Meet Summer

Get to know a little bit more about the person behind GXunited

Once upon a time…

…in the beach town of Norfolk Virginia, a tiny baby girl named Summer was born on a cold evening in November, interrupting a UVA vs. UNC football game – a fact her father and cousin still remind her of to this day!

Today, that baby girl has grown up to become the founder of GXunited, and aims to change the lives of fitness professionals through purposeful educational experiences.   She has a rich history in dance, sports, and endurance athletics that she combines to create her unique training style and philosophy.  Here she shares her story…

Haha! Me and my hubby always joke about starting a paper like that, and now I was given that chance! But now for the real story…

From Tu-Tu’s to running shoes.

How this dancer got interested in exercise science.

Baby Summer Dance

Yup, that is me at the young age of 3 already a ham in front of the camera as a dancer. I loved getting to dress up in my little pink tu-tu’s, wear my ballet slippers, and go dance with Ms. Christy at some rec center in Atlanta. I’m not sure how my mom knew to put me in the classes, but it was a great fit because I continued all the way through college (more on that later).

From my young days dancing on stage I went on to be a little actor, performing in local productions of a few great hits (including getting to rock out 8-legs as Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web). You could put me on a stage and have me belt out lines, dance in circles, and act silly, but the moment you put any sort of racket, ball, or bat into my hands I become an idiot.

Yea, I was that kid who was always picked last in PE class because I was no help on a sports team. I would run the opposite direction of any ball that was thrown my way, and asking me to do any sort of agility work was like asking a dog to not chase a squirrel. Nope, I just was not an athlete. And honestly, I was perfectly okay with that.

All that changed when I found myself on a field hockey team in high school after a dare from a friend. Now, I still ran the opposite direction from a ball coming at my head, and I was a much better sideline cheerleader than actual player, but for some reason I did it year after year.

This new weird interest in sports and physical activity led me to a job at a local athletic club, and an injury on the field got me into an athletic training room. Where soon I would discover the interesting idea of going to school to be a physical therapist for dancers.

How Billy Blanks Tae Bo changed my life!

or was it Mousercise?!

Umm, who doesn’t remember how amazing Billy Blanks Tae Bo was?! Okay, no one, just me? Well regardless, his not-so-great coaching and mediocre technique did somehow speak to this young performer, and I just HAD to have the video tapes as a birthday gift. After much begging, I got them and started doing Tae Bo in my basement.

This was my first introduction to group exercise (okay, not entirely true, I did wake up at 6am a few times as kid to follow along with Mickey Mouse in the Disney Channel’s “Mousercise” in the early 1990’s), and next thing I knew I found myself in that group ex studio at that gym I was working at.

I still remember coming home one day and saying “Mom, I want to be a group exercise instructor“.  She looked at me, and as nice as a mother can say to her dream-inspired daughter said, “great, but what will you DO with that?

Of course I had NO IDEA what I would do with it, but that didn’t matter, I HAD to become an instructor!!

3 years after that conversion, I obtained my first group exercise certification (AFAA) and was forever hooked on the thrills of being an instructor.  Since then, I have gone on to receive both an MS and BS in Exercise Science, a BS in Dance, and many top level industry certifications (see below).

Sorry Mom, I had to ditch that PT dream!

Fitness Leadership was my calling.

MS GradAs I mentioned, I originally wanted to be a physical therapist for dancers, and even completed internships in dancer wellness facilities and worked with some amazing physical therapist. But ultimately the call of fitness leadership and injury prevention was to great, and my focus shifted.

It took awhile for the family to warm-up to it, but ultimately they got over me not becoming a physical therapist, and are happy that seven years of “Exercise” degrees later, I have figured out how to make fitness a “real” job.

I’ve pretty much done everything there is to do in the fitness space, from personal training and leading group exercise, to managing corporate fitness centers, and developing educational programs, to working with pro athletes, I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences. In this, I’ve been fortunate to be mentored by some amazing fitness professionals (Shannon Fable, you are awesome) and work alongside fitness icons (Peter Twist, you are a genius who I was lucky enough to be able to work with).

All of these experiences led me to create my personal philosophy and ultimately to the development of GXunited (read our story).

What is that Philosophy you ask?!

Stand Taller. Move Easier. Perform Better.

Everyone has different reasons for working out and being active, and every coach as different methods of helping people achieve those goals. For me, I like to combine by beginning days of dance with my athletic experiences (yes, I went on to run marathons), and my continual learning about the human body.

These days, I work with the philosophy that people need to improve their posture by increasing mobility and gaining stability by moving through 11 essential movement patterns.

My philosophy continues to mold and shift as I learn more about ways people can move. Currently I’m finding ways to combine dynamic yoga flows into traditional strength and conditioning practices to make a person’s body perform better.

A look into my mind – the Certs & Education I’ve obtained.

MS & BS.  CSCS.  ACSM EP-C.  ACE & AFAA GFI-C.

Okay, you don’t really have to look inside my head, because that would just be scary. Instead, just know that I love learning, and I’m always striving to be better at my career.  As a result, I’ve set for and attended lots of certifications and continuing education events.  Each one has made me the person I am today.  Here they are…

Education

Primary Certifications
  • NSCA: Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
  • ACSM: Certified Exercise Physiologist
  • ACE: Primary Group Exercise Certification
  • AFAA: Primary Group Exercise Certification
  • Road Runners Club of America: RRCA Coaching Certification
Specialty Certifications

Life outside of Fitness

Puppies | Mountains | Family

FamilyI love fitness, but realize that there is more to life than simply hanging out in the gym.

The time I get to spend with Michael (my hubby) and our adorable 4-legged children – Ty (italian greyhound), Whit (sheltie), and Hugo (retired racing greyhound) is so much more rewarding than any great workout can be. And while we can’t for the life of us get a good family picture, we do  have lots of fun together!

What else??? Puppies are my favorite, but I also think penguins are adorable and would love the chance to fly to Antartica. In which I would get off the plane, waddle with the penguins, and then promptly return as I will probably have frozen in that short waddle!

The mountains are the best thing in the world to me. I could go the rest of my life without ever seeing the beach again, but there is no way I could never experience the beauty that is a mountain landscape.

Traveling is awesome, and we want to explore of the National Parks! Oh, and life without chocolate chip cookies would just be unsatisfying and boring!

Let’s Chat!

I love connecting, seeing other adorable puppies, and talking fitness!

Headshot, Chest up

I’m super social and chatty, and love connecting with other crazy fit pro’s and athletes.  I spend more time than I should on social media.  If you want to see my adorable puppy family, my love for mountains, or follow me on my fitness adventures, make sure to head over to Facebook and Instagram.  I’m always up for a good chat through email, or even more love to meet up with fit pro’s for a cup of tea at a local coffee stop.

I look forward to meeting you either virtually or in person.

Until then, Happy Teaching!
–Summer

Oh yea, you can read more by me!

Tips from the Top Blog Series

As the founder of GXunited, you get to hear a lot from me, but if you specifically want to read my articles, check them all out here I love to write (thanks MeMe for that skill), so I try to bring you new things to ponder regularly.