Childhood Friends to “Swole Mates”: Lauren Smith and Rachel Evans

by Kristen Troy

Childhood friendships have never been so beneficial. Lauren and HAC’s own Rachel Evans met in grade school and became fast friends. Like many childhood friendships, theirs became distant when Lauren headed to Padua Academy, and Rachel went off to St. Mark’s. If the high school distance wasn’t enough, they went off to college in different states; Lauren attended Cazenovia College in New York, and Rachel headed to the University of Delaware. The two reconnected, going into January 2020 at HAC. Their friendship resumed immediately, almost as if it was still 2010, but with a little bit more muscle.

A new year can bring changes all on its own. This year brought a shift in Lauren and Rachel’s dynamic – transitioning from old friends to two driven women championing a client-trainer relationship that supports and motivates both of them.

Lauren’s fitness journey became a large part of her life in 2018 because of her love for horseback riding. She has always been an avid horseback rider, riding four or more times a week! In 2014, Lauren tragically fell off her horse and fractured her back. Fortunately, she healed in enough time to ride collegiately. However, just before graduating, she injured her back again when she was in a car accident. During a visit with her specialist, Lauren was told that she “would need to get into the best shape of her life to keep riding.”

Imagining Lauren’s life without horseback riding is like imagining spaghetti without a meatball. She was determined to keep riding, so she followed her doctor’s advice. She joined the Hockessin Athletic Club in the spring of 2018 and trained independently. A little over a year later, her progress began to plateau, and she became frustrated. As the end of 2019 approached, Lauren accepted she would need a little help if she wanted to achieve her fitness goals. Lauren emphasizes the importance of setting aside any pride during a plateau and acknowledging when you may need to refer to a professional. Her plateau led her to seek a familiar face with a similar work ethic; she invested in personal training and enlisted Rachel to join her fitness journey.

On the left is Lauren’s physique around December 2019 when she was struggling with her plateau and when she began to work with Rachel. On the right is Lauren’s physique in May 2020 after working with Rachel for 5 months!

In the beginning, Lauren continuously reminded Rachel about her back injury and the hesitation it created for her. Rachel would issue a reminder, “Do you, but I’ll push you harder because I know you are capable of more.” Rachel’s ‘never settle’ attitude and varied workouts have helped Lauren smash her plateau and have given Lauren endurance she once found unimaginable. She describes Rachel’s training philosophy as “Push yourself, then push a little harder. Stay consistent. And remember, it’s all about baby steps. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process.” Lauren credits a lot of her success to adopting this approach while maintaining her mentality, “one more rep.” One rep can elevate you from good to great, even during a 5 am training session. Lauren has had so much success, but she’s not stopping any time soon. It’s on to the next goal. Now that she has achieved her goal of being overall fit, Lauren has decided to set her next objective to be “outright JACKED.”

She meets with Rachel four days out of every week – one day for one-on-one training and three days of small group personal training (SGPT) classes. Lauren also takes accountability for herself and her success by training on her own on days she doesn’t meet with Rachel. Rather than specifying a weight goal, her current goal is to trim an inch or two in her measurements for September and see a difference in her progress photos. Weight is not always the best measurement, depending on your goals. There can be a meaningful health difference achieved in physique with muscle gain or fat loss.

Since Lauren started working with Rachel, she has experienced physical progress and mental improvements. The horseback riding incident and subsequent car crash impacted her confidence and created a sense of self-doubt. Through Rachel’s constant support and, at times, a healthy dose of tough love, Lauren has realized how much strength and potential she has.

Another bonus of becoming stronger is her improved horseback riding abilities. Riding four days a week can take a toll on your muscles, but training with Rachel puts that toll in perspective. Her training sessions have developed the stamina Lauren needs to ride and recover much more quickly. Even after show weekends that include lots of travel and long days of competing and judging.

Rachel has helped Lauren push her limits and constantly strive to become better because there is always room to improve. Rachel has a hectic schedule with days starting at 5 am and ending late at night. Still, she maintains contact with all her clients even after leaving the gym for the day. Rachel considers her client’s lives outside the gym when she reaches out to them. Understanding their lives helps her give them what they need to maintain progress towards their goals. Whether that is a confidence boost, recommendations on workouts for non-training days, or getting into a positive mentality to continue forward. Seeing Rachel push her limits professionally and personally has motivated Lauren to work towards professional goals she had previously written off.

Lauren smiling through the sprints at the end of a morning outdoor FIT 45 with Rachel.

Lauren was born and raised in Hockessin; her love of the HAC community and Rachel’s training shows through her actions. She consistently shares Rachel’s available classes via social media, which positively endorses Rachel’s fantastic skill and training style. Through this constant exposure, she shows pride for the HAC community and her love for Rachel’s FIT Fam at HAC. Lauren wants to invite you and others to participate in the incredible camaraderie, motivation, and workouts that continue to push her and help many others meet their goals!

Outdoor FIT 45 class. Lauren is all the way to the left and Rachel joined in to even out the teams and showed examples of each exercise and proper form.


Hockessin Athletic Club opened its doors on June 10 2007. Boasting over 100,000 sq. ft., a 5-pool aquatics complex, and over 200+ weekly group and aqua fitness classes, it is Delaware's premier fitness destination. 100 Fitness Way, Hockessin, DE ·

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: