my clients to be very conscious of making the habit change, that's really what it comes down to is just creating a new habit is getting a cup on your desk all the time, so that you're conscious and you're aware of it. You have to, we have to be reminded unfortunately.Speaker 2:
Right. And you're right. It does take a new habit. What , what would you say also because that's the eating portion? Are we now more resistant to movement because of the pandemic or are we using that a little bit like a crutch because we weren't really moving beforehand?Speaker 1:
Well, I, I think it's both actually. Um, I think for some people, if I'm being really honest, I think for some people, the pandemic really helped them . You know, it helped them get really clear on what their priorities are. Maybe they got really super focused on their health, you know, instead of running around like a chicken with their head cut off, you know, and then I think for other people it's been a real struggle. So I think, you know, you can argue both sides, but I do think, I do think this though. I think that the pandemic has forced us to be more sedentary, you know , high computer screen, probably more than we've ever been. There are more people working remotely than there've ever been, and that's probably not gonna change anytime soon. I think businesses have figured out that they can still get their, their work done and save on overhead, you know, by doing that. Um, so, you know, I think as far as people being active, I think there's always, people are always gonna tell themselves a story , uh , that they don't have enough time. I mean, time is a relative concept. Um, and what it comes down to is having a successful plan that you can execute on a daily basis. And sometimes all that means is just simple daily habits. You know , partner are far , far away taking the stairs, getting up once every hour for five minutes. I mean, there's 1,000,001 things you can do that don't even evolve equipment. Yeah . A way to work it in, but you have to have the right strategy and the right pieces in place so that you can continue with it or you're gonna be successful.Speaker 2:
Correct . So you have, you know, just so many golden nuggets, like it's nugget, nugget, nugget. I feel like I'm at the, at the casino. And it's like, I'm like, I'm gonna remember that. I'm gonna write that down. I'm gonna listen to this again . Um , say , say someone's out there and they wanna learn more. Um, you know, besides your podcast podcast, the ultimate journey of self-care, how can someone touch with you learn with you? Um, all of those things.Speaker 1:
Well, I have a private Facebook group , um, it's called living your ultimate life through fitness and self care on Facebook. And we do challenges. I do a live training in there every week. I use it as a place for connection and accountability, you know, and depending on, you know, what the healthy theme is like I can , like in , for fall, it'll probably be fall into fitness. You know, it'll be really easy, really easy to kind of pick and choose topics that are relevant, you know, that are kind of in the news and front of mind for people. So people can find me there. They're welcome to send me a direct message through Facebook or Instagram I'm fit style gal on Instagram. Um, or they can join . Just drop me an email. I love it when people just reach out and say, Hey, I really enjoyed it. When you mentioned this, or what do you think of this or whatever I always wanna be available just to, to help answer any questions or give people an idea you don't know whose life you're gonna change.Speaker 2:
You know, today's episode has so many nuggets of, of gold for me. And one of the big ones for me was living in the, and, and not the, or how many times have we now put both hands up with this? How many times have we thought, well, this is not gonna work or this will not work. Or if this isn't happen, B is not gonna happen. But when we change that frame of reference in our mindset to and can happen, and this is wonderful and blessings continue to fall in alignment with really what our strengths are. Maybe our life is better than we imagined. And wouldn't that be fantastic. And if you found today's episode to be beneficial, I encourage you to share it with someone, put it in the hands and ears of those that it can make a difference for cuz you never know what that one action will do. And I also encourage you to leave a five star review. It does so much to elevate this podcast and again, put it in the hands and ears of those that matters. And until next time let's keep .