The Balancing Act: Hormonal Health and Fitness featuring McKenna Olsen

Hi there! Thank you @cocoabarinajar for allowing me to be featured on the blog.  Such an honor! My name is McKenna Olsen. I am a personal trainer, certified health coach, nutritionist and national bikini champion. I have the biggest passion for health and fitness and feel so blessed to help others take their health seriously.

As early as 10 years old, I struggled with my body and self confidence. My mom, who was a figure competitor, had been an amazing example to me since I was a little girl, of someone who always took care of herself and was confident because of it. She was the person who sparked my interest in weightlifting and healthy eating. For years prior, I suffered from chronic migraine headaches and was not implementing healthy habits, which most likely made them worse. My mom introduced me to the weights at age 16 and I started learning a lot from her in terms of nutrition and exercise. From the day I I stepped into the weight room, I fell in love with how it made me feel. Over time I noticed physical change but even more so a change in my energy and emotional/mental health. Not only that, but my chronic migraines I had suffered from for years were becoming less frequent.  About 6 months later, I started working with my first “coach”  to compete in a bikini competition. I ended up placing top 3 at my first bikini show and later on competed 5 more times, taking home a National title at only my 3rd show. I was hooked, to say the least and competing gave me “purpose” at the time.  However, I ran into a lot of health issues while competing and no one knew that I also was severely struggling with my relationship with food, having extreme dieting for years prior. I also was suffering hormonally and had gone 4 years without a normal menstrual cycle. Admittedly, my nutrition and exercise had consumed my life.  After some years it got worse. I was not feeling my normal self, dealing with low energy, weak joints, and my bloodwork at the time reflected those of one in menopause, yet I was in my early 20’s. Not long after, I was also told I was showing signs of an autoimmune disorder via bloodwork. My Dr’s over the course of the past few years came to a conclusion of it being a form of lupus. Of course, this felt like a total knock down on top of everything else.  I remember feeling so afraid to gain weight due to the image I had built for myself of being someone constantly lean, show ready and extremely disciplined with my food and exercise. Sadly, my biggest concern was staying looking the way I had looked for so long. My body could not keep it up for much longer.  With the encouragement from Dr’s and my oldest brother, I had to shift my focus from the physical benefit of exercise to the mental/emotional and health perspective.  It was a change for me to find balance in my nutrition and training after competing, as the sport is extreme and I loved the challenge. However, I knew the strict requirements were not maintainable for life. I wanted to make this a LIFESTYLE, I just didn’t know it was possible.  I discovered macro tracking in 2014. I took this strategy to be able to manage my caloric intake and slowly increase it week by week. I also made a goal to slowly implement “fear foods” each week. After months of application, I realized, I could eat so much more than the same 5 foods and still see results. This was transformative for me!  At this time I was studying Exercise Science + Public health at my University and did for 4 years. I learned more about nutrition on a deeper level. Over time I was able to let go of the idea of food being “good” or “bad” and looking at it as energy. This was pivotal for me as I lived so many years feeling like if I had a cookie I would instantly gain 5 lbs.

As I continued my studies at University, I wanted to teach people to ditch the dieting mentality, as I had. I wanted people to understand that this also was my lifestyle to exercise consistently and eat well This was not a 4 week quick fix to fat loss.  I began coaching clients when I was at University, as a side gig. I went on to become a certified health coach, nutritionist and PT. Years later it has turned into my full time business. Over the past 5 years, I have been able to show hundreds of clients that it doesn’t take extremes to see results and you can get results without sacrificing life in the process.  I work with a limited number of clients at a time to ensure they receive the time and attention they need to establish a way of eating and exercise that they enjoy, as well as fits in their life, not controls their life. When a client joins my program,we have a consult call going over their personal goals, (short + long term), their starting point, struggles, strengths, limitations, food intolerances/allergies, etc, in order to formulate a plan catered specifically to them. I am a huge advocate for educating my clients in everything they are provided, from nutrition to exercise as this is something I never had in the beginning. Each client is required to go through my “education week” teaching them about the basic science of food, aka, macronutrients. From there we come up with nutrition goals for each client. Throughout the program we help them meal plan, grocery shop and come up with meals that work for their life. In terms of exercise, each client has an individual portal on my app. My clients are able to communicate with me there, track progress, connect their food diaries for me to evaluate and access their personal workout plans with video demos walking them through how to properly perform their exercises. Each week I meet with my clients over the phone or Zoom to chat about their week, their wins, struggles and how we can set them up for success for the coming week. Each client is provided fully personal programming and support within the program.  I feel so blessed to be able to help them make physical changes, mindset shifts and find the confidence they are seeking. Most of all, it is so fulfilling to help them learn that healthy lifestyles should not be dreadful, but rather enjoyable.

My greatest message to you is that if you are feeling stuck, unworthy of results or feeling like being healthy has to be a miserable process, you are not alone. I have been there and my clients have too. Just know that you can enjoy life and still reach your health/fitness goals, with the right strategy! Lastly, remember health is so much more than just your physical body. Health is full circle, mental, emotional, physical.  If you are struggling to get started in your health/fitness journey or just need some direction/support, reach out to me on IG or via my website. My IG handle is @mckennahenrie and my website is I share my journey, tips and tricks over on my IG page and free Facebook community, to help you on your journey in any way that I can.  Feel free to contact me for 1-on-1 openings & we can work together to see if you are a good fit for my program. I wish you the best of luck in your health journey and remember your goals should fit into your life, not consume your life.



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