Interview With A Mom – Poppy Niosi

We are continuing with our series – INTERVIEW WITH A MOM… interviewing local moms about themselves. With a goal of connecting us even more as people and a community!


I recently had a great and uplifting interview with Poppy Niosi, certified personal trainer. Poppy is an inspiration and positive force in the community.

Me: What is a job (or career) you have had that was the most fun (not including motherhood)?

Poppy: The most fun was probably when I was bartending. Because it wasn’t club bartending it was more of corner bar, we care about what we are doing. The owners there believed that “the customer wasn’t always right”. This was before you started seeing craft beers everywhere and all of the new local distilleries, they weren’t there yet. So this was one of the first places to start doing that. We learned about everything and we cared about everything. We could dress how we wanted and play the music we wanted. We controlled the atmosphere. We built this little haven that people came to because they liked that. 

Me: Sounds like a place people could go to enjoy the atmosphere and get a proper drink.

Poppy: It was. It was like a home away from home. I met so many people there. I met my husband there.


Me: What is your favorite treat or dessert to have when you’re “kid-free” and don’t have to share?

Poppy: My go-to crave is, well it’s not good for you, a peanut square. It’s yellow cake with white frosting, rolled in peanuts.

Me: Wow, I have never heard of that before!

Poppy: Most grocery store bakery departments have it. Yes, that would be my main thing, or anything with peanut butter in it. I am a huge peanut butter person. 

Me: Well that sounds good, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t completely deprive yourself of treats.

Poppy: I am too. That is a question I get asked a lot. Now having lost as much weight as I did and going into the fitness industry people assume that I never eat anything “bad”. But just because I’m a fitness professional doesn’t mean I don’t eat treats…I don’t think you can live that way…so controlled. 


Me: What is your favorite music to listen to while in the car?

Poppy: I feel like since I have become a mom my music tastes have changed. I was always a self-proclaimed “music snob”. I have always been more into singer/ songwriter independents. Music that is thought provoking and poetic. But since I have become a mom I find I don’t want to listen to anything sad or moody. I want something happy and upbeat. Now I listen to things I never thought I would listen to but if it has a good beat and I can bounce around to it a bit. Defiantly happier music is now my go-to.

Me: Are you able to choose the music you want when you’re teaching?

Poppy: Yes, depending what I’m teaching. The dance or upbeat music I find motivating. I do have a tendency to pick for my classes from my alternative roots too a bit and maybe pull something people haven’t herd before but it needs to have a faster beat…maybe more towards a ska. 


Me: What is your favorite most lived in outfit?

Poppy: I will say in what I have learned since I have lost weight and in fitness wear stretchy clothes is that I hate things that don’t stretch. Fitted clothes that don’t stretch I don’t want. I want something that will move with my breath. I’m thrilled we are going into summer season because I love sundresses. I will live in sundresses. I do have, my husband can’t believe I still have it, this long sleeve t-shirt from my freshman year of high school…it is threadbare but I will still throw that on. It’s good for painting, cooking and knocking around the house.

Me: There is something to be said about the sentimental value to some clothing. There are certain pieces that mean more that what they look like because there are memories attached to them.

Poppy: Yes, exactly.


Me: Who was your most influential role model and how did they help shape your life?

Poppy: My parents, it’s probably cliché, but they are first that come to mind. It’s good and bad. My mom was a teacher for a long time and I always wanted my mom as my teacher. I would see her preparing and going into her classroom. I would see how much she cared about her kids. I grew up always wanting to be able to do that too. Have that positive effect on people. I also saw how hard it could be and the toll it took on her. My mom was selfless and how much she would give. Now my dad was an entrepreneur ahead of his time. Perfect example…you know the papasan chairs (big round things)?

Me: Ooh yes.

Poppy: He brought the first ones into the country…it was a little bigger that they are today. It didn’t quite make it but now the chairs are everywhere. Another example water purifiers.

Me: Well he definitely had the foresight to know what products had potential.

Poppy: Just bad timing. But he kept trying, a forever optimist…I have a tendency to follow that. I want to be my own boss or whoever I work for I want to treat it as that and do my very best. So yes for both of them I see how it failed them but I also see the goodness it brought out. And even though I’ve made mistakes I’m glad I’m going the way I am.


Me: What’s something you do (or strive to do) just for you?

Poppy: I haven’t done it in a long time. Art. Not really crafty things, although since having kids it’s become a bit more so I can have that artistic outlet. For me I make bizarre things out of different materials, like recycling. I made a mosaic out of broken plates on a mannequin and I have a couple coffee tables I bought with the intention to do some mosaics on them. Making light fixtures out of beer bottles and wine bottles.

Me: That sounds very cool.

Poppy: So multi-media projects, pieces that will tell the story I want to tell. Ultimately someday I would love to have my own little show. Someday. 

Me: That’s wonderful, I love that.


Me: What is the best piece of parenting/ mothering advice you have received?

Poppy: There are three things. The first one is to go into the day with no expectations. No to-do list. It’s all learning. The other two had to do with after I had my second child. One, not to call my son “big brother” but still call him by his name. They are so young they won’t realize that they can have more than one title and have the same identity. So it can be terrifying to them. It made a huge difference. Lastly, It’s okay to tell the baby to wait and your son needs to hear you say that. You will be telling him over and over to wait. So if the baby was crying I might say out loud “Ruby you have to wait, it’s Dexter’s turn right now” and it was important for my son to hear me say that so he knew he was still himself, my son and gets some of my attention. 

Me: That is really good advice. Plus when you have your second child it gets a little easier to know that the baby can wait a little bit, sometimes they are just fussing and it’s okay.

Poppy: Yes, crying is their way to communicate which doesn’t always mean something is wrong.


Me: What is some advice you would give someone who wants to go into a fitness career?

Poppy: It’s a lot more work than you think and takes a lot of time and it’s something you do because you love it. For me I got into it because I knew if I lived this lifestyle I was staying active and healthy and have the time for exercise. My advice is try not to bite off more than you can chew, for example don’t be getting your certifications AND training for a marathon.

Me: Oh I can imagine it’s a lot of work and training and studying.

Poppy: It is.

Me: What do you think works best for motivating people?

Poppy: I think people appreciate seeing my doing the workout with them and seeing me struggling too. I want people to see it is hard work and not make it look like it’s easy for me just because I’m in shape. That has helped set me apart because I will do the workout with you and we will be a team. 

Me: Awesome.




Poppy is a an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Group Fitness Instructor, ready to help others on the way to their goals, and there to high-five them when they achieve them! She’s been an athlete at the top of my game AND an exhausted mother of two, severely overweight and depressed. Yet, she is living proof that change can and will happen with dedication, perseverance and motivation – she lost 77 pounds in 8.5 months! To learn more about Poppy and her journey check out her story HERE.

Find her on Facebook HERE.

Visit her Website HERE.

Tara is mom to two energetic daughters Bianca and Iyla. Passionate about inspiring others to cook healthy, delicious and allergy-friendly food, she owns Yummy Sprout, which provides healthy culinary adventures through classes and more. Check out Tara has been featured in the Wisconsin State Journal and on Channel 3 WISC-TV on topics including “making your own baby food”, “cooking with kids” and “packing healthy school lunches”. She adores living in Madison and all it has to offer family life. Her favorite ways to spend time include messing up her kitchen while recipe testing, running, yoga, writing, painting, traveling and reading books with her girls.


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