Today, I quit my dream job.

Two years ago I was handed my dream job: Director of Fitness Programming and Community at ASICS. I joined a team tasked with building a fitness app from just an idea. I got to travel across the United States to curate a group of high-performance trainers and personalities to envision and create content. I got to decide what fitness programs should be created, how to execute them, and how a user would experience them in the app. Best yet, I was the head trainer! So —I was right there with the team creating the fitness programs that people would soon join from around the globe. And in those first 6-months, we dreamed up and built an app for one of the largest sports and fitness companies in the world.

Over the past two years, I’ve flown to Paris to serve as the Head Trainer for Elite Model Management, one of the top fashion modeling agencies in the world. I got to kick-off the largest music festival in the southeast, Bonnaroo. I got to travel to Berlin to film videos on behalf of ASICS for Europe’s largest footwear retailer, Zalando (the Zappos of Europe). I got invited to speak to top companies about how to best use influencers in their marketing. I got to travel to NYC to lead classes launching new apparel lines and sit on panels alongside Olympic athletes.

Over the past two years I got to do things I previously only dreamed of. Things that actually were so cool, they were beyond many of the dreams I had.

And today, I quit that dream job.

One of the most-asked questions I get on my blog and Instagram is “OMG I think it’s so cool what you do at ASICS, how can I get a job like yours?”.

Well…to even try to begin answering that question, I’d have to explain how it all started...

Two and a half years ago I got laid off.

I’ve never publicly shared this because I was — naturally — beyond embarrassed. I walked into my annual review at Withings, where I was the Global Social Media Manager, with a full deck prepared on what I wanted to do with the company next (build out a corporate wellness strategy to lead globally), and was instead told I was being let go. Turns out the big acquisition of Withings by Nokia that year wasn’t going my way.

With a small severance package, and a huge pride pill to swallow, I went out on my own and started E. Bailey Consulting. I had a background in Social Media Management and Influencer Marketing both through my own channels and through what I had built at Withings. But quite honestly, I just didn’t feel like I could trust another company. I loved my job at Withings. I loved my teammates. I loved our products. They just couldn’t love me back. And that’s called business.

I often feel that a job is like a relationship: you get out what you put in. Sometimes you’re carrying the extra weight, and sometimes it’s carrying you. And in this metaphor, I got dumped hard. And therefore wasn’t ready to trust another company again.

Standing on my own two feet was where I felt the safest. I took on more classes at EverybodyFights (EBF) so that I could at least pay my rent from my teaching income. And I figured if I couldn’t get consulting clients, or if I was a terrible consultant, I knew how to work an espresso machine so either Starbucks would hire me or in the least Jugos wouldn’t shut me out from working a blender.

That’s the thing about taking risks— you have to know you might fail. And you have to know what failure looks like for you. And you simply have to be ok with that. Not many people have that. I call it being able to “swallow a pride pill,” and find myself gravitating more and more to people who know how to do that. People who are ok with taking risks, who are ok with failure. Now, Failure doesn’t scare me anymore. Being too comfortable does.

I set out on my own and quickly got my first client: hello, EverybodyFights NYC! What a blessing. A company I loved, a team I adored, and a project I knew I’d be good at. They had two locations in Boston, one in Chicago, and it was time for them to take on NYC. I was hired to help build the EBF community in NYC. I am forever grateful for everything George (and Nicole) have taught me and trusted me with. And especially for believing in me then. I wasn’t always sure I believed in myself. In many of those moments failure didn’t feel too far away from where I was.

One thing I was also hyper-aware of was that I needed multiple sources of income because I couldn’t trust just one. If I got injured, I wouldn't be able to teach; if a client hated me, I could get dropped. So, I also launched my 12-week online training program, leaned into modeling and influencer work, and actually came out doing alright. I was juggling four solid sources of income. If one dipped, the other would pick up and so on. I had my plan A, B, C and D ready.

I didn’t have health insurance, made a few left turns, and was basically scraping by, but I was Doing It, and that felt great.

Fast forward a few months and I received what seemed like a random email from a woman named Sandrine, subject line “Runkeeper/ASICS/Withings/your new adventure”. She had come across a recent blog article of mine about how I was getting into consulting, and she wanted to chat about ASICS’ new project of online training and get a trainer perspective.

4 days later we meet for coffee: the SVP, CEO and myself. After an hour of chatting about the online training industry, training in general, what I was working on, and my thoughts on the fitness app space, I landed my second client.

After a few months of consulting with ASICS, my project with EBF ended, and ASICS offered me a full-time role. The project, now called ASICS Studio, was game on and taking all of my time. I loved the team, the environment, my work, and the flexibility ASICS offered me to continue to own my passions outside of the office, as well (training, modeling, blogging).

So I jumped in and accepted a full-time position as an employee, and thus closed my consulting shop. It simply felt right. In a series of wrong turns, or left turns, or U-turns, I somehow ended up exactly where I was supposed to be.

And for two years, I felt that to be true.

The thing about your dream job though, similarly to relationships, is that you grow, you change, and they grow, they change, and sometimes you grow together, and sometimes you grow apart.

{to be continued….}


Two Years Later: What do we deserve?

It's a surreal feeling waking up to 65,000 views on your blog that the day before averaged about 15 views a day... presumably my Mom hitting refresh to check for typos and trolls. 

It's a surreal feeling to wake up to an inbox flooded by shared stories of women experiencing sexual harassment all around the world. And choosing you to trust with their stories.

It's a surreal feeling to be inundated with interview requests from top publications like TIME, Huffington Post, Shape, SELF, various TV networks, and Runner's World... just to name a few.

But it was real. It was two years ago. And it will forever be the turning point in my life.

Two years ago I wrote a blog post What Do We Deserve?, while sitting at Stephi's on Tremont with my roommate, Julie by my side sharing lobster guacamole and red sangria on the hottest day in Boston... we were simply trying to escape our non-air conditioned third floor apartment. A scene I play over and over again in my head. I was mad. I was so frustrated I slammed down on my keys, face red with built up emotion, as words just poured out. And then I paused. I read what I wrote. And I sat with it for hours before I knew it was important enough to share. It was punchy. And something in me knew it was controversial enough that I might get some push back. I went to teach at EverybodyFights, came home, added images to the post, click 'save & publish' and went to bed.

Two years later that blog post now has over 5 million views and the whirlwind of unexpected events that arose since has taught me a thing or two:

1. Get out of your own way.

I almost never published that post. I didn't think I had the right to speak out, many women had experienced MUCH more severe harassment than I, they should say something. But what happened, was my words started the conversation. My words gave many women around the world the courage to speak out even if it was just to me. If we continue to be the ones to limit ourselves, who's going to be the one to speak out? Who's going to be left to make the change? If not you, who?

2. To act with courage is a practice.

No one is born innately courageous. Everyone has a little voice in their head saying "maybe don't do that, that sounds really scary." Some peoples voices might be a little louder than others, but that voice is in all of us. To act courageously, is a choice, it's a practice. To publish that blog post took an extra ounce of courage I didn't know I had. But that act of courage allowed me to get stronger. So a year later, I had enough courage to leave my job and start my own consulting business. And that took a crap ton of courage I didn't know I had. And now, I'm even stronger. And each time you choose to act with courage, each time you raise your own bar. 

3. You just got your first troll? That means you said something right.

I woke up the morning after the blog post went live to a man by the internet name of Timbuktu leaving comments on my blog aggressively refuting everything I had said in support of women. And not only did he leave his own opinions about how I was "asking for it" and "deserved worse harassment" than what I had shared, but he then proceeded to refute every positive comment I received on the post. 

I woke up freaked. Do I delete them? Do I block him? Do I take the post down? 

