Vanita Boswell, PhD, is a service warrior, believer, change maker, entrepreneur, lover of laughter, loyal friend, wonderful wife (most of the time), dog fanatic, and soon to be mother of dragons to a baby girl blessed to her family through surrogacy.
As the Founder and CEO of The VALO Group, a boutique fundraising and storytelling agency launched in 2014, Vanita is dedicated to raising revenue and awareness for organizations driven by purpose to transform communities around the world.
Vanita and her husband Darren moved to Fort Worth a year ago from New York where they lived for 15 years. “While we will never stop loving the “Concrete Jungle,” we knew it was going to be hard to lay down roots. We began looking for our perfect Narnia. In the end, we chose Fort Worth.”
It’s a solid bet that Fort Worth-native Darren had something to do with the relocation back to Funkytown. Vanita teases that while you can take the man out of Texas, you can never take Texas out of the man.
Like many fitness-minded globe trotters, Vanita has had the opportunity to attend a number of fairly high-profile fitness programs. She’s dipped her toe in hot yoga, pilates, cross-training, weight training, boxing and spinning. Her favorites are heated Vinyasa yoga and cross-training.
When Coach Lee talks about Vanita, he recalls his excitement about the opportunity to coach her because of her diverse fitness background. “Not only has she been all over the world, but she had just moved from NYC, which has every type of fitness trend you can imagine. I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to grow as a coach, meeting the needs of a client that knows what she wants while debunking the fitness myths that are currently flooding the fitness industry.”
“Selfishly, it is also always nice to train a fellow entrepreneur,” continues Lee. “Vanita leads an amazing boutique fundraising and story telling company. Understanding the difficulties that come with running your own business, I am able to develop a program that works for Vani and her intense schedule.”
“The more I got to know Vanita, the more I realized how much she gives to her family, friends and her work. I was happy to provide the right programming and space to bring focus back to her and her health. The goal is to show her how fitness helps with all aspects outside the gym.”
— Coach Lee
Vanita’s wealth of fitness experience and incredible progression as an eL Athlete is inspiring, and we were thrilled to be able to connect with her about her fitness journey. What we discovered is a very personal and individual story.
“Fitness programs makes sense for a time but then the individualistic aspect of the journey can become isolating,” says Vanita. “The LAB brings community to fitness. When I came to the LAB, I was given the title of “Athlete.” What a gift – it reminds me of my days playing soccer. I was also given the gift of a “Coach” vs. a trainer. I know I’m part of a team. I’ve learned how much my fitness journey effects my family, friends and even strangers. The ripple effect is pretty incredible. My journey can actually inspire those I love. The LAB created this experience for me, and my Coach has transformed me.”
Describe Coach Lee. Devoted. He embodies the patience, diligence, care and passion it takes to coach his neighbor into health. I came to him as a stranger and now I’m loved as a friend and athlete. I’m a member of the LAB community and he is my Coach. He traveled with me on this journey and was steadfast in his commitment to my transformation. I’ve never had that type of fitness friendship before.
I recall in the beginning that I was obsessed and concerned with the amount of weight training and number of squats involved in my programming. I was worried that instead of becoming lean I was going to bulk – so many trainers in the past convinced me to use light weights and I became skinny but not strong.
Because of Coach Lee’s calm attitude and vast knowledge of fitness, I learned to trust him quickly. I’m glad I did.
He assured me that I would feel bulkier at first, but then the fat would begin to melt. He asked me to be patient and told me I would feel strong. He was absolutely right. The journey he projected came true. I just didn’t realize how much my well-being outside the gym would transform as well.
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
— Albert Schweitzer
What are your fitness goals? I want to be strong mentally, physically and emotionally. The LAB is supporting my holistic health. It is a safe and nourishing place to go where I am fueled and recharged to be the best version of me for myself and others. In the past six months, I have lost 10 pounds and several inches. The most amazing aspect of my body transformation is in my attitude and energy. I feel holistically healthy and I want to continue on this path. In fact, I am recommitting to yoga and can’t wait to see how much my training supports my yoga practice!
How do you fit fitness into your busy schedule? The LAB is now a place I go to fuel my family, work and friendships. I don’t look at it as fitting fitness into my schedule. I see it as showing up to life. It’s a non-negotiable. If I want to live an extraordinary life, I must show up to it.
How has your nutrition changed? I gave up gluten several months ago and have increased my water intake. This has dramatically changed my health and well-being. I love having at least one robust salad a day. I don’t like using the word “cheat” when associated with food. I prefer the words “free meal” and it would be gluten-free or cauliflower pizza.
Who helps fuel your fitness outside of the LAB? I’m grateful to my husband Darren Boswell for encouraging me to go to the LAB and join Coach Lee’s Team. Having a partner who is equally as invested in your over health and well-being is EVERYTHING. It’s pivotal in how my fitness journey will be sustained.