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. 

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 <3 

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.

VIDEO: Tuesday's are Leg Days

In case you didn't know by now, on Tuesday's I teach a bootcamp class for my coworkers at lunch. We call it Leg Day, because it originated from one of my coworkers Carlos asking for a few leg exercises to switch up his routine, and it snowballed into lots wanting to join in! Now it's a staple and I love it.

I've realized I love teaching and inspiring others to push themselves and I feed off of all the awesome positive energy that transpires. Lately I've had lots of people (outside of my office) reaching out and asking for workouts, I wish I could help everyone individually (head to my online training tab if you're interested in customized plans!), but until then here is our leg day session from this week. Follow along with me for the first circuit and then I'm challenging you to complete four more, that's right I said FOUR! You got this!

For equipment this week we used a bar with 10lbs on each side, and a step platform with five risers on each side:

You can substitute the bar for dumbbells and the risers for anything elevated and sturdy, could be a chair, your stairs or a couch. I'll leave that up to you.   

Leg Day 10.20.15

10 Step-ups (each leg)

10 Step-ups w/ jump (each leg)

10 Deadlifts

10 Rows

10 Bicep curls

12 Curl&Press

Ready. Set. GO!

Let me know how it goes for you, and did you end up challenging yourself to five rounds?!

You're a rock star.

About last night ... #NikeBoston

I love Nike. I've always loved Nike. It's a brand I can't get enough of, from their motivational social posts, to sleek gym wear, and now their classes. 

On Monday night at 8:04 PM Nike Town hosts a bootcamp style workout class for free here in Boston. I found out about it because a few of my Boston trainer idols were selected to be Nike Trainers and lead the classes.

Let's also just preface this by saying that's my dream, to be a Nike Trainer.  

If you know me at all, you'll know I'm in bed by 10PM at the latest on week nights, so a class ending at 9 is LATE! (which is why it took me months to go!). I even signed up for one three weeks ago, and ended up locking myself out of my apt and with both my roommates and bf gone I was stranded for a while and thus missed the class. Literally everything was keeping me from trying this class, until last Monday. 

Group huddle to start class

Group huddle to start class

I was tired, but I'd had an indulgent weekend so I thought I could use the second workout on this particular Monday. I headed there a little early knowing that if I sat on the couch any longer I wasn't getting back up. I got there, checked in, and then re-introduced myself to one of the trainers, Dustin, that was leading that night.

Dustin and Christina

Dustin and Christina

He owns the Barry's Bootcamp in Boston and had kicked my ass a little while back (luckily still remembered me!). Then class got started, we began with a group huddle and got ready for an awesome class. It was filled with body weight exercises and plenty to get your heart rate up. I was SWEATING about 15 min in. I love that. 

About half way in we had to get a partner for a few moves, the woman beside me asked me be my partner, her name was Jen and little did she know but she was one of my Boston trainer idols. She's also a Nike Trainer but just came this week to do the workout. She was actually supposed to run the class the week before when I had locked myself out and missed it. She also recognized me because of social media, and was wonderful to chat with as we went through the partner section.

Jen and I doing pistol squats as part of the partner workout.

Jen and I doing pistol squats as part of the partner workout.

At the end of the class I of course had to go re-introduce myself to the other trainer there, Christina, who teaches at FlyWheel. I had taken a class with her a while ago because of a mutual friend Lisa, who was holding a charity event there. We ended the night with me admitting I stalk all three (Jen, Christina and Dustin) on Instagram. 

My Boston trainer idols: Jen, Dustin, Christina

My Boston trainer idols: Jen, Dustin, Christina

I felt so inspired, that even after getting home late yesterday from work, I quickly changed and ran to Nike to make sure I made it in time for class. It's one of those things that sets a great tone for my week, and adds the cardio into my workouts that I neeeeeddddddd but hate doing on my own. 


It's been a while since I posted, I didn't know what was next for me (in terms of fitness) after my bikini show. I had kept up my workouts, but then had a knee injury, then I was invited to run the NYC Marathon with only 8 weeks to prep (decided it wasn't smart). I've been all over the place. I've been flirting with the idea of getting spin certified, and have also started teaching a bootcamp for my coworkers on Tuesdays, and I realized I love it.

Challenge accepted: Get hired to teach group fitness classes. Still figuring out if that's spin or a bootcamp...I don't have all the answers yet :)

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting." - Pualo Coelho.

Let's Talk About Food.

Um now I know why diets don't work. The amount of food I ate after my show is unreal. It has taken me the past two weeks to finally level out. For about a week I ate anything and everything I could just because I hadn't had it for at least 3 months. It was pathetic. And ironic considering the entire point of my prep was to demonstrate self discipline and then as soon as it was over I had NONE! But I loved all of it.

Let's take it back a night, Ryan and I had to prepare for the big feast ahead (Ryan got a head start as I raided the candy isle)...

The night of the show we went out to Precinct (Jen also brought us post-show donuts) and I had an Alagash which is what I had been CRAVING like crazy. Plus I had sliders including pork belly, lobster and crab cakes. YUM! Then Ryan had stock up on all my favorite things including carrot cake, coffee cake, half baked ice cream, guac, wine and beer. It was heavenly.

The next morning I had my Dad's famous cookies for breakfast because ya know...why not :) Then I took Ryan to the Four Season buffet brunch to thank him for being so supportive throughout the whole journey. We ate the place clean. Blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, oats, poached eggs, waffles, caramelized bananas, omelettes, meat and cheese plates, then desserts GALORE!!

That afternoon we recuperated from stuffing our faces... then went to dinner at the Salty Pig and had garlic knots, meatballs, and PIZZA!

The next day we walked around Boston and ended up stopping by Anna's Taqueria which is Ryan's all time favorite meal. It was my first time there so we split a MASSIVE quesadilla...

Then hung around all afternoon drinking Rosé until we headed to Barcelona for white wine and tapas. (I also finished the carrot cake and a second pint of half baked this night...it wasn't pretty).

Coach Johnny sent me a reverse diet plan on Monday which I loosely followed. It's basically used to help rebuild your metabolism so you don't eat everything in sight like I did and gain 6 pounds immediately.

I don't even feel bad about it though. It has been really nice not feeling guilty about ordering Indian food when I don't want to cook, or be able to say YES to unlimited sushi night with friends and always order a glass of white wine with dinner. 

I'm back tracking my food, just good to be slightly aware of what I'm eating but I'm enjoying my ice cream nights all the same! I've even started to throw in a little morning cardio a few times a week just because I actually like starting my day like that now. It's amazing what you find out you like doing when it's not something you have to do...or eat. Like egg whites, I still start my days with egg whites and salsa. Just because I like them.

It does feel weird not to have my next goal set up. So any ideas please let me know!

Stepping OFF the Scale.

Some weeks are better than others, and some weeks are better than you think. I stopped stepping on my scale about ten days ago because the number kept going up. At first little by little, and then I was three pounds higher than where I wanted to be. That messes with you head.

When you're dedicating months of your life, to achieve a goal, you make benchmarks you want to hit. Your daily schedule is dictated by this one goal, and when you stop hitting those benchmarks....it messes with your head. 

I've been trying to lean out and I have been feeling leaner and my "abs" make small appearances here and there, but that damn number on the scale is going up!? So I walked into last nights workout/checkin with my coach feeling just kinda womp. Ya know?

So we took body fat measurements, the true test. And let me tell you, that womp feeling was turned right around!! I haven't tested body fat in six weeks, so at eight weeks out I was at 14.6% body fat which was honestly an awesome starting point. I was worried about getting that down, I'm naturally lean, would my body lean out that much more?

I am so proud to say at 15 days out I am at 11% body fat. 11%! I've never been 11%. 11% feels good on me.

Right before we started the caliber measurements I asked Johnny what we were hoping for. He said 11.5% would be great and that was his guess to what I was at. Well take that 11.5%! I'm 11%.

So let's talk numbers. I'm really glad I stopped weighing myself daily, it's good to check in every few days but you cannot dictate your success based on a number on a scale. In the six weeks since my last body fat check in, I had GAINED 1.5 pounds of muscle (which is kinda rare and really exciting because that's when I've  been "cutting" and normally when people lose muscle mass) and LOST 5 pounds of fat! Whoop!

I was frustrated that the scale wasn't changing the way I wanted it to but I was getting leaner which now all makes sense! While I was losing fat (good thing) I was gaining muscle (GREAT thing). So see?? The scale is not all it's cracked up to be.

New goals: Lose 1 pound of fat, and sit at 10% body fat when I walk on stage.

Other really exciting developments...

I did my first pull-up last night!

Do you know how hard it is to do a pull-up? Really hard. It was one of my resolutions. Nailed it.

So ya see, sometimes a womp kind of week just really turns around.

Also I had some really yummy meals this week.

