We talked with Kayla Ross-Jackson in April, 2020.
Kayla Ross-Jacksons Stats When We Talked with Her 💪
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Kayla Ross-Jackson, known by some as Raye Silver. I am 28 years old, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Originally, I’ve lived in both the North York and East York Region, but now reside, and have lived most of my life in Scarborough. I work full-time as a fitness instructor with the City of Toronto, a dance choreographer; dance teacher; dance performer, and also as a model.
In terms of dance, I started at the mere age of three years old and have been training professionally for 25 years. Alongside dancing, I trained in fitness as well, and began taking it more seriously at the age of 18 years old. I have now been teaching for the past 10 years and counting.
Initially, I was rather nervous before I got into fitness on a professional level. I already had an initial interest in it, but it was the motivation and encouragement I received from my mother as well as other instructors and peers that gave me the push and drive to finally start.
I was reminded of the skills and assets that I possessed and the more I taught, the more amazing it felt sharing these skills and all my knowledge with people from all different walks of life. I successfully achieved my first set of certifications, and began teaching at the Scarborough YMCA back in 2010. I continued training and managed to get a position with the City of Toronto as a fitness trainer, and fitness and dance instructor. I also specialize in other styles of dance like ballet, contemporary, jazz, and hip hop.
From my experience so far, what I’ve come to love most about fitness is all the wonderful people I’ve met, as well as helping my clients to achieve whatever personal goals they may have and seeing how content they are with their results. I’ve discovered that I really feed off of their positive energy and it pushes me to continue what I do.
Aside from my fitness journey, I also took part in several other sports, from volleyball, to basketball, track and field and etc. Furthermore, in my free time when I am not dancing, working out or training, I thoroughly enjoy longboarding, cycling, jogging, reading, writing, drawing, painting, gaming, and hiking.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
A typical day of training for me differs in terms of whether I am working with a client(s) or doing a self workout. I teach a series of different classes throughout the week, as well as sessions for smaller groups.
For a self workout, I train three to five days a week. I like to split particular areas into each day of the week; for example, arm day, leg day, etc. With the exception of cardio, and core work, which I like to workout every session. Duration-wise, my personal workouts range from one to two hours long; I like to do three sets of each rep of an exercise, and at least 30 minutes to an hour of cardio.
To amplify the intensity of my workouts I like to switch up my exercises every week, either by adding an increase in the weights I use, number of sets or reps, or also modifying the exercises so they are more of a challenge.
I also like to run drills for myself to get more exercises done in a smaller amount of time. It’s a heavier workout and also a good way to test my progress every now and then. One thing that’s very essential to my workout, and anyone’s workout for that matter is stretching.
Coming from a dancer background, I tend to focus more on deeper stretching than the average person in order to maintain my high level of flexibility.
For my classes and sessions, the manner in which I train my clients definitely varies. I get clients of all ages and different abilities, so as the instructor I am always doing my best to show alternatives of all the exercises I demonstrate.
Similar to my personal workouts, I attempt to encourage my clients to also push themselves, but also remind them to do what they can to the best of their abilities. My ultimate goal is to keep my classes and sessions fun, despite working our bodies, and to make people realise that working out doesn’t have to feel like a chore.
I push for each person to not focus on competing but rather on themselves, their improvement, and well-being. Whether it is for my personal workout or my clients, I like to create and follow my own exercises and techniques.
I usually train alone, but occasionally do enjoy exercising with family and friends. Since I have access to several community centres in the city that I teach at, I train all over; I also train in the comfort of my own home.
Working out is one of the many ways I relieve stress, and after a long day at my other job(s) it’;s nice to unwind and blow off all that steam.
My favourite exercises include cardio dance, barre, cyclefit, aerobics, yoga, and intense core workouts. Drinking a lot of water during a workout is essential, as well as eating a protein bar or adding my favourite protein powder Six Star Pro Nutrition Whey Protein. All I need is my towel, water, my best running shoes, and some good tunes to get my workout going.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced with my training is definitely time and balance. As mentioned, I am a very busy person, with a very busy schedule, and in the past I’ve struggled with balancing out work from my free time and personal life. Too often I found myself getting burnt out and too tired to take my personal healthy lifestyle and personal workouts more seriously.
After a few alterations to my schedule and making the right accommodations, like cutting back on the large number of classes I was running a week, I was finally able to find balance between all my work and personal life.
A question I’m often asked by clients and friends is how I manage to maintain such discipline and drive. Staying active is something that is crucially important to me, as it is one of the many ways that I relieve stress and cope with everyday life, and for that reason alone I will continue with this lifestyle and fitness journey.
Feeling good about my body is one of the first steps to feeling good about myself overall, and this is one of the things that pushes me to continue my training. Sure, we all have our lazy days where we lose a bit of motivation, but I always have that inner voice in my head convincing me that I will feel so much better after a good hearty workout.
One tactic that has also always been a big motivator for me is music. It’s definitely something that I cannot live without, and it can make or break a workout for me. A good playlist gives me all the energy and motivation I need to push myself.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My fitness journey thus far, has been a good one. I could say I want to go back and maybe do things differently in certain circumstances, but I am a true believer that everything happens the way it does for a reason.
I’m glad to have taken on the fitness world at such a young age, and learned all that I have learned. I’m very grateful for all the knowledge I gained and the connections I made throughout this journey.
As of now my training is doing well and picking up. I often look in the future as far as my mind will take me, and I see myself doing bigger things in the future. I had attempted the idea before, but I would finally like to put into serious action, opening up my own studio space and running both dance, yoga, and fitness related classes throughout the week. It’s an idea I’ve grown to become rather passionate about, and I see myself really making a difference in people’s lives and enjoying what I’m doing in the process.
I would also like to gain a better platform and reach out to people outside of Toronto and North America. Perhaps I will even take a leap at teaching overseas in the next coming years as I do hope to also finally do some travelling as well.
Aside from my life of active living, I also plan to continue on with my modeling career, taking it more seriously in the hopes of gaining more recognition.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Keeping my body healthy has always been very important to me, even from a young age. Putting that into perspective, with the amount of working out and physical activity I do, I’m careful and cautious to not put too much pressure on myself and my body. What I put into my body is just as important as how I physically work my body.
Along with a healthy diet, I do take a few supplements to boost up my nutrition levels and immune system. I take a number of Jamieson products such as, Cod Liver Oil, Omega-3, Vitamins A, C, D, and One a Day Women's Multivitamins. I'm a bit of a night owl lol, but nonetheless I do try my best to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
In my career, I luckily haven’t had too many injuries apart from the minor sprain or strain. In order to prevent any minor or major injury from physical activity, I always make sure to be properly warmed up before starting any form of exercise, and also perform a proper cool down. This of course includes an immense amount of warm up exercises and lots of stretching.
Furthermore, despite always pushing myself to go as hard as I can during a session, I also make sure to know and respect my own limits, listen to my body, and not overdo it; the same goes with dealing with recovery from an injury.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Apart from the supplements I take, I admit that I don’t have any particular strict diet. However, I do monitor what I eat and watch my intake on certain foods. My diet has always been very conventional, from a younger age, I always tended to eat much healthier foods.
At the height of six feet, I maintain a healthy weight of 145 lbs. Naturally, eating healthier makes me feel good, and goes hand in hand with my active lifestyle, and my weekly workout routines.
I do allow myself cheat days, as I am a firm believer that we all deserve them here and there, however, I refrain from eating too much junk food. I find that without a proper balance in diet, consuming a large amount of junk food really affects my energy level as well as my discipline, and motivation.
In a typical day, I ensure each meal is well balanced in terms of the four food groups. I do like to start my day with a heavier breakfast, so that I have enough energy to last throughout most of my day, I also like to snack between each meal to avoid any overeating. Along with my daily meal plan, I ensure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I can honestly say that one of the biggest inspirations and motivators that has kept me in the fitness game is self-care. I a;m always striving to better myself, not just physically but mentally as well.
I love feeling good about my body and feeling good in my own skin, and I love sharing that with other people as well. There have been points in my life in the past where I really struggled with mind over matter.
Working out isn’t just about working the body to me, but also the mind and spirit. One entity very crucial to my workout is music, it is one of the leading factors as to what keeps me motivated during a workout. You can find a whole range of music on my playlist lol, and I mean it when I say I listen to everything; anything that keeps me hyped up.
Throughout my fitness career, I’ve had the guidance of my family, friends, and also support from other fellow instructors that I’ve taught alongside on this journey. These encounters contribute to what molded me into the fitness trainer and guru that I am today.
I have one of my greatest mentors, Kevin Pelle (instagram: @kpelle67) to thank for being so patient with me throughout my training process and making me into the tough instructor I feel that I am today. His fitness journey is also an amazing one, and his story definitely deserves to be heard.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
If I were to pass down my knowledge to anyone new in the fitness industry, I’d advise them to be patient and be open to learning. My entire journey was a process, I didn’t always feel comfortable teaching in front of a group of people, I didn’t always have the confidence to really put myself up there in that position, and have people looking up to me for my expertise in
A big piece of advice I’d give them: You can’t please everybody, you need to find a method of teaching that you’re most comfortable with and works for you. Furthermore, you need to do the same with any of your personal workouts, and daily regimens, and you need to commit to them.
Working out shouldn’t feel like a chore, it should be something you enjoy doing, and it should feel natural, like a part of your everyday life. Having a healthy lifestyle is not a competition, it isn’t about being better than the next person, and I truly feel that’s where a lot of people go wrong when at the gym, or in a fitness class, etc.
Focus on yourself and your well being, you can’t do that wholeheartedly if you’re busy focusing on other people. It's called self care for a reason. These virtues can also be easily applied to you life outside of the gym as
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
As of now, I am still taking on clients, both in person as well as through the internet. I like to ensure that all my clients are comfortable with me, although we work on an important matter regarding the improvement of their bodies and health. Despite pushing them to their limits, and reaching their set goals, I do make sure to go at a pace that they’re most comfortable with.
One of the most common questions I get from my clients is how long it’ll take until they start to really see results. I always assure them that this depends on a number of crucial things: How serious they take their training, their diet, and their dedication to continue with their training even when not in a session with me.
In other words, they need to demonstrate proper self discipline. I can only be there as a guide for them, but they have to be more than willing to also put in work.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
As of now, my website and YouTube channel are under construction but you can find me and all of my work, and see more into the life of me on my Instagram: @kayrayejayy.