Name: Yvonne Bibas
Family info: Husband John, 18 year old daughter Cameron and 16 year old son Ty
Pets: Cat Jerry Garcia
Title: Personal Trainer / Small Group Trainer
Before being a personal trainer, what was your career?
I worked in tourism for various companies, among others for the Netherlands Board of Tourism in New York City
Can you share your family’s story?
I met my husband on the street in Huntington Beach, CA. I was 27 and backpacking around the world and had just visited a friend in Huntington Beach. I had been there three weeks so I was ready to move on to my next adventure. It was a Wednesday morning, and all of a sudden there were two guys and a little girl (John’s niece) walking next to me. John and his brother started talking to me and we ended up having coffee at Starbucks. Half an hour into a fun conversation about travel, John asked me if I’d like to go to Mexico with him for a few days to check out the Baha Peninsula. Since I was ready for my next destination, I said, “Sure why not?” Three days later I was on a plane with a complete stranger to Cabo San Lucas (I had never heard of this place and didn’t realize it was actually a very popular honeymoon destination!).
John ended up taking a leave of absence from his work in New York City and we traveled together through Asia. It was a great way to get to know each other really well. This was back in 1998. In 1999 we decided it was easiest if I moved to NYC where John had already been living and working for quite a while. We had the best time living in the East Village for five years. After John proposed to me in Montana's Glacier National Park, we got married in September 2002 out at the beach in Amagansett, one of our favorite places. When our daughter Cameron was born in 2003, we decided to move to Rye. Our son Ty was born in 2006 and in 2008 we moved to London for six years for John’s work. In 2014 we moved back to Rye where we still currently live.
I know you are very active. What sports do you enjoy?
I come from an athletic and adventurous family and I’ve been very lucky to have been exposed to a lot of different sports from an early age. I’ve been on a lot of sports teams at school when I was young. I was on the soccer, swimming, netball, gymnastics, diving, and squash team.
In my spare time I love doing adrenaline sports, not only with John but also with my brother Dennie who is actually ten times more athletic than I am! Just to name a few of these sports: rock climbing, wind surfing, wave surfing, mountain biking, (water) skiing, canyoning and via ferrata.
With my “mermaid” friends I love going out for a Stand Up Paddleboard session, we go year round, even when it snows. In Rye I’ve been part of a softball and volleyball team and currently I play tennis, paddle tennis and just started pickleball.
When did you start playing? Who inspired you as a young athlete?
I started playing sports at an early age, around six years old. Tennis however I didn’t start till when I was twelve and the first time I went skiing I was 16.
My parents and brother definitely inspired me to play sports. I was lucky to grow up in the Middle East from the time I was six to fourteen. We spent a lot of time in pools and at the beach where I was introduced to a lot of different water sports. The school I went to offered a lot of different sports which I all wanted to do. My brother is 1.5 years older than I am and I always wanted to be able to do what he could do, so that motivated me a lot. At a certain point, he was able to walk on his hands so of course I had to be able to do that too.
What motivated you to become a trainer?
When we came back to Rye from being in London for 6 years, I wanted to work again but didn’t feel like going back into tourism. Since I’ve always loved playing sports but also have been injured a few times, I figured it would be good for me to do a course to become a personal trainer, mostly for myself to learn how to condition my body and to avoid injury.
I started the NASM personal training course to learn how to better condition my body for the sports I love playing and to avoid getting injured all the time. Once I completed the course I decided to apply for a job at the YMCA and that’s where I’m still working 7 years later! I was very lucky to have Laura Laura at the YMCA coach me and basically be my mentor. I’ve learned so much from her.
I teach a basic training class two times a week at the YMCA and I also train clients one-on-one at the YMCA and privately.
What are some reasons you like sports?
Depends really which sport we are talking about. For example let’s take paddle tennis: I love being active and working my body, I love being part of a team, and I love the excitement of the game itself. As for skiing I love it because it’s the best family holiday, you’re outside the whole day, and just the adrenaline of going fast and in between trees…
What are your strengths? What kinds of things are you working on?
Depends which sport we are talking about but if I look at the racquets sports I play, I believe my strength is tenacity. I will never give up and will go for every ball. Maybe also my speed, although now that I’m getting older, I do feel like I’m slowing down a bit!
My mental game needs work. I can get very nervous playing a match.
I can get emotional and sometimes lose my temper which has definitely been a struggle and impacts my game. Also, I get injured easily, so I have to be careful and give my body a break once in a while (which is not easy for me).
Do you have any memorable anecdotes that happened while playing sports?
The one thing I remember clearly is playing squash during college in Belgium. I was playing this guy who was pretty good, but I managed to beat him. He got so mad that he broke his racket during our game. He left the court, I presumed to get his spare racket. Instead he grabbed his spare racket and broke that one too…
What inspires you to give your best every single day?
I’ve been in a pretty bad car accident and I’ve nearly lost my life once after a surf accident, so I know how things can change quickly. Life is short and that definitely inspires me to give my best every single day.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to start a career in sports?
It’s important to be enthusiastic and passionate about fitness and sports in general to be a good personal trainer. I also think it helps if you lead by example. Stay fit and healthy yourself and that way it makes it easier to help others achieve their goals.