Photo by Maria Crisafuli

Penn State senior, Rachel Miller, is the embodiment of beauty and health as she marries her love for fitness with nutrition. She practices what she preaches and shares her expertise with the fitness world in an interesting and unique way.

A basketball player in high school, Rachel has always had athletics as a part of her life. The Phoenixville native found her true love for fitness, weightlifting and calisthenics when she began training at a gym in the King of Prussia area by the name of Level 40 Performance Center.

“I started working with this guy, Greg Garrett and all these NFL and NBA athletes, and I was training with them,” Miller exclaimed. “I was the only girl and it was the most intimidating thing, but I loved seeing the work ethic and how passionate these guys were, not only about their sport, but with what was going on in the gym too. That’s where I think I really fell in love with it. I started working for him for a little while and learned all the aspects and details of personal training.”

Shortly after, Miller tore both ACL’s, preventing her from playing basketball. This injury gave her a lot of grief. “I struggled with getting back into the gym and being confident in my capabilities as an athlete. I felt like a lot of those were taken away from me, but throughout this whole injury and surgery, I realized how important mental toughness was. Once I learned that, I came out much stronger and it’s made me much stronger today,” Miller says.

It is this struggle that has given Miller the drive to bring mental toughness into the fitness industry.

“Mental toughness is something I still struggle with and I think that you have to surround yourself with the people that are going to help you reach your goals. There’s this quote that I love, ‘water seeks its own level.’ My coach would say this all the time growing up and it finally makes sense today. You surround yourself with people that believe in you and what you want to achieve, and it just makes you a better person.”

Miller has cultivated the term ‘teamliness’ to express the importance of other people in life to your own personal goals. She says, “It’s a team-integrated environment. I think being a part of a team, whether it’s at a job, in the classroom or in the gym, is so essential to your life. Your family can be your team or your friends can be your team, but I think ‘teamliness’ just means coming together to accomplish a common goal that those people have.”

Miller came to University Park as a freshman in 2014 to pursue a career in the College of Health and Human Development. After a few changes to her major, she decided on nutrition and dietetics. She hopes to get her licenses as a registered dietitian, and would like to combine all aspects of health and wellness, rather than limit herself to one section.

Miller says, “I got into nutrition and dietetics because I love food; I think it brings people together and it’s key to our health. I think it’s not only preventative to chronic diseases, but also something people should just enjoy, and I think it’s very stressful now for some people. I got into the major because I want to be one of those advocates for living a healthier lifestyle through nutrition because I think it should be fun and I think that’s something that’s a challenge for people.”

As of late, Miller has been using Instagram as a platform for discussing nutrition and exercise with the world and is willing to help anyone who wants to interact with her. What originally started as a personal blog has now transformed into more of a general fitness page as well as an outlet and opportunity for anyone who wishes to discuss fitness with her.

She says, “I would really love for [my Instagram] to be what it is, but bigger. I want people to reach out to me with questions, and learn about nutrition and fitness through what I do and then better themselves … I want people who I work with to be confident in their capabilities and realize their potential because people are capable of more than they realize.”

One of her greatest inspirations comes from Danni Tabor, a girl from London, England who she met through her Instagram and is mostly known for her role in Harry Potter as Angelina Johnson.

Miller recalls, “She was starting her own fitness journey and was self-taught in all that she does. She’s an actress and bikini model on the side, but I just think that she’s so real and I think that’s something that is necessary in role models nowadays because you can be portrayed any way you want on Instagram, and to be someone who just lays it all out there, it’s motivating and it allows us to have that self-love, and from that we can really grow.”

Miller hopes to keep promoting positivity in the fitness industry and fitness for everyone because she believe it is critical to everyone’s overall wellness.

“I really think that [exercise] is the best medicine and it allows us to be our best selves and I love that. That’s why I do it… because I’m still working on myself and I think it brings out the best in people,” says Miller.

You can follow Rachel Miller and her health advice on Instagram with the handle @feedyourmachine.


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