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What It’s Like Being a Woman in Health & Fitness

This month we are celebrating all of the women of CHI-SOCIETY! For Women’s History Month, these leading ladies — the most experienced and trusted health and fitness experts in Chicago — are ready to tell you what it’s like being a woman in health and fitness. Here at CHI-SOCIETY, we are excited to take the time to highlight and appreciate these inspiring women who make up Chicago fitness. All stories and tips provided below come from Chicago’s most knowledgable, approachable, communicative, and professional trainers and pros in the country.

Christy Pemrick - CHI-SOCIETY Yoga Instructor

“Being a woman in fitness means being proud of your body not for what it looks like but for what it can do! Our bodies are powerful vessels and fitness strengthens that vessel. My advice is to take pride in your body because it’s yours so own it and take care of it.”

Heather McCarthy - CHI-SOCIETY Strength Trainer, Ace Certified Trainer, Certified Nutritional Coach, Pre/Post Natal Certified Trainer & Lululemon Ambassador

“As a woman in fitness, I feel absolutely empowered by my workouts and believe that translates into all parts of my life. I get to work with many women of all ages and my absolute favorite moments are when they share with me that their confidence has been elevated and even certain things (I am usually YELLING!) help cheer them on when they aren't with me! My advice? Remind yourself over and over to STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE. The person working out next to you has nothing to do with your body and your progress. You are the CEO of that body and when you are frustrated or feel down, remind yourself of this!

You can find me on Instagram with more tips @heathermac_fit or through my NEW APP!

Kate Ryan - CHI-SOCIETY Meditation Instructor

“The fitness industry over the years has not been the most kind to women, often creating a comparative and competitive environment. As women in fitness, it is our responsibility to support and uplift each other - to be about collaboration instead of competition - and to help our students develop both their physical and mental physique. I am honored to work for and alongside women on their journey to and throughout motherhood, and to celebrate women this month and every month!

Visit me @kateyogaryan and find out more about me at

Kailee Martin - CHI-SOCIETY Strength Instructor, Creative Coordinator, & Puma Trainer

“I love being a woman in fitness because it gives me a consistent opportunity to help people on a daily basis. Whether it's confidence, personal empowerment, positive energy, or just some good music – I love being out with the people and helping others become the best versions of themselves both mentally and physically. Being in the fitness industry empowers me daily by continuing to build both my mental and physical strength and showing me there is always a higher level to push to and work for. My best advice for women in the industry is to find their niche and continue to grow it. Being you is your superpower, and although there are amazing coaches out there, you don't have to change yourself to be considered an amazing coach. My best advice for all women who love fitness (both beginners and pros) – always be proud of the work you put in that day. Not every day can we break PRs and be the absolute best, but without not-so-great days, we would never be able to realize the AMAZING ones.

Instagram: @kaileetrains

Maggie Umberger - CHI-SOCIETY Yoga Instructor, Movement Coach, & Lululemon Ambassador

“Growing up, I didn't play team sports. For a long time, I didn't consider myself strong or athletic. When I first started to enjoy working out outside of competitive dancing (how I spent most of my teenage years) I held back from so many areas in the gym. I took group classes but wouldn't set foot in the weight room. I don't know if I specifically thought, "that area of the gym is for guys," I just didn't want to look like I didn't know what I was doing. But I've always been fascinated by all types of movement. I love to learn. Becoming a coach and trainer gave me the textbook knowledge of how to operate in the gym, and from there it just took a lot of practice - of sitting with discomfort and growing from it. Now, I am so confident in my own abilities, not only to take on new physical challenges, but to be okay with that feeling of discomfort when things aren't easy, and allow myself to be "bad" at things until I work on them and get stronger.

Yes, I'm very proud to be a woman in fitness, but I am even more proud of just being myself for my communities where I teach and train. I am unapologetically and authentically who I am. I am not afraid of things like turning the box to the higher setting and going for a box jump, even if that means I end up with scraped-up shins when I walk out of the gym. And if I can empower any other individual to trust in themselves, and to show up fully as themselves when they walk into their workout or yoga class, and maybe most importantly of all, walk out with their head held high, I know I am doing my job to the best of my ability.

Right now, I am traveling and teaching entirely virtually. I love working with folks on the road. It's a reminder that you can connect to your breath no matter where you are and find your own flow, strength, or power - whatever it is you're seeking in your workout - if you decide to show up with intention.

Feel free to book a 1:1 session with me here! When I'm not training clients virtually, I am creating videos + classes for my members at”

Erika Samaniego - CHI-SOCIETY Barre Instructor & Dance Instructor

“Having a dance background paved the way for my love of fitness. Sharing this interest with others, particularly women, has inspired me to find my truest potential and strive to be the best version of myself. Challenging ourselves through fitness shows us that we are strong, confident, powerful women who never give up. As women, we have a lot on our plate but being busy shouldn’t deprioritize health and fitness. So, I encourage women to maintain overall wellness by staying active physically and mentally, whether that’s going for a walk, taking a fitness class, reading a book, etc. Finding time to disconnect, rest, and reset is also key to finding balance and managing stress in our busy lives.

You can stay active with me by following me on Instagram @erika_mae13 or signing up for my Livestream Barre and HIIT classes on my website,”

Head over to to discover the best of Chicago Health & Fitness!

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