IIN Health Coach

Small Changes to Make in 2017 That Can Impact Your Health For A Lifetime

The New Year always brings forth second chances and new goals to reach in order to better our lives. I’m a goal oriented person and I hate to admit this but a little Type A when it comes to lists, organizing my planner, and notebooks to set me up for success. However, I wasn’t always this way. When I started my career as a people manager at VSCO, I knew that the best way to juggle and manage all my quarterly and yearly goals was to break down the list into small digestible victories that would lead me to accomplishing my bigger goal. This was really helpful in making it not feel as daunting and I did the same when it came to my fitness. 

When I started my fitness journey I said to myself I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself in my 30s. As ambiguous as this goal was, the challenge was that this particular goal had no form of measurement. In some ways not having a way to measure this was the most motivating aspect of the process. Each small win felt like a huge victory. As my 12 week program turned into 3 years of a consistent lifestyle I realized that it wasn’t about making big changes, but making small shifts that helped form new habits. 

Here’s 10 Small Changes that you can make to impact your health in a large way:

  1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. When you sleep your body is in a resting state and a little inflamed due to lack of movement while getting a good night’s rest. Drinking water first thing in the morning will help lubricate your lymphatic system which will kick start your body’s ability to drain the toxins from your body. I like to keep a S’well Bottle on a bedside table so that first thing in the morning I can have a nice swig of cold water to hydrate the body.
  2. Add protein into your breakfast. Protein is a great macronutrients to help support weight loss and maintenance. Adding egg whites or whole eggs to your breakfast in the morning can help keep the body satiated throughout the day. You can also get a healthy source of protein from Greek Yogurt. For those who are vegan, try a tofu scramble like this simple one from Minimalist Baker.
  3. Cook smarter, not harder.  Once you get into the groove of cooking healthier, get creative. I like to cook once and eat twice. For example I prepare a large batch of brown rice or quinoa and use it for some of my lunches for the week, dinners for the family, or even a savory breakfast bowl. I often do the same with my proteins and prep a batch that I can use both in my prepped meals and dinners for the family. 
  4. Sleep in your workout clothes, clean ones of course. This sounds silly, but sleeping in my set of workout clothes gets me prepared for that early morning workout. There’s no excuse for me to have to change out of pajamas while its cold and dark. I just grab my jacket, put on my shoes, and go!
  5. Start your day with your hype jams. I have a “Get Lifted” playlist that I use to get me in the mood for my day especially when I wake up in a funky mood. Some of the songs on my playlist include “Love on Top” by Beyonce. 
  6. Start a morning ritual like making coffee or fresh juice at home instead of running to your local coffee shop. I started to make our coffee again at home and there’s something about slowing down the morning with a nice ritual that helps calms the nerves and center your energy. 
  7. Use at least one weekend day a month to go on an outdoor adventure. Your biggest source of energy can be found from the elements such as sun and fresh air. Getting outdoors is not only good for the soul, but you get your intake of Vitamin D and fresh oxygen for the lungs. 
  8. Detox the pantry. When I first started my fitness journey, I got rid of all the unhealthy kids and adult snacks in the pantry and replaced items with granola, whole wheat crackers, and nuts. Sometimes as a parent you find yourself mindlessly snacking on kids snacks, so it was important for me to detox the house from those items. This helped to break the habit of mindless snacking.
  9. Pack healthy snacks like raw almonds, granola, or seasonal fruit with you to work or while running errands. Bringing healthy and wholesome nutrition helps to keep you away from convenience foods like candy bars and chips which are packed with refined sugars, high sodium content, and empty calories. You’ll start to notice how much more energy you have throughout the day when you’ve made small changes like this to your snacks.
  10. Switch up your workout routine or even your gym. Our bodies are incredible machines. It can regulate body temperature to stay at a steady 98.6 and can even heal itself when its sick. Since our bodies are so adaptable sometimes we plateau with our fitness progress. Switching up your routine after 12 weeks can help break this plateau and changing your gym environment can help stimulate dwindling motivation.
Muse Exhale Bra  by Albion Fit   Muse Leggings  by Albion Fit

Muse Exhale Bra by Albion Fit

Muse Leggings by Albion Fit

Most people who run into me, lovingly tease me for always checking into a new gym or trying a new workout class. To some it looks like commitment issues, for me I like keeping my surroundings fresh. Most fitness studios will offer you a free first class or have really great rates for new sign ups.  For one week, January 2-6th, you can join Anytime Fitness for a $1 and a get free consultation to help you jump start your fitness goals. Find the location nearest you here.

Thank you Albion FIt for sending for the new activewear.

