My Story

As an avid runner and triathlete, I often hear from people that they would like to run a marathon, do a triathlon or just work out on a regular basis, but do not have time, energy, or motivation for it. These conversations inspired me to launch Your Best Self Fitness & Wellness Coaching. As a coach, I help busy professionals reach fitness goals and live healthier lives. 


By having overcome numerous obstacles as I pursued my dreams of moving to the US from Russia, building a successful career in finance, summiting three out of the Seven summits - the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents - I've gained deep insights into developing mental and physical fitness, confidence, self-care, and work/life/training balance. Though my training as a Certified Professional Coach, a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach, and a Certified Personal Trainer, I've gained knowledge and skills to help my clients take consistent daily actions towards their goals, build powerful daily habits and live an active and healthy lifestyle. 

I was eleven years old when I declared to my parents that I was going to move to the US. It was a brazen statement to make for a girl living in a small provincial Russian town in 1991. My dad just laughed at me. My family was poor and given the uncertain political climate in Russia at that time, my dream seemed crazy. Nevertheless, from that day forward my life was focused on accomplishing my goal. Learning the English language became my priority and I decided to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics. After graduating from the Linguistic University in Russia, I finally made it to the US. It took me more than ten years to realize my dream, but moving to the U.S. has crystallized my “everything is possible” attitude to life.

 

I have to admit that the experience of moving alone to a foreign country with only one piece of luggage and $200 in my wallet was challenging and scary. However, I knew exactly what I wanted and was prepared to deal with any obstacles. My goal of landing a job with one of the major banks kept me motivated to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Psychology. After three years of working at J.P. Morgan, I completed my MBA at Columbia Business School and continued my career in the financial industry.

My fitness journey started during the first year after my MBA program as I returned to the corporate world. My job was stimulating, but I was craving some  physical challenge.

 

My family and friends were very surprised when I decided to climb Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, which rises to 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) above the sea level. The only time when I went camping was more than 20 years ago and I loathed it.

 

It was beyond my wildest dreams that I would voluntarily want to live in a tent on a mountain for a week, without internet, shower or toilet, while dealing with altitude sickness.

I still remember that feeling of awe I experienced standing on the summit of Kilimanjaro, watching a moonset and a sunrise, shaking from cold and feeling completely exhausted, oxygen-deprived and ecstatic.

By following my dream to climb Kilimanjaro, I have completely transformed my life. I have gained self-confidence, developed deeper self-awareness and become more focused and energized.

 

Exercise has become an inseparable part of my life. After Kilimanjaro, I climbed Aconcagua in South America, Elbrus in Russia, three volcanos in Ecuador and Denali in Alaska.

 

I have also become a passionate runner and triathlete and completed six Ironman triathlons consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile run in addition to ten marathons and ultramarathons.

I completed a Certified Professional Coach training with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is an International Coach Federation (ICF)-accredited coaching program. I also received a USA Triathlon Level I Coach and Personal Trainer certifications. Currently, I'm working on nutritionist and sports nutritionist certifications.

For several years I volunteered for a suicide prevention hotline and received intensive training to provide a professional crisis response service.

I earned my MBA at Columbia Business School and hold the Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Finance and a minor in Psychology from Baruch College. I also earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics from Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University (Russia).

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