It would be easy to assume upon meeting Lenora Colarusso that she has been given a clean and smooth path to success. Nothing could be further from the truth. On her way to becoming a fitness professional, Lenora has had to endure and overcome obstacles that should not be experienced by anyone. The types of personal trials and challenges she’s survived and overcome have ruined all too many lives. The physical, mental, and emotional strength she developed came out of personal resolve and absolute necessity if she wanted to live a life that’s anything close to what she enjoys now. What she’s done can easily be described as amazing and inspiring by anyone who knows her story.
That she chooses now to help others in so many different areas is both courageous and a continued part of her healing. Lenora has survived childhood illness, emotional and sexual abuse and assault, a serious eating disorder, and a tragic automobile accident that left her with some permanent health issues. Any one of those things could have kept her life off track to the extent that there was no return. She has chosen to turn her experiences into a way to empower herself and assist others. At 56 years young, Lenora embraces and regularly practices a fitness lifestyle to the degree that allows her to defy the normal ravages of time. As a Holistic Health Coach, she incorporates personal training, nutrition counseling, and yoga to have a hands-on positive effect on the physical and emotional well-being of many. Lenora knows that she can be an example to all of how things can still turn out OK no matter what you’ve gone through. How there can someday still be light even when you’ve been to the darkest of places.
Name: Lenora Colarusso
Location: Hillsborough, New Jersey
Occupation: RN Holistic Health Coach (Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer, Nutritional Counselor, Yoga teacher, Reiki Master)
Bodysport: How did you first get involved with fitness and working out?
Lenora: It was a given, my dad was the Handball champion of the world! (looked and acted just like Jack La Lanne) and was also a Golden Gloves Champion. I come from a family of 10 siblings so I was always struggling for attention. This was the way I got it! Joining my dad from a young age with his running and training (old-school push-ups, pullups, squats, etc.) So fitness, even through the unhealthy period of my life, has always been a part of my life.
Bodysport: How long have you been training and instructing others and what made you decide to pursue fitness as a profession in addition to already being a registered nurse?
Lenora: I have been involved deeply in fitness since the age of 16 and helping others with their health goals since the age of 30. My RN License actually didn’t come until the age of 47! I wanted to do more for others, so I went back to school at the age of 44 and graduated in 2011 from Nursing School.
Bodysport: I understand that you have 5 children? Has your involvement with fitness impacted or influenced them as far as you can tell?
Lenora: WOW, huge influence. I am confident that if you asked any one of my five children they would say that they have been led by example NOT by pushing them into fitness, health, and wellness and overall taking care of themselves. Again, I have been into health and wellness practically my whole life and they were raised with that example. Even though they are all different, they all practice at least one or more of the practices I do myself!
Bodysport: You’ve overcome some incredible challenges in your life. Did or does your involvement with your own fitness goals help you with that?
Lenora: Fitness has definitely been one of the pillars of my total health and wellness picture. Although, not the only one. From my adversities, I had to first get my food choices (high-quality, nutrient-dense food) on point to help me mentally, physically, and spiritually. From there I have been able to get the other pillars on point to help me flower out into being able to work out like a beast in the gym, give more mentally and physically to my family, clients, and myself, being more mindful and clearer in my choices in everyday life.
Bodysport: What have you learned about the importance of fitness in your life that you can pass on to others?
Lenora: Fitness is empowering, I thank God and am grateful for the strength and health of my body (especially after everything it has been through). There is nothing better than being able to keep up with all five of my children AND my two grandchildren.
We take for granted turning our heads around in a car, bending down and picking up a child or box, etc… but in reality, there are many who can’t do simple tasks and they think that aches and pains are just a part of getting older. NOOO. Building bone, muscle, strength, flexibility, balance are paramount as we get older, and it can be done and you WILL reap the benefits! It is joyous!
Bodysport: What’s your fitness schedule like now, what types of things do you do throughout the week to keep yourself in shape?
Lenora: FYI, THIS IS MY FITNESS REGIMEN, I am being honest, here, I feel amazing, better at 56 than ever in my life and I am really good at backing off if I need to. Right now, I get up every morning and run about 4 miles. Mon/Wed/Fri after running I do a full body-weight training routine with accessory movements. Tues/Thur/ is specific core workout/rebounding/headstand for five minutes and hanging for seven minutes. Yoga and stretching is spread throughout the week along with meditation.
Bodysport: Are there any changes or modifications that you’ve found beneficial to make in your approach to keeping fit now that you’re in your 50’s versus what you did in your 20’s or 30’s?
Lenora: I focus more on strength training and bone-building exercises (weight-bearing), mobility (yoga), and bringing down the nervous system (restorative yoga).
Bodysport: Tell us about Restorative Yoga.
Lenora: “Restorative Yoga is the use of props to support the body in positions of comfort and ease to facilitate health and well-being.” It has been one of the tools in my tool belt in order for me to heal from my trauma. It is “the art of doing nothing.”
As you can see from the above answer my nervous system is “up enough”! We need to realize that it is necessary to truly bring down the nervous system in order to heal emotionally and physically. The elements of Restorative Yoga are warm, quiet, dark, still, and safe and when all of these elements are in place we can truly go introspective and take refuge from the past and future and stay in the present moment.
Bodysport: With such an incredible resume of knowledge and experience, what is it that you would most like to focus on now in your fitness business, what direction do you see yourself going in or niche or group would you most like to serve or address?
Lenora: I would love to educate more about the importance of truly bringing down the nervous system with restorative yoga and teach it over zoom or in a big setting. (The only problem with this would be the props, it is very important to have that support of props!) I would love to gather older women who feel lost as they get older in groups of 10 on zoom and talk about a health and wellness topic every week in an intimate supportive manner. Fitness life coaching for sure.
Bodysport: Are there one or more keys to staying motivated and/or dedicated to do the things necessary to be successful?
Lenora: I never relied on motivation, it is my why and my discipline that gets me out of bed every morning. Find the WHY that is important for you. Form a new habit, and write a beautiful new healthy story!
Bodysport: Where can people reach you if they like to work with you or find out more about what you offer?
Bodysport: Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge who has been particularly helpful or influential to your success either in fitness or in life?
Lenora: I would like to thank my dad, he didn’t do everything right for sure, but he instilled in me the importance of discipline, planning and organizing, being selfish to be selfless, and fitness! I would like to thank myself also, as cocky as that may sound but I have come so far in my life and I am absolutely proud of myself!
Bodysport: Thank you, Lenora!