We hope you had a wonderful holiday season! As we look to the coming year, we hope to maintain the good habits established last year and continue to invest in self-improvement and health promotion as we strive to embody the best versions of ourselves. While some time will be spent on self-care in this month’s newsletter, we would be remiss if we didn’t also discuss keys to successful, sustainable behavior change that many seek with their new year’s resolutions.

The last month of the year is typically chaotic and December 2021 was no exception. While life continues to be action-packed at the start of the year, we encourage you to carve out some time to reflect. In order for this year to truly be different from the last, we need to set our intentions and make a plan. While often overlooked, misunderstood or deemed as indulgent, self-care needs to be a priority in that plan.

In considering self-care, we look to the habits and behaviors that the world’s longest living people have in common. These factors enable them to live with vibrance well into their 80s, 90s, and beyond. When self-care is neglected, motivation is replaced with burnout, resentment, and discontent. By prioritizing self-care, we are better able to sustain high performance in all aspects of our lives. As the advice goes, we must ‘put our oxygen mask on first’.

Self-care looks different for all of us – it could be reading a book, dedicating time to beloved hobbies or discovering new ones, massage, meditation, spending time in nature, journaling, infrared sauna, etc. The key is that whatever you choose to incorporate into your self-care plan, you make it a priority to stick with it so long as it brings you joy. If your self-care plan begins to feel like a chore, it is time to re-evaluate!

Prioritizing Self-Care in the New Year

Why make self-care a priority?

  • Improves longevity. Promotes health and happiness improving quality of life
  • Helps us overcome insecurities, limitations, or old narratives that prevent us from living our best life
  • Enables us to best care for others

Question to ask yourself when considering your self-care:

  • Are you actively and consistently pursuing activities and people who cultivate joy in your heart?
  • Do you feel energized and excited about your life or drained and depleted?
  • What could you do, what action could you take, to feel better at the end of today than you did yesterday?

Daily Accountability for a Successful Self-care Routine

  • Consistent Movement: Many of us are glued to our chairs throughout the day. Making a commitment to movement as a part of our daily routine can really aid in our self-care by helping us wind down (upregulate the parasympathetic nervous system) and improving focus and productivity. This could be unstructured exercise like walking, gardening, cleaning, or riding a bike, or more structured activities like weight training or yoga.
  • Create a Ritual: Much like we talk about sleep hygiene being a routine that signals the body to prepare for sleep, building practices around self-care that create the space for it is important. This could mean adjusting lighting, playing music, enjoying a cup of tea – anything that would serve to remind you and your body that it is time to shift gears.
  • Find the Right Atmosphere & Community: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have shared interests and are supportive of your investment in yourself. Self-care does not need to be an independent activity; in fact, enjoying time with others can be critical to a successful self-care plan.

Signs You May be Neglecting Your Self-care

  • Feeling mentally and physically exhausted; experiencing burn out
  • Irritability, moodiness, negativity, or isolating yourself from others
  • Disruptions to sleep and eating habits – indulging in behaviors that feel good in the moment but set us back (such as increased alcohol consumption, late night tv watching)
  • Feeling disorganized, unaccomplished or disdain for your career or life path

By having a self-care plan in place and following through with its execution, you are setting yourself up to achieve all that you have set out to do in the coming year. Think of self-care like taking the time to clear off your desk before sitting down to work – it doesn’t take much time but can make you more efficient, productive, and content. With our oxygen masks securely in place, we can shift our attention to our goals for the new year and focus on how to achieve them.

