I believe that all things are possible in life! It is never too late for fitness. We are never too old, too young, too fat, too thin, too weak, too inflexible, too sick or too busy to make positive changes in our lives and in our health!
I once wore five dress-sizes bigger than I do now! I was weak, had no energy, had a high body fat percentage, and my cholesterol was borderline high. I was also dealing with a bulging disc and extreme job stress. I was just miserable.
In late 2001, I was feeling sick and was in pain. I worked through the holidays only to find out that I needed to have my gallbladder removed. The gall bladder problems were, no doubt, escalated by my horrible eating habits, lack of exercise and high stress occupation.
2002 was the year I woke up! That year included me having gall bladder surgery, leaving my job and losing over forty pounds! I was still weak, though, and my legs were still covered in cellulite! I decided to start doing the noon classes at the YMCA on my lunch break. was hit and miss and I would only give my workouts about a 40% effort. I did start eating better as time passed. Exercise started to include trying different things along the way, but one thing I loved and would never miss was Body Pump. I loved it!
In 2010, my passion for fitness and nutrition led me to a new career. I started with teaching yoga and spinning classes at the YMCA. I then became certified in group exercise, Reebok cycling, Yogafit and personal training all in that year! In the fall of that year, I went to work for Fit In The City in Omaha and became the program coordinator for the 'Way to Lose' program. I taught classes at several corporate locations and began to hone my skills as a trainer. This was my life's calling and I loved it! I finally found where I belonged!
While working with FITC, I continued diving into my education. I became certified as a Nutrition and Sports Nutrtition Specialist. I was also certified in Kettlebell, Bootcamp,and Pilates. I also attained four more certifications in Yoga, Wellness Coaching, and the list goes on!
In June 2013, I became part of the professional staff for the YMCA. I moved up the ladder from Wellness Coordinator, to Health and Wellness Director, and then ultimately to Membership Director in an 18 month span. I'm so grateful for my time at the Y and love my YMCA family. I still harbored a desire to continue onwards towards my ultimate goal of having a Health and Wellness Studio of my own. In December 2015, I began to revise my plans, map out what I was going to do, and then got busy making my dream come to fruition!
So, I'm here to tell you that I am living proof that everything IS POSSIBLE! You can, at any age, make positive changes in your life and in your health! I love teaching, showing, helping and coaching others to be the best version of themselves they are ready to be!
Thank you for reading my story and I look forward to seeing your smiling face at First Row Fitness!
Ashley was discovered in Kettlebell classes at First Row. We noticed right away that she was a natural with the Kettlebell and would be great at teaching.
When we approached her about her skills and knowledge, she explained that she had taken a course locally to improve her form, skills and technique. Ashley now spends her spare time honing her skills through reading Kettlebell instruction books by Pavel, Brooks and Cotter. In addition, she watches countless videos, practices and formats different Kettlebell workouts. You know that when you attend one of her BELL classes, you are safe and going to have lots of fun.
As of late, she is set to become an International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF) certified Kettlebell teacher in both level I and level II in February of 2018.
Born and Raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and after my 1st year of college, I moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a dancing career. Fitness and Health have always been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I played sports year round and accepted a scholarship to run for the IWCC Cross Country Team.
Realizing my passion, I wanted to help other people reach their fitness goals. I finished a 6 month certification program at the National Academy of Sports Medicine in Santa Monica, Ca. Since then I have worked at Burn Fitness in Santa Monica, CA and at UFC Gym in Honolulu, HI. I’m very outgoing when it comes to fitness, it’s my passion!
My credentials include NAMS nationally certified personal trainer, ACE certified WaterCoach Professional, American Red Cross certified CPR/AED and I’m fully insured.
Michelle has practiced yoga for over 10 years, obtaining her 200 hour yoga certification through Omaha Power Yoga and is CPR/AED certified. She believes yoga is an opportunity to build strength, stability, mobility, calmness, stillness and equanimity both on and off the mat. Her style of teaching provides a focus on alignment and breath work, while pushing traditional postures and flows to a more intense level. Building a stable foundation is key. And having a few laughs and smiles along the way!
With a strong personal commitment for overall fitness and well being, Michelle and her husband Dave spend time cycling, practicing yoga, trail running and weight lifting. Michelle looks forward to seeing you in class!
Erin is a true believer in the power of exercise to enhance our overall wellbeing. Health and wellness are her passion, and she strives to share her enthusiasm in order to help others achieve their goals. After studying psychology and communication in college, Erin was amazed by just how closely our emotional and physicalwellbeing are connected, and that it is truly a healthy combination of both that lead to living our best lives. Being a practical person, Erin is driven by the power our daily exercise and nutrition choices have towards impacting our health. She continually researches both, and is certified as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. The majority of Erin’s experience has been implementing wellness programs at the YMCA.
At a time when Erin’s life became extra stressful, Erin turned to Carrie for some personal training for herself! (Erin is also a GALLUP certified Strengths Coach, which is a performancefocused program based on positive psychology that follows the motto, EVERYONE NEEDS A COACH)! Personal training sessions with Carrie have been the BEST GIFT Erin has ever given herself!! Erin highly recommends it, and Carrie is a tremendous mentor!! Not only has Erin’s physical strength and health improved, but confidence as well. It was not long until Erin was obtaining her water rowing certification! Erin looks forward to continuing her training and education, and can’t wait to spend time with you in class! She is inspired by the people she meets, and is excited for the First Row Fitness family to get to know her family. Erin has been happily married to Jeff for over 22 years and has 2 daughters, Alyson who is in college at UNL, and Alexa, who is in elementary school at Saint Albert. Erin and her family moved to Council Bluffs from Glenwood, where Erin is from, in 2014.
Sarah has found her passion in health and wellness and is eager to share her knowledge and excitement with others! She believes in the power of setting goals and working hard to achieve them. When Sarah discovered First Row Fitness in 2017, she rediscovered her love for exercise and was motivated to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
Sarah is an American Council On Exercise - ACE Certified Personal Trainer, WaterCoach Professional, and is CPR/AED certified.
The fun atmosphere, smiling faces, and effective programs make First Row Fitness one of the most unique places to be, and Sarah is excited for the opportunity to help you reach your goals. She is looking forward to continuing her education and can't wait to see you in class!
It's really simple - rowing works! Like cycling, it offers a way to exercise in a friendly group setting. What sets it apart from cycling, though, is that the rower (aka - the erg), engages 85% of your muscles. In one rowing stroke, you work your biceps, triceps, chest, lats, hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, abs and back! What a great way to tone your body and improve your posture.
We chose what is probably the best rowing machine for our studio. The WaterRower Club Series mimics true water rowing. The rowing resistance actually comes from a water-filled drum at the front of the machine. In use, it even creates water-movement sound.
Another great detail, not to be overlooked, is that rowing is adaptable to your fitness level. This means that pretty much anyone can row at a pace that they find challenging.
If it is your first time using a rowing machine, we ask that you show up 15 minutes before class. That way we can get you comfortable with both the rower and the proper rowing technique.
Big Water bottle (you're gonna sweat)
Yoga Mat (we have them onsite, but having your own rocks)
Clean athletic shoes and socks
Fitted clothing (baggy shorts and long shirts can get caught in the rower)