Jacket: Black Bomber Jacket // other option

Leggings: Muse Leggings by Albion Fit // other option

Sports bra: Muse Exhale Bra by Albion Fit// other option

Shoes: adidas Women's Ultra Boost Uncaged Running Shoes  // other option

Anytime Fitness provided me with compensation in exchange for this sponsored blog post. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Kick Starting 2017 In a Healthy and Balanced Way

This tail end of the year I’ve been working on trying to define what fitness means to me. Since day 1 it has always been to become a healthier version of myself in my 30s. But as I continued on my fitness journey, I evolved. My intention stayed the same but I picked up little goals along the way. I competed in my first NPC Bikini Competition and continued to train for 2 years for a few more. 2016 was the first year I didn’t have the goal to step on stage for another competition. As I look back now at all the training I did for these competitions I realized how out of balance my life would be to try to commit to a sport like that in 2017. During my years of training for competitions I didn’t have the time or the energy to try out different workout classes because of the intensity of focus needed for the training. So in 2017, one of my goals is to have fun trying new fitness classes and trying different ways to move my body.

I’m partnering up with Barre3 to help kick start some of these goals I have in 2017.  Starting January 9th, barre3 is starting a 4 week guided program called B3 ALL IN,  that I’m excited to join. As you know I’m currently enrolled at Institute of Integrative Nutrition and was stoked to see Dr. Frank Lipman, one of the doctors who is part of my curriculum, played a key role in developing the program. The B3 ALL IN Handbook is FREE for all studio members and B3 Online subscribers and you have access to the Digital Community Board guided by some of the industry’s top wellness experts.

I spent some time yesterday during the afternoon digging through the handbook and was happy to see that the program is not a bootcamp or another crash diet, a concern I have when learning about any type of “program” that is put out there in the heath and fitness community. B3 ALL IN’s goal is to help inspire people to live a healthy, strong, and balanced life. 

To join me in B3 ALL IN, you can buy a barre3 Online Plus subscription or join a barre3 studio near you and if you head to any of the Bay Area locations let me know, I'd love to come join you!

My  BBG Sisters  joined me for some barre3:  @fitleelou ,  @jenbonifacio ,  @diapersnbbg . Thanks ladies for driving the distance to join me for some sweat and shakes. 

My BBG Sisters joined me for some barre3: @fitleelou, @jenbonifacio, @diapersnbbg. Thanks ladies for driving the distance to join me for some sweat and shakes. 

barre3 Willow Glen location in San Jose, CA  which also includes day care, if you need to bring your kiddies in during your sweat session.

barre3 Willow Glen location in San Jose, CA which also includes day care, if you need to bring your kiddies in during your sweat session.

As someone who loves to primarily weight train as their exercise this is going to be a fun challenge for me. In weight training or body building a lot of the focus is on the larger muscle groups while the smaller stabilizer muscles are often neglected. I’m excited to feel the difference in my body as I round out my regular training with barre. 

My journey as a health and life coach with Institute for Integrative Nutrition

I’m getting a lot of questions about my choices for choosing IIN over any other health and nutrition coaching programs so I figured I’d give some insights on my choices.

My Career Journey…

So to give you a little background history we’ve gotta go back a decade. My first career out of school was a hairstylist and an educator for haircare brands like Rusk, Goldwell, and Kerastase. That was a 10 year career for me that started because of my strong passion for helping people find their personal style. This interest in hair all started in high school when I met my hairstylist and long time friend Dara Ung. She gave me my first “expensive” haircut and I remember walking out of her salon feeling as if I owned the world. I connected so much of my self confidence and self expression with how I felt and I knew how important this was for others to feel the same. In high school, I used to color friend’s hair in my mom’s kitchen and shortly after high school I decided that helping others feel beautiful through their self expression in their hair was my calling. 10 years into my career as a stylist I felt like I had done all I wanted to accomplish and the opportunity to take a Director role at the start up VSCO came along. After months of thinking about the opportunity I jumped and decided to challenge myself with something new to learn and grow.

After 5 years at VSCO and getting laid off it was time for something new. When I started my fitness journey I was amazed at what having the right mindset to pursue your goals and dreams were. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that the two hardest things in adult life to get a balanced control on are finances and fitness. If you’re one of those who’s got the formulation to all this then maybe we can talk, but for me the two largest challenges in my adult life have always been finance and fitness. Both take a lot of discipline and dedication and a lot of energy. Sometimes adding another “thing” on top of all the other “things” in our busy adult life is a challenge in itself. And if you think about the things we learn about how to be an adult incorporating health and fitness is not one of them. 