New Year, New Chapter

The new year feels like a blank canvas for most. During the last few weeks of every year, we find ourselves looking forward and back in order to identify where we would like to improve in the coming year. In Tracey’s article for the Los Altos Town Crier last month, she discussed the benefits of this process along with pitfalls to avoid as the year gets rolling. Given that most people abandon their resolutions before the end of the month, Tracey offered the following advice to aid you in setting your intentions and making them a reality this year:

  • Choose Wisely. Ask yourself these questions to be assured that you are expending energy where it is needed:
    • How would my life be different if I followed through on my new year’s resolutions?
    • How would I feel different?
    • What would look different?
    • How would my relationships be different?
  • Plan to Act. Knowing that failing to plan is planning to fail, Tracey suggests we determine the small steps that can be taken consistently. Small changes applied over time yield big results.
  • Celebrate Success. Having a sense of progress is key to maintaining motivation. Instead of beating yourself up about the missteps or harshly judging the size of the step as not enough, celebrate all the steps – big and small – taken in a positive direction.
  • Reflect on Change. Learning is the opposite of stagnation. Every change we try to make is an opportunity to learn something, whether that is about ourselves or about the move itself. Carve out a few minutes each week to think about what is happening as a result of the small changes you are making daily.

How to Make it Happen

“Decide the type of person you want to be, and prove it to yourself with small wins”
– James Clear

Identify the System and Achieve Success: When building new habits, it’s important not to get wrapped up in the idea of going 110% if you haven’t managed the first 5%. James Clear, the writer of Atomic Habits, says that “habits are the compound interest of self improvement. The same way that money multiples through compound interest, the effects of your daily habits multiply as you repeat them.”

What seems like a small difference in the beginning only leads to a greater impact in the long run. Many of us get impatient with the process and give up due to the rate of transformation. Instead of waiting for the final result, what if we start enjoying and looking forward to the process instead? If you completely ignored your goal and focused solely on the system pertaining to that goal, how would the likelihood of success increase? When we understand that results have little to do with our goals and more to do with the systems we implement for those goals, we start to see the hard work paying off. Goals are good for guidance and direction but when unfavorable problems arise, we often hyper focus on the goal when we really need to design a system that prepares us for both success and failure. Create a system, stick with it, and improve day by day. Keep it simple and work on changes little by little.

We change bit by bit, day by day, habit, by habit. We are continually undergoing microevolutions of the self. -James Clear in Atomic Habits

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

Coaches Tip: Katie

Before I get into my tip for goal setting, resolutions, and success, I highly recommend reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book is a really helpful tool when deciding to make behavior changes in life. After so many years of failing to follow through with past commitments, perpetuating habits that don’t align with our goals, and constantly yearning for immediate gratification, it’s time to create actual change. More than a resolution, it’s about destroying the narrative, “I can’t”, “It’s too hard”, “I’ve always been like this”, and “maybe I’ll try again next year”. Start planning in order to stop failing, identify your goal, create a system, embrace the process, break the plateau and find your success. If the past three years have taught us anything, it’s to seize the day and take responsibility for what we want our future to look like.

My biggest successes have come from keeping my head down, trusting the process, and being patient. Coincidentally, most of these are recommendations that are made in Atomic Habits. I aim to focus on the non-negotiables as I make goals to improve my health. For example, I block off time in my schedule three days a week so I know I have no excuse to bail on my workouts. When I need to read more, I place my book under my pillow so I remember to read fifteen minutes before bed, and when I feel I need to stay hydrated, I set a timer every two hours to make sure I’m consuming enough water throughout the day. Keep it simple, create a system or a plan, and focus on the small changes and proper accountability – you’ll be amazed by all that you are able to achieve.

Buy a copy of Atomic Habits on Amazon HERE.

In Closing, Help Us Share the Warmth One Coat at a Time

One Warm Coat – Sharing Warmth One Coat at a Time

Because of the economic crisis created by COVID-19, demand for coats in most communities is up by an average of 50%. We hope that as a FiT community we can help address this need by hosting a coat drive through One Warm Coat from January 12th to February 11th. We will be accepting coats of all sizes in good condition with no rips or holes. Financial donations will also be accepted – every $1 collected warms one person through the Coat Drive Program.

Drop off coats at FiT or donate HERE.

