Meet Amanda Perez

A passion for wellness

Amanda Perez, a Wellness Advisor for Stanford’s BeWell team, found her inspiration for a career in wellness very early in life. Growing up in the Bay Area, Amanda’s parents’ were dedicated to the health of the family, with both parents balancing full-time work with taking care of Amanda and her younger brother. As the main chef of the family, Amanda’s mom was adamant that vegetables be a part of every meal and she very rarely allowed fast food to cross the dinner table. Amanda’s dad adored sports and often led the neighborhood kids in rousing games of T-ball or soccer. At age five, Amanda proclaimed spinach as her favorite food. By age eight, she insisted upon joining a soccer team on top of the dance classes she took three times each week. In her teens, Amanda balanced field hockey, soccer, and track and toted carrots as her favorite snack.

Aside from exercise and nutrition, Amanda also carried a fierce enthusiasm for helping others. In high school, she became a peer counselor and conflict mediator, a rally commissioner and a team captain for both field hockey and soccer. She headed into college at UC Santa Barbara with the goal of becoming a social worker, thinking of health as a hobby rather than as a future career.

Once at UCSB, Amanda majored in sociology, focusing on behavior change and group influence on individuals, while simultaneously working with autistic children. Health continued to linger on the sidelines of her studies, in the form of vegetarianism and long runs along the beautiful Santa Barbara coastline, but it did not take center stage until an instructor approached her about her clear passion for exercise. She was encouraged to register for the 1.5-year-long exercise and sports science minor program, with coursework including exercise physiology, kinesiology, muscular anatomy, sports injury prevention, nutrition, and health psychology. Amanda started working as a physical therapy aide and group fitness instructor, and became certified in cycling and circuit training. Through her multiple jobs and her studies, she was thrilled to find that her passion for helping others could be combined with her love of health and fitness.

After graduating from college, Amanda earned her Personal Training Certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and started working as a personal trainer for the Club One located in Los Gatos. After coaching a variety of clients, Amanda realized that although fitness is an important component to overall health, there are many other factors impacting the health of an individual. Eager to find a holistic approach to health and a way to influence wellness of both individuals and their communities, Amanda became a wellness coach at WellCall, a telephonic corporate wellness program, where she further developed her skills in stages of change and motivational interviewing, and also became certified as a smoking cessation facilitator.

Amanda took a hiatus to Southeast Asia for a few months before joining the Stanford BeWell team as a Health Advisor in June of 2011. She has loved her time here and finds herself constantly inspired by her participants — from the healthy behaviors in which they already engage, to the questions they ask, to the changes they make from one year to the next. She strives to have a moment of connection with each individual, a realization that health is attainable. In addition to health advising, Amanda also leads a Stretch and Flex class for WorkWell and presents for BeWell Connect, a program she helped design as an outreach from BeWell to the Stanford campus.

A self-described internet nerd and lifelong learner, Amanda is always the first to ask questions of her teammates and to improve upon her own knowledge of health. She is still passionate about exercise. You may see her next to you on the treadmill in Arrillaga or hanging off the straps of the TRX. In her free time, she enjoys frequenting hiking trails, cheering on the San Francisco Giants, planning her next big trip abroad, and experimenting with healthy recipes.

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