There are moments when individuals are given the opportunity to change the course of their life for the better. For 24 Hour Fitness Hollywood Super-Sport personal trainer Nabii Bastet, that moment was when her son needed her most.

“My son had the chance to become a pro skateboarder and was selected to go on a world tour … I had to pull myself together to be there to support and home-school him,” she says.

Easier said than done for Bastet, a New Orleans native who suffered from depression following her and her family’s harrowing escape from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina.

“[It was] the closest I ever came to death,” she recalls.

“I wanted to share the very thing that saved my life”

Her struggles continued, even after her family’s rescue, and she soon found herself battling depression. She tried coping with her mental state through binge eating but quickly became overweight. It wasn’t until her son’s skateboarding opportunity arose that she made a change.

“While touring, I would go to the hotel gyms and my son and I would work out,” Bastet explains. “I began to lose weight, and we both became pretty fit.”

As she began to see the results of her hard work, including relief from her depression, Bastet was inspired to become a personal trainer.

One person whose health journey Bastet has championed is Gennie Samala. Faced with life-threatening health issues, Samala’s moment came just a year ago when she finally summoned the courage to walk through those 24 Hour Fitness gym doors.

Becoming the person she was meant to be

Putting her health and happiness first is a big step for Samala, who says her lack of commitment meant she always fell short of becoming the person she was meant to be. It wasn’t until she met Bastet that her mindset started to change.

Bastet could relate to Samala: “I could see the fear and pain she was enduring. I shared with her my story … to let her know she wasn’t alone and that I totally understood what she was going through,” the trainer says.

“Nabii taught me how to begin the process of creating healthier habits and learn how to exercise,” Samala says. “She taught me how to enjoy working out [and] make healthier nutritional choices, and [she] has been my biggest source of support.”

Since the pair started training together, Samala has made huge strides in a relatively short period of time. Before, Samala could hardly walk five minutes on the treadmill. Now she can run a full mile on an incline, has lost more than 20 pounds and doesn’t need to use her asthma inhaler.

“Gennie reminds me all the time of my ‘why’ and the reason I do [personal training],” Bastet says, which reaffirms her love of fitness and her mission to change lives, including Samala’s.

“Today, I feel much stronger, more confident and happier knowing that Nabii was there to help me,” Samala says. “I feel proud of who I am becoming.”