Imagine walking down the streets of LA and boom you pass a crossfit gym. Well that’s where the journey began for Katrina Leone and now crossfit has become a part of her everyday life. “I’ve been an athlete in the CrossFit community for the past 8 years. I was actually just walking by a crossfit gym in downtown Los Angeles. I thought they were doing some kind of MMA training because of all the tires and the gritty look. I did their intro workout and was hooked,” Katrina exclaims!
Fitness Meets Fashion
Katrina has a love for fitness, but she did not want to leave behind her second passion of fashion. “I wanted to find a way to merge my loves of fitness and fashion. I felt there wasn’t enough options for serious female athletes who also wanted to look good and feel comfortable in their training,” Katrina says.
This lead Katrina to put some thought into how she could change that. And that’s how Vull Sport was born. “ I started this line because I personally was having a hard time finding pieces that I felt completely comfortable training in. Everything I make is high impact and made for dynamic training. Before I launched the line, I was finding myself section off my training clothes by what movements I could or could not do in them. I had this tiny stack of bras and bottoms that I felt comfortable enough in to do absolutely anything. If I wanted to meet up with friends and join in on their programming, I would go to these clothing items. I wanted to be covered for full range of motion and not be worrying about my clothes at ALL while training. So I started Vull with that concept. We don’t do anything low-impact, no plunging necklines, do thin bottom bands, no questionable sheer areas, no plastic hardware or zippers. You can wear the pieces for yoga, but they’re made for high intensity workouts,” Katrina explains.
Crossfit is a very demanding practice both physically and mentally. So, it’s expected that Katrina has had a few hoops to jump through. “I’ve been through my fair share of injuries and mentally challenging training. I’ve gone through the loss of a parent, parting with significant others and legal stuff with businesses I own. I am not a full time coach or gym owner so I do need to really manage my time between work and training. To be competitive in this sport pretty much requires constant juggling of priorities and setbacks. Anytime you are doing something that is body AND mind connected, you’re going to have points when those 2 things don’t always match up. And you’re going to need to be resilient during times when general life makes it even harder to get those 2 things in line. There’s no getting around obstacles. You have to move right through them. And you need to do that while still being incredibly consistent with your training, nutrition and recovery,” Katrina says.
Despite the obstacles, Katrina has had a very rewarding experience. She had learned so much from her training and that’s the biggest reward of all! “Being a competitive athlete has really taught me about perseverance, dedication and basically that nothing is going to go to plan. The journey is going to be messy and twisted, but if you keep moving forward, you will keep moving forward. It’s not always perfect. When you’re on a good one, ride that wave as far as it will take you. When you’re struggling, just keep putting on foot in front of the other and believe it will be enough.
Sport has taught me so much about myself and the characteristics I admire in others. Anything you love is worth trying for. Even if you ‘fail’ it will still take you to the place you’re meant to be.
Oh and all the amazing people I now have in my life as a direct result of CrossFit is also pretty amazing 🙂 I have a great group of friends and fellow business owners that are incredibly supportive,” Katrina shares.
What advice would you give to a young person today who wanted to ditch a sedentary lifestyle and become more fit and healthy?
I’d say do it! Right now, right this moment. Just do ANYTHING. You don’t need to ‘losse weight’ before you start. And you certainly don’t need to ‘get fit’ before you make your way into a CrossFit gym. Whatever is calling to you, go, sign up, show up. We ALL started somewhere.
Where should they focus most of their energy to get the most bang for their proverbial buck?
Focus on performance. Set performance goals. Decide what barbell and dumbell weights you want to be able to use for certain exercises. Set goals of how many reps you want to be able to do in each workout. And don’t even look at the scale. First you move your body. Then you can figure out diet. Once you start using your body, you’ll actually want to fuel it in a better way. If you focus on diet first, it’s really easy to go back to old habits. Start new physical habits and let the rest follow.
Think about the 80/20 rule: If you get 80% of your impact from 20% of what you do, what is that 20% for someone just starting?
Be intense in your 20%. Whether it fitness, work, friends, whatever! Give all of yourself when you have the opportunity to. Try hard. I hate that ‘I don’t even care’ mentality. I care so much about all the things that I do. Because I do things that are worth it to me.
Crossfit was something that Noah sort of randomly come across and has stuck with it ever since! “ I was eating lunch at EVOS, a little “healthy fast food” place in miami, and saw a flyer for a crossfit gym with a photo of a bunch of insanely fit people running on the beach and thought “man, I want to look like that!” So I called the number on the flyer for Peak 360 Crossfit, spoke to Guido Trinidad and and set up a time to try out my first class,” Noah explains.
Now don’t get me wrong, CrossFit wasn’t Noah’s first experience with fitness. Noah has always been quite the athlete. “I grew up playing a little bit of everything but lacrosse was my main sport. When I started High School I transitioned from the to wrestling to swimming and diving to playing water polo,” Noah says.
