Name: Prerana Vaddi
Occupation: Postbacc Student
How long have you been training with PP: 2 years
What was your reason for reaching out to Philly Phitness?
I was involved in athletics while I was in college and was worried I wouldn’t be able to maintain the same routine after graduating. Once I moved to the city, I did some research on personal trainers in the area and got a sense that pp might be the right match from the website. I had no idea how much of a positive influence it would play on my life.
What was the first ‘epiphany’ or ‘ah-ha’ moment you had?
Jesus. I’ve had a lot. My three favorites: one with Dave Bopp, when I figured out how to do kettlebell swings correctly, second, with Carla Waldron, when I put a whole Turkish getup together, and another with Carla Warldron, when I realized I overthink everything. This last “aha” sounds silly but it really changed my performance.
Six months ago, Carla started teaching me how to box because I was interested in learning a new sport. After getting the fundamentals down, she started teaching me how to move around with my crosses, jabs, and hooks. I was as stiff as a board. I was always tensed up and nervous about my next move. There were 100 things going on in my head: was my form okay? Would I hit my next target? How do I know where she’s moving to next? Suffice it to say, along with overthinking things, I was panicked.
Carla taught me to get out of my head: to stay in the present, look, and react–not overthink the movement and just believe in myself.
This was so important to me. The moment I taught myself not to over complicate my workouts and just stay in the present, the more confident I became in trying some of the newer movements she incorporates like kettlebell complexes, rings, and EMOM. Granted, I’m still learning how to not overthink some of the stuff Carla teaches me (sorry Carla) but the fact that she’s taught me to believe in myself suggests that she’s more of a mentor than a trainer.
How did working with Philly Phitness effect you in your personal life?
As I divulged earlier, Carla taught me how to do something that not a lot coaches or trainers have taught me to do: to believe in myself and take action.
What she taught me is the very reason I am not afraid anymore about all the noise that comes with life: what other people think, whether I’m hitting the right bench marks at 25, and whether I’ll make it. PP and Carla are the reasons I am the best version of myself now and will continue to be. I’ve been more willing to have new experiences in my life and be fully immersed in them. I’ve started to be more serious about my Muay Thai training and track workouts; academically, I’ve been making sure to give it my all in every class I take as a post-bacc; I make it a habit to be there for the family and friends around me as much as possible; and finally, I’ve been finding more ways to give back to the city. The fact that Philly Phitness has taught me to care for myself without feeling pressured to succeed in every domain has lent me to be a better friend, daughter, student, and professional.
What have been some of the biggest hurdles / obstacles that have occurred and how did you get through them?
Nutrition. I can’t stress this enough. I come from a South Asian household where every meal I ate, since I was a kid, would contain carbs. I was so used to carbs as a part of my diet that it became habit for me to eat them in large quantities. Though I haven’t completely abstained from carbs, I incorporate carbs in my diet at different amounts. My routine lunches and dinners focus on veggies and proteins with one serving of carbs–my favorite being sweet potatoes–on the side.
I also really enjoy cooking but never had time for it when I was working. Now that I’m a student, I build a schedule and cook in bulk every three days. I find things I really enjoy the taste of: chicken, salmon, grilled rhubarb, avocado, mushrooms, peppers, eggs, and use them in my meals. Personally, I view my hurdle, nutrition, as an opportunity to get back to cooking and being open to having new experiences.
How has working with Philly Phitness changed your perspective towards your future-self?
Haha, I’m laughing at this question because what I will say now is very different from what I would have said two years ago. I’m not focused on the future anymore. I’m focused on accomplishing the tasks I set for myself in the present. Philly Phitness has taught me to have a strong sense of my current self, and has taught me to execute my goals every day, no matter how small the goal may be, making my bed, doing my homework, cooking dinner or how big it is: taking my GRE for grad school. If I ever get stuck, start getting freaked out about being under accomplished or where I’ll be in 10 years, I try not to overthink it and remind myself of who I am now. I literally take a walk sometimes and focus on the present. Carla also told me something that I hope to remind myself of always, especially on days when it gets hard: “Resilience is more important than strength.” So the two things that I will now always consider when thinking about my future self is 1) there is no future without the present and 2) the importance of resilience.
Is there anything about Philly Phitness in general or the team that you’d like to share with someone who may be learning about them for the first time?
It’s rare to come to a point in your life where you feel like you can transform yourself. A big part of the reason is because you question yourself. An even bigger part of the reason may be because you find yourself surrounded by people or circumstances where it makes it impossible for you to move forward. Philly Phitness is precisely the place where all of that can change. You won’t just find trainers that double as mentors but you’ll find co-clients who might become life long friends. Everyone’s in it together.