Jake Verhulp

Trainer Spirit Animal: Spider Monkey
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Jake played baseball at Gunn High School and in college until a series of rotator cuff injuries abruptly ended his playing career. Inspired to help others avoid similar outcomes and help people perform at their best, Jake went on to pursue and attain a B.S in Health & Human Sciences from Loyola Marymount University. With experience in both the physical therapy and personal training settings, Jake brings a unique perspective and a passion for integrating the principles of injury prevention and human performance. His goal is to help each client unlock their body’s potential with immense value placed their individual goals. When Jake is not training or researching, he enjoys watching baseball, snowboarding and spending time with his dog, Barney.
What I love about FiT: It is a combination of great, passionate minds and an amazing community feel. Favorite sports: Baseball, Basketball, MMA

Hannah Golden

Trainer Spirit Animal: Phoenix
Hannah has been working as a trainer since 2015.  She has a masters degree in Sport and Exercise Science, is certified through both NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and the NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association).  Hannah has extensive experience in corrective exercise and rehabilitation having spent the better part of 5 years working within collegiate athletics. Helping clients correct movement dysfunctions and optimize how their bodies move enabling them to lead healthier lives is where Hannah leverages her expertise.  She is also a BIRTHFIT coach who supports women through the motherhood transition with education, support and fitness training. In her free time, Hannah enjoys hiking around the bay area, visiting with family, and hanging with her two cats Simba and Nala.
What I love about FiT: I love the community that FiT provides and how quick it takes to feel right at home. Favorite sports: Cheerleading

Serena Earwicker

Operations Manager

Spirit Animal: Owl


Serena manages the day-to-day operations at FIT. If you need help with something apart from training, she is the one to get it done.

Outside of FIT you will find Serena hiking, biking and playing at the beach with her family.

What I love about FiT: FiT is welcoming and supportive to all. It feels like a hug, a sweaty one. Haha

Favorite sports: Anything I get to see live! Love the energy.

Tracey Downing


Spirit Animal: Owl


Graduated from the Kinesiology program at the University of Michigan. She has worked as a Rehab Specialist and Personal Trainer for 7 years. Her experience ranges from physical therapy clinics to professional rugby teams, domestically and abroad. Tracey has worked with a wide variety of clientele including high school & Collegiate athletes, weekend warriors, and professionals in sport.

Since relocating to the Bay Area, from NJ by way of Michigan, NZ, & the UK, Tracey has been very involved in many community and charitable events. Most notably, she is affiliated with the Leukemia Society’s “Team In Training” in their marathon, triathlon and Ironman programs. In honor of her contribution to the community, Tracey was nominated and selected as an Olympic Torch Bearer for 2002.

When Tracey is not working or training, she enjoys backpacking, skiing, traveling, and adventure!

What I love about FiT: Seeing people change: doing more than they thought they could, learning more than they thought they would, and showing up to make themselves better.

Favorite sports: Playing tennis and watching anything my kids are playing

Brett Lando

Physical Therapist

Spirit Animal: Cheetah


Brett grew up in San Francisco and attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory where he ran cross-country and track and field. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of California, Irvine where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology. While at UC Irvine he competed on the cycling team in road and cyclo-cross races and helped manage the campus bike shop.

Brett graduated with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of Agile’s yearlong Orthopedic Residency, is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and most recently completed a yearlong Fellowship in sports and manual therapy.

In his free time, Brett enjoys road cycling, the occasional triathlon, alpine skiing, surfing, backpacking, traveling and cooking with his wife.

What I love about FiT: The TEAM, Learning new exercises from the trainers, and a variety of fun, innovative exercise equipment.

Favorite sports: Cycling, Skiing, Surfing


  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Board- Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists

Kendra Wagers

Massage Therapist


Kendra Wagers has been a Massage Therapist since 2001. A native to California, she began her massage career in the Central valley working with various injury and chronic pain methods under experienced Chiropractors and physical therapists. In 2003 she relocated to Las Vegas, NV to attend the Nevada School of Massage Therapy’s accredited massage program which led to obtaining her National certification from NCBTMB. For over 13 years she worked as a licensed massage therapist in Nevada, including employment at top rated Spas on the Las Vegas strip. Receiving training in various modalities over the years including; Hawaiian Lomilomi, Thai, Sports and Shiatsu. In January of 2017 Kendra decided to return to California and is currently enrolled in the Traditional Chinese Medicine program at Five Branches University, furthering her education on overall health and wellness. With more than 17 years of experience and over 1500 hours in training Kendra has been able to hone in on her passion for healing while combining multiple techniques to provide a personalized and detailed massage to every guest. Her serene approach combined with her roots in structural techniques, offers harmony, balance, and ease to injuries or everyday stresses.

CA State Massage License #73011

Katie Deangelis

Personal Trainer
Strength and Wellness Coach

Spirit Animal: Hummingbird


Originally from the Bay Area, Katie graduated from Chico State University with a Bachelors in both Exercise Physiology and Nutrition with an emphasis in Sports. While observing strength coaches during her internship at Norcal Strength and Conditioning, she became fascinated with the human body and its biomechanics.
Shortly after her first year in college, Katie found that excelling her knowledge in both the foundations of functional movement and nutrition was essential in order for her to pursue her career in preventative health care.

Katie enjoys training each client individually tailored to their goals and intentions by incorporating multiple training styles, thoughtful programming and relating exercise to their interests and daily lifestyle. Her mission is to help clients feel physically and emotionally powerful, strong, and pain-free by using an extensive and realistic approach to intentional movement, intuitive eating, and to encourage behavioral change rooted in nourishment for the brain, body, and soul.

What I love about FiT: FiT embodies a comprehensive approach to fitness and overall health so that you can not only envision but become the best version of you. Our priority isn't just about what you can accomplish inside the gym, it's about training for the life you visualize living. It's about showing up as the healthiest, strongest, and most powerful version of you. At FiT, we don't just workout, we train because we see the athlete in everybody.

Favorite sports: Functional bodybuilding, weightlifting, swimming, boxing, biking, and volleyball


  • American Council on Exercise
  • Crossfit Level One
  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, In Progress
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified, In Progress

Kevin Martin

CSX- Opex

Spirit Animal: Puma


Kevin graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX with a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in marketing. As a student, Kevin was a five-time conference champion in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard diving events. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

He has a particular passion for rehabilitation and improving overall functional status. He enjoys identifying and correcting areas of the body that are not operating at their full potential so that everyone can live life to the fullest!
Kevin has completed a full ironman, multiple 70.3 triathlons, 2 full marathons, as well as several shorter distance triathlons and road races. In addition to triathlon, he has a background in gymnastics, swimming, diving, and volleyball. He enjoys helping everyone find the athlete within themselves and find a love for movement and exercise.

When Kevin isn’t training at FiT or exercising, he enjoys cooking, surfing, hiking, and spending time with his wife and dog. He especially loves being a father his young daughter Mayley.

What I love about FiT: Community, Hard work, Supportive, Fun

Favorite sport: Volleyball, Surfing, Diving, Running, Cycling, Swimming (triathlon), Weight lifting. I love watching all sports.

Tyler Pinkney

Trainer Spirit Animal: Dragon
Tyler has had a passion for fitness and competition since he was a young boy. As he grew, his passion and competitiveness grew big enough to help him win multiple achievements as a Division I student-athlete at the University of Oregon. After his collegiate career concluded, he knew he wanted to stay connected to the fitness world leading him to pursue his Masters of Education in Coaching, Sport, Recreation, and Fitness Administration from Angelo State University. Tyler has worked for multiple universities helping athletes achieve success during their collegiate careers. Now he is excited to put his expertise to work for FiT’s clients and use his knowledge and expertise to help them reach their goals.
What I love about FiT: The people I work with and the opportunity for knowledge. Favorite sports: UFC, Boxing, Soccer, and Track  
  • 4 years of collegiate coaching experience
  • Former Division I Athlete
  • Assisted multiple athletes to the professional level
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, National Strength and
  • Conditioning Association
  • Basic Olympic Lifting Certification, Totten Training Systems
  • Bachelors of Science in Psychology
  • Masters of Education in Coaching, Sport, Recreation, and Fitness
  • Administration