How fitness impacted the rest of my life…

Fitness was never a part of my life growing up outside of PE. Like most women, I would go to the gym for an aesthetic "need" such as a vacation, to shed the baby weight, or to fit in a wedding dress. These were goals that never really made life long impacts for me and I would easily and quickly go back to the life I was living before that. 3 years ago when my fitness journey started was when I realized the positive impacts that having a healthy relationship with nutrition and exercise were for me I knew I needed to share that to those around me, which is where my #gofitjo hashtag began (pre blog). I started to learn more and more about myself through fitness and for the past 18 months I was contemplating on whether or not I wanted to pursue a career in the health and fitness industry. After my experience in body building competitions and learning how to manipulate macronutrients and exercise in order to reach fitness goals I got turned onto the science of sports nutrition. Coupled with my 5 years of managing teams at VSCO, I knew I had a love for coaching and developing people. Don’t get me wrong,I love blogging and social media, but I also knew that it was only a place to inspire those to live healthier and was just a sliver to the what I could offer to those around me. 

Why I chose IIN…

I did a ton of research before joining IIN on the different types of nutrition schools and what they offer. I looked into Health Coach Institute, ACE, NASM and Well Coaches. I knew that I wanted to become a very well knowledgeable health coach. There are plenty programs that you can take that don't take as long as IIN. Some are weekend long courses while others are 4 weeks long. Personally, I love having as much knowledge and experience I can get in order to have the conversations I need with my future clients to understand their current philosophies on life and health and to help coach them through their next steps. After a year and a half of career ambivalence and research, Institute of Integrative Nutrition kept showing up in my life. I started to see others who went through the program and started to ask their experience in it. Then one day at my local Whole Foods I ran into some old friends and told them about my recent lay off at VSCO (literally a handful of days before) and how I’ve decided to finally take the plunge and sign up for school at IIN, a woman who overheard me mentioned how she was half way through. After my friends left, her and I started to talk about her experience and that night I decided to sign up. 

In my last few months at VSCO I said to myself, when I turned 35 (in 2 more years), I want to become a health & life coach focused on nutrition. After my own experience with my healthy life style, I knew the value of nutrition and how it really was a basis to fuel your everyday life including your career. My beliefs about health has always been around how one can define the health of each relationship in their life: marriage/love, parenthood, career, nutrition, and exercise. In order to vibrate at your highest frequency all of these areas need to have some sort of energetic alignment. Institute for Integrative Nutrition really values and teaches this holistic way of approaching health and nutrition which is the main reason I was turned on by the approach of the program. Fitness to me was never about the perfect body, it was about getting your life together and overcoming insecurities which is a seed I want to plant in each of my client’s hearts and minds.

What I’m currently learning at IIN…

Because of current “free time” I decided to enroll myself in the accelerated course that’s 7 months long rather than the regular course that’s 12 months long. The entire course is online so I can study at the convenient of my own pace and time. Every week a module gets released for the standard course, two modules for the accelerated course. You can download your modules on your iPad, iPhone, or whatever mobile device and study from anywhere. Some days I'm listening to modules while on BART on the way up to SF or in the car just to retain more information.  I’m currently on module 9 out of the 40. There are discussion assignments to each module and along side all the different nutrition philosophies you learn there are foundational skills on business development along with  coaching circles to fully equip you on your journey as a health coach. So far it's been incredible. I’m learning so much and because I’m such a nerd and meticulous about my approach with school, I’m trying to fully immerse myself and focus on all the modules week by week. There’s a lot of information to learn and it’s really fascinating to not only learn how you can help others, but to learn more about yourself and what nutrition really means for you. IIN talks about 4 primary foods: relationships, spirituality, career, and physical activity. These 4 areas, on top of nutrition were my top focuses bettering myself and my life. This alignment of views made my choice for Institute of Integrative Nutrition an easy one.

If you're interested in learning more or to chat one on one on this, I'd love to get on a Google Hangout/Facebook Live/etc. when I have a group of at least 5 people so that we can all connect and ask as many questions as you like with me. If that's something that interests you, sign up here or fill out the form below. 

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Other resources:

I hope this post was useful for those of you who were wondering why I chose IIN over all the other options. If you want more information here are 3 helpful resources:

Nike x Lead Like Her Event Recap

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak on a panel with Nike x Lead Like Her. And of course I wasn't about to decline, especially since my biggest goal for myself this year was to get over my fear of public speaking. Lead Like Her is this incredible digital platform where independent women tell their stories, inspire to drive change, and build strong lasting connections. Founder of Lead Like Her, Martha Kirby, interviewed me back in May on her blog and its so mind blowing to see how rapidly life has changed for me. It's incredibly wild to read things like "Director of Community/Curation at VSCO" to now speaking about my job title as a future "Internationally Certified Health and Nutrition Coach" 

This past Thursday was the panel event which had a really decent turn out despite the rain in SF. It was small and intimate, no more than 40 people which has been the size of most of my speaking engagements this year. A perfect size to get comfortable with and still feel connected to the audience. Yummy salads were hosted by Sweetgreens and mocktails by Clearly Kombucha and of course fun little giveaway swag bag and shopping provided by the Nike Women's store on Union in SF. 

