Mark Fisher Fitness

Mark Fisher Fitness

Fitness with a flare is merely an understatement when it comes to the Mark Fisher Program. Finally, fitness for the “misfits,” meaning those of us who aren’t natural gym rats and aren’t drawn to traditional methods of fitness. I can’t tell you just how excited I was to have the pleasure of getting to know more about Mark Fisher and his groundbreaking program. “We pride ourselves on working with people that don’t feel comfortable in traditional gyms. MFF was born out of my time working with members of the Broadway community, so we’ve always had a flair to the way we teach fitness. We call our clients Ninjas, our mascot is the unicorn, and we don’t love the word gym. We call our homes ‘The Enchanted Ninja Clubhouses of Glory and Dreams’,” Mark describes. However, there aren’t enough words to really describe this program. You really have to see for yourself!

The Mark Fisher program is far from ordinary. He takes a fun, whimsical approach to fitness that appeals to a lot people who don’t feel comfortable in a traditional gym setting. Mark created this form of fitness based on his own experiences. He felt that their was a need for a place in the fitness world for people like him.

I completely agree.

Not to mention, I think the whole concept is very cool. Unlike any other approach to fitness that I have seen.

True Calling

I really wanted to know what experiences did this program stem from. And Mark was more than willing to share his background. “I was not someone who grew up identifying with myself  as an athlete. I was always insecure about feeling skinny and weak, and I was not a huge fan of gym class.

By the time I was finishing up high school, I finally decided to do something about my insecurity about my body and joined a gym.

It was NOT a natural fit, haha.

But over the years, I fell more and more in love with it. And eventually, I become downright obsessed. I devoured everything I could about training, nutrition, movement, and physiology.

I found my true calling sharing my passion for fitness with people who don’t feel spoken to by more traditional fitness options. People like me when I began my journey! I wanted to provide high quality, evidence-based information, but do so in a way that was fun, kind, welcoming, and accessible,” Mark explains.

Fitness for Us

I could certainly relate to Mark’s experience as I am sure many of you all can too. It’s not always easy to take a liking to fitness, especially when you think the only option is spending daunting hours in the gym every week. Mark’s program allows for a more fun-filled approach that is still highly effective. My question to Mark was, how does he incorporate so much of his eccentric tactics, yet make them produce the results? “It’s a combination of high quality fitness based on a solid understanding of physiology, nutrition, and strength and conditioning best practices. But it is delivered in a manner appropriate for the “general population” (non-professional athletes) and covered in a chocolate sauce of madness and kindness.,” Mark describes.

The program goes beyond just physical activity, but it is also about educating others on all of the elements that contribute to health and fitness. It is also Mark’s way of share something he really enjoys, in a fun-loving way. “This is really just an outgrowth of my own eccentric personality and my desire to serve my particular community of friends. I knew I’d have a blast sharing fitness in a way that was truly self-expressive and that my friends would enjoy,” Mark excitedly states!

How do you people typically respond to your style and your training initially?

We’re pretty good about creating a “marketing onion.” For the most part, by the time someone is in our space, they know what they’re getting into.

It’s also worth noting, MFF is almost always anticlimactic haha. The space is unconventional, the team is welcoming and kind, and there’s lots of laughing going on. And dirty words, and occasionally costumes!

But for the most part, it’s not actually all that different from what you’d see in any of the nation’s leading fitness studios.

Do you ever tell people “look this probably isn’t for you”? If so, can you tell me a story about it?

We’ve found if you’re clear about who you are and what you stand for, you don’t have to do that much. People are either immediately into it, or they know it’s not the right fit for them.

What advice would you give to a young person today who wanted to ditch a sedentary lifestyle and become more fit and healthy?

For most people, the biggest step is just to start doing something. The older I get, the more agnostic I become.

If it’s just to get started, I think you’re best to find something you actually like and that works for you logistically. We don’t want to make perfect the enemy of the good and look for the “best” workout. So long as you’re doing what you love, that’s the best place to start.

And in fact, when you’re starting, the most under-appreciated key is to start slowly. You don’t need to start working out six times a week for an hour. You can start with 2-3 long walks per week and slowly build from there.

Where should they focus most of their energy to get the most bang for their proverbial buck?

