5 things Every Young Girl (or woman) needs to know to Stay in the Game with their health

This post was sponsored by Athleta and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own

In the past 5 years, fitness and health have been cornerstones to my life. I’ve been using them as tools to help discover sides of me I had no idea were there. It’s helped me gain confidence, a much more positive self-image of myself, and a stronger sense of belief that I can be better, do better and create the wholesome life I want to live.


As a mom, these are things I want to teach my daughters too, but my kids don’t see fitness or health the same way I do. Part of me wonders if it's due to this digital era we live in and the pressures we, as a society, place on looking good and performance in physical activity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit of a data junkie myself and I love being able to measure and track my progress especially as it relates to self-improvement and personal development, but I’m a firm believer in having fun in order to stay in the game of health.

Integrating joy in fitness is one thing you’ll need to have sustainable lifestyle change no matter what the challenge is you’re facing in life.

I’ve had so many ups and downs in this journey of health and self-love. With all of the most recent road bumps in life, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that you need to find something that brings you joy when it comes to exercise. Integrating joy in fitness is one thing you’ll need to have sustainable lifestyle change no matter what the challenge is you’re facing in life.


This is where biking comes in for us as a family. We love our bike rides. It’s the only physical activity my girls like to do outside of school sports and P.E. As a parent who believes that exercise is an important piece to a person’s mental and physical health I also believe that finding an activity that doesn’t feel like regimented exercise is just as important.


Our neighborhood is filled with hill rides which turns what’s supposed to be a leisurely bike ride into what feels like the hills you climb during a 45-minute SoulCycle class.

Our bike rides can get pretty brutal real fast, especially on a hot day which is why I love Athleta Girl. It’s athleisure for the girls who don’t give up, like mine. I love that its made with high-quality performance fabric that withstands multiple wash and drys and to top it off their styles are super cute.


Olivia is wearing the Athleta Girl Spliced up Chit Chat Tight, one of those wardrobe pieces that’s lightweight enough for summer and perfect for school. She loves the pink detail on the knees which gives this particular tight the right amount of edginess she loves. Both my girls are wearing the Power of Chi Tank, super awesome for the summer since its made of super light material and mesh, but since we’re in SF Bay Area it’s perfect to layer underneath sweaters or jackets.

One of the things I love about Athleta Girl is that they have tights that fit my 14-year-old daughter that doesn’t feel like she’s wearing “kids” clothes, but is completely age appropriate for a teenager. She’s in this age where her she’s defining her personal style and fashion. The Stash Your Treasures tight is extremely soft, but with a slight compression making it great for days she SoulCycle’s with me or for days she’s running around with her friends.  


As the school year approaches for them again we’ve been talking a lot about fear, especially for my eldest who starts high school in just a few days. I remember high school and not quite understanding the value of sports or physical activity mainly because that wasn’t a high value in my household growing up. The fear of looking silly or stupid trying a new sport or exercise and I guess even now as adults we still hold some of that same fear within us. But if you can face the fear with fun, holding little to no expectations to the outcome then you can push past the limiting beliefs you place on what is or isn’t possible with your health goals and beyond.


Along with joy, there are 4 other main things you need in order to stay in the game with your health goals when life gets a little bumpy.


Gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. It strengthens our emotions and reduces the feeling of fear and envy. Gratitude also helps us bounce back from stress and keeps us in the present moment. Before any workout, I warm up with a 5-minute gratitude walk. If I’m weight training in the gym I typically do an incline walk on the treadmill. Before even thinking about my training, I thank my body for all that it does for me and it’s ability to move despite not always wanting to.

Focus on the why

Why are you on this health journey? What do you want to achieve at the end of it? When I started my fitness journey 5 years ago I told myself that I’m doing this because I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself in my 30s. This allowed me to define what healthy meant to me which gave me the power and freedom to create my own values around what it meant to be healthy.


Keep it simple

Making changes to your lifestyle can be really hard, but sustaining it doesn’t have to be. When I work with my clients we focus on choosing just one habit to change. Once this habit has become a routine in their life, we move on to another habit to change.


Believe in yourself

While I’m not 100% free of self-doubt I can say that I believe in myself more strongly than I did before. I see my own potential with a lot more clarity than I have in the past. While there’s no true manual on how to improve believing in yourself, I do know that it takes practice. It also takes seeing failures as opportunities of growth.


The power to stay in the game is not some mystical magic that only certain people have. You have it too. You just have to unlock a few doors and see what’s possible inside. When you do that you model the best behavior for those young girls who look up to and for those young girls who will be looking up to you.

5 Simple Ways to Go Green

This blog post was sponsored by Love Beauty and Planet, but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

Ever since moving into our new house we’ve been trying to find ways to go green. I had this big lofty idea that we’d go cold turkey and just be completely green, sustainable, and 100% eco-friendly. I quickly realized that transitioning into a more sustainable lifestyle wasn’t going to happen overnight. Just like approaching any exercise or diet change, an ‘all or nothing’ mindset can just lead to shortcomings when the expectations are set a little too high. What I discovered is that sustainable living is just like a yoga practice. You have to set the right intentions and take it day by day. 

Here are five small, easy, green choices we can make in our homes. 

Reducing water usage in the shower.

I’ve been using the new brand, Love Beauty & Planet and love how it’s made my hair feel. The conditioner has a fast-rinse technology that can help you save water and rinsing time in the shower. I do my part by going easy on the tap.  Since there are 3 ladies in my household this is extremely beneficial in cutting down water usage and costs. Another shower saver tip is to bring the plants in the shower when watering or when plants need humidity from misting. Yes, I’ve taken crazy plant lady to a whole new level. 

p.s. I’ve been using the purposeful hydration shampoo and conditioner – it’s infused with wild shea nut butter and ethically sourced Australian Sandalwood Oil – smells so good! 

5 Simple Ways to go Green

5 Simple Ways to go Green

Recycle and compost food scraps.

Use a trash can that has a built-in recycling bin which has helped us mindfully recycle in our home. We recently picked up a Simple Human dual compartment trashcan and it has been a game changer. Truthfully, we purchased it for aesthetics and functionality, but we had no idea the amount of trash we would be reducing because we’ve been more mindful of the things we recycle. On top of that, we've also been more mindful of composting food scraps and other compostable materials, which has helped reduce the trash. We recently picked up a little container that we place right next to our kitchen sink as a reminder to toss any food scraps into the compost. What we’ve seen is a major reduction in our trash by garbage pick-up and the recycling and compost/yard trimming bins are filled.  

Upcycle used jars and bottles.

In the past, we’ve normally recycled old jars of pasta sauce, but this year we’ve been making a more conscious effort in upcycling them and using them to store nuts or other pantry items. I love doing this because it’s like giving jars another purpose or value instead of them getting smashed up in recycling facilities. Another thing you can do is use them for propagating plants, which we did for a few of our plant babies here at home before we repotted them in their new pots. I can’t wait to do this with my Love Beauty and Planet bottles when we’re done using them because I can think of a few other ways I can upcycle the bottles. 

Ditch the plastic water bottles!

Use a reusable water bottle and carry it everywhere! If you ever catch me out and about you’ll know I carry around a S’well water bottle everywhere I go. Occasionally there’s even more than one sitting on my desk during my work day. A reusable water bottle not only helps the environment by reducing our usage of plastic, but it’s healthier too. Carrying a reusable water bottle can even help you save nearly $260 a year. 

I carry around a S’well water bottle everywhere I go as one of the ways I go green.

I carry around a S’well water bottle everywhere I go as one of the ways I go green.

Ride your bike instead of driving your car to work.

Since I work from home I can’t really ride my bike to work, but what I have done from time to time is swapped out my workouts for a bike ride which saves me time from getting into my car, driving to the gym, and even reduces my carbon footprint. If you’re walking distance from the store, try walking or biking instead of driving. 

 portraits © gofitjo- www.gofitjo.com - all rights reserved

Going full green at once can be daunting, but if you take small baby steps you’ll quickly see it’s easier than you think. Which one of these will you try first? 

A note to my 25 year old self

A note to my 25 year old self

When you take a step back to look at the big picture you’ll realize that everything in life is truly connected. The way that you approach your personal life, business, and even your fitness will have similar manners. And sometimes the greatest thing you’ll learn is to let go of expectations of what should be and learn to embrace what can be and what will be.

My advice to my 25 year old self: Our jobs is to search for our own voice and vision. Don’t worry about trying to please others because while you are in the messy middle of your figuring this all out, you will disappoint people. The sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you can find your voice. You will always be working on discovering who you are meant to be and that is OK. Life will change and experiences will mold you, as they should.

FYI: This week in the life of Jo

This week I've taken a really large step back from Instagram mostly due to a really busy work schedule. I'm heading out to Kauai in a couple of weeks and of course like any normal hard working adult work just seems to pile up leading up to the vaca. On top of all that the vacation-itis hit, it's like senioritis but vacations. You know it's that feeling you get when you're staring at a blank page just waiting for something to happen, but nothing does because you're mind is already in paradise sipping on a fresh coconut and basking in the sun. Yup that's my current state.


Although my IG has slowed down this week for writing has been crazy busy and super exciting. I've written several guest posts on other blogs that I'd love to share with you. 

Each month I contribute to Lucy Activewear's blog called Let's Go. It's an incredible collection mixed in with brand stories from Lucy and written pieces from other bloggers and fitness professionals. I've been blessed enough to have this opportunity with them for over a year now and it's been a fun and exciting one. I was asked to do a piece on staying motivated while traveling which was perfect timing for my trip to Hawaii. To see a full body workout that you can do anywhere in the world and a few of my travel health hacks, head on over to Lucy Let's Go.

Second, is a guest post on The Millennial Miss. I'd like to believe I'm a mentor, not always a good one, but a mentor and one of the things I truly enjoy is seeing some of my gems passed down the future female leaders of world. I met Chelsea, a little over a year ago at a blogger's summit called Create Cultivate. You know that feeling when you meet someone and you just gravitate to because they are a ball of sunshine and genuine laughter, that's Chelsea. When she asked me to write for her blog I jumped in a heart beat. Topics began to swirl in and out of my head and then I remember what was the biggest thing that haunted me in my 20s, feeling empty even when I had it all. 

From the outside looking in, I had it all set: a husband, a family, and a career that I was passionate about. But deep inside I still felt like I was missing something, I remember blogging about it in the first blog I ever started.  

To read more head over to my guest post on The Millennial Miss. 

Third, is a 3 part workout series I did for MOUS Products which also includes a little interview on me. I love doing interviews as much as I possibly can. It's a really great opportunity for me to sit and think on my answers and what matters most to me. It's so easy for us to get caught up in the hustle and to forget to reflect on the journey. Interviews have been such a great way for me to do that. 

Linked below are all of the entire workout series. Each of these workouts I do once a week in the gym. It helps to keep the body a fat burning machine. 

Last but not least is a feature on the Belo-Forte Journal. If you've never checked out the workout gear from Belo-Forte run to their site now. They have incredibly sexy pieces that are both hot to wear and functional. My favorite are these laser cut capris that I recently posted on Instagram and in a blog post. Belo-Forte asked me what success means to me...head to their blog to read the answer


I know I say this all the time, but seriously from the bottom of my heart thank you so so so much for being there for me through out my journey. It's been an incredible one and my success in life is partially due to all the love I have from my readers. 


What social media has done for my fitness journey

Oh social media...the latest form of communication that the world wasn't quite ready for. In a world of Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Weibo, Twitter, and everything in between we have so many new ways to stay connected into the lives of others and in some ways being disconnected to the real life connections we as humans naturally thrive on. As I've been spending much of my blogging time writing answers to various interviews on me to come the question that seems to be common is: "what has social media done for you?" The question should be "what has it not done for you?" because throughout my adult life it has done a lot in ways I never imagined.

Many years ago I used to be known as "I CUT HAIR". I was a hairstylist for 10 years before jumping into the startup tech world. Social media, more importantly Myspace and Yelp were the two channels that really allowed me to build a business in the digital age. The experience of growing a business solely by word of mouth presence in the digital age was one of the reasons that got the attention of my CEO when VSCO was just an idea. I still remember the day that he called me and I took the call in the garage while he described his crazy vision of a company to me.  My husband and I also utilized social media to get the word out about our new adventures of Encarnacion Photography when we were just starting it 8 years ago.

Fast forward to now, social media has truly impacted my journey in so many ways. When I decided to embark my fitness journey I decided to post on my personal account ( no longer public so please do not friend request me, because I wont add you. NOTHING PERSONAL). I wanted a way that was low touch and didn't require much effort to document my journey and to share it with some others who might be going through similar struggles. I'm a natural born creative and always have needed to find some form of creative outlet to express myself whether it was artistically or personally. And being someone who dealt with adolescent and adult depression I knew that talking about struggles helps me find clarity. Over the course of a year the #gofitjo hashtag was growing and the interest of my self innovation grew too. The growing engagement of the hashtag on my personal account was reason enough for me to begin @gofitjo.

Now I'm going to keep this rant pretty short and sweet because I'll dive more into it later but social media definitely has its ups and downs, just like anything else in the world. Some days I long for the times when I can just post anything without caring about composition and lighting, but that's just me being a photographer/creative. And that's what Snapchat is for, I guess. Or what about when you're trying to eat, but everyone is trying to take a photo of food, and the meal's gone cold before your first bite? Ahh...the woes of social media and the need to document the life around us. None the less I have a love/hate for the humorous experience that come from social sharing. 

The biggest thing that sharing my story on social media has done for me was creating genuine connections with people and experiences that continue to inspire and empower people and myself. Some of my best friends to date are the women I've connected with over social media and have built strong relationships IRL.

What I share is vulnerable and they are just small pieces that make up who I am. I want others to know that they are not alone in feeling the way that they do and if I can be a small sliver of an example of a modern day women figuring her way out through this crazy world today then my intentions and purpose in being a social media presence is doing its job. I want people, especially women to believe that we don't have strive so hard to live up to an untainable standard of life in: fitness, motherhood, career, or just simply being a woman.

I said this on my Instagram the other day: 

NO ONE ELSE in this world was born with the same unique characteristics, talents, skills, gifts or perspectives that you have. You are a one time event in the universe, darling, and you are magnificent and incredible!
outfit by  Belo-Forte

outfit by Belo-Forte

In the beginning of this year I've had an incredible opportunity to work with a lot of brands. We've collaborating in either sponsored posts or gifting opportunities. Now, let me state that I never had the intention of growing a following for the collaboration opportunities. And the ones that I decide to collaborate with are the hand selected few that I strongly believe align best with my own personal story and message. I'm pretty straight forward to brands when they email me and it's even posted on my contact page.

With most brands I encourage some form of effort that includes my community or following like a giveaway or discount code, if it's something we can agree on. Why? Because there was a time in my life where when my husband and I were starting our business, we couldn't afford to pay rent for a month and were having to decide whether the income we were making that week would go to food on the table for our family of three at the time, or if it was going towards keeping the roof over our heads. We never asked for help from our families and even now I think this is the first time I'm going public with this (sorry hubs). But none the less we figured a way to hustle ourselves out of a hole. I know many people have a hard time affording fitness classes, new workout clothing, and even healthy food. So if there's a way that I can help the small and the few in the opportunities that come my way, then I'll do my best to extend that gratitude and grace. One of those is by hosting a month long giveaway series with my dear friend Mickey. So if you want to make sure to follow along #sweatwithusgiveaway, there's more to come.

The biggest lesson I've learned is that we can't journey through life on our owns. Yes a single warrior can pave the path, but it takes the rest of their tribe to carry the weight and to push on through the challenges. We're all human and we have the power to influence positive change just by talking about our struggles. We have to celebrate what life is all about and that is connection. We can't innovate and change our lives without collaborating with one another in order to make that difference.  This is what social media has done for me.