Juliana Oliveira


Spirit Animal: Dolphin


Helping people to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle is Juliana’s passion. Originally from Brazil, Juliana grew up playing different sports such as swimming, volleyball, and surfing. She has always had a passion for exercise. After moving to the US, she decided to turn her passion into a career and obtained her personal training certification. Juliana believes with hard work and determination anyone can achieve their goals. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, working out, hiking, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

What I love about FiT: I love the schedule flexibility.

Favorite sports: Snorkeling and swimming

Angelo de la Cruz

Orthopedic Massage Therapist & Personal Trainer

Spirit Animal: Wolf-bear-dragon-unicorn beast


While studying biological sciences at Cal Poly SLO, it became clear that my health was suffering. I was always tired, I couldn’t sleep well, I had digestive issues, and my emotions would swing dramatically at times. The realization came that in order for me to enjoy life to its fullest, I had to get serious about improving the quality of my health.

Since then, I’ve studied with doctors, physical therapists, clinical nutritionists, physical trainers, bodyworkers, and top innovators in the field of health & wellness. Instead of chasing the symptoms of illness, the most effective approaches to well-being are those that work to eliminate things that degrade health AND instill lifestyle habits that allow the natural environment of our bodies and mind to operate as efficiently as possible. In this way, we can be lead lives with less pain & sickness.
My work aims to use the technology of the body to help you live a more vibrant & productive life.

Some of the things I have fun doing are Olympic Weightlifting, breakdancing, parkour & free-running, snowboarding, creating electronic music, digital art photography/ videography, competing in American Ninja Warrior (My competition run is here) & learning about quantum physics.

What I love about FiT: Uplifting, motivating, supportive

Favorite sport: Martial Arts, ninja warrior obstacle courses, break dancing

  • Former Life Science Support Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center
  • Certified High Performance Coach
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo
  • CrossFit – Level 1 Certification
  • USA Weightlifting Club Coach Certification
  • Intrinsic Coach Certification – Life & Health Coaching
  • BS Anatomy & Physiology
  • American Massage Therapy Association – Professional Member
  • Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Certified Hendrickson Method Instructor
  • Primal Reflex Release Instructor
  • Certified Massage Therapist
  • Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner

Jeffrey Prusmack

Neuromuscular Therapist, Z-Health Practitioner, Strength and Conditioning Coach

Spirit Animal: Sea Turtle


Throughout decades in the health & fitness industry, Jeff has had the pleasure to work with hundreds of fantastic people whom he considers all to be athletes. His approach utilizes a neuro-centric approach to training and bodywork which incorporates movement and postural rehabilitation, myofascial and trigger point therapies, musculoskeletal strength & conditioning, and other various strategies.

When not in the gym or doing bodywork, he enjoys listening to music, playing music on the drums, spending time with his partner and their dog, hiking and exploring, cooking and eating, and learning new things.

What I love about FiT: I love working with awesome people and assisting them with their goals. I love when they leave feeling better than when they came in.

Favorite sport: Olympic weightlifting

Personal Training

  • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, NSCA
  • USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coach
  • Performance Specialist Level 2 Coach, Poliquin International Certification Program
  • BioSignature Practitioner, Poliquin International Certification Program


  • Z-Health Exercise Therapy Specialist (EEP, R, I, S, T)
  • Advanced Neuromuscular Massage Therapist & Health Educator
  • Certified Massage Therapist (CAMTC #80926)


