How Kendall “Woody” Wood Rediscovered Her Athletic Edge and Shares Her Passion for Strength
This Tonal coach brings lighthearted energy and human connection to every workout.
For Tonal coach Kendall “Woody” Wood, two of the scariest moments of her life were also events that would forever change her as a person: being laid off from a job in digital media and walking into a boxing studio for the first time.
After moving to Los Angeles to start said job, boxing reconnected Wood to her roots in sport. But when she moved on from her position in 2016, the place where she learned to jab, cross, and hook helped her find stability and rediscover her calling to connect with people as a fitness professional and certified personal trainer.
“There’s nothing like fulfilling your passion, chasing your dream, and ultimately finding the happiness you seek,” she says. “Making a [big] salary doing something that you don’t love pales in comparison.”
This determined attitude felt natural for Wood, who was an athlete growing up. She played softball and was a competitive cheerleader before studying public relations at Penn State University. Classes and college life snuffed out her athletic fire, but later, throwing punches in the ring reignited the flame. Boxing also gave her a place to find community and foundation to shift her career path to become a full-time trainer.
After relocating from L.A. to New York, Wood now leverages her decade-plus experience in the fitness industry to continue helping people craft improved versions of themselves at Tonal.
“The lesson to be learned here is that you can always make it happen for yourself,” Wood says. “You can always find a way to attain what you need. You can always find a way to get to where you need to be and I think you stand to surprise yourself every time you do that.”
Here, Woody shares the details of her journey, why she loves being a coach, and what you can expect when you tap into one of her classes.
What’s your vibe as a coach?
My vibe is energetic, lighthearted, and fun! I like to find the humor in things. While fitness should be taken seriously because your health is serious, it’s also meant to be fun. I want to eliminate the intimidation factor that people might feel if they’re new to fitness or have big goals. I like to add a level of lightheartedness and humor to make fitness feel more approachable and palatable to everyone.
What’s it like to train with you?
It’s my mission that when you take my class, you walk away with a different experience every time whether you learn something new, achieve a new PR, or push past your limits. But 100 percent, every time you take my class, no matter how the experience changes, the constants are that you’re going to have a good time, but it’s also going to be really hard. It’ll be challenging.
Why should someone take your class?
I think I’ve always had this ability to connect with people on an interpersonal level. I see you. I see you for who you are. I like to help people let down walls. I like to help people work through things. I like to be a support system, an advice giver, or just someone who’s going to be there and listen. So in short, to the community, I want to provide what feels like a safe space.
What do you love about coaching?
It’s all about the human connection. That’s always been what drives me. Coaching is about so much more than providing technical cues. It’s a level of support and interpersonal connection. I’m going to guide you through your fitness journey and make sure you see success, but I’m also there to be your friend and your support system. Fitness can be like therapy for people. It’s a physiological release and a mental escape. If I can be the person who is the catalyst for that for you, that’s fulfilling to me.
How do you create a connection virtually?
I like to connect with members on Instagram and the Official Tonal Community on Facebook. We do a lot of Q&As in the OTC, and I try to pop in there as often as possible to see what’s going on and respond to feedback and questions. I hope the community knows I’m really just a message away. Additionally, the social zone in the live classes brings members of the community together and allows me to connect with members.
Tell us about your athletic background.
Growing up, I was a competitive cheerleader and a softball player. I was always drawn to athletics, but when I went to college, I lost sight of all that. After graduating, I didn’t know where to turn or what I loved. I discovered boxing when I moved to Los Angeles and that reignited my love for fitness.
How did you decide to pursue a career in fitness?
At the boxing gym, I started diving into honing my craft. I became obsessed with the intricacies of the sport and how I could become better at it. Being in love with the sport and having this supportive community and these passionate coaches was eye-opening and so fulfilling. I wanted to be there all the time. I started at the gym as an assistant and then became certified as a trainer and group fitness instructor. I got a job touring the country and filming digital workout programs, which gave me experience in front of the camera. That led me to Tonal. I saw Tonal as an opportunity to connect with a whole new community.
What challenges have you overcome to get where you are today?
Changing my career was one of my biggest personal challenges, but it was also one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life. It made me second-guess myself countless times. The biggest takeaway from that experience was that you have to be your own biggest fan. You have to believe in yourself and know that you’re capable of achieving what you want. Undoubtedly, you will fail along the way, but failure paves the way to success. Failure doesn’t make you a failure. It contributes to your story and your growth.
What are you passionate about outside of fitness?
Friends and family are extremely important to me. I’m very lucky to have lifelong friends who I’ve grown up with. It’s important to be reminded of who you are at your core, and the people who do that are your friends and family.
I also love to cook. I’ve always been a food fanatic. My family jokes that even when I was 7 years old, I was ordering three courses off the menu. I still do and I eat every last bite.
What does strength mean to you?
Strength is performing at your best, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. It’s being unwavering in whatever you set out to do, and believing that you can do it.