At the end of the day, it’s ideal to find some training regime that allows for your joints to get through a full range of motion, to experience the basic patterns of human movement, to learn to bear reasonable load, and to elevate your heart rate.

I think a base of strength training and full body movement is a great base for most people if they’re just looking for general conditioning.

Mark Fisher

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Markfisherfitness.com

Businessforunicorns.com

markfisherhumanbeing.com

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Uplifting | Rae Reichlin

Uplifting | Rae Relchlin

Personal trainer at Rockwell Barbell, group fitness instructor at Crosstown Fitness, and founder of Ladies who Lift, Rae Reichlin is all about sharing her fitness techniques. Growing up a dancer, Rae fell in love with the way dancing let her use the body and mind in tandem.  Rae enjoyed how dancing pushed her physically and mentally when she entered the studio. In college, she decided that dancing was not something she wanted to pursue professionally.  

“Deciding not pursue dancing as a professional sent me a journey of trying to find another way to use my body and mind in the same way.” – Rae Reichlin

This is where Rae fell in love with weightlifting.

“When it comes to weightlifting and getting stronger, you always need to enter the gym with a plan. You need to know how many reps and sets you want to complete of each exercise, and at what weight. You need to stay concentrated on your form, breathing, and the goals you have set for yourself. No one is going to lift those weights for you – but YOU. I found this incredibly addicting, inspiring, and motivating. With weightlifting I was able to walk out of the room with a tangible result of the work that I put in just like I was able to with dance.  It taught me so much about myself, my body, and mind’s capabilities. It got to a point where after leaving the gym I knew the best part of my day was done. This is when I knew I needed to become a trainer. I wanted to show other people how much this type of strength training could affect their lives in a positive way,” Rae describes.

Ladies who Lift

Obviously, Rae developed a deep passion for lifting and she wanted to use that passion to help others make a change in their lives. Let me just say, speaking with Rae you feel the love of lift weights and uplifting others. When I asked her to describe her mission with starting Ladies who Lift, the sparks flew. “Ladies who Lift is my baby and my pride and joy as a fitness professional.

Ladies who Lift (is of course, a female) strength training workshop and class offered at two different levels. Level 1 is a workshop and class that breaks down even the scariest of lifting myths, and teaches how to perform lifts properly using barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, prowlers, and some of the more intimidating gym equipment. Level 2 is a chance for these females to take the skills they learned in Level 1 and put them to the test in an all female strength training class.

“I created Ladies who Lift with the aim to educate, empower, and inspire women of all shapes, sizes, and lifting backgrounds to get into the gym and break through their mental and physical barriers they have set for themselves in the past. Getting strong is an extremely powerful tool not just for your body, but for your mind and your soul. This is the message I try to preach at my LWL classes and hope to spread to all females.,” Rae explains.

Intrigued by the passion radiating from her as she spoke of Ladies who Lift, I let her continue to tell me more… “I created Ladies who Lift after watching many of my female clients have the physical and mental breakthroughs they never thought possible through learning to lift properly and with confidence.  Having experienced it myself, I understand the fear, apprehension, and misinformation that can sometimes come along with lifting and getting stronger.  I wanted to create a space and environment where women felt comfortable to come together to learn and perfect this method of training.

Ladies who Lift promotes empowerment through pushing one’s own boundaries, and being there for others who are trying to do the same. By educating women about each of their bodies needs and impressive capabilities Ladies who Lift aims to leave attendees ready to lead happy, healthy, connected lives.”

Rewarding

Getting to do something you love everyday obviously comes along with a lot of rewards. For Rae, clearly a lot of these rewards come from her love of lifting and her ability to share this with others. However, I was interested in knowing what other joyful things have come from her decision to switch gears and pursue fitness as a profession.

“I don’t even know where to start! I am happier than I have ever been as a trainer. It has been a constant journey in terms of building up your own private clientele, to learning what gyms you work well with and which don’t, to finding other trainers to both learn from and get inspired by. I think overall the most rewarding part has been building Ladies who Lift and seeing this community grow and get stronger…both literally and figuratively!

Teaching women to lift that have never picked up a weight before is an incredible experience. To see someone feel good about the work they are putting in, the strength they are gaining, and the goals they are accomplishing never ceases to both amaze me and make me feel proud. I am always getting texts and messages from current and past participants, or even from people who just follow me on social media, saying that they hit a new personal record in the weight room, or had a great workout with confidence in a room filled with experienced male lifters, and that they could not have done that without my coaching, Ladies who Lift, or positive messages I put out across my social media pages. That is the greatest compliment I could ever receive,” Rae exclaims!

What advice would you give to a young person today who wanted to ditch a sedentary lifestyle and become more fit and healthy?

My advice would be to just start – and start with something that you genuinely enjoy. Obviously I believe strength training to be of the utmost importance when it comes to a workout routine, but sometimes this can be too intimidating of a place to start for some people! Find a workout, an activity that pushes you physically, and that you genuinely enjoy. Maybe it is zumba, or pilates, or yoga.

Let the excitement for this activity be your catalyst to push yourself a little further outside your comfort zone week by week, month by month. Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle and the journey is never ending, but it should always be enjoyable. This goes for diet as well! Start small, feel how good it feels to give your body the right fuel by adding more vegetables, water, etc., and work from there.

Where should they focus most of their energy to get the most bang for their proverbial buck?

If I have said it once I have said it a million times – lift something, and if you can, lift something heavy! When you lift weights with proper form and proper breathing techniques, especially with compound movements like squats and deadlifts, you are working your entire body. Learn to lift in the right way and you are not only going to get the aesthetic benefits you might be looking for, but you are also going to get strong, improve your bone density, boost your metabolism, fight off injuries, get a better night’s sleep…the list goes on and on.

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

Your mind controls everything! I always tell my clients that your mind is going to give up far before your body does, so if you can control your mind, you can control your body. You have to keep your mindset positive and understand this is a marathon, not a sprint. You are not going to get results immediately, you are not always going to hit a new weight in the gym, you are not always going to have a good workout, and you cannot let this get you down. You have to be nice to yourself and give yourself some positive self talk. At the end of the day it is you who is putting in the work to make it all happen. Outside support is great and essential, but nothing compares to truly believing in yourself.

Rae Relchlin

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Nutritional Facts | Pixie Turner

Nutritional Facts | Pixie Turner

Finding the best diet for you can be a daunting task. This can mean tons of trial and error and countless hours of research. Luckily for us, there are people people out there like Pixie Turner that will make the process of finding a healthy diet so much easier.

Pixie is a certified nutritionist in the UK. She helps other find the best diet plans for their goals. “My focus as a nutritionist is on helping people improve their relationships with food, whether that’s ensuring they are eating enough to fuel their activity levels, advising them on what they need to be aware of if making drastic dietary shifts, or working through food fears and anxieties. Food, movement, stress, and sleep are all interconnected, so I always make sure to talk about all of these things with my clients! In addition to this I also make it my mission to call out nutrition BS where I see it, particularly through social media, and use my online influence to be a voice of reason amongst all the pseudoscience and fearmongering,” Pixie explains.

Start

The internet can be a great platform to share your views to large audiences. WHile this is great because it gives us access to great information at the tip of our fingers, but it also has a down fall. There is a ton of false information that can guide us in the wrong direction. This is what drove Pixie to begin her journey as a nutritionist. “The main driver for me was the amount of misinformation I was seeing online, particularly on social media. It frustrated me that there were so many unqualified bloggers giving out terrible and wrong advice, and spreading untruths. So I decided to do a masters degree in nutrition to learn more and also make sure I could counter this in some way,” Pixie says.

Pixie is now taking this battle head on and guiding other in the right direction to reaching their health goals. She educates other on the many options they ave and help them to prepare a diet plan that will work for them. “A nutritionist uses an evidence-based approach to advise people in the community on their diet and lifestyle, with an individualised approach tailored to the client’s needs. There is no one way of doing things, but personally I send my clients a pre-consultation questionnaire which covers dietary habits, medical history, exercise, stress, and sleep. I also ask them to complete a 3 day food diary to give me an idea of where they’re at. The first session is mainly there to identify how I can best help a client, what the plan of action is, and how to proceed, so whether they need weekly sessions, monthly sessions, or just a one-off! It all depends on the individual,” Pixie enlightens.

Advice

Outside of providing direct nutritionist services, Pixie also shares general tips and tools to leading life with a healthy balanced diet. For starters, Pixie believes that everyone should take on nutrition with a new approach outside of the typical mindset towards dieting. “I think we place too much emphasis on ‘willpower’ and not enough on trusting our own bodies. We’re constantly told to eat less, deprive ourselves, and fight our biology. But I find it more helpful to focus on listening to our bodies’ hunger and fullness signals. The best way to do that is to eat slowly and mindfully with no distractions. Savour the food and enjoy every bite! And stop when you’ve had enough, you can always save the rest for another time,” Pixie advises.

Another thing Pixie suggests is “it shouldn’t be about deprivation and restriction. Try new foods, find the fruits and vegetables that you really enjoy eating, and if you can, definitely learn to cook! It’s the most useful skill! Find some great cookbooks by chefs (not bloggers) who know how to make food taste good, not just look good. Focus on adding healthy habits in, not on cutting things out. For example, if you’re a big chocolate lover, then have a little chocolate in the evening, but make sure you’ve also had a delicious and nutritious evening meal that fills you up and satisfies you,”

What three food staples should everyone have in stock at all times to help make eating healthy easier?

Canned/ready cooked beans and pulses

Hummus – the best salad dressing!

A cookbook or blog you really enjoy cooking from that doesn’t require a trip to 3 different expensive shops to get all the ingredients.

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated foods that help make eating healthy [and clean] easier? [Clean eating is a BIG no from me, would prefer the word not to be mentioned at all]

Most overrated: anything spiralized. If you want spaghetti eat spaghetti and add some vegetables to the sauce. Courgette isn’t the same as spaghetti and it needs to stop trying to be something it’s not. It tastes nothing like it. Ditto sweet potato toast. It’s not bread and will never be bread.

Most underrated: ready-cooked vegetables, lentils, rice…and so on. Anything that cuts down on time. Also potatoes. Poor things are vilified for no good reason at all.

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

Izy Hossack’s book ‘The Savvy Cook’ is an amazing resource for students in particular, as it even tells you how you can use up your leftovers!

I also have Rick Stein’s India to thank for my curry obsession!

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

Nope! There is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition and health, and as such there is no one method that I would recommend. Having said that, if you don’t need to go gluten-free then don’t do it. Eat as wide a variety of foods as you can!

Pixie Turner

Please buy my book! It’s called ‘The Wellness Rebel’ and it’s available to preorder on Amazon now 🙂

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Walk the Walk

Walk the Walk

Drew Manning Walks the Walk to better understand the struggle of his fitness clients

Health and fitness coach Drew Manning doesn’t ‘Talk the Talk’. When it comes to finding out what it’s like to be out of shape, unhealthy, and to struggle to make fitness gains he has taken extreme measures to ‘Walk the Walk’. Drew actually decided to get fat (that’s likely not the most politically correct term for it, so “overweight” or “unhealthy weight”) on purpose to experience what it was like to be overweight. “I was overweight for the first time in my life so I could better relate to my clients” Drew says ‘and so I wrote a book about my humbling experience and it’s now a TV show.

Drew started his journey of Fit2Fat2Fit (Fit to Fat to Fit) on May 7, 2011

The whole purpose of this journey was for Drew to gain a better understanding of what it was like to be overweight. He wanted to better relate to his overweight fitness clients.Drew says he didn’t know what this experience was going to lead to but. “Once I was asked to come on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is where it finally felt “real” and that this idea wasn’t just some stupid idea that no one would pay attention to” Drew says.

The ‘Fit to Fat to Fit’ Journey

“I decided to get fat to better empathize with my clients. I grew up my entire life in shape and never knew any different. I had no idea how hard it really was for my clients so I decided to completely let myself go for 6 months and gained 75 lbs in 6 months. I also wanted to inspire people in a totally different way by doing something so completely different. I didn’t do it to disrespect anyone or to pretend to know exactly what it was like for people who are overweight and have been overweight for years or even decades, but at least I can say I have more empathy and a better understanding for having done this.”

“I grew up in a very strict/black and white culture of either ‘You do or do not’ and there were no excuses” Drew tells me, “So it helped to be strong and push past any pain or weaknesses. We were a very large family of 11 siblings. I learned how to work hard and my parents instilled us with great discipline. That discipline really was essential in this journey.”

“When I started gaining weight there was no way for me to know how poorly it would make me feel. I wanted to quit when I hit the 70 lb mark. I felt so horrible and disgusting at that point. I also wanted to quit when I saw my first stretch marks come in because I still cared way too much about my physical appearance at that time. What kept me going was knowing that there were people watching me and were counting on me. So that accountability helped me push past those hard times.”

“The whole process helped me realize that transformation is much more mental and emotional than people think. It’s not so much about the meal plans and the workouts and the diets, etc. It’s about loving who we are and knowing that we are more than what our bodies look like.”

In the end, Drew says he’s most proud when people come up to him and thank him. “People tell me their life story of obstacles that they’ve overcome in their past. Seeing how many people have been inspired by this crazy journey. It’s so touching and rewarding to see people so inspired and motivated to transform their lives.”

Focus on the Process

“After going through this process and looking back on what were the most important elements of a successful comeback.” Drew says “I advise people to stop worrying about what other people think. You must let go of your ego and to stop attaching yourself to outcomes. Instead just focus on the process and the growth that comes from putting in the effort no matter what the outcome is. In the end, if you keep that focus, the results will come.

Drew stays busy with his television show but there’s even more to his busy life

A Day in the Life

Morning

I wake up and meditate and do positive affirmations. I drink my water with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Then I brew my coffee and add in butter and mct oil or coconut oil sometimes. Then I’ll work for a couple hours and get ready for my workout and I’ll take my exogenous ketones an hour before I workout.

Afternoon

I’ll get my workout in and come home and get my first meal in, which will usually consist of eggs, sausage/bacon, butter, cheese sauteed with some spinach and broccoli. Then it’s a shower and back to work.

Evening

This is where I’ll have my second meal of the day and usually this will be around 7-8pm. This will consist of maybe a couple beef patties with some avocado and cheese on top and I’ll sautee some cauliflower in 100% full fat coconut milk.

Night

I’ll wind down by watching an episode of Game of Thrones and then I’ll read one of my books before bed.

Workouts

Most recently I’ve been training for a Spartan Race and doing a mix of HIIT / Crossfit style workouts 3 days a week. I’ve been running, sprinting and climbing hills 3 days a week and one rest day. When that’s over, I might get back to Crossfit / Super Set Style body building lifting. I like mixing those two up.

Diet & Nutrition

Currently, I’ve been loving Ketosis and not for the reasons people might think. I’m not doing Keto to get leaner or to lose weight, but for the improvement in cognitive function, mental clarity, focus and energy. I’ve done Paleo and Whole30 in the past and still think those are great. Most people will benefit from Paleo and Whole30 for sure. I do think different diets work differently for different people and I preach all the time to find whatever works for you and make it a lifestyle change. I just love not being a slave to food, only eating twice per day and never feeling like I’m starving or ‘hangry’ all the time if I don’t have food.

Change & Mindset

When people are trying to make healthy changes and become physically fit when they haven’t been so before, they need to make major lifestyle changes. That being said, establishing inroads to attaining a fit body is going to be different for each person depending on their goals and their past history. Finding a support system is probably the first step. Even before that, you have to be mentally and emotionally ready for the lifestyle transformation. Finding either a trainer, nutritionist, a group fitness class would be a good place for people that have no idea where to start and need their hand held for the first little bit.

Once you’ve gotten started and established new habits is where accountability comes into play.

I advise people to keep yourself accountable to friends, family, or an online community to help you in these moments. It’s not a magic pill, but it’s easier to get through setbacks if you have a support system to help keep you accountable. No matter who you are, you’re going to have setbacks and that’s why it’s so important to have this support system to keep you accountable during these hard times.

When setbacks come, one thing is to remind yourself that you are progressing whether you see that progress or not. Also, you’ll be so much happier if you detach yourself from outcomes and focus on the work and habits you’re developing during the process.

Life is too short to define yourself with weight, body fat percentage, etc.

I think measuring is fine, but I don’t believe that the scale is the best way to do that. The best ways to measure results are bloodworm (try Everly Well for at home convenient and affordable testing if you are too busy to make doctors appointments), Dexa Body scan or Bod Pod for body fat percentages, and improvements in fitness (i.e. doing the same workout 2-4 weeks apart to measure progress in time/efficiency/recovery)

The Future

I’d love to see myself still doing what I’m doing. I feel that the Fit2Fat2Fit brand could eventually become a household brand with many more seasons of Fit2Fat2Fit on television. I’m working on building Fit2Fat2Fit join up groups in some small areas across the nation. I’d love to have “an army” of Fit2Fat2Fit trainers that come from a place of empathy and caring first before helping their clients.

Who knows though…the sky is the limit!

Drew Manning

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No Tummy Mommy | Trisha Enriquez

No Tummy Mommy | Trisha Enriquez

This one is for the ladies with the babies. That’s right; I’m talking about all the mothers out there. Trisha Enriquez is helping mothers all over the world to get healthy and stay fit.  

“I started a small business that focuses on providing fitness and nutrition coaching for mothers – all done virtually – essentially helping women to be healthier and happier mamas,” Trisha says.

Inspiration

Having a baby is one of the world’s greatest gifts. Holding your little miracle for the first time not only makes everything you have endured in life so far worthwhile, but it can also spark you to want to go above and beyond from that point. Babies are truly inspiring and are also the world’s greatest supporters.

Inspired by the birth of her own child, Trisha dove deep into the world of fitness. While health and fitness has always been a part of Trisha’s life, having a child sparked an even deeper interest for Trisha. She not only wanted to keep herself fit, but she also wanted to begin to help others. Hence, “No Tummy Mommy” was born. Not only does Trisha get to train and advise moms all over the world and help them reach their fitness goals. She also gets to bring her daughter along for the ride too! “Having my daughter involved in the No Tummy Mommy brand makes the journey way more fun and rewarding,” Trisha exclaims.

Motherhood

As I said earlier, motherhood is an amazing gift, but it definitely comes with a lot of changes. This even includes how you maintain your health and fitness. A lot of times when people hear about personal training for mothers, they assume it is just for mothers who have to previous background in fitness. That is completely wrong! Whether you have never been to a gym in your life or you were one of the top female body builders in the world, having a baby sort of resets any previous (or lack thereof) workout plans you have already established. You have to learn to adjust your workouts to the way your “mommy life” works now. “Motherhood has really changed how I stay fit and healthy. Of course, there is a lot of time management skills required, but it’s also a lot about our mindset. I schedule workouts in my calendar and stick to them like I would a meeting. Also, as a mother you are so tired most days so the last thing you want to do is work out; I also suggest recruiting another mommy friend who has the same goals in mind as you do. This helps so much,” Trisha advises.

Mindset

Just as it is important to stay mentally strong as a mother, health and fitness require that same mentality. It’s not just enough to do the workouts and try a diet or two. If you really want to see results, you have to make it up in your mind that you can achieve them AND maintain them!

As a strong and entrepreneurial mother, Trish knows a thing or two about being mentally tough. She does her best to guide all of her clients in the same direction. Her number one rule when training? “The mind is everything. What we believe, we become. For someone starting out – if they truly believe they can make a change in their lifestyle, they will do it!” And she’s totally right! That’s why before starting any workout plans or diets or even hopping on the scale, Trisha always suggests one thing as the first steps to health and fitness. “Focus your energy on setting a plan for yourself (ie. Times you will work out, prep meals, recruit a friend, decide on a workout routine, etc). I believe that if you spend time up front planning and organizing how you are going to implement your routine, you will be that much more successful,” Trisha explains.

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

A skipping rope

A kettlebell

A yoga mat

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

The most overrated exercise is the bench press. The most underrated exercise is the pull up!

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

I love almonds or almond butter mixed in Greek yogurt!

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

In my opinion, there is not one best diet because every person is different and each dietary protocol has its pros and cons.  Plus, something that worked great for one mother might not work as well for you. Ultimately it’s finding a nutrition routine that suits your individuality and of course, one that includes foods you will actually eat and enjoy.

Trisha Enriquez

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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

Website

Instagram: @revisionathletics, @sub6, @chasethelightssf

Twitter: @revisionathltcs, @sub_6@chasethelghts

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