I called my mentor, friend and coworker who was our Director of Global Content at our company and written comedy and blogs for everyone asking all of these questions. And that's exactly what she said to me, "You just got your first internet troll? Congratulations Erin, that means you said something right. That means you said something worthwhile."

If you want to see change, if you want to create change, you're going to have to say and do some things people won't agree with. And you have to decide to be tough enough to take it. To stand by your words, and know you are strong enough to take the beating. You did something important. You did something right. You are a renegade.

4. Success doesn't stop with one victory.

Things go viral all the time. So yes, I wrote a post that over 5 million people around the world have read, but ya know what? Those 5 million people have read a lot of things. So no, that one post didn't mean I had made it. It meant I had just begun. It meant I had doors opened to me that I needed to choose which were best to walk through. It meant I had a taste of what social change I am capable of, and it was my responsibility to do something about that. It still is. 

5. Cliché, but yeah the world really is your oyster.

I used to see influential people whether they were CEO's, celebrities, entrepreneurs or social change makers as out of reach. I thought they had something different in their blood that meant they were destined for their success. That there was a divide between "them" and me. 

What I learned is that not only did I want to be one of "those people" but I could be. And I was becoming one. I had the potential. And not just myself, but you do too. What I began to learn about "those people" was that they did a few things:

  • They got out of their own way.
  • They practiced living their lives with courage.
  • They didn't let objection to their ideas or actions stop their momentum. 
  • They didn't settle at one success, but used it as a jumping off point.
  • They took life, and ran away with it.

Two years later and my life is different. It was like that blog post woke up my life. It shook me, and said "Erin, you my friend, are capable of more." 

Let this be the blog post to shake you. Let this be the post to wake you up. You my friend, are capable of more. Speak out. Act out. Live your life out loud. Your voice, your actions, your energy matters.

You have life, you have purpose.

Go live your life out loud.

All my love,

E.

The Leap.

So I left my full time job.

And then the scary reality sat in.

Salaried jobs come with an immense amount of security. You get benefits. You get a paycheck when you work. You get a paycheck when you don't work. You can take a sick day and still get paid. You can sit at home answer a few emails and still get paid. And then about once a year someone tells you you're going to get paid more money, because that's just how it works.

And for some crazy idea, I decided that life wasn't for me. And I left.

Now, I get paid when I work. I get paid based on the work I put in. I still haven't (fully) figured out my health insurance plan. And I'm currently working at least twice as many hours as I was and not getting paid as much.

But I've never felt more me

I've never felt more alive.

I've never felt more passionate.

Salaried jobs are wonderful for many people. But right now, for me, given what the past 9 months have been, I just felt like I couldn't do it. I couldn't devote myself fully to another company. I couldn't put so much time and effort into someone else's dreams. It was time to put that energy into my own.

I'd always dreamed of having my own online training program.

Women from around the world would message me for workout tips and I wanted a way to help people. They would share these incredible stories of drive and energy without results, I wanted to help them get those results. So I partnered up with my ultimate partner in crime, Meg, and created this 12-week online training program, Begin Again. I currently have my first round of women in and it's so amazing. I'm so humbled to work with each of them, and see them hungrily chase their fitness goals. Proud of you ladies!

I'd always dreamed of running my own Marketing Consulting business.

Over the past two years at in my role, I learned so much about what my 'sweet spots' were in marketing and what I could offer. I also learned about the types of brands and people I wanted to work with and represent. So I started E.Bailey Consulting (page coming soon) so that I could decide who I worked for and who I represented. The choice is mine. The effort is mine. I currently work with EverybodyFights helping them launch in NYC this summer. A company and team I have so much love and respect for. Grateful to be on the team.

I'd always dreamed of being a badass group fitness instructor.