  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2001

Current and past athletes

  • Desk Jockey
  • Parents
  • Post-rehabilitation
  • Special Conditions
  • Hockey – NHL Professional
  • Tennis – Youth National Champion
  • Fencing – Junior/Senior World Ranked
  • Triple Jump – Junior/Senior National Ranked
  • Olympic Weightlifting – Masters
  • Equestrian 3m Jump – Amateur
  • Sculling – Masters
  • Downhill Skiing – Amateur
  • Black Belt Karate – Amateur
  • Figure Skating – Youth
  • Varsity Volleyball, Basketball, Baseball, Golf, and Football

Shaun Conness

Trainer Spirit Animal: Australian Shepherd
Shaun graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in recreational resources. Shaun is a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist with the American Academy of Health, Fitness, and Rehabilitation. Member NSCA. He is a C.H.E.K. practioner level one and a C.H.E.K. Certified Golf Biomechanic. He is a Titlist Performance Certified Golf Fitness Instructor (TPI CGFI). Shaun has also completed the BacktoGolf program in Carmel, CA. Through these courses and application, Shaun has gained extensive knowledge about the mechanics and flexibility demands of the golf swing, as well as the strength and conditioning needed to optimize one’s golf potential. Shaun has trained athletes from senior Olympic Sprinters to PGA and LPGA golfers over his career. He has worked in the home, large gym, and private studio settings. Shaun prides himself on having a strong work ethic, being positive, and enjoying life. You have to have fun.
What I love about FiT: The culture, the environment, and the team. Favorite sport: College football and basketball, pull ups  
  • USAW Club Coach
  • NASM Certified Trainer
  • TPI Golf Fitness Instructor
  • CHEK Practitioner Level 1
  • CHEK Certified Golf Biomechanics Specialist

Jennifer Mulry

Personal Trainer

Spirit Animal: Bear


Jen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S in Psychology in 2005.  She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a USA Weightlifting Club Coach, and is ACSM Special Populations Certified.  In October 2006, Jen started FITBuddies, a training group for individuals with autism and Down syndrome.  In 2011, Jen founded BuddiesInAction to expand FiTBuddies programs.  BuddiesInACTION now offers 1:1 training, group classes, virtual training and health & wellness consulting services for individuals of all abilities. Jen’s passion is teaching individuals to not only move properly but also learn to enjoy movement.  She enjoys teaching other professionals how to work with the special needs population and loves the creativity of building unique programs that fit every individual’s needs. Outside of FiT, Jen spends most of her time chasing after her twins. She enjoys long walks with her duo, hiking, reading, uninterrupted dinners with her husband and is always looking forward to the next east coast visit with family.

What I love about FiT: I love the family atmosphere at FiT and the collective effort to all be the healthiest version of ourselves.

Favorite Sport(s): Basketball & Swimming

Jeff Samson

Martial Arts Trainer
Assisted Stretch Practitioner

Spirit Animal: Blue Whale


Jeff has been working with clients in the Bay Area since 2007 and performs personal training, martial arts instruction, and assisted stretching to youth, working adults and retired seniors. Most of his youth was spent as an unathletic chubby kid who found various ways of getting into trouble. It wasn't till he was a young adult that he began to study fitness, train himself and learn martial arts. He entered and won a fitness transformation competition in 2006 which changed his life forever. The personal training he received and positive changes he saw from the competition inspired him to teach others. Jeff went back to school and earned his Fitness Specialist certification through the Wellness and Human Performance Department of Mission College and has held certifications in Circular Strength Training, USAW Olympic Weightlifting, and Bioforce Conditioning Coach. He currently holds a BA in Humanities from The New College of California, is a Life Stretch Instructor through the Stretch to Win Institute and certified FST (Fascial Stretch Therapy) practicioner. Jeff is a longtime local having lived in California all his life from San Diego to the Bay Area. When he's not training clients or learning new things about health and fitness he enjoys trying new restaurants, sipping specialty coffee, whiskey tasting, looking for whales in the sea and taking road trips.

What I love about FiT: Great space, staff, clients, ability to pursue my passions

Favorite sport: Jiujitsu