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

Faster. Stronger. Smarter.

My senior year of high school I took Krav Maga classes three nights a week (with Dad! #bonding) for my senior project. While it was beneficial for me to learn self defense maneuvers, the majority of the class was actually fitness conditioning. The philosophy behind this idea was the better trained you are physically the better chance you have to protect yourself and get away if necessary. You need to be faster, stronger and smarter.

My last blog post hit a chord with thousands, and it's because so many of us have been exposed to harassment in one capacity or another. At one point we've felt our lives were threatened. It's sparked a conversation not many were willing to have. And now what do we do? Now we're admitting harassment is an issue, how do we stop it?

I don't know. Speaking out is one thing, but protecting ourselves is another. Many people reached out to me directly sharing their stories of being victimized, whether it was through words or physical action. It's heartbreaking. It's appalling. It's wrong.

How do we stop it?

This is not a self defense post, but simply a let's get faster, stronger, smarter together. Women I want you to keep running, keep working out, keep living. I want you to feel safe and empowered. So together, let's get stronger.

Today I'm sharing a quick workout you can do anywhere using just your body weight. It will increase your stamina and your strength. Full workout and tunes to match are posted below!

5 moves, 60 seconds each, 4 rounds 

  • Squat jumps
  • Walkouts
  • Plyometric lunges w/ pause
  • Frog planks
  • Plank dips

And hey in case you needed some jams to go with your workout today, here are my recent song obsessions:

"I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it." - Maya Angelou <3

For more workouts and tips follow me on Instagram @ebailey_fitness!

What do we deserve?

I am a 25 year old female living in Boston. I'm 5'8" tall and weigh 132 lbs. I have dark brown medium long hair and green/hazel eyes. I'm flat chested and the curves I have are built by hours, months and years I spent working in the gym. 

I wear a size small in my Nike compression shorts that I like to wear when I workout because I push myself hard enough for every pore on my body to sweat. So I'm sticky, gross and smelly and looser baggy clothing just gets in my way of my workout.

I often run in just a sports bra because it's 85 degrees with 50% humidity and I'm training for a half marathon and so 7-10 miles in that heat with layers is plain brutal.

So now tell me, what do I deserve?

Earlier this summer I headed to a local park in the South End of Boston to push myself in an outdoor bootcamp workout I was testing for the upcoming week of classes I teach. It was a hot Saturday afternoon and halfway through my workout I had a guy come over to me from across the park and start talking to me from a few feet away. I took my headphones out thinking he was asking me something, instead my ears were filled with profane things he "wanted to do to me".  

Last week I was going for a run before work to clock four miles for my half marathon training. I ran past a parking garage that has an attendant in the front to direct traffic between cars exiting and people crossing. A thankless job, I smiled gave him a wave to thank him and kept running. I took two steps before he yelled after me a "MM HMMMM". Like he was salivating over a steak.

Yesterday I was walking to the laundromat to drop off clothes before heading out to teach a class. Walking out of the laundromat I decided to sneak in the 7Eleven next door to see if they carried my new favorite ice cream brand so that I could come grab some after class. A man so kindly held the door open for me, I thanked him and walked inside. They didn't have the brand so just 60 seconds later I walked back out and he was sitting on the other side of the street watching me come out. I turned down the side walk and he crossed the street to follow me. He even yelled at me to stop and wait for him.

So now you tell me, what do I deserve?

Because this is about 5% of the harassment I have been a victim of this year. And this isn't even the worst of it. What about the nights I'm out with my friends and just because I have heels on and am at a bar it gives anyone the right to hiss, yell or even grab me or my friends. 

Or what about the gym. Or what I like to think is my safe zone. The one place I feel men should respect me most because there I feel like we're on the same playing field. There I feel the most empowered. There I feel the most belittled by the comments, by the glares and by the entitlement.

I had a man come up to me a couple months ago at the water fountain in the gym as I was filling up my water bottle he waited patiently. He then told me he liked my leggings, that they made my ass look great, and they'd look better off.

Don't ask me what I was wearing. That's not the question. 

If we stopped doing things that felt or seemed dangerous, we wouldn't live.

Am I supposed to stop going to the park? Am I supposed to not run in downtown Boston in the broad daylight? Am I supposed to not go to 7Eleven or the laundromat at 6PM on a Wednesday night? Am I supposed to not go to the gym?

I am careful. I don't go to dangerous places alone. I don't run in dodgy areas by myself. I carry keys on me, and soon pepper spray to put my Moms mind at ease. But that's not the point.

What do I deserve? 

I deserve to be treated like a human, not just a woman, because that means something different these days. 

And us women, what do we deserve?

We deserve not to feel silenced by your yells.

We deserve to feel empowered for bettering ourselves.

We deserve to feel sexy in our own skin without feeling like we're here to bait you.

We deserve to speak out without the threat of you lingering on our minds.

We deserve to run outside.

We deserve to be judged on our merits, not our outfits.

We deserve more. A whole lot more.

I've told these stories to many friends. And the more I shared the more my female friends shared too. And so many of their stories are worse. So much worse.

I want you to speak out. I want you to break your silence. I want to hear your stories. 

What do we deserve? More.


UPDATE: This post has struck a chord with so many of you and I am so grateful. Your voices are being heard. I have read every comment even if I have not been able to respond. Keep commenting, keep sharing and keep spreading the love!

Unfortunately I had to disable the comments section. It went to an extremely rude and offensive place. For all of you that took this seriously, thank you. Your voices were heard. <3

And for more more fitness inspiration and tips, join me on Instagram @ebailey_fitness !

