If you were to ask us to define what “Girlnetic” is, we’d tell you to look at Kayla Tote. A personal trainer, yoga teacher and most recently, owner and head coach of CrossFit for the People, she is what many of her students would consider as the embodiment of the Girlnetic fitness trifecta (a.k.a. fitness fanatic-athlete-adventurer) and having fun with all three — a true female fitness force that many women strive to be.
Because if there’s anything that you should know about Kayla, it’s that she is driven by her passion to move her body and challenge herself to be the best that she can be. You could say that being active has always been a big part of Kayla’s life, who was “encouraged to be outdoors, to be playful, and to learn to play whatever sports I wanted to” growing up. Today, she shares her passion for an active lifestyle through her training sessions and yoga teachings.
But how does someone like Kayla stay motivated to stay active? She said, “Movement gives me energy. It makes me feel alive and it’s fitness that actually motivates me to do more in life. I don’t really need the motivation to get moving. I make it a priority– and it helps [with] everything else!”
Although she has always been active “for as long as I can remember”, her path to becoming a fitness purveyor gradually evolved over a period of time. It was during college working part-time at Planet Fitness when she realized she loved being around fitness. She remembered, “I loved talking to the trainers about ways to get stronger, and spending hours in the gym just learning new movements and seeing what I could do.”
In 2012, she decided to sign up for her first half-marathon, having never run a 5K, and trained in the dead of winter. As part of her training, she agreed to join her cousin to a hot yoga class at The Hot Yoga Spot, immediately fell in love with the practice, signed up for teacher training in 2013, and has been a staple of the Capital Region studio chain ever since.
While teaching yoga, she began to incorporate CrossFit into her fitness routine “to change things up”. Soon after, she decided she wanted to open her own CrossFit box. She recalled, “I was at my CrossFit Level 1 training, and other coaches were asking questions about movements and standards and how to be a great coach, and the “flow master” (or person leading the session) just said, ‘Listen guys. Just care, care, care, care. Care about your people and you won’t go wrong.’ At that moment, I knew CrossFit as a brand and a methodology was something I wanted [to be associated with].”
What helped Kayla decide to open her own CrossFit box? She explained, “When I realized the power I could have as a CrossFit affiliate owner to help promote fitness, overall wellness, and community in people’s lives, I knew it was the next step in my own life. CrossFit for the People (“CFTP”) is the culmination of my passion for movement, community, and connecting with people through fitness.” CFTP opened its doors just a few days ago.
Through her fitness journey over the years, Kayla has become an inspiration to many people. But who keeps someone like Kayla inspired? She didn’t have a short answer: “There are some really incredible people out there doing amazing things, but every day I’m inspired by my students and friends. Knowing their stories, their struggles, and connecting on a level that reminds me that we are ALL human is such a blessing.
“I’m inspired by the moms that create the time to work out so that they can be happier, healthier, and more present in their kid’s lives. I’m inspired by the person going through an illness, silently struggling with the [everyday things], but still makes it to the gym to move their body because they know it’ll make them feel better. I’m inspired by people that put themselves out there to be seen, regardless of their ability (or lack of).
“I get the most inspiration from people that remind me that we are all imperfect, and we all need help.. and we are actually all so much better when we lift each other up and work together.”
And her favorite go-to workout gear? “Lululemon! Their gear is great for everything, from yoga to running to CrossFit and more! When your days are spent sweating, you have to wear the best quality gear, otherwise, you’re forever uncomfortable.. and stinky!”
If you’re in the Capital Region, make sure you catch Kayla at The Hot Yoga Spot or at CrossFit for the People. First-time visitors, take advantage of the $25 2-week unlimited CrossFit classes. Learn more about CFTP and other membership benefits at www.CrossFitforthePeople.com.
Photo: Stan Horazek/Stay True Photography