Should I start running again?

Two weeks ago, in a moment of confusion, I chugged my pre workout, laced up my running shoes, searched for 20 minutes for my ever elusive iPhone compatible headphones and then I hit the pavement for a run.

I used to run every single day of my life.

I was on the cross country team in middle school and I realized very quickly that while I wasn’t particularly talented at sports I was fast and I had a natural endurance for distance running.

I started writing this blog with intentions of just telling the story of getting back into running last month with my random solo mid week 10k and I ended up writing 4,000 words about my journey from non-athlete child to the new girl at private school who went to basketball practice to make friends and stayed with it because of the deep love for that sense of belonging on a team. Then I went from cross country team runner to all season lacrosse athlete in high school, gym bunny and runner at University and in graduate school when I was burning the candle from both ends, I discovered Insanity, the at home workout program that serendipitously lead me into my future career as an online health & lifestyle coach. I’m still processing how this story flowed so freely out of me and how much it is all linked together. But I’ll save that for another day, I just want to tell you about this run.

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WCW: Emily Millman

It’s the last month of 2018 and I have some catching up to do with my #WCW series. So for the month of December I am going to feature a new woman crush of mine every week! The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Emily.

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I know it’s not Wednesday but it is this very special lady’s birthday, so I thought what better time to celebrate her? Some may say I saved the best for last. Emily and I met through a travel Facebook group and after getting to know each other fitness came up and I asked her if she wanted to join my virtual bootcamp. She said she already had the program but that didn’t mean she couldn’t get involved with us! I was excited to have her energy and sass in our groups.

Over the last two years, I have mentored and coached Emily,  first on her fitness journey and now on both her fitness journey and her business. She is passionate, coachable, reliable, and a fiercely loyal friend. She is an awesome business partner. Despite me living on the other side of the pond, we have managed to hang out a lot this year and she keeps me on my toes and achieving in our business. We talk about changing the world and how much we love food in the same conversation. She takes me as I am but also inspires me to be BETTER. Whenever someone new enters our business, I always say, “Find yourself an Emily.” I’ll let her take it from here.

  1. What do you think makes a woman worth “crushing” over?

I crush over women who live their values and beliefs while following their dreams and supporting other women to do the same!

  1. What do you do for a living? What is the most challenging part about it?

I wear a couple of different hats! My background is as a nurse— I’ve worked intensive care, stepdown, and the emergency department; specifically as a travel nurse for the past few years. The most challenging part about nursing in general is the sad state of the healthcare industry in the United States… I got into nursing to help people, and it’s both heartbreaking and exhausting to watch the corporate system chew patients up and spit them back out, over and over. Fortunately, that’s not my only job!

My passion lies in my “side hustle” (recently turned full time focus!), which is health and fitness coaching! My goal is to help as many people as possible learn how to care for themselves in order to prevent the plethora of chronic illnesses that my patients have inflicted upon themselves with years of poor lifestyle choices. The most challenging part of coaching is also one of the best parts— I’m on my own schedule with no boss! That means that I have to be dedicated and disciplined, especially with the less glamorous tasks that aren’t fun!

  1. Who are three women that you look up to and have inspired you the most in your career/life?

My mama! She’s built an incredibly successful and respected private driver education business without a college degree or support, while also serving her community in a variety of ways. You— I had no idea I could feel so fulfilled building a business from my laptop! Anyone else who’s slaying at whatever they do— I try not to idolize people in order to avoid playing the comparison game.

  1. What is one topic you wish more women knew about on a global scale? Why?

Climate change. We need to get our act together, and quickly, if we want Earth to be around to host us much longer! There are SO many small changes that we can all make, and would have significant impact if everyone did their part!

  1. What advice do you give to women who feel that they are constantly surrounded by drama in their group of friends?

You are who you surround yourself with! I’m not saying drop the drama…. but maybe think about building yourself a new, drama-free circle that will support and empower you instead of stressing you out! I’ve found that I can impact the culture of my circle just leading by example— try it out! Disengage from the drama, and focus on positivity, it’s contagious.

  1. Do you believe being a strong woman with a passion for her career takes away from a woman’s ability to be a loving partner/mother/friend/sister?

