I work with them every day; so I know how awesome Precision Nutrition’s coaches really are.
Today you get to meet one of them, Denise Allen. This way you can find out too.
Denise Allen loves to move.
In fact, throughout our entire hour-long telephone interview, she’s bopping along at her treadmill desk.
“Do you like the desk?” I ask her.
“Like it? I love it!” she exclaims. “I just feel so much better and more productive with my feet on the ground.”
“I’m like a monkey,” she adds. “I cannot sit still.”
Denise is completely serious about her love for the desk. This piece of equipment has made a positive difference in her life, and she’s an enthusiastic advocate.
But however big a proponent she is of the walking desk, she also sees the humorous side of a treadmill-focused office. “Of course, if I really have to concentrate, I do sit down,” she quips.
Clearly, this is a woman who doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Maturity and self-acceptance allow us to laugh at ourselves. And, having recently celebrated her fifty-ninth birthday, Denise has earned those qualities and wears them with pride.
At the same time, as a self-confessed “A-type” personality, her energy levels rival those of many women half her age – and her passion for continued growth fuels constant exploration.
Grounded, yet dynamic. Spirited, yet wise. Put it all together and you can see why Denise is a superlative coach.
You’d never know it to look at her today, but as a child, Denise was chubby.
And, like many pudgy kids, she was teased about her weight.
By the time she reached high school, she had embraced an active way of life – and, not coincidentally, she’d also shed those extra pounds.
But the memories of her heavier self remained. And, deep inside, that “little fat girl” is still a part of her.
She knows what it’s like to feel awkward and uncomfortable in her body. Vaguely ashamed, vaguely embarrassed, and vulnerable. She knows how it feels to be judged on her appearance rather than her abilities and her strengths.
And these experiences – however painful – have enriched Denise’s work as a coach. She appreciates her clients’ fears and points of resistance. She knows where they’re coming from. She understands.
“I’ve always had a passion for wellness.”
As a kid, she tried to persuade her family to follow a vegetarian diet – and this was years before vegetarianism became popular. Then, as a teen, she became curious about different supplements, and wanted to experiment with those.
Tolerant, but puzzled, her family went along with it all, although they sometimes teased her about her whims. And Denise herself felt like a bit of an outlier. Where had this interest come from? What did it all mean? She didn’t know how to place it.
Without mentors and models, she had no inkling that her passions might point the way toward her profession. And so, when she entered university, she chose to study business.
At the time, her decision “seemed like the right thing to do,” she says. It was practical. Sensible. And in a way, business was a good fit, given her obvious talent for management and organization. Besides, the hotel industry, where she began her career, allowed her to combine her love of people with her love of travel. What could be better?
Meanwhile, her passion for fitness continued to simmer. Over the years, she took up many different activities, participating at different times and different seasons in running, Nordic skiing, biking, swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, and snowshoeing. She participated in triathlons and marathons. She was always up for trying something new.
“Actually, I’m a little ADD with my sports,” she jokes.
Eventually, Denise earned her certification as a personal trainer.
She loved it. When her kids were small, the work gave her flexibility and allowed her to organize her schedule around theirs. So she happily gave up her corporate job to work in fitness part-time and teach a few weekly classes.
Later, with a friend, she started a successful bath and body products company. It was fun, creatively rewarding, and exciting, but eventually they had to choose: expand the business or let it go, and with their kids still needing a lot of their attention, the two of them decided to sell.
All the while, Denise continued to offer personal training occasionally on the side. But with her son finally launched in college, she decided it was time to get a “real job” again.
She wound up as a national accounts manager, doing trainings via webinars for a large company that served the medical fitness industry.
The work was broadly connected with health care. It used what she calls her “OCD-level” organizational abilities, and as a training position, it also allowed her to use her impressive people skills.
Yet – as she slowly, and painfully, came to recognize – her greatest professional joy came not from her “real job”, but from teaching her weekly fitness class. In other words, from her “hobby.” And however much she might have liked to pretend otherwise, Denise felt stifled in her work. She wasn’t living her truth.
One bright point in her existence during this difficult period was her growing friendship with Calvin Buhler, then a colleague. Calvin, like Denise, had worked as a personal trainer. Calvin, like Denise, could distinguish between the reputable and the less reliable professionals in the field. And Calvin, like Denise, felt passionate about health and wellness.
