Finding motivation as a parent

They say that you will never know the love of a parent until you become one yourself. 11 years into my motherhood career, I've come to embrace every bit of that truth!


Did you know that when I was a young naive lady, I said to myself "I'm not getting married till 30. I'm not having kids until I'm 35! I'm traveling the world, moving back to NYC, and becoming a national educator for Bumble and Bumble." None of that happened. And it wasn't because I couldn't make it happen, my life was redirected by becoming a parent. Funny enough when I found out I was pregnant a friend commented "you're the last person I thought would have a family." I responded with "So did I!" But there I was, about to become a mother at 21!

Becoming a parent has taught me so much about life: learning patience under circumstances that are out of your control,  understanding the value of time, and accepting that some moments won't always be perfect. These are just some of the few.

Lately, I've had a number of emails from women asking me how do I manage to stay motivated with fitness. Motivation just like ambition and drive is as personal as your choice of shoes, you gotta find something that suits you best. What pushes me is becoming like my parents and not becoming like them at the same time.

My parents didn't always put their health and fitness first, they put their kids first by working hard and showing me what it meant to pour hard work in. However I saw the stresses their life brought them and all the accomplishments. They didn't have much to give us, but they were both incredible examples to me of two people pushing hard to create a life they could share with their kids.

My two daughters and husband are the biggest motivations in my life especially in my fitness journey. I wanted to be able to grow old healthy and having the energy to run after my grandkids. (many many years from now) When Olivia was 2, right before I committed myself to healthier habits, I was out of breath, I felt heavy, and I had no energy to take her to the park.

It wasn't a life I wanted, never one I had imagined.  I want to travel and have outdoor adventures when my husband and I get old! But if my stamina wasn't there to run after a 2 year old at the park, what would it be like backpacking in Europe at 50.

Making goals like losing 15lbs, getting into a dress for a reunion, or looking hot in a bikini are amazing goals, to each their own! But most of these listed goals are time bound for an event. If you want to make lifestyle changes you have to dig a little past the surface level and ask yourself: What are you trying to change? How far are you willing to give?

Lifestyle changes to go from not working out to working out 5 days a week is a tremendous change and takes commitment, hard work, and determination! It's not impossible and it can and will happen if you pursue it. But your motivation has to be one that is strong enough to carry you through the process and its important to remind yourself that this is a journey and not a race. You're not doing it for anyone else, but your self. And if you're a mother, you're doing it for your family so that you can be a leading example of a woman who can.


LIFE // Dear 2013 Joanne

As time passes by I reflect back at the person I've become over the past two years. I think about the fears that I felt when I hired a fitness coach to help me reach my goal of getting control of my health and wellness. 

Experience and time has taught me so much about who I can be and if there were words of advice I can give myself two years ago this is what I would say:

Dear 2013 Joanne,

You're tired. It hurts so much I know. Your heart grieves in a way that no one else feels and you're so tired of carrying the pain. I see what no one else arounds you see: the anger, the frustration, the sheer disappointment you feel each time you've regained the courage to focus on health and fitness and fail. This time will be different you'll see.

I know you're scared. You're not sure what will happen, you won't know if you can stick to the commitment you made, and that's perfectly OKAY. But guess what you WILL! I know you feel entirely alone in making this lifestyle change. None of your friends are committing to a 12 week fitness plan, none of your friends are learning how to meal prep, and everything about lifting weights and cardio just sounds like a chore! Everything is new to you and I know you're not sure about your own abilities, but just keep going.

You're going to surpass the first goals you set and it's going to be incredible you'll see! After you make the first step, after running out of all the excuses you're going to make, just remember why you're doing this. Remember that you're tired of hating yourself, you're tired of being depressed, and you just want to be happy in your own skin. Your husband deserves a happy wife. Your daughters deserve a happy mother. Most importantly you deserve to be happy with yourself. Just hang on to ONE more week, one more month, and you'll see. The things you're worried about losing, you will gain 10 fold. I promise you that in a year things will be different and the year after that you'll still be keep moving forward. The road ahead of you will be rough at first. You will have moments you'll want to give up and that's okay. But in those moments that you want to give up, DON'T! KEEP GOING! YOU GOT THIS!

