Top Form Influencers

What inspires us to change? To grow? Who are the people equipping a city to move and believe they can be better today than they were yesterday? Plenty more impressive individuals than we could possibly fit in these pages. But here are a few faces of those who keep Lakeland in tip-top shape. And the secrets to what keeps them going.

Photography by Naomi Lynn Vacaro

In recent years there’s been a growing interest in learning how to live a holistic lifestyle. No longer are most of us looking for a quick, three-day fix. We’ve come to the realization that a healthy body does not materialize overnight. And most of us are aware that a holistic lifestyle of health and wellness comes not from our physique, but, maybe even more importantly, from our minds.

Our city has developed a strong network of holistic fitness trainers and beauty influencers. Some of them were at the forefront of health and beauty long before the holistic lifestyle began trending, while others have more recently joined to build a network of doctors, trainers, and experts.

To learn a bit more of what makes of these individuals thrive, we present to you The Lakelander’s Health Influencers.

KIRSTIN CZERNEK 

The Balance Culture // thebalanceculture.com // 863.603.8567

How long have you been working in

the fitness and health industry?

I got certified in Pilates in 2014, completed nutrition school in 2015 through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and became group fitness certified in 2015 through AFAA/NASM, and Spin certified in 2017. I truly love fitness and nutrition and am always finding ways to continue to educate and grow in each of them.

What do you prioritize to keep your health on track? 

I think consistency is key for both nutrition and fitness. In terms of nutrition, I follow the 80/20 rule. This means that 80 percent of the time I try to eat as healthy as possible, and 20 percent of the time I leave for splurges and enjoying myself, never feeling guilty about it. This helps me to stay on track but also gives me wiggle room to be realistic. This changes during holidays and vacation, though. It might look something more like 50/50 because, well, balance! As far as fitness, I work out about four times a week. Right now these are the times I am instructing fitness classes, but my goal is usually five and it ends up being around four. I have been doing this for about five years now, and when really staying consistent with workouts, I can see the results.

What’s your favorite workout?

This is so hard, because I love to switch it up so I don’t get bored. Probably Pilates right now because I have taken a different approach with it lately when teaching my classes, and it feels really new and fresh, which my clients and I are enjoying.

How do you balance the stress of running a

business and your own health?

At first, this was a juggling act for sure. Exercise is a stress/anxiety reliever for me big time. When I’m teaching, I’m focused on my class and their workout, not mine, so I had to build in times for my personal workouts.

That has been my latest endeavor because I recently adopted two babies under two years old from foster care, so finding time for myself is tricky. Mom life is no joke! When I take care of my health I am definitely a better version of myself for my family and business. I have to be intentional in this season of life, but I notice such a difference, it’s worth making it a priority.

What does a week look like for you?

Do we have space for me to write a novel? Like I mentioned, I recently adopted two babies, so life is at an all-time crazy pace right now, but it has never been better. Balancing mom-life, business, team, classes, nutrition sessions, workshops, events, and blogging is a juggling act. About every hour of my life is time-blocked, and I have to be super organized in order to stay on top of everything. But there are also times that I could do all the planning in the world and it is just obvious that it is not going to go that way, so flexibility is a must. Regardless of anything, I make sure to carve out time for myself (which typically involves a workout of some sort), my husband, my babies, and meal prepping so I always have healthy options on hand.

What would you say is the biggest health myth out there?

Low calorie = weight loss. A very 2005 weight-loss theory, but people still believe it! The quality of the calories matters way more than the quantity. I eat about 1,000 more calories than I used to and weigh less. I was eating so many processed low-calorie foods, so high in sodium and very little nutritional value, I was screwing up my metabolism. When I started eating whole clean foods my body responded so much better even though I was getting so many more calories. My metabolism started working in a healthy way again, and I was feeling so good, I never looked back!

How do you inspire your customers/clients to

embrace a healthier lifestyle?

For me, exercising and eating healthy are way less about the physical benefits and way more about the mental and emotional. Like I mentioned previously, it really helps me manage my stress and anxiety. I was actually able to come off of anxiety medicine because of exercise. The physical benefits are a bonus. I know our clients and members feel the exact same way.

I have sat down with countless Balance Culture women and heard their stories of how their lives were changed through the environment our team has created. It brings tears to my eyes every time because it is so humbling to know we have made such a big impact. A healthy lifestyle is built into our culture, so you will very rarely hear us speak it, but you will see it lived out day after day, and being in that type of environment makes it contagious, even for me! So whether it is through our group fitness classes, workshops, events, or private nutrition sessions, you will see it threaded throughout our culture that we are all aiming to be the best versions of ourselves.

KATHY NEEL

Elixir Liquid Therapy // 863.648.1618

How long have you been working in

the health industry? 

I began working at a Gold’s Gym while in college in Auburn. We (me, my brother, and his wife) opened Gold’s Gym in Lakeland in 1984.

What do you prioritize to keep your health on track?

My family, and enjoying life, keeps me on track. I try to keep good nutrition in my body which in turns makes me feel better and enables me to enjoy exercise and life.

What’s your favorite workout?