15 Days. Get. At. Me.

21 Days: Highs and Lows

I'm exactly three weeks out from the Jay Cutler Classic Boston today. THREE WEEKS!! Hard to believe it's so soon. I'm making progress that I feel really proud about. It was a tough week this week, kicking my training into another gear, adding morning cardio sessions, and have three extra depleted carb days. This was the first week I really felt like my diet was taking a toll on my body. Coach saw it too, so today I got a high carb day!! Whoop Whoop!! Pancakes on pancakes for me!

For this weeks' check-in I thought I'd share my highs and lows for the week. Always starting with the lows so we can end on the high notes!


Lows:

- My diet was TOUGH this week. I've been sitting at 1359 calories for a couple weeks now. This week on my non-lifting days (two cardio days and one plyometrics day) my carbs were almost entirely taken away putting me at 1189. Hard to stick to and hard to maintain energy to get through the day.

Energy levels were at an all time low. Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday I had a hard time keeping my eyes awake and my body moving! Just felt like a slug.

Huge apology to my coworkers who felt that wrath (Sorry Steph!). I was Hangry Erin.

- Morning Cardio. I'm a morning person in the sense that I like to wake up early and lounge in my Pjs and drink coffee on the couch for an hour before I start my day. I don't like morning workouts. But to jump start my metabolism for the day, coach gave me two days to do morning cardio. 30 minutes of hills. Just how we all like to start our days.


Highs:

- Leg day. This should probably be a high and a low. KILLER leg day on Monday. My body responds best to high reps and this workout was all supersets, high reps (15-20), 3-4 sets, lunges lunges and more lunges. OUCH!! But a really good ouch. My glutes were sore for 3 days. 

Nike Outlet. A new shopping center just north of the city opened a while ago but my world revolves around where I can get on two feet, thus I hadn't been yet. Ryan and I ventured out there and HELLO NIKE OUTLET!!! It was beautiful. Too exciting really. I got red shorts, a couple t-shirts, a cute striped sports bra and new shoes!!

- High Carb days. Enough said.

- My favorite songs for the week!

  • "Steal My Sunshine" - Len (throwback!)
  • "Peanut Butter Jelly" - Galantis 
  • "Unbreakable Smile" - Tori Kelly
  • "Say My Name (feat. Zyra) - RAC Mix - ODESZA (on repeat!!)
  • "Trampoline" - Kalin and Myles
  • "America's Sweetheart" - Elle King (currently loving everything by her)

- PROGRESS!!! I've felt great this week. Strong, fierce, and more and more ready everyday.

"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." - Fred Devito.

Instagram(Inspirations).

I love Instagram. I'm on it all the time. Whether I'm shamelessly uploading gym selfies or browsing through posts at lunch, I love it all. What I love most about Instagram is the health and fitness community I've found. I often need an extra push to go to the gym, or a small reminder to stay on diet. That's what Instagram has been for me, an added tool to connect with like-minded people and stay on track!

I wanted to share a few of my favorite people/pages that I follow and you should follow too!


@katefit_

Meet Kate! She's wonderful. We connected back in the fall as we both went through the NASM training to be personal trainers simultaneously. Since then she has launched her own training business and website you can check out here! I really like her page because she posts quick workouts you can do at home, beginner yoga challenges and her adorable husky. 


@rawfigure

Meet Cathee! We actually met randomly at the gym (Equinox), I had seen her around for a few weeks and she absolutely crushes it. She's wonderful, extremely determined and traveled international to compete in figure competitions. It's great seeing her lovely, familiar face in the gym. I love her Instagram because her abs are insane (amazing motivation) and she often posts simple clean recipes that I love to help switch up my normal diet. She also introduced me to #BuffButter so God bless her for that! Check out her website here.


@emmakate_92

Meet Emma! I randomly found her but I really like her page because of her authenticity. She's currently in college studying accounting and training/prepping for NPC competitions. Knowing how hard it is to stay on track with a career, I can' imagine how much will power it must take to do it in college! She's so cute and not afraid to tell you about her crazy cravings and fights through them!! Plus I love all her Nike gear, duh. Her next show is in one week so good luck to you lady!!


@fitmissdani

Meet Dani! She's a college student at my alma mater, UNCW! She teaches several classes at the college gym (which I always thought was a cool job and wish I had done!). I love her page because like Emma, she does a great job of balancing the healthy life with the college life. My favorite though is she posts amazing and simple recipes that are so yum. Her sesame tofu recipe is bomb!


Then I of course wanted to share the pages of the girls on my Anthrofit Team! They are a constant source of support and inspiration!

@lorenpete1991 @ashley_hatcher @jcfitness4u @nicole_kulma @johnny_loreti


And don't forget to follow my page! @ebailey_fitness