The night was so awesome. And every single time I share my story I get so nervous to talk about it despite how open and honest I am about sharing my struggles of depression and how I used health and fitness as a tool to not overcome those dark months. And how powerful of a coping tool it has been for me these past few years. 

Honored to be amongst the team at  Nike  and fellow speakers:  Alyssa Chang, Movement Coach  and Mickey Roxas ( plantsandplanks ).

Honored to be amongst the team at Nike and fellow speakers: Alyssa Chang, Movement Coach and Mickey Roxas (plantsandplanks).

Many many many thanks to Lead Like Her and Nike for extending this opportunity. Every single moment where I'm sharing my story of overcoming depression and how I manage to juggle a busy schedule while still being intentional about my health and wellness, is a chance for me to feel connect to one person who might be struggling with similar feelings of loneliness and depression. You never know who you'll inspire by sharing your story. Our stories of struggles and accomplishments are both equally important. You can't live a full life when you're only sharing your one sided highlight reel.

If there's one thing I've learned about living authentically in your truth it's that you connect with others and most importantly with yourself on whole new level. 

Huge shoutout and love to DJ Umami for spinning the jams and my favorite song at the end of the panel.

Photos courtesy of Andrea Posadas

Why Fitting In Sucks BALLS

Today I woke up feeling alone. And not in the sense where I'm battling another episode of depression, but just alone. The crazy thing to me is that I know that I'm not alone. I have so many blessings in my life that I'm grateful for: husband, family, and people who genuinely love me for me. But today as I sit here writing I there's this void inside that I'm searching to fill. 

Growing up, especially in high school I thought the void was from not belonging to a certain group of friends. I spent most of my lunches in high school developing photos in the photo lab or working on graphic design projects from my Digital Business Academy I was in. I knew I was special and unique, but I couldn't help but feel like I was supposed to "fit in." 

The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.
— Albert Einstein

As soon as I became an adult I started to feel the same especially as I embarked on my career as a hairstylist. I remember not quite feeling like I could embrace the same philosophies that some of my classmates had in beauty school and quickly feeling like my choice to be authentic to myself and help my clients find their personal style with their hair, was quickly isolating me from others. I was so career driven. I knew what I wanted out of that career for myself and put all my efforts into getting it. Soon enough I found myself in a community of stylists that had the same philosophies, until I became pregnant with our first. Being the first mother amongst most of my friends made me feel really alone. It wasn't easy having to juggle a career, motherhood, and relationships with friends that just didn't quite understand the struggles of motherhood at an early age. 

Throughout all of these life shifts I've learned that fitting in sorta sucks and here's why:

Fitting in takes a lot of energy and effort. Let's think about this one for a minute. There are so many different ways society tells us to fit in and there's not enough hours in the day to live up to any of those standards. Fitting in takes up so much of our energy and focus into living our authentic selves. It's like a little bit away of your authenticity chipped at every time you do something that's not truly who you are. 

You stop listening to your intuition. Each person has this little tiny burning voice inside of them, its called their intuition. Do you ever notice that little voice inside of you that tells you when something doesn't feel right? How many times have you silenced it? Then at the end of the experience you sorta fall straight on your ass because you didn't listen. Your intuition is such a powerful thing and its probably something we often take for granted. Inside of each of us is this guiding light that helps us navigate to living our highest frequency, when we choose not to listen to it, we silence the truth inside us that's telling us how to thrive. 

Fitting in stunts personal growth. When we fit in, we swim with the crowd and when we do that we take away from getting lost in new experiences that help us grow as individuals. Fitting in keeps us comfortable in what we do, who we know, and what we've experienced. It keeps us from living our greatest potential because of fear of fitting out. 

No one likes a copy cat. Life is about self discovery and finding out who you are and sometimes that leads us into a path where we feel alone. Some days blazing a trail to create a life you're excited to live can lead to a lot of pain. But out of the struggle is always something beautiful waiting to blossom. Blazing a trail gives you and others the permission to live in their divine truth. But fitting in only gives the people around you and yourself the space to live just like everyone else. 

At the end of the day feeling alone sucks. But if we attempt to fit in to all the expectations of life and society, we'll never know who we're really made of. Today I challenge you to think of the one thing you could do this week to not fit in. How would your life be different if you took that one risk to create the life you wanted? Who would you become if you chose to do something a little against the grain?

Enjoy the little video below, Inner Workings,  from the amazing creators at Disney. People who are always going against the grain to create something enjoyable for the world to see. Hopefully it inspires you to follow your heart and listen to your insides just a little more.