PURSUIT of Happiness| Dr. Laura Miranda

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A dose of fitness is just what the doctor prescribed.

Making healthy choices and staying fit are some of the keys to living a long life. Better yet, its one of the keys to being able to actively enjoy your long life.

Dr. Laura Miranda has spent the last 17 years building a business that helps with just that. She runs a variety of programs. Laura tailors her programs so that even the busiest of women can incorporate her program into their schedule. Her leading programs are “StrongHealthyWomen” and “PURSUIT.” She also does exclusive in home training and physical therapy for those that need it. Laura gives being a doctor a new definition. She works to not only bring people back to health, but also to maintain it through fitness. Dr. Laura Miranda’s mission is to empower people in the pursuit of becoming the best possible version of themselves. She does this through a mind and body fitness approach.

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PURSUIT

Pursuit- Being regularly engaged in a quest of mind, body, and/or nature to achieve the “next level.”

Dr. Miranda describes the PURSUIT training program as an “on-the-go, hybrid conditioning workout that utilizes every aspect of the cityscape.” The PURSUIT program includes team-based training. It takes you throughout the city while focusing on adaptation and innovation. You get to play with the idea of the reinvention of just about every obstacle that crosses our path. “PURSUIT challenges the fitness status quo by unhinging the idea that “fitness” has to take place in a gym, or even just in a park for that matter. Your City + Your Body = Your Gym,” Dr. Miranda says.

But PURSUIT is more than just a local program. Dr. Miranda has spent the last year making it so that fitness instructors all over can put in place this kind of training in their city. “I have spent the last year compiling my entire 17 years of experience to turn PURSUIT into a certification and licensed business model. Fitness professionals can run their own PURSUIT outdoor fitness business in their cities around the world. Based on the success of my decade long outdoor programs in NYC, one of the most competitive fitness markets in the world, I have packaged every aspect of the business so fit pros can just plug it in,” Dr. Miranda says. Branching out allows fitness professionals a new path they can take to achieve success in the fitness industry. It also provides a new way for people to get fit!

“It took me exactly 365 days to write, film, and compile all my experience and systems to create a deliverable product that was ready for the world to see. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have created my manifesto,” Dr. Miranda describes. Over the years she has work with thousands of clients. She combined that with her experience in clinical rehabilitation. Lastly, she has all her education to use as well. She has bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She also has a master’s and doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.

Laura put everything together to create a proprietary training system. It fosters a sustainable expression of movement and relentless performance enhancement.
Partnering with NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association), Dr. Miranda was able to get the PURSUIT launched in July of this year. The program is already seeing success. There are coaches in Australia, the UK, and about 30 states in the US. “To see my vision come alive in this way and to be so successful so quickly, is a dream come true,” Dr. Miranda explains.

In the future, Dr. Miranda wants to see PURSUIT as a house hold name. She wants it to be synonymous with “smart outdoor bodyweight training.” Similar in the manner as Pilates is to “core training” or as Yoga is to “flexibility.” “PURSUIT is already a successful, competitive, and easily implemented business model for trainers. I am proud and honored to provide fellow fit pros the exact tools, systems and inspiration to make an impact on the world in a way that they never would have imagined,” Dr. Miranda says.

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Rewards

Having your dreams come true is always a huge reward, yet Dr. Miranda finds another aspect of her success to be even more rewarding. “Whether I am helping NYC women change the bodies and their lives through fitness. Or if I’m equipping fitness professionals with the systems and strategies to build a lasting PURSUIT business. The reward for me is always the same. I get to empower people in their pursuit towards becoming the best possible version of themselves,” Dr. Miranda exclaims. She measures her success in the success that each client achieves. And she looks forward to exponential growth of the PURSUIT program.

“There is no “one path” to achieve success in this industry, and “success” means something different to everyone. The greatest danger lies in staying complacent in one phase of your career for too long. Being a ‘fitness rebel’ often requires you to often go against what your colleagues in the mainstream are doing,” Dr. Miranda says. So, to find the greatest success, you have to listen to your heart and be willing to take a risk.

Another rewarding aspect of Dr. Miranda’s success is that she gets to help her clients feel empowered and strong. The term “strong” is subjective. It can mean something different to everyone. Dr. Miranda says, “The key is to identify how “getting stronger” would make them feel. The establish what that feeling would mean to them. A lot of the work that I do with new clients is just digging down to a level that helps bring out what the “feeling and the meaning” of what they are after . With lots of digging, we get to the fact that strength to them would mean that they are: empowered, driven, and confident. They are able to authentically show up for themselves. It would mean that they have the necessary fuel to keep pushing forward, no matter what adversity comes their way.”

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“Being strong is not defined by a set of attributes that you have or don’t have. It’s an attitude. It is a collection of choices that you make day to day, and sometimes, minute to minute. Being STRONG isn’t something you are or aren’t. It is a mindset, and a practice, and MUST be repeated, daily.”

Motivation

To keep her clients motivated, Dr. Miranda uses a variety of techniques. The first starts with sending the right message. Women all over the world are told how they should look from a very young age. This type of messaging comes from family members, the media, and the constructs of gender roles and gender politics in our society. Society gives us the idea that our bodies correlates with our value as a person. This is not true! “I’m SO over this talk, for so many reasons. This type of language does nothing to advance the idea that we can just decide for ourselves what WE want to be. Also the way we want to express ourselves to the world. So, you know what? Here’s to a new mantra ‘STRONG is the new strong.’ How about that. The end,” Dr. Miranda strongly states.

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She also keeps her clients motivate through a 5 step process that she incorporates in the PURSUIT program…

Step one – always honing in on “why” we are choosing to make better behavioral decisions in the first place. Often they will say “I want to lose 10 lbs.” The follow up to that is to dig deeper and to get them to reveal more, a lot more. I do this by asking “why is that important to you?” about 5 more times. Finally, as we get deeper, we start to uncover the real, visceral, gut wrenching reason why they want to be change. Without having this as the driving force, falling back into old patterns becomes that much easier once the initial excitement and newness of wanting to change wears off.

Step two – Future Pacing. I have them visualize what life will be like in 3 years from today if I could just instantly make all of their dreams come true. During this process, I have them act as if success or failure didn’t even exist in the equation. Giving people the freedom to remove limitations and explore what that looks like, helps create a pathway for the unlimited possibilities.

Step three – Exploration. We then go into a process of tapping into the last time in their life when they were making consistent changes, and getting ‘ish done. We look at the feelings and emotions they felt at that time. We look at what their mindset was at the time. I have them describe the language they used to describe themselves and what they were doing. I remind them that they must start living like that now, talking like that now, acting like the person who deserves those results…now.

Step four – NOW we can get to the good stuff. I have them choose 2-3 small, daily, measurable, behavioral goals around food and exercise. We make a checklist; they follow those behaviors each day and check off if they either did or didn’t do them. This is what we use as the measure of success in this system. We do not use the black or white number of the weight on a scale.

Step five – rinse, and repeat. This is a flow chart, not a check list. We have to FREQUENTLY start back at step one because LIFE and everything else just gets in the way, man.

Keeping a person motivated starts with keeping them in a positive mindset. “Mindset, is everything. Life, business, fitness, nutrition… it is all pretty much only 20% skillset, and 80% mindset,” Dr. Miranda says. When everything in your mind flows, everything is clear. It makes you feel like you are unstoppable. The secret to maintaining a positive mindset it to create a practice that not only helps you maintain a positive and aligned mindset. You must also work equally as hard on dealing with the times when you are experiencing the disconnected or misaligned mindset. On the journey to fitness, the disconnect often happens when people have a relapsing moment. Dr. Miranda advises. “Just let people know that failure and missteps ARE actually part of the process. They contain the greatest feedback along their journey. Using this technique is a powerful tool for “motivation” and long term adherence to the program.”