They lived in different cities and met infrequently. Yet whenever they did get together, their conversations galvanized her. So when Calvin told her about a coaching program he’d joined through Precision Nutrition, she naturally hopped on her treadmill and started to do a bit of research.
“The minute I learned about PN Coaching, I knew I wanted to be part of the program.”
“It sounded perfect for me,” she says.
It’s not that she had a lot of weight to lose. True, several years of professional dissatisfaction and too much sitting had contributed an extra ten pounds or so to her frame. And even with the treadmill desk she hadn’t been able to dislodge it.
Still, her weight was only one reason she craved some coaching. She also sensed an opportunity for growth and learning here – a chance to focus on what truly mattered to her. A chance to reconnect with the person she wanted to be.
Denise joined PN Coaching in 2012. And somehow, right from the start, this felt like an important change. It wasn’t about the weight!
When she entered PN Coaching, she felt demoralized, disconnected from her feelings, too tired to problem-solve, and brittle.
She was happily married, she loved her kids, and she loved Lake Tahoe, where she makes her home. But somehow, professional dissatisfaction had leached much of the joy from her existence. She’d lost touch with everything she cared about.
But by early September, with two months of coaching lessons, workouts, and habits under her belt, her life felt radically different. Physically thriving, emotionally resilient, and cognitively sharp, she greeted each day with renewed hope and purpose. Even her close relationships felt more rewarding to her.
The kicker? Her weight, at that point, remained exactly the same.
In fact, until late October, she hadn’t lost a single pound.
Denise joined PN Coaching to lose weight. Yet even before she lost that weight, she felt fantastic.
What had happened?
The answer is simple. She had started living in alignment with her values. By putting her focus on deep health, she was prioritizing the things she loved most.
Partway through the program, she wrote a “mission statement.”
“I will live my life with health and wellness at the top of the priority list,” she said. “I will continue to be a good example to others. I will feed myself and my family the freshest and healthiest foods available. I will spend as much time moving in nature as possible. I will hike mountains, run through forests, swim in lakes, breathe clean air, and appreciate every day how lucky I am to live this life!”
And as she lived out the directives in that statement, the extra weight fell away, almost like an unneeded cloak.
The hardest lesson for Denise to learn was patience.
“Patience, patience, patience – that’s what I’d advise to any newbie in the program. But it was really tough for me,” she admits.
I believe her. It can be very difficult for independent, quick-thinking high achievers like Denise to allow themselves to slow down.
“But quick is not always better,” she insists. “PN Coaching gave me an opportunity to learn that. I gained so much understanding, so much self-knowledge, from being forced, really for the first time ever, to slow down.”
For instance, when it came to nutrition, Denise had always been her own best guinea pig.
Living with a hypothyroid condition, she’d discovered a few years earlier that a Paleo diet seemed best suited to her particular needs.
But with coaching, she went a bit further, and experimented with cutting sugar. In the process, she learned that she suffers from fructose sensitivity. Like putting the wrong gas in the engine, too much fructose causes her liver to stall.
Today, armed with that knowledge, she can make more informed dietary decisions. She can honor her own metabolism – and maintain her healthiest weight.
“It’s all trial and error,” she says. “We’re all a bit different, and ultimately, each of us has to figure out what works for us. The beauty of this program is that it gives us the tools to do exactly that.”
Besides fitness and health, her growing, extended family is Denise’s most important commitment.
In the years since she’s been with PN, Denise’s family has grown to include a son-in-law, daughter-in-law and a grandson!
She’s proud that her kids have inherited her sense of adventure. Proud that they share her passion for doing good in the world, and her joy in exploration.
They also share her love of movement.
“They didn’t really get a chance to sit still a lot, with me as their mom,” Denise jokes.
But it’s clear she’s not sorry to have passed her pleasure in athleticism along to them. It’s a gift that she’s eager to share with her clients as well.
Denise has such a big desire to educate others, to share her knowledge about how to eat, and exercise, and lead a balanced life.
“She sees the potential in people, even when they can’t see it themselves,” says Calvin Buhler. “And she communicates so well. She can relate to people from all walks of life, and help them understand things that might be tough for them.”
Dynamic, organized, and passionate, with the wisdom born of experience, Denise Allen is a coach who can move you to major change.