Still a work in progress here, but now I have more time to devote to teaching and learning. To taking classes and learning from the real pros. To make kickass playlists, and practice my boxing combinations for class. I currently teach at two awesome gyms, EverybodyFights FiDi and Burn Fitness (Back Bay and South End). I love both, both unbelievably different and both equally wonderful.

I'd always dreamed of being a fitness model.

I wanted to work with and represent the brands that inspired me to get to where I am. The strong, ambitious women I would see in advertisements, the women that became role models. I'm lucky to have signed with two agencies, SLU (Sports Lifestyle Unlimited in Portland, OR) and Maggie (an awesome local Boston agency). I've sprinted, squatted, and snatched my way through Reebok photo and video shoots. And jumped, laughed, and strutted with my Crane & Lion family. Opportunities that weren't available to me with a "normal" job.

Now people have started to ask me what I do. What's my title? How did I get here?

I do a lot. I guess I'm a "Fitness Professional"? I worked for it. I chased it. I didn't let myself say no.

I'm scared, a little bit everyday. But I also trust myself. I know I won't let myself fall. I know I will fail. I know I will learn from it. I know this current situation may not work out. But this is my reality.

And if I can be honest with you for a minute? This is my dream job.

I just made my dream job.

One step at a time. And here I am.

Chasing joy.

Now go find yours. Go chase yours. Go create yours.

This life is too short to feel stuck. This life is too wonderful to not embrace. This one life is meant to be lived, make your impact.

Chase your joy.

Ebaileyfitness.jpg

Follow the journey on Instagram! @ebailey_fitness

Week 6: What Started As An Arranged Marriage

Something changed this week for me and my training. And the best way I can try to describe it, is from one of my favorite rom coms, The Wedding Planner. Love a good (or bad) Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy.

Side note: I think my life should be a rom com, so this analogy might be a bit of a stretch. Go with it. It has a happy ending.

About 2/3 of the way through The Wedding Planner there's a touching scene where JLo's Dad in the movie opens up to her that his marriage to her mother was an arranged marriage. He describes that she was actually in love with another man on their wedding day. For the first part of their marriage she only tolerated him, then began to appreciate him. Then how that appreciation turned into like. And eventually that like turned into love.

Welcome to my relationship with running. My arranged marriage with running began when I made a public announcement on the day of the 2016 Boston Marathon that I would run next (now this) year. Ok it's definitley different, I wasn't forced into it, but it wasn't my first choice. I had fallen in love with lifting. I loved squatting heavy, and holding my own in the weights section. My body was adapting quickly and the new challenge in my fitness routine was welcomed with open arms. Running wasn't on my agenda. Wasn't even really on the radar at all. But I made the announcement. I had verbally committed to the world I was running. 

Over the past few weeks that obligation had turned into appreciation. Appreciation for what my body could handle. Appreciation for this amazing running community welcoming me and supporting me, knowing I was a newbie. Appreciation for the sport and how effing hard it is.

This week though, that appreciation became like. This past week was the first week I began to look forward to my runs. I eagerly was looking at my plan a few days ahead of time to see what was coming and how I was going to tackle it. I got excited to tune back into my podcasts and tune out the rest of the world. I got excited to see the mileage I was going to cover, and looked forward to the feeling I knew I would get afterwards. 

I found myself smiling mid-runs. Probably looking a little like a crazy person. But this journey is becoming so much more than the 26.2 I thought I signed up for.

This week I spent a morning at Horizon's For Homeless Children in Roxbury. A morning touring their facilities and spending time with the kids. The beautiful, vibrant, smiling children, and amazing staff there to support them. This week it became so clear that this is about way more than myself, each mile I run I am literally running for them. Each mile began to mean more. My pain and discomfort eased up because it's about something bigger than I am. The pain they feel is greater than anything a mile or 26 could do to me. I'm fighting for them. 

I encourage you to help the fight. Your dollar, your commitment counts. Click here to donate.

This week a flip switched. My mindset switched. This week I began to truly like the process and love why I'm doing it. This week I'm finishing 27 miles and feeling so grateful, proud, and excited.