Indoor cycling and yoga

How do you balance the stress of running a

business and your own health? 

Fortunately, health is my business, so it has to be a priority.

What does a week look like for you?

Whew, it certainly varies. Some weeks I am busy creating new Elixir (juice recipes); other weeks I am making the juice or delivering to my retailers. Always, my family life (husband and three kids) keeps me busy.

What is your favorite meal? 

Just about any type of soup or salad

What’s your favorite indulgence?

Chocolate

What would you say is the biggest health myth out there? 

Fitness and diet are not enough. It’s more about real foods and fitness that fits into your lifestyle — putting the right nutrients into your body and less fake/processed stuff they call food these days. You are what you eat … so don’t be FAKE.

How do you inspire your customers/clients to

embrace a healthier lifestyle?

My goal with Elixir Liquid Therapy is to get fruit and veggies into everyone’s diet. Think of our Elixirs as Liquid Therapy, your daily multivitamin. We understand how difficult it can be to consume adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables. That is why the age-old practice of juicing is the solution to combat chronic undernourishment.

TARI TERRY

Personal Trainer // Instagram: @tfitwell25

How long have you been working in

the fitness and health industry?

10 years

What do you prioritize to keep your health on track? 

It’s important to maintain an exercise regimen that is consistent, with exercise taking place at regular intervals. I believe individuals should train three to five times per week, while keeping a proper diet along with adequate sleep. To keep my health on track, I make sure to block 90 minutes of my day to weight train, and run three to five miles, along with eating three to four healthy meals.

What’s your favorite workout?

I love explosive exercises which consist of anything from plyometrics to clean and jerk.

How do you balance the stress of running a

business and your own health?

I pray, study the Bible, and make sure I take personal time every day. I also get advice from family and friends that have owned or currently own a business and try to apply it to my business to keep from making major mistakes.

What does a week look like for you?

Monday through Friday can get pretty crazy for me. I work 11- to 13-hour days training at the gym, businesses, clients’ homes, and several outdoor locations in South Lakeland. My clientele range from the ages of 12 through 70+. I have a lot of unique ideas and goals that I would like to accomplish, so I feel I need to put the time in now while I can.

What is your favorite meal?

Sea bass or steak, with jasmine rice and mixed vegetables

What’s your favorite indulgence?

A juicy burger! 

What would you say is the biggest health myth out there?

Exercise can’t beat an unhealthy diet, no matter how good you look. Its starts from the inside.

How do you get your customers/clients to

embrace a healthier lifestyle?

I give them weekly goals and challenges. I push them as hard as possible during their workouts to force them to make good decisions, because the majority of clients do not want to ruin their physical training with a bad meal. And I remind them that IT’S ALL MENTAL. You can do whatever you put your mind to.

MARK BODINE

TBC 24 fitness // tbc24fitness.com // 863.937.8997

How long have you been working in

the fitness industry? 

About 25 years

What do you prioritize to keep your health on track?

Stay active, whether in or out of the gym. My biggest priority is, if I eat too much, I make a point about working out a little more the following week. Use the 90/10 rule. Ninety percent of the time, try to make the right food choices. When your 10 percent happens, make a harder effort on your workouts after you cheat.

What’s your favorite workout?

Short, more intense workouts with heavy weight

How do you balance the stress of running a

business and your own health?

Have a mental or physical list of things that need to get done each day. This includes exercise.

What does a week look like for you?

Running two gyms, trying to manage 20-plus trainers, raising two kids, being a husband, and overseeing service to a high number of members and clients. Then I have me time.

What is your favorite meal?

Steak, potatoes, and a salad

What’s your favorite indulgence?

Ice cream

What would you say is the biggest health myth out there?

Crunches are the best way to define your abs.

How do you inspire your clients to

embrace a healthier lifestyle?

Keep reminding yourself what brought you to begin exercising and making better food choices. Don’t make excuses; make it happen.

LISA BIRKET

True MD // Practice Manager, CCE, CME // true-md.com  // 863.646.3376

How long have you been working in

the health industry?

15 years

What is True MD Medical spa’s Mission?

  We use the latest and most effective technology to bring clients natural-looking results without surgery, stitches, or recovery time.

What are your most sought-out services?

    Botox, filler, and laser hair removal.

What do you prioritize to keep your health on track? 

Eating clean. The better I eat, the better I feel, so that in itself is enough motivation to keep it up.

What unhealthy habit was the most rewarding to break?

Not eating clean

How do you balance the stress of running a

business and your own health?

Exercising, such as riding my spin bike, listening to music, and spending time with my children

What does a week look like for you?

Supervising employees, seeing patients, networking, attending business meetings, volunteering for non-profit organizations, attending my children’s sporting events, and being a mom

What is your favorite meal?

The hanger steak from Nineteen61, or sushi

What’s your favorite indulgence?

Anything with hot sauce / Mexican food

What would you say is the biggest health myth out there? 

That people think they need to use sunscreen with more than 30 SPF

How do you inspire your customers/clients to

embrace a healthier lifestyle?

Leading by example. Encouraging and highlighting their positive attributes while providing the highest-quality medical aesthetic services.