Meet the rest of the Fit To Inspire family: well-being experts, inspiring women, TV personalities, writers, journalists and quite simply, a hugely talented group of women (who are all amazing friends too!).
Tina Isaac grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and although she very briefly joined the swim and lacrosse teams in high school, her approach to fitness was scattershot at best until she reached college. Taking a cue from her marathon-running mother, she eventually got it together, trained, and completed the New York Marathon at the age of 25, right before she packed her belongings into a single suitcase and moved to Paris. Since then, Tina has run the odd half-marathon or 10K, but prefers by far to swim laps, do Pilates or take water bike classes. “Swimming helps me clear my mind, find balance and plough whatever I’m trying to write,” she says, “plus it’s time-efficient!”
A longtime journalist and editor in the luxury, fashion, travel and lifestyle sectors – she worked on the launches of elle.com and vogueparis.com, served as Paris correspondent for Travel + Leisure and Flare magazines, and contributes to a variety of publications including style.com, departures.com and France Magazine. Tina strives to succeed in juggling career and family (both her children were born after she turned 40) and fits in a workout whenever she can, which is not as frequently as she should or would like to. She prefers individual sports, with friends whenever possible. But there is one activity you will rarely find her tackling– much to the dismay of her husband, sister, and longtime friends like Rebeca – and that is hiking. Despite fond memories of scrambling up and down mountains during summer camp in Maine, for Tina walking all over Paris whenever she can (even in heels) is as close to a hike as it’s likely to get.
San Francisco Core member Heather Wagner originally hails from Michigan – she attended the University of Michigan and earned a masters in international relations from Boston University at its European campuses in Paris and London. An alum of the hospitality industry and business development for software companies, Heather lived all over the world – in London, Paris and Munich – before finally settling in SF. In addition to pouring her experience into being our expert on international business development, Heather has recently experienced a huge life shift – at 43, she met her husband while walking her dog, and at 45 she became a mom.
A skier since the age of three, Heather was one of the sporty girls in school – she even took a post-grad “ski year” in Colorado (such luxuries were common currency at the time). Along the way she developed a love of hiking and decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, for which she trained on a treadmill while living in Paris. She ran marathons for over 10 years, until her back told her to ease up. Today, she’s more into hiking and spinning classes. “I’m naturally driven to work out because it makes me feel so good,” she says, “Over time I have found that when life was getting me down, fixing a goal – like running a marathon or hiking Kilimanjaro – would keep me motivated.”
Heather’s attitude to fitness is a holistic one: “I believe that exercise makes us stronger as women, not just because it gets you into shape, but because there’s a trickle-down effect in everything you do.” It was Heather’s Core group who got her past the post-baby body frustration, and helped her figure out how to re-configure her new schedule to include time to work out. “I feel like I am back in control of my life,” she says.
Laura Calder is an award-winning television host, cookbook author and obsessive walker. “Walking is almost like an addiction for me,” she says. “If I don’t do it, I become very restless and my mind goes to mush. I walk as a means of transportation and I walk for fitness. I think I may even start training for a marathon – to walk, not run.”
Laura’s more than 100 TV programs include the James Beard Award-Winning French Food at Home, as well as Recipe to Riches, and the specials Chefography, The Château Dinner, Laura Calder Explores The French Alps, and ‘Twas The Night Before Dinner. She has appeared on Iron Chef America and Top Chef Canada, and her shows have aired in the US, Canada, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
She is also the award-winning author of four books, French Food at Home; French Taste: Elegant, Everyday Eating, and Dinner Chez Moi: The Fine Art of Feeding Friends and Paris Express. Canadian by birth, Laura is terminally French at heart: she was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the French government in 2010.
So what does she do when she’s not writing, filming, researching, testing recipes, cooking for friends or traveling for work? “Whenever I’m within range of good yoga, I’m there,” Laura says. “I love the way my mind can disappear because of the familiarity of the routine and the even breathing.” Follow Laura on her website here or Twitter.
Maia Baudelaire is a Nutritionist and Behavioral expert and founder of I Love My Diet Coach® , France’s number one online weight management service, helping men and women restore their health and fitness. Although she was born in Paris, Maia has lived in four continents, returning to Paris after her wedding. She has worked for the USDA National Health surveys on Women and Child Health, as well as the well-known WIC program as a Public Health Nutritionist. Additionally she has conducted research at The National Institute of Health (in Bethesda, Maryland) for the Nutrition Coordinating Research Committee. In the private sector, Maia has occupied various leadership positions in the field of health marketing and nutrition at two major food industry players: Kellog’s and Unilever. Maia’s menu and diet tips can be found in “Lessons From France: Eating, Fitness, Family“, a guide to the healthy habits of the French, including tips, recipes, expert advice and anecdotes to get readers inspired by the moderate (and delicious) approach to healthy living, French style.