You're not alone. You're not the only one struggling with the same self image issues. You'll learn that sharing your story empowers so many women around you, you'll change your world. You'll gain friendships that go past any depths you've had in the past. They will help push you through when you need the motivation. 

You'll achieve greatness! You'll prove to yourself that nothing is impossible. I believe in you.


2015 Joanne


Weekend Warrior Fitness Camp

I'm so excited to announce one of my many firsts for 2015. I'll be hosting a fitness bootcamp with my dear #SWOLESISTER Helen Dang of Imago Fitness Studio.

Join us as we give you a fun fitness focused weekend full of learning:

  • Learn how to properly use weight lifting equipment

  • Enjoy a spin class hosted by The Dailey Method Cycle

  • Inform yourself on making healthy nutrition choices

  • Receive and prep a custom meal plan for the weekend

Main Location: 

919 The Alameda, San Jose, CA


Friday January 16th @ 6pm: introduction and camp orientation. This night we all gather to discuss our fitness goals, journeys, struggles, and hopes coming out of this camp. We get to know one another and learn about the importance a of fueling our bodies for active living.

Saturday January 17th 8am -4pm: expect two sweaty resistant weight training sessions on in the AM and PM. You'll be learning all the fundamentals of weight training, using weights, and working out. An afternoon hike in beautiful Los Gatos hills.

Sunday January 18th 8am - 1pm: your last resistant weight training session in the morning. Guest speaker from Active Nutrition, who will give us the low down on supplementation and its impact on fitness goals. An invigorating spin class hosted by our friends at The Dailey Method. 

The cost is $350 per person, but enroll before 12/31/2014 and get $50 OFF your enrollment fee. 

Start the 2015 strong with a like minded community working together towards a healthier life. 

For more details and where to enroll please visit


EAT // Grilled Citrus Porkchops


Grilled Orange Pork Chops and Curried Butternut Squash


4 Boneless pork-chops

Juice from 1 medium orange

Zest from orange

1 tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning

2 teaspoons of curry powder

2 lbs of butternut squash purchased pre cubed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butternut squash on a baking pan and sprinkle curry powder on top. Baked for 25 minutes.

Zest the orange with citrus zester. Place orange zest to the side. Mix fresh juice from one medium orange into a zip lock bag and lemon pepper seasoning. Place pork chops into the bag and marinate for 25 minutes or overnight.

Preheat grill to medium high heat and grill for 6 minutes on each side. I use a heat thermometer and pull of my proteins 5 degrees before suggested cook temp to keep meat moist.

Measure out to portions for your meal. Mine are 4 oz of pork chops and 1 cup of butternut squash. Sprinkle orange zest on top and enjoy.

LIFE: Goal Digger!

As the end of the year approaches we start to think about next year's life goals, both personal and career goals. As a manager in the organization I work for, I begin to think about the goals for my team, what that means to an individual, and how that affects the business as a whole. The same approaches I use to establish goals for my team is the same that I try to use for my own personal goals. 

Here's some things to think about while you establish your new fitness and health goals for 2015.

What Do Great Goals Look Like?

An effective and consistent approach to goal setting includes three facets:

1. Goals should be, at a minimum, SMART.

SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific,  Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. 

2. Goals should be manageable in number. Five or six meaningful stretch goals are sufficient to 
challenge an individual. Adding more goals is likely to have a negative impact on productivity and derail progress toward achieving any of them.

3. Goals should challenge you and provide personal development.
Each year, the goal-setting process establishes a new challenge to set forth; these should be invested in to achieve the desired results. Well-written, regularly monitored goals provide the framework for accountability.

While establishing your goals, don't forget to look back at all your accomplishments. Celebrate those as well. They are equally as important as the goals that lie ahead of you because without the small accomplishments you have no ability to measure your success in smaller increments.