Light The Fire, Spark the Change | Erica Hepperle

Light The Fire, Spark the Change | Erica Hepperle

“Growing up, I was always very active, athletic and played just about every sport you could name. I played Varsity and club basketball in high school. However, I was always muscular but overweight. When I went away to college, I started partying even more than I did in high school and developed poor eating habits. After graduating college, I went backpacking through Europe to 10 different countries with 2 of my friends where we ate and drank just about everything in sight. When I returned, I stepped on the scale, and it read 189.5 pounds. It was right then and there, I told myself, I would not allow myself to hit 200 pounds and something had to be done. I started doing CrossFit and lost 15 pounds on my own by meal prepping and staying consistent to my workouts. However, after a while, I realized I wanted more. “What was the difference between the models on Instagram and me?” I thought “If THEY could do it…I TOO could do it!” It was then I told my mom’s friend that I would be so fit one day and she looked at me and said… “Yeah…we all have wanted that too…but then we just gain it all back. Dream On girl” she said…and it was THAT…that fueled my fire!” -Erica Hepperle

Get Right

Sometimes, we need a little fire lit under our butts. For Erica that fire was lit by an unfamiliar number of the scale. She was determined to bring it back down to something that she recognized from the pack and she did just that. Healthy and fit, Erica currently looks and feels as good as ever! She continues to set the bar even hire and achieve every goal she sets be forth her, not to mention her willingness to hare her secrets with others and help them to get on the right track too!

Strong Minded

Erica attributes most of her success to her strong will and determination. After all, a strong mind is very critical to achieving health and fitness. “I am a strong believer in, you must change your way of thinking and your thought process before you can challenge yourself and be successful in health and fitness. The reason being… your Will Power will be tested time and time again. You must make sacrifices and do things that a lot of people don’t understand. You will be going against social norms so people will try to pick your brain and break you down but at the end of the day…it is your MINDSET that will get you through those humps and remind you why you are chasing a goal or a dream. It takes mental strength to change bad behaviors into good ones and takes a rock-solid mentality to be successful,” Erica expresses.

From the very beginning, Erica faced some tough obstacles that she had to remain mentally strong through. “I would say having to give up partying and drinking was one of the biggest obstacles I faced on my journey to fitness. With giving up those two things, I lost and distanced myself from a lot of my friends that I thought were going to be in my life forever! It’s not that I shun people for partying but it was hard for me to juggle partying and drinking, with my determination to succeed and grow. I just heard someone tell me once. “You grind in your 20s, to build in your 30s and chill in your 40s” and that is just what I remind myself during the lonely times. To make it to the top, you have to learn to be alone and learn that in the end, it will all be worth it,” Erica explains.

“You grind in your 20s, to build in your 30s and chill in your 40s” 

“If there is anything you think you can’t do…YOU ARE WRONG! You can do anything you set your mind to. You don’t have to live your life thinking “what if…” If you make mistakes trying…I can almost guarantee you, there are is not a cap on the number of “trials” you will be allotted until you succeed.” -Erica Hepperle

Advice

Erica loves to share advice with others to inspire them to get their health on track. One of the most important keys that she has to offer is “start with small baby steps. Don’t try to look at the big picture. If you set a goal for yourself every week, and commit to beating your goals EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK… before you know it…time will have passed and you will have surpassed the big picture! Time will pass no matter what…do you want to live it unhappy or live it exerting energy towards being happier and healthier?”

She also feels that eating the right things play a major role and obtaining the results you want. “Everyone should definitely take the time to learn about nutrition. As I like to say, “You CAN’T out work a bad diet” I played back and forth and struggled with food. It wasn’t until I understood “Portions” that I was able to dial in on my physique,” Erica shares.

Helping others find their way brings so much joy to Erica’s life. She takes pride in the influence that she has among others and can share in some of their success. When others succeed, so does she! “The most rewarding part of my journey would be the amount of influence and inspiration I have inflicted on my peers, family and friends. Not only that, it makes me so happy to hear that I am the reason someone stuck to their goals. Not only am I so humbled to be able to have a positive influence on people’s lives but this journey has also helped me find myself and my passions,” Erica says.

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

Lacrosse Ball: For recovery and self-myofascial release after every workout

A Barbell: Most compound lifts can be done with a Barbell and work more than one muscle group. Therefore, if it was the only thing you had, you could get in a solid workout.

Resistance Bands: So much can be done with bands and they really challenge your proprioception.

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

Overrated: Squats because even if you are new to working out, many newbies will try and perform squats without being taught proper form and can end up hurting themselves. There are so many progression steps one should perform before trying squats. In addition, you and most definitely grow your legs without squats.

Underrated: Hip Thrusts. These are great for the glute and Hamstring activation. Many guys do not like performing these because they don’t feel masculine. But here’s news men…ladies like guys with a nice pair of glutes.

What motivational/inspirational books have you found to be most helpful?

I am not a big book reader when it comes to looking for motivation. However, I do religiously turn to Lewis Howes and his podcasts for motivation and ideas for entrepreneurs.  

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

On the run, I am all about Caramel Rice Cakes or Quest Cereal Bars. Although, I don’t do much snacking, as it causes me to veer away from my goals, those are two items I find myself grabbing in a rush.  

Erica Hepperle

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Set the Bar | Camilo Cereijo

Set the Bar | Camilo Cereijo

Setting a goal and working hard to meet it, Camilo Cereijo took interest in fitness at the age of 17. He hasn’t looked back since. Camilo originally started working out because he had body image issues. He wasn’t satisfied with how he looked, so he decided to make a change. “I was 17 when I first started out and at the time had a poor self-body image. I decided to draw the line and set my fears to the side and strive towards what I really wanted. I wanted to be more confident and achieve an aesthetic physique. I think what it came down to was that I had a burning desire to become better and that overpowered any fear that was holding me back.

I am currently a men’s physique athlete, online diet and training coach, and a fitness based social media influencer. I aim at reaching as many people as possible to inspire them to become their best selves in the process of me figuring things out and doing just the same,” Camilo says.

Uncertain

The pivotal point in Camilo’s life where he decided it was time for him to change his life wasn’t just a simple moment that instantly made him ready to take on this journey. There was a lot of internal conflict that he had to overcome. One of the biggest conflict arose after Camilo developed a deep passion for fitness and wanted to pursue it as a career.  “The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was definitely the uncertainty in deciding to pursue my passion for fitness and make a life and career around it. I was born, raised, and conditioned to follow the traditional path and I invested a lot of my time and doing so. I graduated with a bachelor’s in biology in aim of going to medical school in becoming a doctor. During the final years of university, I developed an overwhelming passion for fitness and I couldn’t shake the gut feeling of pursuing what I loved most,” Camilo explains.

Reward

Overall, making the decision to pursue a career in fitness has brought much happiness to Camilo’s life. “I can definitely say that one of the most rewarding things has been the happiness that has come in knowing that I am on the pursuit of what I’ve been meant to be doing, while impacting and changing the lives of so many,” Camilo says. His story shows that following your heart will sometimes bring great monetary reward, but it will always bring internal bliss.

“I can definitely say that one of the most rewarding things has been the happiness that has come in knowing that I am on the pursuit of what I’ve been meant to be doing, while impacting and changing the lives of so many.”

Think about the 80/20 rule: If you get 80% of your impact from 20% of what you do, what is that 20% for someone just starting?

Be radical and take massive action! Sign up for a gym membership, hire a coach, invest in yourself and your goals (monetarily).

Why do you think a person’s mindset is so integral to their success?

To me, mindset is everything. I think we all prioritize the things that are most important to us. We always make the time for those things. It comes down to self-awareness and being super transparent / honest with yourself on what you are making time for and realizing that you could be making some better decisions!

What are your three essential productivity tools for your business; how do you use them; and why do you love them?

First is most definitely my to-do list that I work towards based on priority! I focus on the things that will give me the most return for my time and tackle those. Second would have to my goals list, since it constantly allows me to reset and focus on what’s important to me. The last tool would definitely be the gym, as it is my daily escape to shut the outside world out and is purely me time since I love training so much.

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

A set of dumbbells, a squat rack, and a barbell set since they are three fundamental pieces of gym equipment and can be manipulated to create a variety of workouts

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

The most overrated would have to be crunches. Crunches don’t get you ab’s, even a million of them! The most underrated would have to be the traditional barbell squat, one of the most powerful, compound and strength building exercises out there.

“I hope that those of you who read this article, we all start at the bottom and that’s where I did too! Whether you are someone that is already into fitness or just getting started, always remember to keep your head up and push forward on what sets your soul on fire and what you love doing!” -Camilo Cereijo

Camilo Cereijo

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Learn My Fit | Isabel Del Barrio

Learn My Fit | Isabel Del Barrio

For Isabel Del Barrio, fitness has always played an important role along with being an educator. It then dawned on Isabel, why not combine the two. “I decided to quit the private company I was working for and open a window through my website and social media. So many things have changed regarding the fitness industry, wellness concepts, and sports in our society since I have begun. Everyone who knows me has always seen me connected to the fitness industry and sports; I mean, for me, it’s not something new. However, I decided to create a space where I share my knowledge, experiences and the aim to motivate people to train and get an active style to improve their lives. I find myself doing better and doing what I´ve always loved. (I started in the Fitness industry in the late 90´s after my ballet career, but it was complementary to my University studies and later my professional jobs in Marketing market).

 I feel much better and more confident. I love to share what I do and what I´ve overcome with others. I want to inspire and help people to be better through sports and an active lifestyle,” Isabel explains.

Always Active

Isabel has always been an active person. Throughout her childhood, Isabel was a great ballet dancer. She eventually had to put aside her ballet flats and pick up her books. She went off to school and began her studies, but, that didn’t stop her from chasing physical activities. “I was a ballet dancer until I started the university at the age of 18. It was at that moment, I jumped for the first time into a gym and started practicing fitness, aerobics, and Less Mills programs. I fell in love with working out and started a journey of continuous education in the fitness industry. I began getting training certifications and participating in training, courses, workshops and so on. Recently, I´ve just finished a University Specialist Post graduate Program in Personal Training. I even went on to start teaching aerobics and Body pump and body Combat in London while studying in my Erasmus University Program. It was very challenging.

I love to share my passion with people and help them to achieve their goals, improve their lives and create a good environment in my classes. That´s how I started 17 years ago. At first it was like a hobby while studying and working, however, it made me feel so well. I knew I would like to start my way of living by this side,” Isabel says.

Overcome

With the more risks you take, the more challenges you’ll probably come across. However, it is highly important to figure out the right approach to overcome any obstacle that may be thrown at you. Isabel has had her share of issues but has remained confident in her ability to sort out solutions. “I have come across many obstacles along my journey. For one, quitting a job, after two University degrees and professional experience to jump into something new was difficult. This was especially difficult because I didn’t know how it was going to be, but it was certainly worth the risk. I am happy that I mustered the courage to pursue my passion.

Secondly, in past years, managing all that I´m creating, my gym classes, personal training, university courses and for sure, my triathlon training was quite complicated sometimes. It required almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes it´s hard to organize the schedule to get everything done well and have the time to spend quality time with my family and boyfriend. However, I have become very systematic in how I handle my schedule and with time I became much better at time management.

In sports, the biggest obstacle has been beating my fears inside when facing big triathlon challenges, especially in long distance courses. Even today, I’m so nervous before triathlon competitions. That mental training is quite difficult too, but I always manage to gather myself to compete.

To face all the problems or hard times, I try to look for a calm space. I take just a few minutes to breathe in, forget everything bad and keep my inner-self calm. I look for the bright side of the situation. Yoga helps me so much in such processes. I feel so happy and gracious for creating what I´ve always dreamed and to have the opportunity to meet many of the followers and people I also follow on the social media channels,” Isabel describes.

Reward

Of course, the path that Isabel has chosen has brought great rewards to her life. She has been able to make many of her wildest dreams come true and has had the opportunity to inspire others along the way. “Since I began this journey with my brand and website, I´ve lived so many incredible experiences. I’ve traveled so much and I´ve had the opportunity to meet incredible people. They are really awesome and share their experiences and ask questions about how to get healthier or run better. Moreover, working for sports brands, not as influencer but as a personal trainer, is really rewarding and something I feel very proud of. Finally, with patience and effort and good work, things arrive; but we need to be patient, consistent, and work hard…like in sports and training.

One of the best things that has happened to me has been writing my first book, about running. It´s about how to train properly and all the training we need to run injury free!

Finally, something really good is all the things that I learn every day. To keep learning and improving are essential for me. I love reading people’s comments, emails, and their questions or stories. They also motivate me and push me to be a better person in some way. They are my real source of motivation, energy and fuel,” Isabel exclaims!

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

I´m in love with mini resistance bands, TRX Suspension Trainer and a foam roller. They are portable, proper size to carry them with you in most of the travels and places, and you can create a powerful gym everywhere for really good training workouts.

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

Ummmm, I have to think. Ok. The most overrated exercises, above all in women fitness industry, are the abs crunches to get the perfect six pack (just a myth) and the squat for the glutes.

However, a good weightlifting squats and hip thrust are the perfect combination to improve the muscle development in glutes; so as, the strength training. It´s the most important part of any training program, in any context aiming for a different objective.

The stronger muscles, the better your body will burn more calorie, create good and healthy body, prevent injuries, develop bone density, among other important things.

What motivational/inspirational books have you found to be most helpful?

Last books I´ve read about mental training, sports psychology are the ones from Jim Afremov, “The Champion´s Mind” and

I love “The Peaceful Warrior”, from Dan Milman

“A life without Limits”, from Chrissie Wellington, 4-time Ironman World Champion.

And a very old one, about mindfulness that I read 10 years ago is “The Power of Now”, by Eckhart

Tolle.

“THANK YOU for the opportunity and letting me share my passions and more. I hope as soon as the website is ready in English this September, you get on the “On my Training Shoes” team. I want all of you on board. I wish I could make it to the US for group classes so I could be with you guys!!!” -Isabel Del Barrio

Isabel Del Barrio

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The Mommy Challenge | Kristy Ardo

The Mommy Challenge | Kristy Ardo

Having a child is certainly life changing, but that can often lead to things changing for the better. In Kristy Ardo’s case, having a child led to the unique career opportunity of fitness blogging.  “After I had Tucker my whole life did a 180. I had to learn to do everything differently including working out. I started doing workouts at home/outside with Tucker and he absolutely loved it. He would laugh and giggle and it made it so enjoyable. It became a bonding experience! I started posting my videos and thus Baby Fit Gym was born. We are the role models for the next generation and it’s so important to show our kids how to lead a healthy life.”

Dive In

Kristy grew up as an athletic child. She was particularly fond of water sports. She went on to become an NCAA D1 diver and later progressed into coaching and training. She eventually retired and opted that it was time to settle down and start a family. Just as any parent, she found that she couldn’t just return to her old routines. Instead of giving up on fitness completely, she made an adaptation.  “Having a child totally changed my views. Before kids I spent over an hour working out at the gym I loved it! After Tucker I was no longer able to return to that same routine. I had a shift in my priorities, obviously being a mom took precedence over my fitness goals.  After a big adjustment I learned to do quick efficient workouts with my son. You can still get in the same great workout at home with kids,” Kristy explains.

Adjust

Discovering her new fitness regimen, Kristy wanted to show others how to make the same adjustment. “I show the world how to get quick efficient workouts done with their kids. Having a child changes your life in so many ways and this means your fitness routine also changes. I want to show parents that you can still go on adventures and be active with kids,” Kristy said. At this moment, Kristy went on to create videos of her at home workout routines. They became a hit!

Challenge

Kristy not only has some great workout plans, but she also offers great advice to mothers looking to get fit. She understands the unique challenges that come along with being a mother. “The pure exhaustion from being a mother is very real. There are so many sleepless nights and you always put your baby first. This means as a mom you shift to the back burner. It can be so easy to just give up on your health,” Kristy says. However, she stresses the fact that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can be a mother and still have your fitness as well. Her videos demonstrate how a simple workout plan at home can help you stay fit and give you a way to bond with your children. Another plus side is the fact that working out alongside your children can also encourage them to lead healthy lifestyles in the future.  “The most rewarding part has been experiencing everything with my boys. I worked out with both of them as babies and watching them grow and learn to do exercises is just so cute! They love participating and its pure joy,” Kristy says.

So the real challenge of motherhood is not giving up the things that you love, but to create new means of doing them and share the process with your children along the way! “Mindset is everything. I tend to be an ALL or NOTHING person. If I know I can’t get a full workout in, it use to prevent me from even starting. With kids you HAVE to change your mindset! You have to be flexible and creative! Change your mind- 15 minutes is all you need!

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

Resistance loop bands, dumbbells, suspension system

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

Most ab exercises I think are overrated. You don’t get abs from doing abs. Abs are made in the kitchen. If you work out properly every exercise should be working your abs 😉

Not sure if its underrated but freaking squats!!! I LOVE squatting. I love squatting heavy weight and all different types of bodyweight squat variations. Booty gains!

What motivational/inspirational books have you found to be most helpful?

I haven’t had time to read a good inspirational book for a while. But what really does motivate me is seeing other people being and active and reaching their fitness goals. It makes me want to be better and gives me an extra pump!

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

I absolutely love beef jerky! I also love pistachios and ahi tuna 🙂

What’s your belief on performance diet like?    Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet (example: Paleo, Gluten free, etc…)?

I have been gluten free for 16 years because I have celiac disease. However I do believe in eating a high fat high protein diet and cutting down on sugars/carbs/grains. I follow a modified paleo diet. I stay away from processed foods and try to eat clean whole foods.

Kristy Ardo

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Functional Fitness | Alex Ho

Functional Fitness | Alex Ho

I was in the middle of a “Year of Yes,” where I was saying yes to trying out more things, and my friend asked if I wanted to do a month of unlimited bootcamp. After only 2 classes I was completely sold and spent the next half year getting in the best shape of my life while falling in love with running. 6 months later I had studied for and passed my personal training certification course and started teaching classes before and after my day job. One year after teaching and working in construction management I decided to quit my job to become a full time trainer,” Alex Ho says. And that it where it all began!

Functional Fitness

Alex Ho is a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast. His training program is taking the city of San Francisco by storm. He does everything from one on one sessions to large group sessions. His specialty is focusing on what he refers to as functional fitness. “To me functional fitness is a way to train your body so that it can do what you want when you want in daily life. Yes, people have different functions in their life than others but there is a base functionality of being able to push, pull, twist, bend, crawl, and climb that humans should be able to perform,” Alex says.

Needless to say, you won’t be stuck in the gym while training with Alex. Not only will he push you to get a workout in, but also a great adventure around the city. “I think that most people in a gym are stuck in their routines of using the machines that only move in one plane of motion. There are some really strong men and women who can bench press a ton of weight but put them on a stability ball where they have to fire up their full body to balance and they’ll be thrown off completely. Functional fitness means that you can adjust your body to differing conditions under stress. That could mean moving a weight around while running, changing directions quickly, or catching a medicine ball while balancing on one foot. The key is to think of exercising in a 3 dimensions instead of 2,” Alex explains.

Courage

Everyone faces obstacles as they pursue their career, but according to Alex his biggest obstacle was a little different from most. Alex had already had a successful career in the construction and engineering field. However, his true passion was in fitness. He was forced with the decision to either stick with his well-paying job or take a risk and pursue his passion. “Leaving a stable career with a steady paycheck, benefits, retirement plan, etc. for a career where I would be working hourly and have to figure out how to sell my services in order to make a living was frightening. Thankfully I had the support of a lot of friends and family who helped me through the process and encouraged me to follow my passion,” Alex says.

Luckily, the risk paid off big time! And it came along with benefits that Alex never thought of. “The most rewarding part of the journey has been changing people’s lives in a positive way. I have some clients who I have been working with for a while and to see the change in them is incredible. Some have lost weight, some have conquered a new goal, and others have taken on their fears and adjusted their look on life to live happier. It’s not only the physical changes but the mental ones that really make a difference.”

Future

Alex has plans to continue on this career path and expand in the future. “I see myself still training one on one but instead of leading a lot of group classes I would be leading more seminars teaching people about how to structure classes and how to connect with and help clients in more ways than fitness. I hope that Revision Athletics is known as a go-to company for the highest quality info about how to live a healthy life,” Alex details.

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

1) TRX

2) Resistance Band

3) Kettle Bell

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

I’d say the most overrated exercise is the bench press. Unless you’re a bodybuilder or just looking to build up your pecs you can get a lot more bang for your buck from doing a pushup.  

The most underrated exercise may be a pullup. Most people are scared of pullups because they are so hard but it requires a lot of core strength and upperbody strength. It’s also very useful for climbing!

What motivational/inspirational books have you found to be most helpful?

I read a lot of books about running (mainly because it’s my passion) so I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from ‘Born to Run’ and ‘The Cool Impossible’. Born to Run has a great story while the Cool Impossible has a lot of great exercises for runners. I also really enjoy Kelly Starrett’s book ‘Ready to Run’ for how much he goes into the importance of mobility for athletic performance.

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

I typically bring an apple and a snack bar (Clif, perfect bar, Kind bar, etc.) when I’m out and about. If I’m going to do workout between clients I’ll bring some protein powder for a post workout recovery.

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like?    Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet (example: Paleo, Gluten free, etc…)?

I don’t follow any certain type of philosophy on diet because everybody has a different diet requirement. For myself, I really focus on eating organic non-processed foods as much as possible, drinking a lot of water, and staying away from processed sugars. The reason why most diets work is because people become more aware of what they are eating instead of just going for whatever is easiest or fastest.  

Alex Ho

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Instagram: @revisionathletics, @sub6, @chasethelightssf

Twitter: @revisionathltcs, @sub_6@chasethelghts

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Compound Effect leads to Big Gains | Christmas Abbott

Compound Effect leads to Big Gains | Christmas Abbott

Christmas Abbott is a crossfit pro & fitness enthusiast that encourages others to use fitness as a means to turn their lives around. She does this through as many channels as she can find: she’s written books, started fitness programs, she tours, does motivational speaking, and nutrition consulting.

I’m using my personal turbulence I’ve experienced through life and applying it to the wellness and fitness industry. I want to help people wake up and realize that they have the opportunity to change their lives every day,” Christmas says.

Start

Growing up Christmas had many challenges through life. By the age of 13, she was drinking, smoking and doing drugs. By 21, her habits lead to her doing meth and becoming an alcoholic. She didn’t really consider the damage she was doing to her body at the time. It wasn’t until she took a trip to Iraq as a civilian consultant that she had an epiphany. “I realized I was continuing to make bad decisions and continuing to put myself in compromising situations. I was going to end up killing myself because of the decisions I was making. I decided to make a better decision. I decided to quit smoking. I decided to work out and I discovered fitness and health and wellness. That became my new addiction,” Christmas explains.

The moment that Christmas realized she was capable of achieving a state of health; she started with the realization that she had positive power. She was able to commit herself to a 30 day regimen. For 20 minutes a day, three times a week, Christmas would work out on an elliptical. “This was like my gateway drug to fitness. It was a very subtle transition into fitness but by the third week, I noticed a difference in myself. It wasn’t necessarily physically fit, but I just felt better. I felt proud of myself for the first time in my life. That’s when I caught the bug of positive reinforcement,” Christmas says. Since then Christmas admits it’s still been a bit of a struggle. However through her transitioning she has gained self-worth and confidence. “I love myself fully and I want to enrich my life with positivity,” Christmas declares.

Childhood

Christmas grew up in a poor household, however her parents loved her very much. Her mother named her Christmas Joy because she brought joy to her mom’s world when she was born.  Christmas’ father was the epitome of a biker. And the biker lifestyle that the family lived, while very exciting is what lead Christmas to picking up some of the habits that she felt was taking away from her life.

Of course, Christmas doesn’t blame her parents. They just didn’t know of a healthier way of living. “For me, when I saw that I had an option to change that, I felt more empowered,” Christmas says. However Christmas still remains very close to her family. “I wasn’t a product of a healthy lifestyle growing up. And I want people to know regardless of what upbringing you have, you can still change your future,” Christmas says.

Obstacles

Christmas had to overcome a lot of obstacles in her journey to being as fit as she is now. For her, the hardest one was to find self-worth. “I had to believe that I was capable and had to believe that I was worth something more. Once we find ways to feel proud of ourselves, that’s when we get on a path to loving ourselves. As soon as I started to love myself, that’s when the opportunities starting presenting themselves,” Christmas says.

Wellness Wheel

According to Christmas, the keys to living a happy, healthy lifestyle comes from within. “I tell people you have five fingers and you usually have five obligations that you can commit to before it becomes overwhelming. You have to take care of yourself.

Sleep well, eat well, exercise, and meditate.

All of this comes into play. You can be eating well and be stressed out at work and still gain weight. So when one thing is out of whack, it has a ripple effect. Living a perfectly balanced life is pretty much unheard of, but you can get pretty close to it when you create this balance. It is a mental fortitude of tenacity. When bad things happen, you can actually navigate through them in a faster and more efficient way,” Christmas says.

Christmas Abbott

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Fitness Passion | Kate Lemere

Fitness Passion | Kate Lemere

Fitness blogger and personal trainer Kate Lemere has a deep passion for fitness.  Her love for fitness hit her during her college years. She fell in love with trying new physical activities in her spare time. “I discovered group exercise when I was in college. I was a competitive swimmer all my life, but decided to pursue other avenues once I graduated high school. It occurred to me very quickly that I didn’t know how to workout on my own. The co-rec at my university had a full schedule of group exercise classes ranging from Body Pump, Kickboxing and Spinning. I tried it all and couldn’t get enough! It was an instant love that I knew needed to be a bigger part of my life,” Kate says. From there it was no turning back for Kate. Her destiny was decided and what would be her career was made.

Challenges

Everyone faces challenges throughout life. Being a personal trainer, Kate is exposed to a lot of the tough compromises that people face. She finds that there are two main challenges people face when they are trying to make a healthy lifestyle change. The first is time and the second is intimidation. “There aren’t enough hours in the day, for everyone. If it seems like a schedule is too packed, health and fitness is usually the first thing to get sacrificed. The key is to efficiently plan and maximize the time you do have to be able to get the most out of your availability. Additionally, starting a new fitness regime can be intimidating and it’s only human nature for our first reaction to want to opt out of what makes us uncomfortable,” Kate explains.

Kate suggest that you shouldn’t let either of those things stop you. She often works with her clients on overcoming those two hurdles. Key way that she overcomes the challenge of being pressed for time is to focus on “the prioritization of movement. I prioritize my workouts, long or short, big or small. It is a non-negotiable part of my day. I find that just by doing so, I make better nutritional choices, sleep better, am a more creative and strategic thinker and am that much closer to reaching all of my goals in and out of the gym. Even on the days where I’m lacking motivation or hit snooze 5+ times, it’s never something I regret.”

Her biggest goal is to help others find a way to achieve fitness while working through anything that may deter them away from their ultimate goal. She uses her platform to motivate others and help them find the same passion for fitness that she has.

Mindset

“There are two types of people in this world. Those who say, “I can’t” and those who say, “I can.” In every moment we make a choice, we choose the course our life takes. Those who say, “I can’t” and those who say “I can” will end up on two very different trajectories. Everyone can have what it is they want. You just have to make the choice.” –Kate Lemere

Motivation

Of course self-motivation is essential to accomplishing a fit lifestyle. However it is ok to look for some outside sources to get you going. For Kate, reading is one of the ways she finds motivation for herself. One of her personal favorites is the book “Zen and the Art of Happiness” by Chris Prentiss. “It’s a quick read that I flip through regularly. It’s one of those trust the universe types of books. While cheesy at times, always refreshes my perspective and reminds me keep the big picture in focus whenever I’m sweating the small stuff,” Kate says.

What do you advise people first start when they are starting fresh with serious fitness goals?  Diet or Workout?  Or both?  Does it matter?

Both. The work you do in the gym won’t mean sh*t if you’re not mindful of what you’re consuming. Nutrition and fitness are two different programs that can either work together, or against each other. When you’re serious about a fitness goal it’s critical to pay attention to both.

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

You mean, besides a SlimClip Case?! Running shoes and training shoes offer a different functions and levels of stability so I always recommend investing in both. A jump rope is affordable, portable and can deliver one helluva workout in as little as 10 minutes.

Which exercise do you most commonly see people performing improperly, and how can they correct it?

Deadlifts…they may be one of the most effective drills you can do, but also very easy to perform improperly. Deadlifts are reliant on a flat back, a deep hip hinge and engaged shoulders. If you’re squatting, bending or letting your shoulders round over your chest you’re not only at risk for injury, but making zero gains.

Kate Lemere

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SnapChat: @katehiipakka

All Smiles

All Smiles

J Keith Hall & Jera Foster-Fell

Jera Foster-Fell inspires with an “All smiles all the time” attitude

Twenty Seven year old New Yorker Jera Foster-Fell, also known as the @WorkOutBean radiates with personality and positivity that excites and inspires others to reach their potential.  Jera is anything but shy and her triumphs as well as her trials are on display for her following.  

Jera, who is a graphic designer by training is super psyched to “finally be doing something that I feel passionate about, that makes me happy, and gives me a sense of fulfillment. Through movement, sweat, social media, and hard work, I’ve created a brand for myself that allows me to not only feel good about myself, but have a positive impact on other people’s lives. ”  I wouldn’t take this to mean that Jera doesn’t love graphic design but to say that fitness has struck a special cord with her.

When did you first start on your Fitness Journey?

Everything began for me in April 2015. I woke up one morning and it was like a lightbulb went off. I had followed some fitness accounts on instagram for about a year and I always had the urge to get healthier, but never did. But something changed that morning. I got out of bed with purpose, I bought Kayla Itsines’s Bikini Body Guide twelve week workout program, went to the gym, and began. That same day, I created a fitness Instagram account, @workoutbean, to hold myself accountable. I had no idea at the time that it would turn into what it currently is today.

It’s always so interesting to look back on certain times in your life and realizing things about your situation that you weren’t aware of at the time. Back in April 2015 when fitness first became an essential part of my life, I had just come out of a few challenging months. I don’t think I consciously realized that I needed some sort of an outlet, but clearly I did, and I found that through exercise. Working out allowed me to create the space I needed to focus on myself, and the social media aspect of it created a space where I was able to make connections and friendships with other women.

First, when I initially began working out consistently back in April 2015 with BBG by Kayla Itsines (a twelve week program), twelve weeks seemed like forever! I had never come close to working out consistently for that length of time. Despite that, I finished the twelve weeks and was incredibly proud of myself. Once I completed that guide, I felt confident that I could do anything else that I set my mind to.

When did you first know you were going to become a ‘Fitness Influencer’?

I think it took quite some time to realize that I was a “fitness influencer” and to be honest, I still have a hard time saying that phrase.

I feel like a normal person doin’ normal thangs!

But I do remember fairly early on, perhaps just a month or so after making exercise a priority and creating my instagram account, girls would message or or comment on my photos telling me that I motivated them to workout that particular morning. Or that they used my recipe to make dinner. Or that simply, I inspire them. I’ll never forget that feeling of realizing that however small it was, I was impacting people in a positive way. That made me feel so good. I realized that it was a feeling that I had never gotten before as a graphic designer, and that feeling made me want to seriously consider leaving my job as a graphic designer and transitioning over to fitness full time.

Is there anything about your upbringing that you can link to your inspiration and success thus far?

My parents always allowed me to explore creativity as I pleased. Whether it was stomping in the mud as a toddler, wearing pink zinc and blue sparkles on my lips as a kid, creative writing as a teen, or graphic design in college, I was always encouraged to try new things and do as I pleased. I think being given the flexibility to test the waters of new interests was huge for me and absolutely was a major factor in leading me to where I am today.

Jera Foster-Fell is @WorkOutBean

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your fitness journey?

I don’t think there has been one single significant obstacle that I’ve overcome in my fitness journey thus far.

I would say that there is the more general day to day  challenge of staying consistent with physical exercise.

Everyone always asks about motivation, and that’s such an interesting subject because motivation is so fleeting. Most days, I don’t wake up and say, “I can’t wait to work out today!”, that’s just not how it works. But a few things get me past that moment of hesitation:

1. Routine.  Creating a routine for yourself forces you to create a habit. Once you have a habit formed, you do it no matter what, regardless of if you feel motivated.

2. Workout buddies. Having someone with similar goals as you, whether they’re with you physically or not, is incredibly helpful for keeping yourself accountable.

3. That post workout feeling. No one ever regretted a workout!

Why did you choose to start your fitness journey with BBG?

Close to two years ago, I was scrolling through Instagram’s explore page and I came across the instagram account, @kayla_itsines. I wasn’t into fitness at all at the time, it was probably the least active phase of my life, but I was enthralled by the transformations that I saw on her account.

When I decided to bite the bullet and try it myself about a year later, it seemed like the only logical step to take in terms of getting into a fitness routine. Besides going for a run or using the elliptical, I was clueless in terms of what to do in the gym. Following BBG laid everything out exactly as I needed to do it and gave me the confidence to walk into the gym and get my workout done.

BBG is an exercise program on the surface level, but underneath that, it’s so much more.

There is a huge community of mostly women on instagram who do BBG, and it’s such an incredibly supportive and empowering community. Where else in the world do you see strangers, particularly women, coming together to cheer each other on in such a genuine way? When I first created my fitness account back in April 2015, it was simply a way to hold myself accountable to consistently working out, but I quickly realized that it had way more potential than that. I started connecting with other women, many of whom have become my real life friends.

So is BBG a workout program? Yes, definitely. But is it also a revolutionary movement bringing women together from all across the globe to get healthy and support each other in the process? Absolutely.

What else did you try?

I did about two and a half rounds of BBG before switching to PPCG aka Progress Pure’s Curve Guide. The creator, Molly, was my very first instagram friend. Her guide is based around lifting. I was one of the first people able to test out her guide, and I loved it because it allowed me to explore the weight room which I was always a little intimidated by.

Was there ever a time when you were contemplating quitting?

I’ve been on a mission for close to a year now to become a SoulCycle instructor. As soon as I got my heart set on it, there was no turning back. It was probably good that at the time of this decision, I didn’t quite fully understand how difficult it is to become an instructor!

Part of the process is auditions, and this was absolutely terrifying for me. Up until that point, I was a graphic designer and I had zero fitness instructions experience. On top of that, I had a fear of public speaking. I went into that first audition with all odds against me, but I somehow pushed through and survived. And I thought I did a decent job!

A week later, I got an email saying that I did not make it to the next round. I was heartbroken. I felt like I put my heart and soul into the audition, and to have them say no hit me at my very core. It made me question if I was good enough, or if I would ever be good enough. Though I allowed myself to wallow in self doubt for a day or so, I was able to turn those feelings around and used them as extra fuel for the fire to prepare for the next audition. Getting a “no” made me work that much harder to eventually get a “yes”.

I didn’t quit because a “no” right now doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be a yes down the line. I think that sometimes, not getting what we want is important. Not only does it build character, but it makes us figure out how badly we want something. If we get a no and then quit, well, maybe that wasn’t the right path.

“It’s not failure until you give up.”

What’s been the most rewarding part of all of this so far?

The most rewarding part of my journey so far has absolutely been hearing that I’ve had some sort of positive impact on people’s lives. When I hear that my instagram post motivated someone to get out of bed that morning, or that sharing my own personal challenges has helped others tackle their own difficult times, I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel.

Jera is a certified personal trainer & a SoulCycle instructor

It’s an interesting cycle- I workout, feel good, share bits and pieces of my life, post about it, and in turn other people see it and feel motivated, feel good themselves, and tell me about, which makes me feel good. Though it’s not always glitter and unicorns, it’s this crazy positivity train of empowerment, and people just being real with each other.

What advice would you give to a person that wanted to follow a similar path?

If you want to commit to a healthy lifestyle, there are a few things that need to happen. First, you need to make a solid decision that this is not something that you’re just going to say that you want. It’s not something that you’re simply going to wish for. It’s something that you’re making a firm decision to do. No one else is going to make a change for you. Realize that you are the only one responsible for your body, your mind, and your health, and you are responsible for taking care of it.

Next, I think that when you want to start exercising consistently, it’s best to have some sort of a program to follow. It can be really confusing at first to walk into a gym, and I think a lot of people resort to the cardio machines as a default. Everyone needs to do cardio, but there are so many other ways to break a sweat, and it’s essential to keep your body moving in a new ways. By signing up for a workout program, you’ll feel confident about what to do, and you’ll have an easy plan to stick to.

Another great tool is having a workout buddy to hold you accountable. Whether that’s your significant other or someone you met on instagram, find someone who is going to make sure that you get your butt moving each day!

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself to have rest days. Indulge in a dessert now and then. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout.

A huge part of a healthy lifestyle is balance.

Sometimes we get crazy at the gym, and sometimes we netflix and chill.

Who do you consider the icons in health & fitness?

I think that the everyday girl is quickly becoming the next icon in fitness. Social media makes everything so much more accessible and connected, and because of social media, people are able to have a voice in such a way that wasn’t possible just a few years ago. Models are gorgeous, athletes are powerful…. But they’re not relatable. Now, more so than ever, women want to look up to other women that they can find some common ground with.

What’s the next frontier in building your fitness tribe?

I would love to start creating video content! I grew up with my mom who is in film, so I learned how to edit from her. Every single project I did growing up involved video and editing, and currently, video is becoming more and more popular. Whether it’s workout videos, sharing about my life, or something more on the creative side, I’m really looking forward to diving into video this upcoming year.

Where did the name ‘WorkOut Bean’ come from?

My parents have had all kinds of nicknames for me growing up!

Bean, Jera Bean, JB, among many others (don’t ask why my dad calls me “Rabbit Brains”!) I’ve always loved Bean, so any time I’ve needed to make an instagram handle, I’ve used that.

My first account was my art and handlettering account, @bean_robin, and when it came time to make a fitness account, @workoutbean was the first thing that popped into my head.

@WorkOutBean is an inspiration for women that are exploring and wanting to make healthy changes

What do you feel is the most important element for a personal just starting or struggling in a fitness program?

For someone who is just starting off in a fitness program or for someone who is trying to be more active, it’s crucial to create a routine for yourself. When you’re first starting out, everything is so new, it can be easy to get sidetracked. If you build a schedule for yourself and make a promise to yourself to stick to it, you will set yourself up for success.

Something else to keep in mind though is not to try and change too much at once. You don’t have to simultaneously start working out six days a week, drinking a gallon of water a day, getting 8 hours of sleep each night, and never eating dessert. Instead, try to slowly incorporate healthy habits one by one so that you can adjust to each change with the time that you need to get used to it.

“For anyone who starts to doubt themselves or feels themselves struggling, remember that you didn’t come this far to only come this far.” – Jera

Whether it’s focusing specifically on our fitness journey or taking a step back and examining our lives, remember that the ups and downs are inevitable.

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Jera Foster-Fell (@WorkOutBean)

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SnapChat: WorkOutBean