Finding the way back

By Dyllan Borer

“My mom got sick and passed away. Covid was just kicking into high gear, everyone was isolated and unhappy. I wasn’t doing much for my health or anything actually. I was down, the gym was closed, and the weather sucked.”

So Phaedra Painter finally found her way back to the gym after the new year.

“I thought what the heck, you didn’t work that hard for that long to just throw it all away,” said Painter.

There are millions of people looking for the right thing to help them embark on a healthier life. Fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry, but what program should you choose, and how do you stay with it?


Long-time Ketchikan resident and personal trainer Natalie White takes a different approach than most when building a program. She gets to know her clients personally.

“I think taking that extra step to get personal with them can be the difference in them actually enjoying the journey and sticking with it,” said White. 

“I get to know them, their personalities and what their habits are and how long they’ve been at their current weight,” said White. “What has been their top struggle and they haven’t been able to succeed before.”

After White gets to know them personally she accesses their physical abilities.

She said it’s all about getting to their bodies and finding out what their body likes and dislikes, and what is going to be most beneficial for progress. 

“I go into their physical ability, their strengths, flexibility, stamina,” said White.

The key to a good program is being able to keep it long term and make it a part of your life long term. 

“I try to make them a program that they are most likely to stick with long term and enjoy,” said White.

Andrea Hanchey, a personal trainer at TNA Fitness located at 2727 Tongass Ave, builds workout programs for clients.

“I think it’s key to really know what my clients like and dislike to build a workout plan they will follow through with and enjoy,” said Hanchey.

“Finding out what exercises they like is key to keeping them to stick to it. If they don’t like riding the bike I won’t have them do that for cardio because they are less likely to do it.” 


The only way to see results and keep those results is to make a change in your life. Healthy eating is key to seeing results and to having a healthy body. 

“I don’t believe in diets, I believe in lifestyle changes,” said personal trainer owner of TNA Fitness and ex-bodybuilder Angela Morin. “I tell people to look at their life when they say they want to change how they eat. I always tell people to look at the change they are going to make and see if you can make it a lifestyle change. ‘Can I live with this for the rest of my life.’”

In a study according to the National Library of Medicine, 3 years after participants concluded a weight loss program, only 12% had kept off at least 75% of the weight they’d lost, while 40% had gained back more weight than they had originally lost.

Healthy eating becomes a habit after four months, but everything is okay in moderation. 

“Life shouldn’t be all about if you can or cannot eat something,” said Morin. “I say just portion control, and healthy choices and journal.”

The food you consume is fuel that keeps your mind and body running.

 White said that it’s not always about the scale or the way you look but more about how you feel. 

“It’s all about how the person is feeling, their energy, how their clothes fit,”said White. “Those are the things that matter more than the measurements and the scale because those will come.”

No two bodies are the same, all bodies process food differently and react to things differently. This makes diets difficult to follow and very individualized. 

“I don’t think they are sustainable,” said Morin “They can be useful if you are already in a healthy headspace but the thing is if you can’t do it for the rest of your life then don’t try it because it gets your metabolism all messed up. And then you’re going back to ground zero.”

Being self aware of what you actually put into your body is a big part of making a change. Little things you don’t even realize can be delaying your goals. 

“If you have fitness goals or losing weight, I think the best thing people can do is journal,” said Morin. “Journal what you eat, your exercise, your water intake.”

Support, Results, Motivation 

Painter has been a client of White’s for three years until White  recently moved.

Painter, like many others, was afraid to take the first step.

“Class was hard emotionally and physically. This was so far outside of my comfort zone, and working out in front of strangers but I had to do it for me,” said Painter. 

Painter started to enjoy it and warmed up to it all. It became a part of her lifestyle, she found a group of girls that kept each other motivated.  

“I am thankful for Natalie’s warm welcoming and making me and so many others feel comfortable with who we are and listening to us,” said Painter. “Makes all the difference when you are looking for or have a coach” 

It’s not always an easy battle staying healthy. Painter had a hard time when the pandemic hit and she found herself losing motivation.

Morin competed in multiple physique competitions over the years. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to reach those types of goals. 

Morin had lots of support, her TNA family played a big role in keeping her motivated and on track.

“They motivated me everyday and loved seeing my progress and changes so that kept me going,” said Morin. “Not only did I not want to fail myself, I didn’t want to fail them.”

Morin said she told herself three quotes to keep her motivated throughout the process. 

“‘Never give up, Progress not perfection, I can and I will,’” said Morin.

News from Ketchikan High School

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