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Meet Shaweta “Shay” Vasudeva of ShayTheCoach in Ahwatukee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaweta “Shay” Vasudeva.

Shaweta, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up as a competitive athlete, playing national level softball and tennis. I also started training martial arts at the age of 10. By the time I was in college, due to personal life circumstances and traumatic experiences, I had a multitude of injuries and health conditions. These injuries left me physically and emotionally depleted. Softball was the joy of my life and I played on a Travel Team. Even after a traumatic incident that resulted in a dislocated wrist, I chose to continue to play. As a result, I ended up needing a major surgery on my wrist. I was in a cast for almost one year and physical therapy for multiple years. I was on an emotional low and was prescribed medication for pain. I started eating food for emotional gratification. The result of my poor eating habits, irregular routine with my pain medicines, the now sedentary lifestyle as well as side effects of certain medications was enormous weight gain.

By the time I was 22, I was a size 14 and close to 160 pounds! As a result of these unhealthy figures, my softball career ended. But this did not waiver my athletic spirit. In fact, it ignited my determination to train both in the gym and in karate. Immediately after getting out of the cast, I started doing physical therapy and working with my Sensei (karate instructor) to retrain my wrist and hand. I eventually earned the rank of Black Belt which was a very gratifying and life-changing achievement. Along with my karate training, I studied extensively and earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science (Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders) from Rio Salado College, and Bachelor’s and Masters of Arts in Psychology from Marist College. I didn’t stop there. I also earned my Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist credential from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and am a Certified Nutritional Therapist from The Health Sciences Academy. I’m currently working towards a Master’s of Science Degree in Kinesiology from A.T. Still University with concentrations in Corrective Exercise, Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Sports Psychology.

I’ve also traveled extensively where I’ve gotten to study, speak and train in countries such as Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Tanzania, China (Beijing & Hong Kong), South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Canada and Spain. I have had the honor of meeting Fidel Castro before he passed and learning about sustainable living and health through plants, a cultural exchange with Traditional Chinese Medicine at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and to present at International Obesity Conferences through Allied Health Academies in Toronto and Barcelona.

What fuels all this desire and thirst for education? For knowledge? To give? To learn? The Black Belt training wasn’t always so easy either. Yet the rewards are endless. There is an Okinawan Karate Proverb that states, “Fall Down 7, Get up 8.” This proverb has been a guiding principle in my personal life and with STC. Despite being treated through surgeries and medications by very competent professionals, it all took a toll on me. So, I changed gears and started to take a holistic approach towards regaining my health. Today, in my 30s, I weigh 115 pounds and feel better than ever! I was able to take off the extra weight, keep it off, and manage my other conditions through a clean lifestyle of eating nutritiously (ask any of my friends), karate, fitness training and working with naturopathic approaches. I have extensive experience not just as a practitioner but as someone ‘on the other side of the coin.’ I like to refer to my personal story as ‘fieldwork in compassion.” I’ve been very fortunate to have met some phenomenal people along the way, who helped me with my healing, education and professional development. In retrospect, I’d like to think we helped each other.

Which brings me to the professional part of my story. Before opening STC, I used my Psychology background to work as a full-time Drug and Alcohol Counselor, working with individuals, families and couples to recover from the disease of addiction. Yet I still wanted to do something with my athleticism and fitness-minded spirit! On my days off, I created a hearty business that included teaching karate, nutrition, and personal fitness to clients. I worked like this for several years as a counselor during weeknights, attending school during off hours, and training clients on weekends. This too took a toll on me! But I started to create a vision to integrate my experiences and these practices to help my clients. During these years, I saved up some finances and built up a client base. I started attending business seminars and networking groups. When the numbers and time were right, I resigned my full-time counselor position and opened STC. So, while I don’t provide Alcohol and Drug Counseling services right now, I still bring my Psychology background when working with clients on their nutritional and health goals. I work on their “WHY” of losing weight and changing nutritional habits as well as the “HOW.”

My focus is on clients whose goal is weight loss and also those who have special considerations. My approach is providing unique tools for my professional and personal experiences. I like to tell people I look the way I do because I train and eat healthily. I do not eat healthily and train to look the way I do. I take an “inside out” approach to health because that’s what works over time and fuels lasting results.

I also speak, teach, and write at colleges, universities, hospitals, corporations and other professional institutions on nutrition, health, well-being and fitness related topics.

In my spare time, when I am not being health obsessed, I like to dance and listen to drums, enjoy nature, travel, go to plays and watch comedies. I have an affinity for cats and have a gorgeous, rambunctious tuxedo cat who keeps me on my toes!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Sometimes have been smoother than others. While I don’t want to sugar coat things, I don’t want to sound discouraging either. One of my most poignant yet poetic struggles was at one point, my cat and I were living in a long-term hotel efficiency and we needed to place my personal belongings in storage. All that I had in the hotel room with me were my business items, the cat’s items, and some basic needs with a few inspirational and educational materials. How did this happen? I was in the middle of re-branding STC and the air conditioning in my apartment home broke, leaking through the ceiling and making it unsafe for me to live there. As a “quick fix,” while I sorted things out with the complex and found other housing options, I temporarily moved into the hotel efficiency. I ended up liking it there so much, I stayed for the better part of a year! It freed me up from time-consuming chores like cleaning, organizing, and other duties around the home since the hotel staff came and tidied up a minimum of once per week. It streamlined things and allowed me to focus because my main items in the room were all about business, inspiration and my cat! The running joke from hotel staff was that the business and cat owned more than I did. I explained most of my personal belongings were in storage right now.

