Age: 27

Santa Monica, CA

Personal Trainer + Sports Model

 Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight 4 Carbon 38

Tell us about yourself!

I’m a personal trainer and sports model currently living in Santa Monica. I’ve been in the health/wellness industry now for about 8 years. I love training and pushing clients to the next level. I’m currently in the process of creating training guides for my online platform. I genuinely have a passion for helping people find happiness through fitness. If I’m not on a photoshoot or training clients, you are likely to find me enjoying a hike or something outdoors. I also love creating content for my Instagram so you can always find the latest workout challenge/video there. My husband and I love to travel so we are currently planning our next adventure!

 Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight carbon 38

When did you discover fitness & healthy living and decide to make it a part of your life?

I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember. Growing up around a very athletic family and pursuing multiple sports from a young age, ultimately had a lot to do with my career choice. You eventually reach a crossroads as an athlete to pursue professionally or hang the towel up. I had a series of injuries in college that ultimately lead to me choosing to leave the sport for good. I definitely continued to workout after I rehabbed my back.

I really fell in love with my own workouts. It felt exhilarating to go to the gym and NOT have to do what was written down on a piece of paper from a coach. It was also nice not dedicating hours to practice but rather just working out because it felt good. Once I started to see some major results, I became intrigued by the nutrition aspect of fitness. The rest is history because I instantly fell in love.

I graduated with a degree in Psychology, and shortly after became a certified personal trainer and decided to move out to L.A. I have a passion for health/fitness and I think I will always have that in my blood as an athlete. I just want to share that passion with others and help create healthy lifestyles.

Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight 2 Nike

How has exercise and healthy living increased your confidence and self-esteem?

Exercise is just one of those things that keeps me ALIVE! Even on my WORST days, I always turn to fitness and it never lets me down.  It may take a century to actually find the motivation and get to the gym, but once I do – I genuinely feel better! As cliché as it sounds, the high I get from working out is a cure-all.  It’s given me a confidence about my body that I never had as an athlete.

Growing up in the gymnastics world, it was very strict dieting all the time. We would train for 5+ hours and eat carrots and celery sticks during our “snack breaks.” I always felt like I was being judged or criticized on my body. To be honest, even today I’ve chosen a somewhat unforgiving industry.  Being a sports model also has many moments of criticism. Not being fit enough or lean enough. I think the biggest thing that’s changed in my mind is that I accept where I’m at and I train my body for function and performance now. I don’t train for aesthetic purposes.  If someone doesn’t like the way I look, I don’t try and fit their mold. I train exactly how I want and eat to support that training.

I think confidence stems from what’s going on mentally. You can be at your best (training wise, health wise, etc) and still feel like crap. I think what has helped me over the years is just truly accepting and loving my body because it is such an incredible machine! If it needs time to recover and heal, I listen to it. I don’t push past pain anymore or under fuel for purposes of looking a certain way.

Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight Runners World cOVER

What challenges have you had to overcome on your fit journey?

I had 2 herniated discs in my L4-L5 that were a real setback in college. I just felt my body slowly deteriorating from all the tumbling I did as a gymnast earlier on in life. When I entered the cheerleading world, I was tossing people up the air and catching them in fairly unsafe ways (in my opinion) looking at it from a health perspective. It took me 2 full years to rehab that injury.  I couldn’t run, lift, or do any of the things I once could. It was a very humbling experience. I had to surrender to the therapy and let them do their work. I was super competitive so I just wanted to get through it and get back to my usual training sessions. I literally lost all of my muscle in those years.

Ironically enough, I turned to running after I was done with therapy. I used to hate running but it is one of the things that felt OK after my rehab. It was also very therapeutic when I was dealing with some emotional things in college. I slowly started adding weights and would intermix a few gym sessions a week with outdoor running and hiking. I had to re-teach myself everything I knew about lifting weights. I had to fire the right muscles and not just use my back to sloppily execute a move. I was so much weaker than I thought. It took a good 2-3 years of rebuilding to really feel great again. Now, I am completely pain free in my back…..WOOHOO!  It was a dark time for me though. I was prescribed pain killers/muscle relaxants and just felt so “un-like” myself that I knew I never wanted to be in that state again.

What keeps you motivated when the going gets tough?

I think about how minuscule my problems really are. Anytime I get into a negative mindset, I think about how much worse it could be. I think of all the things I am grateful for and blessed with. It only takes a second to snap out of that! I swear it works every single time.

What do you wake up looking forward to and excited about everyday?

I genuinely look forward to working out and mostly the feeling I get post workout! There is no better feeling. To be honest, I really love what I do so I find excitement in each day. Some days are slower or have less excitement than others….but I genuinely love my down days too. It helps me to refuel and refocus on what’s ahead.

Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight Lionsgate 30 Day Fat Burn

Do you have any daily rituals?

I have an 8:00 PM rule!  No work after 8 PM if I can help it. Of course life gets in the way, and sometimes I have to attend an event, do something social, or wrap a photoshoot late. Otherwise, I typically try to follow that rule. I wake up early so I’m exhausted by 8:00. This is my time to shut down and do something mindless. I have a few TV shows I watch and I just unwind for about an hour and head to bed. This has helped me tremendously with sleep. On average, I get about 8+ hours of sleep per night. Sleep has so much to do with mood and energy, so I make it a priority!

Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight carbon 38.

What’s in your gym bag?

Headphones, water, gum, lip balm, sweet sweat, hair ties, a protein bar or trail mix.

What do you love about your body?

I feel weird saying I love this and that about my body haha BUT if I had to pick something I would probably say my legs. It amazes me how strong they are and the amount of work they can do in any given day. They are my source of power for any exercise and they are my “runners.” Without them, I wouldn’t be able to run and I genuinely can’t imagine not being able to do that.

Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight

What does “Strong” mean to you and what makes you a Strong Girl?

Strong has so many meanings to me. It can’t be simply defined in my opinion. Strong means overcoming obstacles. Strong means getting up after setbacks. Strong means believing in yourself. Strong means showing up. Strong means being dedicated. Strong means creating positive habits. Strong means being able to conquer what you thought you couldn’t. Strong means pushing through hard times. Strong means you can and will do whatever it takes. Strong IS beautiful! (I really could go on forever)

I think showing up everyday is what makes me a strong girl. Even on the days I really DO NOT want to get out of bed, I do. I create positive habits for my health and wellness. I think overcoming obstacles and having laser focus makes me a strong girl. There have been so many people who told me I couldn’t or wouldn’t, and I think it has just fueled my fire and made me even stronger.

Danielle Pascente The Strong Movement Strong Girl Spotlight


Favorite Workout: Running and high intensity interval training. A combination of the two of those would be my perfect workout.

Favorite Workout Song on Playlist Right Now? Well….Beyonce everything!  Her new album is ridiculously amazing so I’m currently really into that.

Favorite Healthy Snack: Rice cakes with almond butter or coconut yogurt with a healthy granola. I also LOVE trail mix but I try not to keep it around because it’s crack haha!

Favorite Fruit and/or Veggie: Bananas

Favorite Quote: “It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only NOW.” –Hugh Laurie

Favorite Inspirational IG Account You Follow: For sure @amberdodzweit .  She’s just a beast and overall badass. She also was one of my mentors when I first started in the industry so I’ll always have a ton of respect for her and her journey.


Let’s connect…

Danielle’s WebsiteInstagramFacebookTwitter & Snap: @DPascente