Absolutely not— in fact I think that having passion for your career fills your cup to ENABLE you to be be a more loving partner/mother/friend/sister! You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself, and I believe firmly that every individual needs their own “thing” separate from the closest people in their life.

  1. What is something you are really excited about currently in your own life?

If we’re going with the theory that excitement and anxiety are two sides of the same coin… going “full focus” with coaching! My husband enlisted in the army this year, and we’ve been separated since September while he’s been in training. In January, I’m picking up and moving myself and our pups to be close to him. As a travel nurse, finding an assignment shouldn’t be an issue, but apparently all of the hospitals near that army base are fully staffed, so I have the opportunity to focus on my business!

  1. Why is self love an important part of being a modern day woman?

There are SO many demands on you as a person today! It’s so easy to be torn apart by being pulled in a million different directions— practicing good self care in whatever way works for you is the only way to keep yourself whole!

  1. If you could have a lunch date with any woman on the planet, who would it be?

I don’t put many people up on a pedestal, to be honest! I’d be happy to have a lunch date with pretty much anyone who’s kind and interesting!

  1. How can anyone reading this keep up with you and what you’re doing in the future?

The best way to keep up with my adventures is on Instagram, @scrubs.squats.sass!

Bonus: What is one question you have for me?

I’m a lucky lady in the aspect that I get to pick your brain on the regular! A question for you…. would you rather never fly again, or have to sit with a very aggressive/mean/smelly seatmate who wouldn’t leave you alone for every single flight forever?

What a funny question. I would definitely choose the aggressive/men/smelly seatmate because I can’t imagine living in a world where I don’t fly! How would I see you? And my family? I could suck it up. Plus noise cancelling headphones would save my life. Traveling and new adventures is a passion we both share and one of our big goals in our business is to be able to spend substantial time in Bali in the future. Not to be dramatic, but to me, to travel is to live so a life without travel sounds pretty miserable to me.

Thank you for being you, Emily. It’s been a pleasure building our businesses together this year. I’ve seen you go through so much in your personal life and you never let it get you down. This woman right here wrote a letter to her husband at basic training every single day without fail even when we were on multiple vacations during that time. What.a.sweetie. I always knew that you would be an excellent coach and what do you know? I was right. I can’t wait to see what next year and the years to follow bring as I know this is only the beginning of something wonderful. Keep that sass, keep that hunger for excellence, keep that drive for preventative medicine, keep that goofiness, just keep being you because you are magic. Happy birthday my dear friend, the world is lucky to have you and so am I. You are definitely worth crushing over.

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WCW: Elle Deal

It’s the last month of 2018 and I have some catching up to do with my #WCW series. So for the month of December I am going to feature a new woman crush of mine every week! The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Lauren aka “Elle”

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Lauren and I met at our annual business conference in Nashville three years ago. From the moment I met Lauren I knew I wanted to be her friend. Her personality is infectious, her smile quite literally lights up the room and she has the insane talent of making best friends with everyone. We instantly clicked but as soon as we met I was off to Australia and Lauren was living in Pennsylvania at the time. Luckily, with the nature of our online business and our partnership with the same company, we still spent a lot of time together on video chats, business meetings, phone calls and of course, social media support.

 

Quickly I realized Lauren was not just an ordinary “work friend.” She is like a missing part of me. We bonded over the fact that we were both classroom teachers as our day jobs. We both were passionate teachers who really loved teaching but also couldn’t deny the flaws in the school system and the general dissatisfaction we had with pursuing a career in a classroom forever. Lauren called me while I was living in New Zealand and we had a really long discussion about her gut feeling she wanted to move to Florida. I encouraged her to take the risk, what’s the worst that could happen? She did and she flourished and I got the chance to visit her a couple times before she just recently moved on to her next adventure. I’ll let her take it from here.

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Why you should TRY being a “Morning Workout person”

I wish I could workout in the morning like you.” I hear this ALL the time. I ain’t Superwoman and I’m definitely not NATURALLY a morning person. Homegirl STRUGGLES… just ask my boyfriend. I help support and align clients every single month with workout programs and nutrition plans. In our private fit-fam community we discuss the importance of scheduling your workout like an important meeting you have with someone else and STICKING TO IT. Personally, I find the BEST way to stick to a workout routine is to do it early in the morning. No, it doesn’t work for everyone but I think you should at least consider. Here’s why and how!

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Photography by: @thebrandingphotographer

WHY DO IT IN THE MORNING?

You immediately feel successful– Just like experts say making your bed in the morning is a habit that gives you an immediate  feeling of accomplishment, think about banging out 30-45 mins of an intense workout! You feel like a rockstar! That mindset is definitely going to benefit the rest of your day.

You’re in a better mood– Endorphins people. It’s no joke. It’s science. Working out has an “immediate positive benefit for your brain- increasing your mood and your concentration” Don’t  believe me? Take it from Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist and watch her epic TED talk about how exercise actually changes our brain. Why save that for after work when you’re just headed home to cook dinner & chill? Get those good vibes flowing in the morning!  

You don’t dread it all day– If I miss my morning workout for some reason, I know that I am going to spend the work day thinking about how I need to get my workout in. Maybe that’s just me? But I’ve talked to many friends and clients who agree. If you don’t do it in the morning it’s at the back of your head all day AND you are way more likely to skip it because things come up after work.. Happy hour, appointments, social activities, tending to your child/fur child/ husband/partner etc. For me, if I don’t do it in the morning it doesn’t get done!

More energy-Even though I need to wake up earlier to workout, I can tell a dramatic difference in my energy levels when I sleep in and don’t workout. I have more energy when I wake up earlier, sweat in my living room and then jump in the shower. If I go straight to work I feel frazzled and groggy in the morning and definitely not bouncing around my classroom like I am after crushing a 6 am workout.

Now the more important question…

HOW do I become a morning workout person?

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How to get the Perfect Body

I didn’t start my fitness journey to lose weight. I’ve never had an eating disorder. I’ve never felt like I had a true voice in the fitness community because of these two factors. That might sound dramatic to you, but if you’re in the fitness industry you know these are commonly the catalyst for change.

So if you’ve come here looking for the perfect body… SPOILER ALERT. It doesn’t exist. Our bodies are amorphous.

My body is pretty freakin’ incredible (SO IS YOURS.) But I’m 28 now, my metabolism ain’t what it used to be,  I get hungover from one glass of wine, the nail lady asks me if I want to wax my lip (ummm.. I don’t think I need to?) and here I am owning the shit out of being a millennial 20 something- with an online side hustle, an equal love for fitness and spirituality, a bad case of wanderlust and a not so traditional journey to a healthy life.

I am proud of my body. I have always had a pretty healthy relationship with my body but I definitely went through a phase in college with the thinner the better mentality. I restricted calories and did boat loads of cardio and thought that’s exactly what it meant to be healthy. I felt like I got judged for being “naturally skinny” and I was definitely influenced by the culture of criticism that women that age have regarding their body. I also abused my body with typical college antics, heavy drinking and late night pizza fests. I didn’t have a good sleep routine or really know why my exercise was such an important component of my life. 

Today I am proud of who I am. Yes, I can say openly that means I am proud of what I look like but mostly I am proud of what I feel like. This has not been an easy journey. No I didn’t want to lose weight but I did need to rework my relationship with food, exercise, alcohol and drugs and most importantly my mental health. This year I did the hardest 13 week workout program I have ever done and  I shared every step of the journey. Afterward I felt a bit of burn-out and started to question why I started this journey and what level of discipline and commitment I felt was the most suitable for my overall health and happiness. I think we should ALL constantly question ourselves in a few ways. Why am I doing this? Is it making me happy? Am I getting results? Am I enjoying my life? 

In June I was gifted an incredible secret location branding photoshoot by a fellow entrepreneur I met in an online blogging community. When I did this photoshoot I was not at my leanest and meanest. It was on the tail end of the 4 months I spent in limbo in America waiting for my visa for the U.K. to be approved.I traveled for 6 weeks straight. I celebrated life. I drank cocktails and ate donuts and I definitely had more than my fair share of treat meals. I won’t lie to you, I went from the physical best shape of my life after the 3 month intense program to a serious “YOLO” period (as I lovingly call it.)

When I got the pictures back I started to pick out flaws and “softer bits.” Man..I used to have muscle there! I’ve had better abs. I just look the same I’m not making gains. Even though I love myself. Even though I know that my physical aesthetic has nothing to do with my actual health and strength and happiness. It is deeply ingrained in us to criticize our perception of our appearance and compare it to our former selves, our #bodygoals or just imaginary ideals we have constructed.  

But I quickly stopped and I looked at the strength. The confidence. The lack of makeup. The light in my eyes. It is not my goal or desire to be “stage ready” 365 days a year. It’s not my goal to ever be stage ready. These pictures have captured me doing things I love, being free from what I think I “should” look like for a photoshoot. And please don’t get offended, telling me I look great or you don’t see it. The point is we ALL see the flaws in ourselves that no one else would dream of picking out. We may start to pick them out but we also have the power to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks.

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It’s All Over: The Final Obsession

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I can’t believe it has taken me this long to finish the saga that was the 80 Day Obsession journey. In the last two months my world has been turned upside down and my blog definitely went to the back burner. But I’m here to reflect and finish out the Operation Obsessed journey with all of you.

80 fricken days of dedication went into this. I learned so much about myself, my strength and the power of sticking to a program…no.matter.what. It was a wild ride, 3 countries, 5 cities, a lot of vegetables… but I.DID.IT. No clue how many inches or pounds lost… those things don’t matter to me. I know,I know. How could she dedicate so much time and effort to this and not even care about the numbers? Well, I like to practice what I preach.  I gained strength, health & confidence in myself & journey. I learned how to totally let go of any misconceptions about how much I “could” or “should” eat. When you are working your body like an athlete you need to be fueling it like an athlete, and that means A LOT of food. The last three weeks were much harder than I anticipated. I found myself feeling “over it.” My visa situation was unraveling and I was so stressed. I cried a lot. I was working a full time nanny position and working my business. I was trying to hold it all together and I just wanted to give up. But I didn’t. Discipline and HAVING A SUPPORT SYSTEM, a PLAN, A GOAL- led me through even when all I wanted to do was chug bottles of wine and house boxes of donuts.

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Oh, We’re Halfway There: Week 7

Week 7 Operation Obsessed

I can’t believe I am writing this half way through our 13 weeks. Halfway doesn’t even seem that far but seriously the time has flown and I have grown leaps and bounds, mentally, physically and emotionally.  Here is a my vlog recap to get you up to speed! 

Honestly, I’ve found it hard to write and take photos every single week. I’m not sure why but mentally I’ve been in a place where I don’t feel like much is happening in my body day to day. I feel like my results aren’t “worthy” of sharing because I didn’t have 20 or 30 pounds to lose. It’s scary to put yourself out there when you know how hard you are working and people discredit, criticize or dismiss your hard work. But honestly, I know how much work I have put in. I know the level of commitment I’ve kept and how hard I’ve been pushing every single workout. Everyday I show up. I’ve been feeling fabulous. I’ve been following the plan. And my confidence and self love is through the roof. That alone is reason enough to celebrate.  If you do want more of that behind the scenes make sure you join me on Instagram. Instastories  is a slice of daily workout moves and recipe ideas (you want them follow me there @ensusiasm)

The creator of this program said that Phase 2 is designed for “building” and I am lifting heavy weights and eating a lot of food. To be totally transparent with you I felt like I wasn’t seeing progress anymore and I was feeling a bit “fluffy” or feared that I was hitting a plateau. I felt like I was working so hard but maybe it wasn’t worth it? Then I saw my progress pictures.

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Rolling with the Punches: Week 4 & 5

Week 4-5 Operation Obsessed

Rolling with the punches, baby. I am back!! Although I may have gotten behind on my blog posts I certainly haven’t with actually following my program! I decided after it was Saturday of week 4 that I was just going to combine Week 4 & 5.  I mean this is my blog, after all 😉 The amount of change that has happened in the last two weeks is pretty intense. After I left Ireland I went to NYC to stay with one of my best friends from high school. My travel back to NYC was long but I prepped enough food to stay on track with timed nutrition even in the airport and airplane. Did you know you can bring your own food in? I feel like a lot of people don’t know this!   As soon as I arrived in NYC I got the dreaded news that my bag didn’t make it on the connecting flight and was still stuck in Norway. So my friend picked me up with no luggage. Luckily I kept my sliders, loops and laptop in my carry on and some extra workout clothes. Preparation is key. 

