We had the good fortune of connecting with Ali O’Neill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ali, what principle do you value most?
The value that I am most aligned with currently is self authenticity. My brand, my training, and my self guidance are based on the foundational structure of not just wanting to be true to my clients but to myself as well. This focus allows me to give the best of myself to those I serve, my family, and self. Personal and athletic training can become quite egocentric, and it’s fairly easy to get caught up in wanting to be the best, to look the best, and to act the best. But what that “best” means is shaped by my own self authenticity. Focusing on this principle allows me to truly observe myself, my abilities and actions, and the needs for me to provide for my clients. It drives me to learn more, to study more, to reference my clients out to what will make the greatest impact for them and help them the most. It takes the ego out of my work because my clients success isn’t driven by ego but by finding and knowing what will bring the greatest results for them; ensuring they feel understood, motivated, and making sure they reach and surpass their goals.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a former high competitive gymnast and professional dancer I’d love to say personal training was an automatic transition, but it was a bit more complex. Starting in 2006 I coached competitive gymnastics and athletic strength and flexibility training after a car accident ended my gymnastics career. I was also an actor, dancer, and model. In 2008 I moved to Australia for a few years training athletes and performing/modelling. I was a pre-med student (biochemistry) studying abroad at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom when I met my husband. Before I finished my program we were surprised with our daughter, which immensely shifted my career plans from the medical field to deeper into the fitness industry. I had already been training at a studio so I decided to create my own personal training business, then the idea really took off from there (though not necessarily in a linear fashion). Funny enough I had always been in athletic shape – the ideal look and personality for a trainer, but when starting my fitness business I was 55 pounds heavier than my normal, had limited time, and was exhausted. That’s what sets me apart. I have no doubt I would’ve been a successful trainer had I started earlier. And while I did battle with eating disorders so had that connection, I had no reality on what most people go through. I hadn’t experienced being anything but thin, nor did I understand the mental barriers that go with other journeys. I didn’t have the life experience to understand the physical and mental health changes that people go through and therefore develop the mechanisms to understand and handle these. I had the knowledge but not the understanding and affinity to reach a broader spectrum of clients on a deeper level. What sets me apart is that my client’s transformations are not just physical. They evolve around mental shifts in self acceptance, love, and confidence just as much as the physical gains. My clients learn, grow, and surpass their goals all while understanding that the entire time they are worthy. To me, this is true client success.
I have program releases coming out as early as this summer and I couldn’t be more thrilled to provide my services on a greater scale and see the results and success they provide!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In Arizona the hiking is absolutely phenomenal. Whether it’s Devil’s Arch in Sedona or Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, you get beautiful views and mountainous landscape. South Mountain has some stellar views and trails suitable for everyone as well as Cave Creek (not to mention it’s a flat out cute town!). Outdoors is always a must for me. Ponderosa Stables at the base of South Mountain is fantastic if you’re looking for horseback riding (or again many places in Cave Creek). We love horses and my daughter started riding there at 18 months old and is always beyond thrilled to get to go there! My favourite day trip, partly for hiking, would have to be Sedona. I don’t think any trip to The Valley is complete without sightseeing in Sedona. It’s landscape and unique vibes are truly magical.
Luci’s at the Orchard is a great space to relax and enjoy a mellow, relaxing atmosphere, especially if you like iced tea: their strawberry kiwi iced tea is my absolute favourite. And don’t even get me started on their salmon beetroot salad. Delicious and a favourite for years. Or if you are looking for a more intimate restaurant setting The Phoenix City Grill is beyond delicious and a top choice for any visitors who come this way. My favourite bar would have to be Undertow: it’s perfectly hidden away, has the most creative menu and is a full blown pirate rum bar (without the excessive cheesiness). Kettle Black is a great Irish pub (a weakness of mine as I adore Ireland and have been about a dozen times – and married to an Irishman). As a busy mum I’ll be honest, I haven’t been out and about in the bar scene in a while and there are always amazing locations popping up in the valley! The railroad park in Scottsdale is a favourite of my daughter as well as the parks up in Anthem. Beautiful and perfect to let the kids just run around.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Dr. Mallory Fox! As a previous TBI survivor I was instantly gravitated to her page and all she does and stands for. It’s a lonely and difficult road to navigate but finding others who actually understand is a great feeling of relief. My husband and daughter because without them, their love, existence, and support I’d be on a completely different path and not know the immense love I feel from them that drives me to become my best self and create my best business. My clients. I have some of the greatest clients and they motivate me to become my greatest and then surpass that daily. How strong, determined, and resilient they are is a blessing to watch and train.
Morgan Walker Sylvia Hardt