Maia’s approach to nutrition is behavioral and simple: seeking balance and pleasure in delicious and nutritious food is key to optimal well-being and a healthy weight. A wife, mother and lover of great food, Maia has made a name for herself in France’s public health domain by becoming a strong advocate of eating fresh vegetables and fruits, honoring family meal times, home cooking and transmitting gastronomic traditions to the next generation.
A fitness coach and certified personal trainer, Céline understands perfectly the challenges of balancing fitness, career and family life. “My two children are still quite young, so I know how hard it is to carve out time for yourself and get back into shape,” she says. “But I am convinced that with a little organization, determination and motivation, anyone can work fitness into their day.”
Céline holds a sports certificate bestowed by the French state for the instruction of fitness classes, personal coaching, and all swimming-related activities. She is passionate about nutrition and how what we eat affects the body and exercise. Her experience ranges from gentle practices such as stretching and relaxation techniques to pre-natal fitness and extreme sports: pre-motherhood, her activities included rock-climbing, rappelling, parachuting, skiing and rollerblading. These days, however, her fitness regimen is more tame – you’re more likely to spot her cycling or jogging while pushing her youngest in a running stroller.
Nianna Bray is a tantric yogini and international teacher sharing the spiritual wisdom of self realization globally. She is fierce, compassionate, openhearted and accessible to all. She lights a sacred fire in the hearts of her students and gives them the tools to tend their inner flame. She is the owner of Away Inward Retreats, a boutique travel company that leads global spirit and wellness adventures and does seva work through her nonprofit, childrenweserve.org. Follow Nianna on her global adventures on Facebook or Instagram.
Chef Vikki Krinsky is a private chef in Los Angeles whose clients include well-known actors, musicians and Hollywood personalities, including Tobey Maguire and Seth MacFarlane. She is also the star of Everday Health’s Emmy-nominated show Recipe Rehab. Formerly an actress herself, she had a revelation after a producer asked her to lose weight: she put aside acting and focused on learning about healthy eating. One thing led to another, and now, as the star of Recipe Rehab, Vikki shares her passion for healthy food and leans on her own personal experience to improve the health, happiness and body image of the show’s participants. Get inspired by her well-being story here.
Mara Feil, CNC, CHHC, is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner trained in integrative nutrition and orthomolecular nutrition (using vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to restore physiological homeostasis). As the founder of New York City-based nutrition and wellness firm Stand UPP Health, Mara works to educate, inspire and support clients in making small dietary and lifestyle changes that have BIG impacts. Mara works with clients one-on-one, in person and remotely, and educates on preventative wellness in the workplace at start-ups and other culturally-progressive companies.
Michele Gordon (aka “Miss Motivational”) lives by a single motto: GO! MAKE THINGS HAPPEN! An award-winning AFAA Group Exercise Instructor, ACE Personal Trainer and Motivational Speaker & Writer, Michele has made it her mission to inspire others to become the healthy, strong, confident leaders they want to be. Her signature blend of humor, creativity and plain old “realness” has won her a major following, and in addition to teaching, blogging and presenting, she is an ambassadress for brands such as Reebok and Larabar. Michele has appeared on the reality program Fit or Flop: The Quest to Become America’s Next Fitness Star.
For years, Mahi lived the life of a nomad: she grew up in the Arab Gulf, finished high school in Cyprus, then came to the U.S. for what she describes as “five remarkable, life-changing years of study” in public relations.
With every change of home, Mahi was confronted with the challenge of separation and the issue of identity, but ultimately the rewarding experience of interacting with people of different cultures has informed her life ever since. It inspired her to create an ideal setting wherever she found herself, to live meaningfully and use passion as the main ingredient in her life.
Mahi is the salsa expert in our group: she began classes 15 years ago in Cuba and has taken two-week intensives that have literally transported her to another world, she says. Back on this planet, Mahi runs to keep herself motivated and to fire the kind of creative thinking that keeps her on top of her turbo-charged career as a PR executive. But it’s also an open-ended challenge: since 1999, Mahi has completed 13 half-marathons, which she tries to run in a different city every time. In fact, running and travel are the two pillars of Mahi’s life philosophy: “Travel is fascinating, whether it’s about a series of mesmerizing destinations or a journey within myself,” she notes. “Running keeps me sane, motivated and focused!”