PURSUIT of Happiness| Dr. Laura Miranda
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.”
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!
Dr. Laura Miranda