GENEVA SIMMS / Independent Personal Trainer (NASM CPT) / Group Fitness (AFAA) / TRX Group Suspension Training/Level 2 Force Training / Master Trainer for Jillian Michaels Bodyshred / Aiming to launch a non-profit called Empower to Power* / IG @genevaontherun
*Empower to Power is a non-profit that is currently in its early stages of development. The mission of Empower to Power is to provide on-site classes that combine elements of body weight fitness training, self defense, breath work, and meditation. Empower to Power will have two branches of programming: one that focuses on providing tools to prevent violence and sexual assault and one that aims to help people who have gone through sexual assault and have been disenfranchised from their bodies to reconnect with their physical bodies in order to re-establish a sense of personal power and autonomy. For more information, please visit www.empowertopower.org
So I am sitting here trying to come up with positive “G” words that describe you lady. Way too many...goodness, great, grand, gracious, gorgeous, grounded...I mean I could go on but 2 immediately came to mind.
GIVING - from the verb GIVE - to freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to.
I first met you at ToneHouse. Anyone who has ever been to ToneHouse knows that not only are the classes phenomenal but one of their greatest qualities is the team atmosphere that they have created. So I’m taking a class and struggling with my umpteenth round of bear crawls and as I am coming to the finish and my head/thoughts are beginning to take over I look up and there is this woman down on the floor slamming her her hands on the ground shouting words of encouragement “you got this!”, “power thru”, “c’mon strength, power, strength, power c’mon get it”. At first I waslike who is this lady??? But then I started repeating some of the words you were shouting in my head and...may have took me a while to make it to the finish but I did. After my turn was done the next group was up and down you were on the floor again shouting words of encouragement. I thought I knew all the coaches so my main question was is this a new coach. Nope, a student just like me. A student who truly was there for her team!!! GIVING!!!
GENUINE - adj. - truly what something is said to be
So after that class I had the pleasure of taking a few more classes with you and your encouraging words, energy and enthusiasm NEVER wavered - EVER! I have also had the pleasure of taking your class at KORE - so good and again that same vibe that I experienced with you at ToneHouse was present in your class and even more so because it was YOUR class. You and I also have had a few conversations and...I sound l like broken record right about now but...GENUINE!!!
There is a great quote: Genuine people don’t come around too often. If you find somebody real enough to stay true, keep them close.
I appreciate you lady! Thanks again for taking the time out to let me share what I love doing with you and for taking the time out to share with me. Okay here goes:
I have my morning rituals to get me in the right head space and prepared for the day - its a must. Do you have any morning rituals to help you get your day started so that you are putting your best self forward?
Great question! My morning rituals begin the previous night. I organize anything I need for the morning so that I’m not in a frazzled state from the get go. When I wake up, one of the first things I do is drink a glass of water and then eat breakfast. Before I walk out of the door to start the day, I spend a few minutes getting centered with some breathing exercises. One of my favorites is 4-7-8 breath (place the tongue on the upper ridge of mouth behind top front teeth; inhale for 4 seconds through the nose, hold breath for 7 seconds, exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds). This type of breath work stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps to restore the body to a state of calm. I definitely need this in order to take on whatever I face in the daily NYC grind!
Speaking about “your best self” I feel like this is something that people are always trying to attain. Not to be perfect - thats different but being who you are at your highest level. There is no perfect equation and I don’t think its a process that ever ends but do you have any tips on how to become your best/greatest self?
It absolutely is a life long process! One way I suggest going about this is the idea of keep moving forward. If you performed poorly in a fitness class or didn’t make your goal of a personal record in a race, spend ten minutes and think about what factors led up to the class or race (what you ate, how much sleep you got over the past couple of nights, your mental state for the past couple of days). After you’ve written down those things, move on and don’t dwell on what you may feel is failure. If we dwell on what could have been, we will be blind to what could BE.