One huge silver lining at the hotel was all of the interesting people I met while staying there, from the staff to the tenants. The staff treated us so well and the other tenants all had stories of how they too, ended up living in a long-term hotel efficiency room. There were families (also with their pets, some had dogs and lizards), working business professionals, commercial truck drivers, traveling nurses, construction and linemen, people between jobs, people between homes, the list is endless! To this day, I stay in touch with some of my “roommates.” Yet it was trying at times because not everyone there was a working professional or had circumstances like mine where they needed some long term temporary housing. Some were rather unfriendly and had their own reasons for being there.

They could at times create some unnecessary drama which motivated me to hyper-focus and finish the re-brand, bolster the infrastructure for STC, and find a new long-term home. During this whole time, I was still teaching in schools, training myself and taking clients. As a business owner, the hats to wear are MANY and the tasks at times feel endless. Fortunately, I had a host of friends who believed in me, my family who supported me, colleagues and clients who never wavered when they heard about my situation. At times, when I needed a break, my friends would come by and we’d relax on the patio with some of the other tenants. Sometimes, they would whisk me away for a day trip to nature, to places like Payson or Sedona or Prescott.

My take on the situation? I once told a dear friend and colleague that working a business from a hotel efficiency room is like driving cross-country in a car on 4 donuts: Exhilarating and nerve wracking at the same time!

After just under a year, I moved into a new home and while I’m grateful to be in a gorgeous long-term living environment now, at times I miss the simplicity of living in a hotel efficiency room. Yet I’m in no rush to live there again! Part of that experience allowed me to complete the re-brand and create the STC infrastructure which included building a small passionate team. This has been invaluable to the company’s success. By no means is it a skeleton crew but it also isn’t extravagant either. I’ve got a career transition coach, a social media marketing manager, an accountant and bookkeeper, access to attorneys (as needed), and a strong network group with whom I can bounce ideas off of regularly and brain storm with and lean on and vice versa. Learning business acumen, basic accounting, and to trust others with my product and life’s work was also a process. I took (and still take) many workshops and went to seminars, read books, reached out to my other successful business colleagues and focused on learning to delegate and instruct rather than “do do do do.” That can lead a business into “DOO DOO.” I consider trusted friends as part of my team as well. Sometimes I just need a long-term friend to help me stay grounded, to refocus, remind me of my WHY or simply go to a comedy and take a break from my HOW.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with ShayTheCoach – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
“ShayTheCoach” is a company that I founded as a result of my passion to help others become the best version of “SELF.” Under STC, I offer one-on-one sessions using Corrective Exercise, Nutritional Coaching, and Cranial Sacral Work at my Ahwatukee location in the Natural Healthcare Specialties building. I believe that one size does NOT fit all, and work with each client during their first session to create a plan of action. Together, we decide which services will be the best fit and adjust them over time, as clients reach their goals and experience positive results.

I enjoy working with pre- and post-retirees, working adult professionals, people with weight loss goals, folks who have muscle imbalances from overuse/repetitive movements and people on ketogenic diets.

I am also a teaching professional, speaker, and author. I enjoy working with small teams and large groups alike. My client base is as wide and deep as my background. It includes: executives, administrative assistants, community leaders, healthcare providers, administrators, and educators. My topics include Nutrition, Benefits of Ergonomic Living, Fitness, Wellness, Stress Management, Avoiding Burnout and Movement Based Interactive Workshops.

I am known for my unique approach where I combine education with application. I believe providing education is invaluable during STC sessions and I pair it with a dynamic approach to help clients put what they learn into practice. In other words, I focus on helping others apply what they learn in their sessions. So many times I hear, “Shay, I know what to do. But how do I do it?” The reasons we discuss are: “I’m busy, I have kids, I’ve tried before. It’s too expensive to eat healthily. I can’t afford a membership.” So we not only create clear, objective goals, we couple it with what I call “inside work” and help to reframe these messages while removing the barriers my clients face towards reaching their goals. I work with clients to reach and grab hold of their “WHY” and then we work together to create the “HOW” while building in support and accountability. I use a Mind-Body approach in my sessions and workshops, bringing 15+ years of combined experience in Psychology, Personal Training, Nutrition, and Martial Arts to my style. My diverse group of clients describes me as: industrious, eclectic and caring. I use a soft-touch approach while garnering powerful and sustainable results for clients.

I believe what I’m most proud of as a company is its evolution. One of my mentors told me the following axiom: “In business, you either grow or you go.” I feel that way about life too. There are times where things are smoother than others that are not so smooth. We can utilize these not-so-smooth times as opportunities for great self-betterment and to help others along the way. For example, I didn’t always enjoy my current level of health or look like I do. Through my own personal weight loss and transformative health journey, I have come to believe the best knowledge and experience comes from working with others and studying, always striving to do better today than I did yesterday.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I believe this is one of the best cities for a business like mine to thrive in, yes! It is very open-minded to ‘alternative health’ with an integrated approach and it has been my experience that the people here tend to be conscientious about their lifestyle and food choices. When I travel, I am reminded not every city is so fortunate to have multiple health stores, holistic healing centers, and the like.

So, what’s next is continuing to build my practice which is currently located in Ahwatukee, very easily accessible by the I-10. I’m also taking clients for speaking engagements and workshops.

I recently returned from delivering a keynote presentation at a conference abroad, so I am focusing a bit more locally now. I learn a lot from conferences and always strive to share the best with my clients when I return. I am scheduled to lead a workshop this summer at a state conference for educators and am working with the community to reach more people with the services STC provides.

Pricing:

  • 1 on 1 sessions for Corrective Exercise, Nutrition, and/or CranioSacral Work are 60 minutes for $70
  • I carry HyperIce HyperSphere Self Massage Tool for $140.00 each
  • I carry Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketones for $60 per container (Chocolate Sea Salt Flavor and Peaches & Cream Flavor

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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