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

Overrated – “cardio machines.” I get it, they are easy, mindless, and allow you to shut off. But, I mean, should this really be something that we are working towards in life? An even further disconnection from our environment, from each other, and worse, from ourselves? (Let the record show that up until the mid 2000’s I was still a closeted “cardio queen.” So I know how hard it is to break the hamster-wheel-habit. But LET’S FACE IT, you don’t really even like it anyway! You can admit it; it’s ok. )

Underrated – bodyweight specific training that requires execution with precision and coordination and skill. This kind of movement hits on a level of childlike exploration and play that is unmatched by many other training methodologies. You are forced to stay focused, connected, and in tune with the present moment. Can you just FEEL the difference in yourself while reading this paragraph as compared to the last? I know, right! But in all seriousness, have you tried crawling on the ground? On just your hands and toes, slowly and gracefully, for 2 minutes straight? I guarantee you have never experienced a burn in your entire body quite like this! You’re welcome.

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

I don’t take the subway. I ride my bicycle all over the city, hitting about 16-20 miles a day. What I teach my clients and what I practice myself is “automation.” It’s all about planning once, setting up your environment for success (in my case, my backpack), and removing as many last minute “will power” based decisions as possible. This is what you will find on me at all times:

Fresh Fruit – this is NYC so it’s really hard to NOT have accessible food at your fingertips. But, that really is part of the problem isn’t it. So I hit the fruit stand guy and pick up a few pieces every few days.

Trader Joes Raw Trail Mix – individually packaged serving sizes which always helps for travel (and my nut-obsession), and they don’t go bad! I usually keep a stash of 5 or so on me so I don’t have to think about it or plan it each day.

Previnex Nourify vegan protein powder – Protein from plants, good fats from sesame, no chemicals, no fake sugar. I keep 3-5 servings in my bag at all times.

Do you have any tips for helping people to increase their water intake?

A behavior modification technique that my clients have really found successful is pairing the water consumption with an activity. For most of my clients who sit at a desk all day, I have them choose 1 task that they do multiple times a day, and each time it occurs, they must drink at least 12 oz. For many of them, meetings are something they repeat throughout the day. Randomly saying you will “just drink more water,” never works. We are creatures of habit and most of these habits are running under our conscious brain function. This allows us to sort through the monotony so we can focus on higher level tasks. Ever walk or drive all the way to work and realize you don’t really remember the trip? Same concept. So, in order to make a change that will last, we must disrupt the system in a meaningful way, and do it long enough to interject the new behavior into existing habits!

Another fun technique is to get a liter of water, and from the top down draw a line every 2 or so inches. Code each line starting at 9am up top, ending at 1pm at the bottom. Flip it around and draw 2pm, down to 6pm. What you have is a fun little indicator of where your consumption should be at for each corresponding hour of the day!

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Dr. Laura Miranda

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All Smiles

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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@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. And  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. Then 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.  This you can adjust to each change with the time that you need to get used to it.

“For anyone who starts to doubt themselves. Otherwise, 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.

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Jera Foster-Fell (@WorkOutBean)

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Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Overcome Your Hurdles | Kristi Castlin

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Kristi Castlin is a professional track and field athlete, 100 meter hurdler, and a 2016 Olympic medalist. I spoke with Kristi shortly after she returned from Rio, Brazil where she finished 3rd in the 100 meter hurdles finals.

Childhood

Kristi was always involved in athletics and physical activities in some way. As a child she says she enjoyed PE, field day, and even cheered.  It wasn’t until she was 14yo that she started running track though. She was a freshman in high school. When running track for the first time, she had a lot of success from the start.  Once she was able to dedicate herself to track, she was almost unstoppable. She won 4 state championships breaking a state record at her High School.

When choosing the events she wanted to take part in, Kristi dared to be different. ” I gravitated towards hurdle because I wanted to be different. It was something a lot of other girls weren’t doing,” Kristi says.

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Transition from College to Pro

Kristi went to college at Virginia Tech. When choosing a college, she had over 10 different scholarship offers. She was the first child of her mother’s children to go to college. She envisioned herself creating a legacy of her own.  She chose her univeristy with this in mind rather than following in the footsteps of legends at programs that had a long established legacy of champions.    She felt Virginia tech would be the perfect place to do just that. Indeed she picked a great school to do so. She broke records and won championships. She later went on to become the first medalist in track and field for Virginia Tech.