Week 6 Training:

Tuesday: 6 miles of hills and a Bags and Body class with Shane at EveryBodyFights

Wednesday: Off day

Thursday: 4 miles and an hour of boxing with G3 --> The new location opens next week!! Last few days if you want to get in at the lower rates. Email me for info!

Friday: 60min boxing with G3, 20min plyo legs circuit, 1 mile warm up

Saturday: 10 miles! Freaking cold! But felt so good :)

Sunday: Rest day. Veg day. Didn't leave the house day.

Week 4: Cross Training Fails and High Protein Granola Wins

Every week I'm learning a little more about what I can and cannot do during marathon training, or maybe should and shouldn't. These past couple weeks I've learned two main lessons:

  1. I can't lift heavy and train for a marathon.
  2. Eating for training for a marathon is different than eating to train for a bikini competition.

Lifting.

I should've learned this lesson during my half marathon training but apparently I didn't. My typical training program consists primarily of lifting and HIIT training, neither of which are in my marathon training program.

Yes, cross training is so important to keep your body strong during your runs... but I should've skipped leg day. 

Wednesday's are my mid-week off day of running and so I decided to lift my traditional leg day and was feeling pretty weak. I went for high reps and low-ish weight. I did a series of squats, squat jumps, Bulgarian squats, dead lifts, shoulder presses and rows. I was feeling good. 

Thursday morning I wasn't. My legs were heavy. And by Saturday for my 8 miles, my legs were like lifting led. They weren't sore but they were tired, and it was a terrible feeling slugging through 80 minutes of pulling what felt like dead weight. 

Lesson #1 of the week: I can't be a body builder and a marathoner. And that's OK.

I've been a body builder before, I can be a body builder again. Right now I want to be a marathoner. 

EATING.

Which also means I need to be eating like a marathoner. So much of how I learned how to eat to train was eating for a bikini competition show, which is 110% different than training for a marathon. Instead of counting calories and breaking down macros I'm eating tons of whole nutritious foods until my body is satisfied. I'm not counting calories because it doesn't matter in the same way it did for the show. My body needs way more carbs and fats to keep me satiated. I just have to focus on those carbs and fats coming from good sources: sweet potatoes (by the dozen), oatmeal, bananas, almond butter, avocados, cashews (and way more). 

I'm learning to retrain my brain to stop focusing on those big numbers so much and more on the ingredient list. I'm spending more time at Whole Foods (bummer :) ) and really paying attention to what I'm purchasing, taking the time to cook more and have more meals available to me for those post run RUNGRY feels. Which also means I've been playing with recipes and wanted to share my new obsession, homemade high-protein chocolate almond granola with ya'll!


High Protein Chocolate Almond Granola

Dry Ingredients: 

3c oats (I use Bob Mills Thick Cut Oats)

1/2c chopped almonds

1 teas cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

1/2c unsweetened applesauce

1/3c honey

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 scoops chocolate protein (I use Pescience Select Chocolate)

1. Preheat oven to 300 F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

2. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside

3. On the stove top over low-med heat combine all wet ingredients and continuously stir as to not burn the bottom. Heat until the mixture thickens up 5-6 minutes and then pour over wet ingredients. Mix well.

4. Spread mixture onto aluminum foil evenly and bake for 30-40 min, stirring every 5-7 minutes as to not burn.

5. Let cool and then enjoy with your favorite yogurt, nut milk (mine is from Jugos), or just on its' own!


This week's training plan: Jan 17th - Jan 23rd

Tuesday: 5 miles intervals --> I did this workout at MyStryde with Owner Becca, my first Endurance class!

Wednesday: Off day --> This was the faulty leg day. I'm going to start sharing some cross training workouts that incorporate strength but are manageable to balance with longer runs too.

