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Find Out What Motivates the Women Who Inspire You

Written By: Marisa Thrasher

What do these five fierce women all have in common? The answer is they are all winners from our recent poll: Who is Your Favorite Female Fitness Influencers? They’ve been longtime inspirations to their respective social media followers, blog readers and clients for inspiring and encouraging others to reach their goals. So, we wanted to get some fitness tips and see what gets (and keeps) them going! Once you read their answers below, you’ll see why they’re all winning at life.

Maria Disla, Pure Indoor Cycling

Q: You have a ‘Pay It Forward’ ride where a portion of each ride is given to charity. What made you want to give back to your community?
Maria Disla: I’ve always been big on charity. It’s something that my family really insisted on growing up, helping others in any way you can, big or small. I think that you are going to be a true part of any community you have to give back and help improve the lives of the people who live in that community.
Q: How do you personally find balance in your life?
MD: Finding balance in life has honestly always been something I’ve struggled with. It’s hard making time for all the different things we try to fit into our daily lives. I try to step back and think, ‘Does this make me happy? Does this improve my life and the life of others around me?’ If it’s something that does, then I’ll find a way to fit into my schedule. 

Q: If you have only 30 minutes to spare for a workout, what do you do?
MD: I am a self-described spin junkie. I love riding to the beat of the music. If I’ve only got 30 minutes to spare I try to push against heavy resistance on the bike and work in an arm section and hit obliques with some out of the saddle pulses and in the saddle presses. 

Q: As one of San Diego’s Favorite Female Fitness Influencers, how do you plan to continue to inspire your community?

MD: I believe in remaining true in the belief that no matter at what stage someone is at in their fitness journey, they can achieve their end goal by staying dedicated to their program and understanding that fitness is not only physical but also mental. You have to believe that you can before your body will follow suit. 


Kate Buntenbach, SoCal Runner Gal


Q: Where do you pull your inspiration from?
Kate Buntenbach: My best running friends. I share many miles each week with a group of crazy inspiring women and I am so lucky to have them. They are my biggest motivators, encouragers and source of inspiration.

Q: What’s your advice for an aspiring runner who is starting at square one?

KB: Start slow. Start small. Just start. Most of us have to start with run/walk intervals and that’s completely okay! When I first started running, I could only run one mile at a time. Now I can run a 50k on trails. Slowly but surely, you’ll get there and it will be so worth it. 

Q: What’s your favorite post-run meal in San Diego?

KB: This one’s tough because I’m such a foodie, but as of late, it’s the organic kale salad with salmon from Flower Child in Del Mar or the eggs with avocado and toast from Lofty Coffee in Solana Beach. So good!

Q: As one of San Diego’s Favorite Female Fitness Influencers, how do you plan to continue to inspire your community? 

KB: I always try to be as authentic as possible in all that I do. I think sharing your struggles along with your successes is inspiring and I plan to continue with that kind of realness on Instagram, my blog and in the real world.

Q: If you have only 30 minutes to spare for a workout, what do you do?

KB: Run, of course. Running is my favorite exercise because you can do it anywhere, anytime. All you have to do is lace up and head out.

Nicole Dobransky, Fitness Fatale

Q: You went from being a self-described “partier” in college and living what sounds like a bit of an unhealthy lifestyle to participating in an Ironman race and several marathons. Assuming it was difficult to go from one extreme to the other, what kept you going? 

Nicole Dobransky: When I met my husband, I was still partying and he introduced me to endurance sport (he had done an Ironman before we met) and I started to realize that waking up early on a Saturday morning to run made me feel SO much better than drinking late on Friday night and feeling hungover the next day. And then once we did P90X in 2011 and I lost (and kept off) the weight that I’d been battling most of my life. I never turned back and kept changing the endurance endorphins. Though don’t get me wrong, I still really love a good IPA a few times a week! 

Q: As a mother and a wife, how do you maintain your healthy lifestyle?

ND: It’s all about making fitness a priority. My husband and I both work out daily and we make it a priority in our daily routine—to us, it’s just a habit now. Although we used to work out together a lot more often, now we switch off or make time during our daughter’s naps or before she’s up in the morning. 

Q: As one of San Diego’s Favorite Female Fitness Influencers, how do you plan to continue to inspire your community?

ND: I plan to continue to share my experience as a runner, mom, and woman on my blog www.fitnessfatale.com and social media platforms (@fitnessfatale). I also host monthly fitness accountability groups to help people, mostly mothers and/or runners, prioritize fitness and healthy eating and work toward goals they set for themselves. I’ve always been someone who is constantly inviting others to join me on my health and fitness journey, so coaching is something that comes naturally to me.