The next morning we went grocery shopping and my bestie couldn’t believe that was actually what I ate. But once I started prepping for him and showing him how often you can eat when you eat clean, he wasn’t complaining too much! He was a trooper and even completed a couple 80 Day Obsession workouts with me.

I had multiple social events in NYC but I kept my self control and only had a few bites of dessert and indulged a little at the Art of Food Event my bestie invited me to in NYC. It was basically all the best restaurants in the Upper East Side coming together and offering a sample dish for you to taste. Luckily the portions were small and the dishes were quite healthy. I refrained from drinking even though everything was free!

Despite my luggage being lost I just focused on the things I could control, like my workouts, my meal plan and my attitude. I had no idea how I could stick to this very strenuous program while being in 4 different cities and drastically changing my current reality and home but honestly, it all starts with mindset. If you become a “victim” in the situation of course you aren’t going to stay on track. I was in NYC for the first time in 6 months- do you know how badly I wanted to eat EVERYTHING especially pizza and bagels? But I knew that they would be there when I returned and I was committed to trying my personal best despite the circumstance.  I was not the victim. I was the caption of my ship despite the stormy seas. Week 4 ended on a high note getting my luggage back and feeling immense pride for sticking to my schedule and completing the first phase of three in the program. 

Week 5 is the first week of Phase 2 and we got 6 new- more advanced and challenging workouts. I started again in a new place, this time moving in temporarily to stay with my brother and his family for the next few months while my visa for England is sorted out. Again, on the first day I headed to the grocery store( THEY HAVE ALDI HERE- YAY) , explained to them I would need a bit more room in the fridge than a normal guest (LOL SORRY GUYS) and got down to business. Since I will be sharing the fridge with a busy family of four I decided to do bulk meal prep and just keep all the veggies in one, meat in another and carbs in another. This way I can easily plate up my meals but I won’t disturb order too much.

Not only was it a change in location but a change in schedule as I took on a few part time nannying gigs while I’m here and will be helping out with my niece and nephew too! Everyday I do my workout in the living room and a lot of days I have those little eyes watching. They ask me questions about my superfood shake, they ask questions about the workouts, the food, everything and I love to plant little healthy seeds from their crazy fitness coach auntie.

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In Phase 2 the new workouts have been hard– but in a good way. I also bumped up to Plan C in the meal plans and have been lifting heavier weights. The amount of food I am eating y’all– it’s unbelievable. To be honest I feel like I saw less progress in Week 5 as compared to the other weeks but I think my body needs to get used to the increase in calories. These weekly progress photos aren’t necessarily to show epic change just to document the process! 

Overall, I am feeling so proud of myself and ready to crush the rest of this program. I have come this far and stuck to it despite so many temptations and “reasons” to cheat. Despite two countries and 4 cities. I didn’t think it was possible. Like I said it hasn’t been perfect but it’s been damn near close for me. Rolling with the punches, indeed.

Change is Coming: Week 3

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Week 3 was the start of a roller coaster. I felt so strong and motivated to keep upping my weights and getting stronger in the program. I knew that on Saturday I would be flying to Ireland and facing some challenges of getting my workouts in at my Air Bnb and staying on track with my nutrition in a country that is known for its alcohol and hearty foods. Since I knew I was going away, this made me focus on my nutrition and workouts even more for Week 3. I finally felt like I was in a routine with the timed nutrition and really feeling good about the workouts. Hear all about it here in my Week 3 vlog. My visible physical progress feels as if it plateaued a bit BUT visible physical progress is not the goal here. It’s a side effect. I’m still showing you my photos to hold myself accountable. 

Unfortunately I knew that disorder was on the horizon. First would be my 4 day holiday to Ireland and then a week long trip to NYC. I will share more about those in my Week 4 blog, but I want to focus on Week 3. On Saturday I woke up early and got in my cardio routine before we headed to the airport. My boyfriend meal prepped our food for the plane so we had healthy lunch and snacks. When we arrived in Dublin we took the bus to our Air Bnb only to find out that apparently heat wasn’t in the cards and it was freezing in that house. Not letting it get us down we walked over to the local vegetable market and butcher and picked up some essentials for dinner Saturday night and meal prep for all of Sunday because we had a 12 hour tour booked to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway on the other side of Ireland.

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