Thursday: Off day --> 45min of boxing with George Foreman III at EveryBodyFights

Friday: Off day 

Saturday: 8 miles --> I felt really good during this run, it was also the day of the Women's March so seeing so many women walking to Boston Commons in their pink hats, I was fired up! I also was listening to Rich Roll's podcast with Coach about his experience in the Civil Rights Movement and being on stage with MLK during the 'I Have A Dream Speech'. How could you not crush your run during those!?

Sunday: Off day

Monday: 4 miles --> I got 3.5 in at MyStryde during Kelli's Power Stryde class, a series of hills, intervals and kettle bell work.

And as always, I'd love any and all support to help me reach my Boston Marathon fundraising goal of $9,000 for Horizons for Homeless Children. You can donate to the cause here! THANK YOU A MILLION!


Follow me on Instagram for the daily updates and activities! @ebailey_fitness <3 #WithErin

Protein Packed Blueberry Muffins

I think blueberries belong in everything, pancakes, salads, breads, muffins, cereal all of it. I love me some blueberries! So in very Erin fashion, I attempted to make my favorite baked good, muffins, healthier and with a little more protein. 

Insert Kodiak Cakes, if you haven't tried this brand you're missing out! They make great pancake mixes and oats, and have a "power" version loaded with protein. I used this as my base for the muffins. This mix can be found on Amazon, Targets and my local Star Market just started carrying it, whoop!

IMG_8656.JPG

I've been enjoying these muffins first thing in the morning as a little energy boost before my runs. They're relatively high in carbs (good carbs) which give me sustained energy for the day. Top them with a little almond butter and they're a perfect snack throughout the day as well. I usually eat two immediately out of the oven, and then freeze the rest in bags of two that I can take to work with me and have as an afternoon snack (they defrost themselves throughout the day).

Protein Packed Blueberry Muffins

1/2c Kodiak Power Cakes

2 scoops Pescience Vanilla Protein

1 Egg

 1c Almond Milk

1/4c Unsweetened Applesauce

1/2c Coconut Sugar

2 Mashed Bananas

1 teas. Cinnamon

1c Blueberries

Mix all wet ingredients together, slowly add dry ingredients. Bake at 350 for 12-18min. And YUM! I'd also recommend using foil muffin pan liners, they don't stick as much to the foil as they might to paper.

Makes 12 muffins. Serving 1 muffin: 152 cal, 30g carbs, 7g protein, 1g fat. 

Let me know what you guys think! Tag me on social, I wanna see those muffins!

<3

 

Marathon Monday (Week 3/16): Find Your Stryde.

Ok in an attempt to blog my marathon prep, I'm three weeks in and this the first real post. Good Erin, good. Life gets busy and I'm having a hard enough time making time for the runs let alone blogging about them, but I want to give you all an inside look at what it's like to train for a marathon as a "non-runner".

Now before I get my head chopped off for calling myself a non-runner, I'm simply sharing this because I don't love running. It's not my preferred form of exercise, it's something I do but typically no more than 3-4 miles at a time. So for me, 26.2 sounds like a heck ton. Because it is. This training is going to be quite difficult for me. Yes I am a "fitness professional," but I traditionally train for very different things and that will only help me so much when it comes to running for four hours straight. 

This week, week 3, was all about creating consistency for me. I'm back from holidays and work travel and out of excuses. Do the runs. Focus on how your body feels. Fuel your body for your runs. Stay in on Friday night (so you have energy for Saturday's long run). 

