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.

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.

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

When it rains, it pours.

It was a really rainy week, figuratively and literally.

Ok. I'm not proud of everything I'm about to say, actually most of what I'm about to say. But this week I had the conversation to quit prepping for the bikini fitness competition too many times. It was all too much. My head wasn't in it. My heart wasn't in it. My stomach definitely wasn't in it. I had all but given up.

A couple weeks ago I started [two] new jobs. The past six months I've really been looking for a new challenge and thus had started to purse several different avenues to see what stuck. The problem was ironically, they all stuck. The fitness competition started as a way to give myself a new challenge and a new focus. I had time to learn about different workout techniques. I had time to meal prep and try new recipes. I had time to workout at lunch and made time to workout with my trainer. But two jobs later, I lost all of that time and something had to give.

I recently became a part-time trainer which was honestly my perfect scenario that I was thinking about when I was going through my NASM CPT training. I didn't want to be a full-time trainer, I wanted a marketing career in health/fitness and have a couple clients on the side. Turns out that sweet gig is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find. Until I found this position and got my couple clients on the side. But now those hours after work that I had for my training have become quite limited. That same week, I got my new job, which also happened to be my current "dream job." You never turn those opportunities down. 

So here we are. I just finished week one at my new job, which is going really well! I'm the new Social Media Manager at Withings, a connected health company based in Paris with our North American office in Cambridge. Like anything new, it shakes up your life a bit, shakes up your routine. My world was centralized in one area, my apartment, gym, and office were all within a mile of each other. I worked a very 9-5 job and my gym was literally next door. I had no excuses.

Now I walk 1.8 miles every day to/from work, in the opposite direction of my gym, and polar opposite direction of my trainer. My new office supplies snacks, which is so generous, but they aren't in my diet plan and end up as added temptation. So this week work wise was great! I am definitely working longer hours [I'm new, and social media never sleeps], but I really feel like I am doing what I want to do. But sometimes somethings gotta give...and this week it was my fitness competition.

I only had time to do two of my five workouts this week and only one of my two cardio days. And neither of those workouts felt good, nor satisfying. My body wasn't moving. My mind wasn't in it.

Then Wednesday we hosted an even at the Apple Store on Bolyston to train Apple employees on our new products and demo some for customers. The day at Apple ended up being from 1:30-8:00PM. I cracked. Halfway through I got a venti black tea [and a chocolate chip cookie] and after ended up ordering dinner [pizza]. Then Thursday it was supposed to by my workout with Johnny but late into the day I felt swamped and being new couldn't leave in time to meet him. So I cancelled my workout [again, SORRY Johnny!!!] and was later peer pressured into grabbing drinks with a few new coworkers. I cracked. I came home and thought I couldn't do it. It just [again] wasn't the right time.

I was wrong. It is the right time. It's exactly the right time. I was blessed before to have such a conducive schedule to work my fitness competition prepping around, but that's obviously not always going to be the case. This fitness comp was so black and white for me. I was all in or all out. Which is great, except that life isn't going to tee it up for me, I have to create the opportunity and stick to my commitments. I'm allowed to cave without failing. I'm allowed to have a crazy week, and do my best within it. They won't always be that crazy, I'm not here to quit.

I love to workout out. I love eating well and feeling those benefits. I love the community I've become a part of because of this fitness passion. But just because I love it, doesn't mean I'm going to feel that same love and passion everyday. This week I needed to be reminded of that, and most of all reminded of why I'm doing this. I need motivation too, I'm only human. 

Such truly perfect timing for my motivation occurred on Thursday. I was at Commonwealth with coworkers last night finishing my one beer getting pressured for the second and I get a Facebook message from a girl I went to college with. I girl I looked up to because she was on our collegiate tennis team at UNCW. I knew her through the tennis community, no one I was ever super close with but someone I really admired. She's got a killer backhand, and I had literally just seen that she finished a marathon this weekend before I got her message. She expressed how impressed she was with what I was doing and how I was inspiring people. I wrote back explaining the coincidental timing of her message and how much I needed it. She left me with this:

I have had a few weeks where it becomes more of a hassle to train then anything, but it definitely pays off!

We're all just human. We all need motivation, love and support. This is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Sometimes life tests you, and sometimes life wins. But it only made my mental game stronger. I just left the gym after a great cardio and leg session. My boyfriend and I have salmon and brussel sprouts in the oven and I'm back at it.

8 weeks baby. This week I thought I failed, but I think I just got stronger.

"Failure doesn't come from falling down. Failure comes from not getting up."