Transitioning from college to the pros wasn’t easy. Kristi says she struggled from a sponsorship stand point. She first received a small sponsorship from Adidas right after college. Track, like tennis for example, is a bit different than team sports where you sign with a team and agree to terms of payment.  With individual sports, you rely on sponsorships to support your training and travel so you can give your training the attention you need and travel to events to earn purses (monetary winnings).    She couldn’t find another significant sponsor to support her training.  She went on to have an amazing year in track and field in 2012 while training at Clemson. This sparked interest from other companies to pursue sponsorships with her.

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Unfortunately, she suffered a minor injury just before the 2012 Olympics. This injury halted her progress for that moment. Going through the injury only made Kristi stronger in the end.

“I had to learn patience and independence as well.”

After the injury Kristi moved from Clemson, SC to Los Angeles to be with her coach. Later she decided to make another change and left to train in Atlanta at Georgia Tech.  “My coach (when I was at Georgia Tech training) helped me to learn a lot about myself.” He helped her to mature, she says. She then returned back to her previous coach back in Los Angeles.

Mindset

“Track and field is primarily an individual sport. You have to have a strong mindset. It can be difficult to make mistakes because you have no one else to blame.”

“There is little room for error,” Kristi explains.

“You have to capitalize on every opportunity. There is a lot of pressure.  Track and field also takes a great amount of accountability.” You train and manage your body, paying attention to every little detail for weeks and months on end.  All of this training and management boils down to a 12 second race that will set you off in one direction or the other.  “You need to  have a strong mental capacity to deal with the results of a race.” It takes a lot of stress management.

Kristi deals with the pressure through prayer and faith. She also works to keep a disciplined schedule. It’s important to make time for things that make you happy, but you must also stay focused and organized.

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“Be flexible but always have a plan.”

Routine

A typical day for Kristi is a long one. “From the time I wake up until I finish is about a 12 hr day.”  In the morning, Kristi wakes up and goes to training. She trains about 6 hours a day. Her training includes everything from running, jumping, hurdles, drills and plyometrics, and more. She take about a 15 min break for lunch then heads to weight training for about 2 hours. After a long day of training, she will frequently see her massage therapist. She also makes time to stretch and have an ice bath to soothe her body and prepare for the next day.”

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Kristi Castlin

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Day by Day

Tinchy of @FrecklesInMyMind makes progress through habits and routine

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Twenty Eight year old fitness enthusiast and influencer Martina, affectionately known as ‘Tinchy’ by her friends and family is the personality behind @FrecklesinmyMind.  I talked with her about her fitness journey, her inspiration, and how she keeps motivated to strive for healthy goals.

How would you describe what it is that you do?

My aim is to show people that no matter how little free time they have on their hands, taking a half hour off your day to move and nourish your body will help them both mentally and physically. You take it day by day, a meal by meal, a workout by workout, and slowly, but steady change your lifestyle for the better.

When did you first start your fitness journey?

I “officially” started my fitness journey in July 2015, when I’ve also opened my instagram account to keep myself accountable and to find inspiration. Before that I tried going to the gym off and on, but never had the determination to really stick with it.

What was the impetus to get you started?  

It was getting sick all the time, my immunity was really low and I was under a lot of stress. I was lacking energy, felt anxious all the time, had trouble sleeping properly and felt like my days are passing and nothing was changing. Working out daily helped tremendously with all of that.

Tell me about your childhood, is there anything about your childhood that you can link to your inspiration?

My parents always supported all my choices and let me do my own thing..even if it meant playing piano and practicing handball which was a nightmare for my piano teacher since I fractured my finger twice, LOL.   Growing up I’ve always had extracurricular activities and I’ve loved doing different things.

I have been active pretty much through all my childhood. I played handball through my elementary school and high school and when I went away to university, I’ve tried rowing and tennis. I love moving my body and when I stopped playing sports I felt like something was missing.  That’s something I found again which  through daily fitness, when I brought that back into my life.

Who do you consider the icons in the Health & Fitness space?

Well, if we are talking about instagram fitness community, I find Kayla Itsines a great role model that’s promoting a healthy lifestyle, positivity, and not promoting diets.  She teaches just nourishing your body with good food 🙂  

I also like Emily Skye because she shows all the good and bad and keeps it real.   I really like Kevin Hart who daily inspires people to just go and smash their workouts 🙂 Oh, and also makes you laugh a lot.

I think having positive role models is great, especially today, when so many print, tv and online media are pushing their own agendas without really thinking of the damage they are doing to young people growing up.  It takes a lot of time and effort to change the mindset that a scale is just a number that does not define your worth; that beauty and happiness comes from within; that you should workout and eat healthy because you love your body; and not because you hate it.

Little by little, things are changing and more and more people are showing that a healthy sustainable fit life is doable by sharing their day-to-day lives on social media.  That in turn inspires other people, which I think it’s amazing.

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What is your training regimen? 

I am following Kayla Itsines BBG program (bikini body guide).  

This means I do resistance training 3 times a week:

Monday is leg & cardio day, Wednesday is arms day, and Friday is either a full body or abdominal workout. Thursday and Thursdays are reserved for liss sessions (low intensity steady state) which for me is usually taking a 30-45 min fast paced walk.  However, since I’ve been doing BBG program for a year now, to change things up a little, this round I am not doing any liss sessions but mixing BBG resistance workouts with running 4-5 times per week.

I’m hoping to attend my first half marathon in the end of October, which makes me feel pretty excited.  I try to do my resistance training in the morning before work, and go running in the evening.  Even though it seems a lot, I make sure I have a rest day or two to let my body recover.  I’m also trying to incorporate more yoga, to help with recovery of my muscles.

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like?   

I believe that food should have good nutritional value and that you should pick wholesome foods instead of processed ones.  The food you eat should not make you sluggish or give you cravings which a lot of  junk food does.  Good food makes you feel good too.  Personally I do not follow any performance diets.  I try to listen my body and eat healthy.

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What are the obstacles that you see preventing people from being their healthiest?  

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford was so right about this!

To be honest, I believe it all comes down to the mindset.  Everyone has to start by wanting a change and then do your best to show up every day for yourself.  Make yourself a priority at least half an hour a day.  No one can make your life better if you do not put effort to make it better yourself.  Taking shortcuts is easy way and well we all do it, but putting an effort is something that actually makes a difference. You have to understand that you won’t feel motivated everyday and that’s why it is important to build up habits and be dedicated – so that you still do what you need to do even though you don’t really feel like it.

Changes can be scary because we are all creatures of habit. Even though we sometimes don’t like where we are in life, over the time we got used to it, and thus find a comfort in the known. Starting something new can be hard and people often give up before they’ve managed to create new habits for themselves.  It takes time, but once you do create new, good habits and feel their benefits you will not want to go back.

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I noticed that you wear some of the coolest fitness gear.  Can you tell me what you look for in fitness apparel?  Any anecdotes or advice there?

Thank you 🙂 Since I’ve made fitness a part of my daily life I feel like I’m spending all my time in workout clothes, LOL.  The comfort of the clothes is a priority to me.  If something irritates your skin during the workout or moves in a way it shouldn’t, it will bother you the whole time and distract you from your goals.

Apart from the functionality, it needs to look pretty too!  I love different designs and the fact that active wear has gotten so popular that there are plenty brands to choose from.  Most of my workout clothes end up being black or monochrome for practical reasons, but I love seeing colorful clothes too.  Also, I think one of the most important thing is to have sneakers which offer good support to your feet.

Anything else you would like to add?

Don’t be afraid of starting because you might fail.  Start and give it your all.

If you fall, pick yourself up again.  If you want a change, do not wait for the next monday, next month or a specific date.  Start now.  Every little change counts.  

Find some activities you are passionate about and it won’t seem like a chore.  Not everyone likes cardio and not everyone likes lifting.  Just because someone else does it or just because something is popular and everyone else seems to enjoy it does not mean you will too.  It does not matter what anyone else thinks, they are not you.  So you do you and find what works for you.  Surround yourself with people who share your interests, who lift your spirits, and push you in the right direction.

And most importantly, believe in yourself.

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Tinchy @FrecklesInMyMind

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Aim High, Jump High | Donald Scott

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Track and field star Donald Scott is the epitome of inspiration and motivation. Growing up Donald’s father was not in the picture and his mother struggled. Donald found himself with a very troubled childhood. He and his sisters were placed under foster care until his mother’s brother and wife came along. Blessed with family members that went on to move him and his sisters into a better environment, Donald has come a long way from where he used to be. “The most rewarding part of my journey has been the fact that I am blessed to do what God has planned for me. I believe that’s the best reward anyone can have. Yes its fun to compete, travel, win money and meet new people but at the end of the day doing what God has blessed me to do will forever be the best reward I will ever be thankful for.”

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The Beginning

Donald started running track his freshman year in high school. “The only events I knew of were just the running events and hurdles. I didn’t know there were field events until the first day of practice. I was mainly a sprinter/hurdler when I started. Shawn Proffitt, who is a great father figure in my life right now, he was my coach at the time and he basically forced me to do the triple jump,” Donald says. Donald initially wasn’t even interested in it. However, Shawn coached Donald with the knowledge that he knew about it. From there Donald went on to excel in the event even though he later found he was not using the proper technique during high school. He still managed to become a top 3 competitor in the state of Florida.

Coming out of high school, football was Donald’s passion. He wasn’t in love with the triple jump at the time. He ended up a dual sport athlete throughout college. As his college years went by, Donald knew that he could become a great triple jumper. This was especially clear when he started competing, winning and placing at the big college meets. He ended his college career with 9 conference titles, a Jr. national championship, Jr. Pan American games finalist, and Indoor NCAA Championship runner-up. He was also a 3x All-American in the triple jump.

Motivation

For Donald, the first step to success was to establish a main goal. The next step was to follow the process in order to achieve that goal. “You have to have a great mindset that motivates you to keep pushing through all the adversity you will come upon during the season. You always have to think about why you are doing something and is it really worth the ups and downs you will come upon. Patience is the key to success,” Donald says.

“Things I believe that help me become good at what I do is staying on top of my priorities. Working out, maintaining a good clean diet, and staying positive about every situation in my life. Working out is the number one thing I must do in order to stay fit and to also get better at what I do. Getting stronger and faster is a major key when it comes to the triple jump. A good diet is a good thing to have when it comes to your body functioning the way it should. The body needs the right energy in order to perform well. In order to do that, you have to eat right the right things. Staying positive will always keep your head in the right place it needs to be. Staying on track and not letting your let downs take over and tear you down. You have to take the bad and let it motivate you to continue to do better.”

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The Future

Donald certainly doesn’t plan to continue on forever. In the next ten years he plans to have his own business. For the moment, Donald is still building a name for himself in the world of track and field. He continues to work his way up on the ranking charts each season. “I just have to stay the course, perform well, and let everything else take its place,” Donald says.
Donald offers advices to others that find inspiration in his story. “The best advice I can give a young person is that if you believe that you can do something, there is nothing or no one in this world that can stop you from achieving what you want to do. You have to have faith within yourself. You have to stay motivated even when you’re having a bad day. Always keep God first because he is allowing you to chase your dreams and he will forever be your number one supporter. The main thing is patience is the key. Great things come to those who wait.”

What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

I think everyone should either have a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike to do some cardio. Cardio is great for the body and the heart. For everyone who knows how to do squats and Olympic style lifting, they should have a bar and Olympic weights so they can do their explosion style lifts.

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

The most overrated exercise for me would be bench. As a jumper you don’t really need to do bench. I would rather do something like overhead push press which works on explosion while doing the push motion as bench. I think underrated exercise would be hip lifts. Many people don’t do hip lifts but I find it very beneficial to strengthen the hip flexors.

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

My go to snack is a fruit cup, yogurt, and/or trail mix or some kind of energy/protein bar.

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like? Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet?

I would say my diet would be lean meats, fruits, and veggies. I am not the type to cut out bread or anything. Bread is full of the carbs and energy I need to get through the typical workout day. I have times where I do eat my share of candy. Although I don’t need it, I just love sweets from time to time.

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Donald Scott

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