Q: Where do you pull your inspiration from?

ND: A lot of my inspiration comes from my peers – my running group the Seaside Striders, my Beachbody virtual accountability groups, the Oiselle Team, and my fellow runners on social media. I’m constantly inspired to be a better person and athlete by them. 


Sam Hunter, Sam.Hunter.SD

Q: If you have only 30 minutes to spare for a workout, what do you do?

Sam Hunter: Sometimes we only have 30 minutes for a workout. I get that and that happens to me a lot. I have an office job and it’s not easy to find time to get out, sometimes I only have the lunch break. But having a job where I sit that much, being active is even more important. For 30 minutes, I recommend to do a full body HIIT with bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises are fun and can be done anywhere. So maybe it will save some time to not have to travel to the gym for these. For my intervals, I love tabata intervals. Those are 20 seconds full power followed by a 10 seconds break, repeat 8 times per exercise. Tabata intervals are great to get the heart rate going, get a good sweat, and build that stamina.

Q: Where do you pull your inspiration from? 

SH: This is easy. I pull a lot of inspiration from my family and friends who support me on this fitness journey. My husband takes all my photos and knows how to make me look beautiful, which is not always an easy job. I have all kinds of moody faces sometimes. He is a real talent and enjoys to get to try out all the new filters etc. My mother is always the first to like my posts, no matter what time, she lives in Germany (where I am from) and the time difference is nine hours. She signed up to Instagram only to follow my journey. I love her so much.

Q: As one of San Diego’s Favorite Female Fitness Influencers, how do you plan to continue to inspire your community?

SH: I love to engage with my followers and the local community. Going forward we will continue the Tuesday Inspo series where I am sharing two bodyweight exercises for anyone to do anywhere at anytime. I encourage my followers to show me their variation and tag me using my hashtag #samhuntersd. I also love when my followers request to demonstrate exercises for a certain muscle group. I also love to give back to my followers and currently we run a weekly giveaway. These usually include yoga and fitness gear and beauty products. I love to give back and show appreciation to all my followers and it’s another way to engage more with everyone. In the future, I want to be more active in local events, studio classes, etc. I think my followers will appreciate the local aspect and maybe even come out to meet me.

Q: What gets you out of bed each day?

SH: To be honest I am a total morning person. I have no issue to jump right out of bed when my alarm goes off (usually at 5:30 a.m.). I don’t even drink coffee and rarely tea. I do have a demanding office job and usually arrive at the office by 7:30 a.m. Unfortunately, this rarely leaves time for a morning workout with a commute of 30 minutes, but I catch up on fitness in my lunch break and after work. I love to workout right before going to bed, it gives me a great night sleep and I can start all over again in the morning.

Q: Since you’re all about fun and bright colors, what’s your favorite Instagrammable spot in San Diego to take pictures?

SH: This is a tough one. San Diego has so many beautiful and colorful places. My husband and I really love to explore the city. Anything with water and one of our gorgeous SoCal sunsets will create a stunning backdrop to the photo. Torrey Pines and La Jolla are beautiful places to catch a gorgeous sunset almost every night. We also love Coronado. It’s just such a beautiful place in general. Windandsea was always one of my favorites but I think the hut was washed away again. Would love to shoot there again soon.


Kellen McAvoy, A Cup of Kellen

Q: Where do you pull your inspiration from? 

Kellen McAvoy: I get a lot of my inspiration from fellow fitness influencers, bloggers, and friends (especially on Instagram!). There are so many amazing people in the fitness community, especially right here in San Diego, that motivate me every day to push harder, farther, and faster.

Q: You’re a fitness lover and a foodie, what’s your go-to guilty pleasure?

KM: How much time do you have? I have a crazy sweet tooth and every night I crave desserts like cookies, chocolate, or Halo Top. After a race, I usually always want pancakes or French toast!

Q: San Diego is known for their craft beers. What’s your favorite local brewery?

KM: Modern Times! Their Blazing World Amber Ale is one of my all-time favorite beers and I just love their culture.

Q: As one of San Diego’s Favorite Female Fitness Influencers, how do you plan to continue to inspire your community?

KM: I plan on continuing to blog and share my own fitness journey, new studios, and new workouts in hopes of inspiring others. I’ve also been considering getting my spin certification and would love to one day teach a regular class.

Q: If you have only 30 minutes to spare for a workout, what do you do?

KM: If I only have 30 minutes for a workout, I will usually go on an interval run focusing on speed work or I’ll do a HIIT workout from Tone It Up or BBG. I try to use the time I have to effectively work different muscle groups.