This week's schedule and results: (As created by my badass coach Steve Mura with NYRR)

  • Tuesday: 5 miles Fartlek (I chose to make this my MyStryde training day, more on this below)
  • Wednesday: Rest Day (I went to the gym for a circuit of wall balls, kettle bell swings, box jumps, and some shoulders)
  • Thursday: 4 miles (I only had time for two...weak Erin, weak. I also had my first boxing lesson with George Foreman III, so got in some cardio and tons of arms/core).
  • Friday: Rest Day (I did plyometrics and lots of core and stretching)
  • Saturday: 7 miles (Felt like a champ after this one! Listened to Rich Roll's podcast and ran slow and steady. I was practically surprised the 7 miles were up at the end, thank you podcasts).
  • Sunday: Rest Day/Pedicure Day (I had just gotten a massage on Saturday so I'm saving the pedicure for next week).
  • Monday: 4 miles (I did 5 because I didn't gauge the distance well and just felt great so why not. Plus I was listening to the Rich Roll podcast with David Goggins, OH MY GOD go listen now. It'll make you want to run 100 miles. Seriously.)

My biggest lesson this week was to find joy in the process. Something I PREACH often, but hadn't applied to my marathon training yet. If you've talked to me in person my attitude isn't all there. I've certainly not been excited about my runs, and been a massive baby about the cold. This week I dug deep and really reflected on the process and how I actually feel about it rather than how I think I should feel. I had this overwhelming realization that the runs I do look forward to are at MyStryde.

I mentioned before that I'm partnering with them for my training, but I honestly did it because I know it's freaking cold here and going to snow and I wanted a place I could train inside. What I didn't realize I was going to find was that MyStryde is where I feel like a runner. And that's a big statement. MyStryde is what gives me the confidence to know I can conquer the other 3-4 runs i have that week on my own. MyStryde is what makes me feel like I can freaking do this.

It's not about running on treadmills to loud music. It's about the badass coaches reminding you every step of the way that you have a why, find your why, dig deep, and add a little speed. Because you can. And then you do. It's about the people running beside you sweating it out that are keeping you going, because you're in it together. It's about the combination of tread work and floor work, keeping your full body engaged and strong. It's about the strategic programming of intervals and hills you hit at speeds you'd never dream of doing on your own. It's about walking in a little nervous, and walking out feeling like a freaking powerhouse. 

MyStryde is what adds joy to my training. So grateful for the awesome team there and letting me be a part of it. If you're in Boston and want to check it out just let me know! I know they'd be happy to have you :)

Now off to Week 4. Let's do this.

If there are any specific marathon training topics you want me to cover or questions you have just post them below! I'd love to hear your thoughts and want this to be as helpful for you as it is a journal of the process for me. Much love <3

2016: A Year of ME.

2016 was the year I learned it's OK to put myself first. We often feel obligations to others, friends, family, work. And yes, there is a certain amount of selflessness necessary to maintain relationships and contribute to your community, but you can't help others if you aren't fully yourself.

You can't pour from an empty cup.

2016 was the year I put myself first. I put my self doubt aside. I put my obligations on the (side) burner. And I chose me. I woke up each morning and made my mental to-do list based on what I wanted and needed. I chose to spend my time with those who meant the most to me, with those that supported and lifted me up and those I could do the same for. I chose to dedicate my (limited) free time to the thing that fueled my soul, teaching.

And you know what that did for me? It turned 2016 into my pivotal year. 2016 kind of rocked for me.

In 2016, I began to seek my true north and never have I felt closer (with still a long ways to go). I began teaching fitness classes with some of the top Boston fitness companies. Building a new fitness family here I'm truly proud of and inspired by everyday. 

One of my very first group fitness classes I ever taught! So happy to still be working with DareUFitness and see my Kensington kids every Tuesday night.&nbsp;

One of my very first group fitness classes I ever taught! So happy to still be working with DareUFitness and see my Kensington kids every Tuesday night. 

In 2016, I ran the Ragnar Cape Code race, 200 miles in 24 hrs with 12 complete strangers. Living in a van and continuing to be surprised by how far my legs could carry me (with no training). I created bonds with an amazing group of people supporting each other and pushing ourselves for the good of the team. We became fast family ending our adventure with Frosé and the sand between our toes.

