We had the good fortune of connecting with Mandee Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mandee, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I hail from Rockford, IL, which is about 2 hours west of Chicago. Being the grandchild of a morbidly obese grandmother who did a fair share of child-rearing for my single mom in the early years of my life, I watched people stare and comment under their breath about my grandma when we were out in public together whether it be running errands or on an outing to a park or pool. She died in 2003 of a massive heart attack which the hospital ended up attributing to her lifelong struggle with her weight. Witnessing the mean-spirited folks who made snide remarks to someone as kind and compassionate as her really angered me as a young person. I vowed to myself many years ago that I would always be active; whether it be theatre, sports, or dance classes, I was always committed to moving. My grandma was my biggest cheerleader in my young life before she lost her own way too soon. It definitely impacts me today as I help clients navigate their pathway towards a healthier lifestyle. When I think of her, I always smile knowing she is watching over me as I do something professionally that I truly love to do: helping others along their journey in wellness. Fitness should always be inclusive and make everyone feel good about moving — it doesn’t HAVE to be a chore if you can find your WHY.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It started while I was taking a group fitness class at LA Fitness on La Cienega. My instructor came over to me after class and asked me where I teach. I was confused because I thought perhaps she was asking about school (which I had just graduated). She told me I would be a great instructor and encouraged me to get my certification to lead group fitness classes and I was hooked from that point on! A decade and a half later, I sit here with many accreditations, my personal training certification through NPTI, and my books for Precision Nutrition now. Nothing worth your time is ever “easy”! I sacrificed many nights and weekends to get where I am today and I would do it all over again. I love teaching classes and I love training private clients. Through quarantine, I have grown my PT business exponentially and I am so incredibly grateful for those who have continued to support and encourage me to follow my path and intuition which led me to get my nutrition certification that I am currently working on and will add to my offerings virtually and in-person, when it is permitted once again. My biggest lesson learned is to be patient with myself and my process; comparing myself to others and their journeys has never and will never serve me or my purpose. All that is meant for me will come to me as long as I stay authentic to myself. Fitness and wellness is for every single body and I continue to tout that message to anyone who will listen to me 😉 By offering donation-based classes 2x’s a week on Zoom, it is my hope that those who are out of work or unable to afford a fitness class will come and sweat it out with me. All Bodies Welcome All The Time!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them on a hike route that my husband and I discovered near Nichols Canyon to start! Then, we could cruise on over to my favorite restaurant, Ostrich Farm, in Echo Park for some incredible eats and drinks. Afterwards, a little stroll to watch the sunset near Echo Park Lake and a drive to my favorite dessert spot, Donut Friend, in Highland Park. I love food, obviously! A beach day in Manhattan or Hermosa would be another necessary stop as well 🙂 Quarantine-life keeps things simple so a lot of down time on our balcony would also be in order.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This is dedicated to all 4 of my grandparents. Only 1 is still on this planet with us today and he is currently battling dementia; a truly cruel disease of the brain. I teach and train because it’s so important for our overall health and longevity. My grandfather is in his mid-90’s and used to compete professionally in cycling and was uber-fit well into his 80’s. I aspire to stay young by staying active. You are never too old to get started on your journey to wellness.
Brody Hessin Sarit Rogers Melissa Gayle Gustafson