Dana Anello White

Fitness Professional

Location: Waldwick, NJ

"When you listen to your heart, there really is no limit or restriction on how you define a career, or how late in life you can start again."

After 10 moves in 15 years, I was confident our family’s relocation to New Jersey in 2010 would be just like the others. I had been a military spouse for the previous decade and had mastered a transient lifestyle. I was accustomed to deployments, stuffy social events, and unpredictability. Packing up and moving to a new town in a new state with two kids and two dogs was familiar territory.

This move to New Jersey, however, would prove to be a game-changer. My husband had transitioned to the civilian world and, for the first time in my life, I was without both our extended family and – more significantly – our military family. Suddenly I was isolated.

I spent most of 2011 regretting the countless career opportunities I had given up and longing for some sense of normalcy in our lives. I wondered how I could possibly have the energy to start over again at the age of 40, in a town where I had no history, no familiarity and no friends.

I had been out of the physical therapy field for almost seven years with no intention of returning. Although I had been a successful personal trainer for the previous three years, I had no clientele or connections in New Jersey, so launching a business locally seemed like a huge risk. I was in a state of uncertainty and knew it was time to make a move, as I was slowly losing both my identity and my drive.

In April 2012, I reconnected with a former client who introduced me to Moms in Motion, Inc., a fitness group she had recently joined. Hearing her excitement reminded me of the times in my life when I was most fulfilled and grounded, surrounded by teammates and friends who constantly strived to reach new goals. I knew I needed to pursue coaching again. Within two weeks, I launched Moms in Motion Bergen County, a fitness team for women, and haven’t looked back. I wasn’t sure if I’d have two or 20 members, but I knew I’d put my heart and soul into leading them on the path of health and wellness.

In July 2012, I watched 23 team members cross the finish line of their first 5K. It was one of the most rewarding days of my life. Just nine weeks earlier, many of them had doubted their ability to run three minutes, yet now they ran three miles with ease. More importantly, I witnessed how a simple yet critical lifestyle change carried over to their daily lives, making them stronger both physically and mentally. Our program has since grown to over 90 members, and some of those same women are now training for their first half marathon.

Returning to coaching and helping to reshape the lives of other women has changed my life. When you listen to your heart, there really is no limit or restriction on how you define a career, or how late in life you can start again.