As an athlete, competitiveness is in Noah’s blood. So, it’s no surprise that when Noah got into CrossFit, competing was shortly to follow In 2011, Noah competed in his first CrossFit Games. “In 2011, I didn’t make it from the open to regionals but in 2012 I did. In 2012 + 2013, I just barely missed qualifying for the Crossfit Games. Finally in 2014, I made it to the Games. Rather than letting the losses deter me, I just let them fuel me to get better so that it wouldn’t happen again,” Noah recalls. Years later, he is still competing and is in amazing condition. “I am lucky that right now training and competing is my full time job,” Noah says.
When I hear the word CrossFit, I think of a very intense fitness practice. Something that is meant for those already in fit condition, however Noah disagreed! Why? Because he’s seen for himself how ANYONE can join in the CrossFit frenzy. “I really do believe crossfit is for everyone! Along with being a competitor, I have coached group crossfit classes for years, the workouts can be scaled (or adjusted) for anybody in anyway. Both of my parents started doing crossfit a few years ago, they are 52 and 62 and a number of gyms even run crossfit kids programs! And the best part is you can always get better, even when you hit a big PR you can always add a pound or two to the bar or push to move a little bit faster,” Noah exclaims!
Despite having so much success in CrossFit, Noah’s real accomplishment comes from the many people he has helped along the way. “I love both being able to inspire others who may have started something without much of a background in it, to be able to work hard at it and succeed and being able to enjoy the opportunities to travel and connect with people around the world and in the Crossfit community,” Noah says.
What advice would you give to a young person today who wanted to ditch a sedentary lifestyle and become more fit and healthy?
I would definitely recommend to try a class at their local crossfit affiliate. It’s a great way to get guidance from a coach and connect with a community that has similar goals and will help hold you accountable.
Why do you think a person’s mindset is so integral to their success?
I think your mindset can help keep you determined and on task to accomplish whatever goal you set for yourself. Being able to wake up everyday committed to do whatever it takes to reach it comes from having a strong belief in your own ability to succeed.
In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?
I think there is a misconception that you need isolation exercises to “get big” but i have been able to put on 30lbs of muscle doing full body exercises that are used in crossfit. Outside of Crossfit or weightlifting communities, the squat is an underutilized movement that is awesome for building full body strength, developing a strong and sturdy core, and adding muscle mass to your lower body.
What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?
There is so much you can do for your fitness with 0 pieces of equipment, but if I could only choose 3 pieces to have, I would say a barbell, dumbbell, and some sort of cyclical machine like a bike or rower.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tinchy of @FrecklesInMyMind makes progress through habits and routine
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“Be flexible but always have a plan.”
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.”
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.
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.
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!
Tabata Training is one of many forms of HIIT (high intensity interval training), and one of the largest growing trends sought after to achieve a marveled muscle makeover. The benefits are endless; you burn more fat, build a healthier heart, and increase your metabolism all the while. Not to mention, it’s an efficient use of your time, since HIIT offers a larger margin for results in a shorter time frame. Did we mention you don’t even need equipment? There’s also that beautiful attribute.
To better prepare our Sweat Journalers, we turned to Love Sweat and Fitness curator Katie Dunlop for her expertise advice on the subject matter. Below are a few FAQ on Tabata workouts paired with Katie’s responses. See what she has to say before you decide if you’re really about Tabata life.
Katie: Tabata is a style of HIIT. Typically, you chose an exercise and do it as hard as you can for 20 seconds with a 10 second break and repeat this 8 times. You can also chose 8 different exercises to challenge your entire body even more.
Q: What are the benefits of this type of workout?
Katie: The biggest benefit of these style workouts is that you’re able to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time and continue to burn even more after your workout is over. Some research has shown that a 4 minute Tabata workout can be more beneficial than a full hour of spin! It also helps increase endurance and stamina which makes it a great workout for everyone, even if weight loss isn’t your goal
Q: Sweat Journal: How would you rate the intensity level of this HIIT program?
Katie: HIGH! The goal is to push your body to the max for the 20 second burst which will leave you out of breath. Also, with such short recover periods, it’s one of the most intense HIIT style of workouts.
Q: Sweat Journal: What’s something everyone should know before signing up for this sort of workout?
Katie: Tabata is an extremely intense style of workout. It’s intended to push your body to the next level and create major change. The 10 seconds breaks will feel like they fly by, but try to get focus on getting your breath back and getting back at it. Make sure you listen to your body, rest when you need to and remember, every time you push your body a little harder, you get stronger!
Q: What’s one of the biggest misconceptions associated with Tabata Training (that you’ve encountered)?
Katie: I think many people are confused about the difference between Tabata and more traditional HIIT workouts. While they are similar, Tabata is truly intended to only be a 4 minute workout. You give your all out effort for each 20 second burst and that’s it, but when you are giving your full out effort, 4 minutes will be plenty! I like using the to push myself after a weight training day or by itself on a day I have SUPER short on time.
Sound good? If you’d like to explore other HIIT options, check out Katie’s YouTube video below.
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