My Reebok Ragnar team &lt;3&nbsp;

My Reebok Ragnar team <3 

In 2016, the company I work for got purchased, and we're fighting through this transition, becoming even closer as teammates and coworkers to love and support each other in our careers and tough decisions. I'm still fighting.

My Withings Marketing team, US and France, celebrating the acquisition on a roof top in Paris.

My Withings Marketing team, US and France, celebrating the acquisition on a roof top in Paris.

In 2016, I made a difficult decision to walk away from a loving and wonderful man to pursue my dreams. I'm lucky that he respected my selfish decision and we remain good friends (with cats!).

Brady &amp; Cleo &lt;3

Brady & Cleo <3

In 2016, I traveled to Europe by myself. I drank beer on the streets of Dublin with charming Irish men. I fell back in love with my favorite city, London reuniting with the people that made it feel like home to begin with. I danced through the streets of Barcelona on those warm summer nights. But ultimately, I had many meals in beautiful restaurants requesting a table for yes, just one. I sat alone with my thoughts, and felt at peace with myself. I felt proud. I felt overwhelmed. I felt alone. But I'd never felt more whole.

In 2016, I wrote a blog post that went viral overnight. I let go of my innate reaction to not push the boundaries, to not say anything too controversial. And it caught fire, my story was heard and hundreds of men and women reached out to share their stories with me as well. In the midst of this isolating digital world, we connected over a common passion, to speak out against street harassment. To change a societal norm.

In 2016, I was approached by Reebok to join them in a fitness photoshoot for their Spring/Summer functional training line. While it wasn't ideal timing for me to take off work for the shoot, I had to jump at the opportunity. And because of it, I'm proud to say I've now signed with an agency, SLU as a fitness model.

In 2016, I made new friends who changed the way I think about the world. Friends who challenged my thoughts, my ambition. Friends who support me endlessly. Friends who sat with me and held my hand when my blog comments section became personal attacks. Friends who donated to my Boston Marathon fund challenging me to endless burpees. Friends for life.

In 2016, I found some incredible mentors. People who have opened up a world I didn't know I could dream of being a part of. People who see greatness and lift it up. People who are so smart and caring, I'm honored to be in their life.

In 2016, I set out to run the 2017 Boston Marathon and am honored to be running it for Horizons For Homeless Children. Fighting through 26.2 miles for them.

And as always, forever grateful for my family who stuck with me through all of it. Who supported each crazy decision I made. Who brought me back down to earth in the midst of the hurricanes. Who immediately booked tickets to Boston to be there at the finish line. Who love me unconditionally. How lucky am I to have these wonderful people be my family. <3

I made a lot of selfish decisions. And each of those decisions opened up opportunities for me to meet new people, to help others in a way I couldn't have before. In a shocking way, being selfish made me more connected to others. It made me more aware of how I can help the world. It made me more compassionate, more honest, more engaged. I've never felt more myself, more excited for each day, and more eager to continue moving forward.

Putting yourself first isn't a bad thing. It's a necessary thing. You can't be everything to all people. Be selfish. Be true to you.

In 2017, I have some pretty lofty goals set. Goals I'm going to be selfish with and not share with you just yet. But good things are coming, big things are coming.

My mantra of 2016:

Shut it down.

And my mantra for 2017:

Chase Joy.

"Discovering more joy does not, I'm sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet, as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without being hard. We have heartbreak without being broken." - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy.

Conquering Your Mt. Everest #26.2

I've never had any desire to run a marathon. In fact running is often something I feel like I should do or enjoy more than I actually do. It takes time, and let's be honest, I'm just plain slow. I enjoy lots of forms of exercise, running isn't on the top of my list.

But you know what I do love? Conquering things I initially think I can't do. That's what fitness is for me. It's the mental and physical battle that I can win. That I will win. Because I don't stop until I do. In fact if someone is telling me about something they've just done (Ragnar Race, physique competition, 1100 burpees) and my first thought is "hell no" my second thought is usually, "alright, let's go."

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