Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, business owner, international fitness trainer, international fitness magazine cover model and writer, Kyla Gagnon. With a passion for wellness, both spiritually and physically, Kyla shares this with her clients online or in person, and in multiple publications including The Huffington Post, Women’s Health & Fitness and Natural Muscle Magazine. Kyla is the creator and face of the successful body weight home-training system BODYRIPPED, as well as voted Victoria’s Best of the City for trainers and businesses. Certified with ISSA as a personal trainer, sports nutrition coach, strength and conditioning coach, pre and post natal trainer her next adventure is set for May 2018 earning her Yoga Teacher training certificate in Bali. Kyla also has a new and exciting venture designing and creating beautiful yoga-inspired jewelry featuring a collection of diffuser bracelets for essential oils and Malas for meditation. HappyHeartThings, can be found on Etsy and Instagram.
What makes you a Girl Warrior?
I connect with the title Girl Warrior because I create my own reality. I stand for my own truths and I don’t settle for less than what I dream of. I worked hard and struggled through years of tough times building my business while believing in my future. Now almost 14 years into my career I feel very much like a Girl Warrior.
You’re an international fitness trainer, fitness cover model and writer. How did this all come about? Have you always been fit?
Part of the fun of working in the fitness industry is booking and prepping for photo shoots. I’ve been lucky to work with very accomplished photographers in the industry and built connections through them. I attend the Olympia Fit Expo in Las Vegas each year and have made some wonderful business and personal connections with magazine presidents and editors. It’s like a job application process; you work for it. But like everything in life worth anything, you work for it.
I’ve always done something active, starting with figure skating as a young girl. Working out became interesting to me around 16. My mother passed away when I was 20 and soon after I began my career in fitness. My mom was always incredibly supportive of a fitness lifestyle, and when I had mentioned to her in my late teens that fitness was an interest for a career she was all in.
Tell us about your body weight home training system BODYRIPPED.
BodyRipped was created for those of us who lead busy lives and still feel driven to train and live our best lives. What I have created is BODYWEIGHTED, home training program for the busy fitness lover, or want-to-be fitness lover.
The program is 12 weeks of follow-along training videos you download to your computer. There is a nutritional plan available as well. My .net site offers a TON of free videos and info as well if you aren’t quite ready to commit to the full 12-week program.
We have had such awesome success with the program from people of all types across the globe. I’m also in the midst of creating my second online program hoping to have out for the New Year, based around a more spiritual holistic wellness program. Stay tuned!
You’ve competed in fitness and bikini competitions and have earned your Bikini Pro care with the NPAA, which is impressive and inspiring. In your business you encounter women of all sizes, shapes, ages and fitness levels. How do you help women get over their body image issues so that they can look, feel and be their very best selves?
I’m not a shrink and I don’t have all the answers. What I have is personal experiences and lessons I have experienced. I can only offer love, kindness and support for my fellow females. I try my best to ensure my clients, both male and female, learn to accept their journey into wellness as a beautiful roller coaster. To find self-compassion, and accept that every day will be different. Our physical body is just one part of who we are. It does not define us. What our bodies CAN DO over what our bodies LOOK LIKE TO ME is far more important and my hope is that my clients all begin believing the same.
What inspired you to create your line of jewelry HappyHeartThings?
My mother was incredibly artistic and talented and I was always in such awe of her. My best friend also has quite the skill in creating jewelry. I had created this story in my mind that I couldn’t do what they did. I wouldn’t even try. Instead I would spend money on other people’s creations, which I loved of course but it started to add up and one day I just said, “Okay, for the money I’m spending why don’t I just TRY…just see if I can create something similar.” Not only could I, but I found a form of therapy that I found nowhere else. Sitting with my beading supplies and an open mind is a form of meditation for me and I’m just grateful that my creations are able to bring happiness to others.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Losing my best friend, my Momma at 20. Everything changed in an instant. I could have taken one of two roads, and I took the road I watched my mom take. She laughed a lot and lived fully. I could have found destruction in the time that followed my mom’s passing, but instead I found her strength and drive. I live every day for my mom.
What obstacles have you overcome and walls have you broken down?
Overcoming thoughts of self-doubt and fear… Can I really do this? Can I actually have success doing what I love? Does anyone actually care what I have to say? I’m no better than any other fitness coach or leader out there. I’ve just been lucky; it’ll end soon. All thoughts I’ve had over the years of building my business both in Victoria and online. Putting yourself out there is scary, there’s no question. Comfort zones are “safe.” But what AWESOMENESS has ever come from a comfort zone? I have a wonderful support group in my corner and anytime I’m doubting myself or my ability I draw on them, and I step a bit more out of my comfort zone.
What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?
Create your story. Create such a beautiful powerful story that people reading it, or watching it, are on their seats waiting for what’s next. Create a story that has people believing in LOVE and DREAMS and POSSIBILITY. Do not let others write it for you…this isn’t their story to tell, it’s YOURS!
What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration to do what you do?
DO IT. Do it fully. Write your vision down and write it often and BIG. Your vision will change sometimes and that’s okay. Take the steps it takes, and it’s okay to take your time.
Find your support circle and lean on them when you need to. Believe you can, because you REALLY CAN.
Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why?
MY MOMMA. She was a rock star and made all things possible. She created her story the way she wanted it to be read. She was incredible, and I watched her pave the way for me. She showed me that hard work and passion could really change lives. My mom put herself in night school when I was 3 to earn her nursing degree while working full time as a single parent. (My father is also amazing and has always remained a strong source of love and support in my life.) I watched my mom save and buy her first home for us when I was 5 and then upgrade when I was 7. She lived her life with passion, determination and complete love for humanity.
My new wellness project (currently nameless) is a creation from the heart. I will be incorporating mindset, gratitude practice, yoga, strength and nutrition. I am SO excited to have this launched! On top of that I am starting a new venture with a friend doing 14-day tours in Northern India (a place I hold very dear to my heart). This all begins in March 2018. I will be launching details on this soon; our first trip is sold out. And I then head to Bali in May 2018 for my yoga teacher training so that I can come back to Victoria and offer this beautiful wellness practice to my clients.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Traveling and training via online. I will take one-on-one clients on a limited basis, as most of my work will be through online programs. Married with fur babies.
What is your personal mantra?
It’s funny, I don’t know if I’ve actually ever clearly given myself one. But as I sat here, it popped into my mind and it flows perfectly with how I’ve developed personally and professionally in the last 14 years. Whether it’s career development, personal development, fitness, adventure…I always end up saying “OF COURSE I CAN.”
To learn more about Kyla and her business head over to her websites:
And to see her beautiful powerful jewelry visit her Etsy Store: