As ya’ll know, wellness plays a huge role in my health & fitness career as well as my personal life. Considering how much I talk about it, I thought it was only fair to share why wellness is so important to me, how it reflects in my life, what I do daily to “be well”, and how my obsession with lifting and being strong fits in to the mix.
I was lucky growing up in that my parents put me into sports immediately, free time was spent 95% playing outside, and healthy foods were the only option. Of course we had some junk and treats, but my mom began feeding us fresh fruits and vegetables the moment we could eat solid food. With my dad being a physician and my mom a physical therapist turned interior designer, I always understood the importance of health. From an early age I was always fascinated by health and healthy eating, loved going to the hospital with my dad and asking him thousands of questions, we were always open about mental health, and my parents made sure to designate ample time for family outdoor activities and adventures. It was such an amazing way to grow up - and now being an adult working 1 on 1 with individuals trying to improve their health and fitness, I really appreciate how lucky I was to have the upbringing I did. In reality, wellness and balance have been a part of my life since birth.
During my 4 years at BU, I pole vaulted for the women’s varsity track and field team. My sophomore year I had to have 2 surgeries, preventing me from exercising or training for almost 12 months. During that time I drank too much, ate too much, agonized over not being able to train, and my mental health was the worst it had ever been since being diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety 2 years earlier. The following summer I trained intensely to get back into competing shape for the next year, and it was then that I really was able to see how critical exercise (specifically lifting & strength training) was, for not only my physical health, but mental health, happiness, and ability to be successful in achieving my goals. For the first time, I was able to make that mind-body connection, and it changed my life so positively.
At that time, I also found my passion for nutritional sciences and public health; in the form of helping others create their own unique healthy lifestyles that would benefit all aspects of their lives. This is where wellness seemed to fit in perfectly. Finding this passion in lifestyle wellness for sustainable health and success has led me to where I am today, training & coaching individuals 1 on 1, and sharing what I have learned through this blog and social media. Personal training and nutrition and wellness coaching are not what I set out to do when I started school in 2013, but looking back, it makes perfect sense that this is where I have been led.
The past 6 weeks I have been posting about the 8 dimensions of wellness (check out my Instagram page for the features), and if you’ve been following, you know that wellness isn’t just about physical health. Wellness applies to every aspect of life: from work, to family, to spirituality/religion, to environment. Too often diets and fitness regiments fail, because they are used alone. What really changed the way I think and view health and wellness is when I really realized how interconnected each aspect of wellness is. Fitness, nutrition, weight loss, mental health...they are all intertwined within your life. Once this connection can be made, amazing things in all aspects of life can happen and really click.
This is why I always preach finding something you love and enjoy in regards to exercise, and working on small changes and flexibility in regards to nutrition rather than fad overhaul diets and cookie cutter meal plans. Always keep wellness in mind: how is what your doing contributing to other aspects of your life? Is it fun? Is it sustainable? Does it make you happy? Does it help you focus? Does it help you be a better partner or mother or daughter?
This leads into explaining my obsession with lifting and strength training. I love lifting for the way it makes my body feel, and for the mental benefits I get. It helps my anxiety, it gives me confidence, it’s fun, it helps me work off steam, the strength it provides me gives me feelings of pride, independence, and security. It really works for me as a unique individual living my unique life.
What does my unique life look like in regards to wellness? Well obviously lifting plays a big role. And so does embracing the mind-body connection I have created and strengthened over time. I know how much sleep I need to feel and perform my best, I stay on top of doctors appointments and taking medications, I set boundaries when needed, I push myself when needed, I nourish my body, I listen to my body, and I seek balance and wellness in all aspects of my life: physical health, fitness, work, environment, intellect/learning, relationships, mental health, etc.
All of these aspects of wellness working together help me to be the most successful and “well” version of myself that I can be. So that really explains these cuffs: “Be Well” and “Strength Balance Power” perfectly describe what is important in my life and in my work. Sometimes life carries us away and it can be too easy to forget to check back in with that mind-body connection and embrace wellness: for these reasons I love having these little reminders to wear on my wrist. On those days, I can look down at my watch while timing a client’s plank or rushing off to wherever, and remember to re-focus back on these crucial and amazing values that guide me each and every day, and have helped me to get to where I am right at this moment.
So as you prepare for a new week, in the back of your mind remember to Be Well.
*Cuffs are from Simply Southern Baubles