Another way I suggest for people to become their best selves is to set short term, measurable, and attainable goals. Instead of telling yourself some say you’ll run a marathon, start with a plan like, “I will train to run a 5k in two months. I’ll do this by setting aside time this week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to accomplish a run/walk session of 20 minutes. Next week, I’ll increase the time to 25 minutes per session” and so on and so forth. Accomplishing the big stuff in life is really about starting with bite size goals that are like bread crumbs leading us to that marathon we set out to finish. We need to feel successful along the way. We do that through accomplishing the small milestones.
When did fitness first enter your life? And how important is it to you?
Movement and fitness have both always been important factors in my life. I started ballet when I was three years old, swimming competitively when I was 6 or 7, and running when I was in middle school. Moving has been a normal part of my everyday routine that it is ingrained in me at this point. Of course, as one gets older, priorities shift and time is scarce. After college, I moved a lot less and worked at a desk a lot more.
Then, some years ago, something occurred in my life that caused me to be diagnosed with PTSD and Panic Disorder. I was disconnected from myself physically and mentally; I felt like I was sleepwalking through life most of the time or like my life wasn’t really happening to me. I was numb and I was having a difficult time rebuilding my life after what happened. One of the ways I’ve been able to begin to find my way back to myself is through physical movement. It forces me to be present in the moment and in my body. At this point, it is one of the most important aspects of my day and Icredit it greatly with giving me a better quality of life. Teaching classes enables me to be fully in the moment and relating with people. It has been one of the most rewarding and healing experiences I’ve had.
When I take a class I love, yeah it may be tough but its also such a rush and just...so much fun! And after, its a feeling unlike any other. What are some of your feelings during and after taking one of your favorite classes?
During class, I am trying to keep myself as present as possible. I like to think of exercise as movement and as a moving meditation. One mantra I often use is “be here, no fear.” Also, if something feels or appears difficult, I have to quiet my inner critic (yep! This is most likely a lifelong project) from making me want to shut down or quit trying. When I hear that inner doubter start to talk, I focus on repeating a single word such as “up,” “go,” or “fighter.”
After class, I feel exhilaration and pride. Also, I feel pretty great about not allowing my inner critic to get the best of me.
What is one thing you always try and impress on the students in your class or people that you train?
First and foremost, I want to empower people to empower themselves. I give people credit for showing up and putting in the work, but also I want them to continue their efforts outside of the studio or gym. I firmly believe that the work we put in at the gym serves as a example for how we live our lives and deal with our day-to-day life experiences outside of the studio. In the gym, we build strong anatomical hearts, but we also build courageous metaphorical hearts.
Also, it’s important to me to impart a better sense of mind/body connection in my students and clients. So many of us are too busy or moving at the speed of light or sleepwalking through life (been there, done all of those!) that we lose touch with ourselves and physical sensations. One of the ways I try to foster this is through body weight fitness methods. If we use just our body weight as resistance, we get a better kinesthetic awareness and actually recruit more muscles as our intrinsic muscles are called upon to help support the extrinsic muscles.
Another way I try to create this in students and clients is to try to help them understand the difference between pain and physical sensation. If I’m working with a client in a personal training session and the person grimaces or says something during an exercise that suggests they are in pain, I’ll ask, “Are you feeling pain or sensation?” Typically, the person is experiencing sensation. If an exercise hurts, an alternative move should be found.
What do you think your strong suit is as a teacher/trainer?
I believe my strong suit as a trainer is how human I am! It’s my hope that if I’m relatable, people will be able to feel more connected with me and will trust me to lead them through a smart, challenging work out without the fear of judgment or the need to be perfect. I’m a lapsed perfectionist. I’m far from perfect and I’m no longer afraid to let others see that. It’s incredibly liberating!
My brother shared this video with me about “creating your perfect/ideal average day” by Frank Kern. I wanna change it up a lil bit and I would like you to “create your perfect average day at YOUR fitness/wellness studio” If there were no limitations (no financial, geographical or people to stand in your way) or consequences what would your perfect average day at YOUR fitness/wellness studio be like?
I love this question and thinking of all of the possibilities! While I can’t say for certain what it would look like, I can say that my goal would be to aim for every person who walked through the door to leave feeling better, stronger, and more courageous than when he or she entered the space.