Lara Foster likes to help people move their bodies better.
It’s a passion that began for the Cannon Beach local as a three-sport athlete at Seaside High School, and now has led to opening her own personal training studio.
But where it really began to blossom was about five years after graduation, when she was working as a sports reporter for the Seaside Signal.
After high school, Foster attended the University of Utah, where she abandoned her life of athletics and focused on her mass communications degree. But between the stress of college and the lack of structure sports once provided her, she began to cope by picking up some unhealthy eating habits, she said.
“I think it was kind of like a ‘big fish in a small pond’ situation,” Foster said. “I was good at sports. But the University of Utah had 30,000 students. I looked at the softball team, and everyone was the best of the best. I felt discouraged.”
By the time she started covering the same sports she once played, Foster weighed about 300 pounds.
“I felt awful,” she said. “It just felt embarrassing.”
That experience redirected Foster back into a life of fitness. In 2007, she lost more than 150 pounds in one year. Hoping to inspire others with her own journey, she became a personal trainer in Portland.
After 10 years, Foster yearned to return to her Cannon Beach roots. But the lack of affordable housing and fitness facilities made her hesitate.
“I never saw a good way to live and be active with these harsh winters,” she said. “I’m someone that kind of has to be set up for success.”
But by “some miracle of the universe,” a cabin in Cannon Beach became available earlier this year.
“I never dreamed of being able to have a home in Cannon Beach,” she said.
After settling in a couple of months ago, she decided the time was right to pursue her dream of opening her own personal training studio. Her good luck followed her, as a garage that usually has a yearslong waitlist opened soon after her move.
“It’s like the universe put it in my lap,” she said.
Now her dream — Lala’s Life Garden Training Studio — has been a reality since early September. Her ideal clientele is diverse, so far ranging from 20-year-old guys to 50-year-old women.
Her business is for anyone with the desire to live a healthier, better life — whether that means losing 150 pounds like she did 10 years ago, or just working out so walking up a flight of stairs doesn’t seem so difficult.
“For me, I love doing this because I felt the chance in my own life,” she said. “It’s like a light that starts shining inside of you. My goal is have that light grow in other people.”