Changing lives

Trainer Noel Davis on why you shouldn't play games with your body

A car accident dramatically changed Noel Davis’ life. Her dreams of becoming an archeologist were put on hold as she embraced a life of physical fitness. | Image courtesy: Noel Davis

Noel Davis was well on her way to achieving her lifelong dream of being an archaeologist.

She had studied anthropology and geological science at Rutgers University of New Brunswick and archaeology at Manchester University in England. She even had the opportunity to excavate a Roman villa in Vacone, Italy.

Exactly two months after that, Davis received a call for her first government project on I-95 in 2014. After a long year of working as an archaeologist here in Philadelphia, Noel was in a traumatic car accident that changed her life. 

Having to go to physical therapy and numerous doctor appointments for over a year, she lost strength in her back and has a permanent bulging disc that causes pain down her legs from time to time. Never forgetting her first love of archaeology, she persistently kept asking doctors what to do to be able to excavate again. By mid-2016, a doctor gave her the advice of rebuilding her core as a way to strengthen her back. Noel’s love for health and fitness grew. She then decided to get certified and birth her very own business, “Paris Fit,” on Sept. 1, 2017.

Noel Davis advises people to start their fitness journey by envisioning the end goal – and then be sure to work on that goal every day. | Image courtesy: Noel Davis

From there, she has had the opportunity to transform the lives of many business professionals, brides, expecting mothers, seniors, local radio talk hosts, children, students, athletes and models throughout Philadelphia and surrounding areas. 

As this is the season of New Year’s resolutions to get fit. PW caught up with Davis to talk about her journey and seek her advice for anyone who wants to get in better shape.

Your dreams of being an archeologist were put on hold following a car accident, and you went through some difficult times – both physically and mentally. Can you describe what those days were like and how you managed to get back on your feet?

When life knocks you down and you are in constant pain, it can put someone in deep depression, especially when you’re taken away from your dreams. I dreamed of being an archaeologist since I was 12 years old, and my 10-year dream came true when I was offered my first job in the field here in Philadelphia working on the I-95 project. 

A year into my project, I was rear-ended at a stop light, and as a result of the accident, I suffered with lower lumbar bulges and nerve damage down my legs. 

Excavating was then impossible at that point as we have to dig and lift over 50 pounds walking uphill from time to time. Not being able to perform my job task I lost hope of ever being able to do archaeology and felt like I wasted an entire decade, which put me in depression. Having to go back and forth to physical therapy and not seeing improvement when standing or sitting for over a year made me lose hope more and more every day. I constantly would ask doctors better solutions outside of surgery. 

After multiple trigger-point injections, a doctor finally recommended that I work on my core, and that was the best advice I have ever received in my life! Going to the gym helped with my depression and helped me gain back and leg strength. I worked on myself consistently at least three to four days a week for an entire six months, and my life changed tremendously ever since!  

Ironically, that accident led you to fitness and, eventually, your own business. Talk a little about how that transition came about.

Once I realized what fitness did for me, I wanted to share it with everyone I knew. I got certified in 2016, but I sat on my certification for seven months as I recently moved to Philadelphia from New Jersey (Willingboro). Being new in the city I felt a little discouraged to start a new business since I did not know anyone, but I had a new friend here named Sarah who encouraged me to get business cards and start promoting myself! 

Once I started training, the word got out, my Instagram support was great, and friends and family made sure to support me, which encouraged me to keep going. I have only been training for two years and I have been able to train all ages, all around PA and NJ, at elementary schools, universities, and now I own my own fitness here in Old City. Fitness became a part of my life, and I cannot see my life without it now! 

“Set three different goals by starting with your short-time goals, your long-term goals, and your ultimate goals. See yourself in your ultimate goal at all times and remember every day counts.”

Fitness trainer and lifestyle expert Noel Davis

What type of people do you work with? Fitness? Rehabilitation?

I work with both men and women of all ages from 6-93 years old. I specialize in rehabilitation, High Intensity Workout, weight loss, weight management, strength training and conditioning. 

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, a lot of people have resolutions to get fit in 2020. What’s your advice to them?

You Have To See It To Believe It! Start your fitness journey by visualizing your end goal. Set three different goals by starting with your short-time goals, your long-term goals and your ultimate goals. See yourself in your ultimate goal at all times and remember every day counts. Never cheat yourself, you are the worst person to let down. Working out is major when it comes to your fitness journey but so is your diet. Remember nutrition is 80 percent and physical activity is 20 percent when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.

So what does the future look like for you? Are you back into archeology or is fitness your thing now?

I just opened up my first fitness studio recently, so my focus is on fitness. However, I still am a part of the archaeology world as I participate in events such as archaeology day at the New Jersey State Museum, which was featured on archaeological.com, and as my exhibition on Pueblo Pottery is still on display from 2013.  

Eventually, I would love to go back to school to get my Phd in archaeology or anthropology as I want to focus more on forensics this time around. I grew a love for bones working on the Arch Street bones project at the Mutter Museum, and I am excited to learn more. 

Eventually, I will be able work in the lab this time around while Paris Fit Studios will still be up and running for people to smash their goals and love their bodies more and more every day!