VIDEO: My Top 6 Ab Exercises

Per request (I love requests) this weeks video is all about those abs! I love core workouts, but honestly don't do enough of them myself. During prep for my show I hardly ever did isolated core workouts. When you're lifting especially heavy, your core is (has to be) engaged the whole time which gives you a great core workout in itself. However post show I'm back to ab workouts because I think they're fun, weird I know.

So here are my top 6 favorite ab exercises. Go through the first round of each of them with me, give yourself a 90 second break and then you've got two more rounds! Get to it!

Abs

10 Crunches
10 Leg Lifts
10 Weighted Toe Touches
10 Weighted Sit-Ups
5 Reverse Crunch --> Pike
10 Plank Jacks

Let me know what else you guys want to see!

VIDEO: Lunch Time = Sweat Time

Week two of video taping our Tuesday Leg Day lunch time workouts, so I'll get right to it! This week I added a few moves in-between just to keep our heart rate up. If we were to be honest with ourselves, none of us do enough cardio (us being the leg day crew). We like to focus on lifting so this Tuesday workout has become a 45 min HIIT workout, lifting and cardio. We all win. 

The lovely Ala agreed to stay and run through the circuit one more time with me for the video, so props to her for the additional round!! and BONUS, we added some abs in this week, so here we go!

Leg Day 10.27.15

15 Step-ups on each leg (elbow to knee for an added ab crunch)
25 Jumping Jacks
10 In-N-Out Jump Squats (narrow to wide stances)
15 Bulgarian Squats (10 sec hold on the last rep)
25 Jumping Jacks in-between sets with each leg
10 Clean&Press (10 lbs on each side of bar)

Bonus Round: Abs

15 Spider Crunches (opposite elbow to same elbow)
10 Side Twists (on each side)
10 Pikes

Now run through this circuit 3-5 times depends on how much time you have and how much you want to challenge yourself. Ready. Set. Go!

Look in the mirror. That's your competition.

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.

The Show. (Part 1)

The countdown is over, the show happened, and my tummy hurts. I did it. I competed in a bikini fitness competition, the Jay Cutler Classic here in Boston on Saturday. I don't even know where to start!

So peak week, the week leading up to the competition was one of the funnest parts. The diet was changing every few hours, I was in constant contact with my coach to manipulate water intake and food plans depending on how my body was reacting. It was so cool. Workouts were limited and the week was all about preparing for Saturday. Hair appointments, nail appointments, 7-Eleven runs (to get candy for the big day!) and grocery shopping to prepare my meals for Saturday which consisted of:

  • 2oz chicken and white rice
  • rice cakes
  • blueberry jam
  • peanut butter
  • bananas
  • Detour bar
  • Reese
  • Pretzel M&Ms
  • Twix bars
  • Wine :)

Then came Saturday. I was 126 lbs. and 10% body fat. I had hit my goals, I was ready. My water levels were depleted, I had two coats of tan on and I headed to the John Hancock Theatre to check in. I was immediately overwhelmed. I've never seen so many orange people with big hair and big muscles. I felt totally out of my element. Then I found one of my teammates, Zhubin, who was also competing in his first show, and Jen, another teammate, and the day got better!

The thing about shows is it's really a waiting game. I got there at 8:15AM and didn't step on stage until 5PM. Needless to say we had time on time to kill. Jen and I were backstage together all day and we had and awesome time! She did my makeup, we practiced posing, checked in with our coach Johnny every two hours so he could tell us what to eat next and the excitement built! Right before we went on my boyfriend Ryan showed up with BEAUTIFUL flowers, funny signs, and much needed wine to calm our nerves :) Jen and I ran backstage, chugged our mini wine bottles (first drinks for us in MONTHS) snagged our favorite candies and headed to line up. We "pumped Up' with resistance bands so my baby arms and shoulders could be seen on stage and waited. We ended up waiting for a while before we got on stage. I was in two classes, Novice D (the tall girls) and Open F (the really tall girls). Jen and I were both in Novice D so it was fun to be on stage together. 

The first time we walk on stage you hit all your poses, front, side, back, front and a wave. I walked on stage and I honestly have no idea what I did. It's like I blacked out. I got so nervous. So many lights. So many people! So many judges. For each class everyone walks out alone and does their poses, then the groups are split in two for comparisons where you're all lined up together and the judges tell you what pose to hit. Then everyone is put on the edge of the stage and calls outs happen. You want to be in the first call outs (those are the best) I was in the first-ish...the called our 5 girls, sent 3 away and then called 3 more, basically trying to figure out the 5th place (top 5 get trophies).

The second time on stage I felt much better and more confident. I knew what to expect. The nerves were gone.

After pre-judging they have a break and then finals. At finals everyone gets introduced and walks on stage and they call the first 5 places. By the time we went on stage for finals it was 10:30PM and we were tired and mostly just over it. So we did our final walk, met up with our team and celebrated an awesome day, and our huge accomplishments. We might have walked away without trophies but that wasn't the point. It was a huge show, with stiff competition, and I felt so proud of the journey I had taken and the progress I made. That's what it was about. I just felt great.

We took the party to Precinct and I got my beer (YUM) and sliders and fries. It ended up to be a pretty awesome day.

After a couple days of reflecting, I'm not sure I'll ever do another show. But I didn't completely hate it as much as I thought. It gave me a goal to work towards and dedicate myself to. I'm really looking forward to enjoying my summer without measuring food and feeling guilty about cookies and cold beer. Maybe come fall I'll be looking for that challenge again or maybe I'll have found a new one. But I'm so grateful I did it. I'm so proud of myself for doing it.

Results: I ended up coming in 8th out of 19 in Novice (my goal was to be in the top half) and 6th in my Open class, just one place away from a trophy. So I'm happy :)

Stay tuned for Thank You's, updates, and my food splurges :)

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.