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Making the Big Leap…

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Nearly two months ago I made a decision that I believe will forever change the course of my life.  That is a big statement…I know.  But I truly, sincerely, firmly believe it’s true.

On Tuesday, June 3 I walked into my manager’s office and resigned from my lucrative, comfortable, flexible job.  I think I was as shocked as he was when the words came out of my mouth.  I had been considering the idea of leaving the corporate world to pursue my passion in health and wellness but “considering the idea” and actually making the idea a reality are two very different things.

The reality is I didn’t even have a choice.  My passion to pursue my dreams was burning so fiercely that staying in my current environment wasn’t even an alternative.

I woke up so many mornings just wishing I could be the person who loved the hustle of the corporate world, someone who drove to work thinking about crushing new business opportunities.  But I wasn’t.  Instead I woke up thinking about my dream to own my own boutique gym, my personal training clients and what they needed from me as well as what I could do to help people understand the impact food has on their bodies.  Mostly I thought about how vastly different life would be to wake up feeling inspired and energized by what the day would bring rather than exhausted and dreadful.

I want to get one thing straight though, I had a great job.  I enjoyed the people I worked with, I felt like I had a natural knack for sales and the ability to work from home on any given day was a huge perk.  My colleagues and managers always supported my professional endeavors and gave me an incredible amount of space to develop my skills and take chances.  I don’t know if that’s the case for most young professionals but I believe I was fortunate in that regard.

So, as you can imagine, the idea of leaving that world behind was scary.  How would I have to adjust my lifestyle to afford the drastic pay cut?  Would I still be able to relate with my “professional” friends.  What would people  think when they found out I was a full-time personal trainer.  How could I let them know that I hacked it in the real world but I CHOSE to leave it.  How silly are those thoughts?  I mean really; does anyone else truly care that I made a career change?  Unlikely.  Why did I care so much what people were going to think?  After all, it was going to make ME happy!

Well, as is often the case, we make plans and God laughs.

My original “plan” was to leave my job to focus on WAYfit full time while working at Lululemon as a part time educator.  I even considered working the front desk at Shred 415 so I could workout for free :).  But, none of those things happened.  And this is where the story gets interesting.

Rather than being offered a part time educator role at Lululemon (Halsted), I was instead recruited as a full time external hire as an Assistant Store Manager.  I was pretty blown away when the offer came my way.  That wasn’t my plan.  No, my plan was to work for myself (mostly).  And then I realized, this change in plans actually sets me up to accomplish my bigger, longer term goals.  If you aren’t familiar with Lululemon or their culture, let me just bring you up to speed quickly.  The entire culture is based on elevating people (and the world) from mediocrity to greatness.  The intense amount of training and development that goes into each and every employee is astounding.  The company invests an incredible amount of dollars (with no guarantee of an ROI) in its people and is firmly grounded in the idea of vision and goals.

So, I prayed on the offer for a few days, consulted with Andrew and many family members and friends.  And then one morning I woke up and knew with absolute certainty that this was the right choice.  I started with the company on June 9th and since then, it’s been a complete whirlwind.  In less than two months I have learned more about myself than I have in 32 years.  I have learned what I really want in life, what drives me, what makes me feel important, what is important to me, what legacy I want to leave behind.  I have learned that a team of roughly 15 people almost all under the age of 30 run a company within a company.  Although our store is part of a global chain of stores, Lululemon empowers the individual teams to run the local store’s business as if it were their own.  This team makes entrepreneurial decisions EVERY day that affect profitability, guest experience,  visual appearance, community impact and so much more.

I leave work every day feeling incredibly humbled to be a part of this organization; I still can’t believe I was given the opportunity to run someone else’s business as if it were my own.  This is particularly satisfying for me given my future goals of being a small business owner.  Even after this short time at the company, I feel so much better equipped to run my own business.  I really had never managed people in my previous job so the task of getting things accomplished through my team rather than by myself was and continues to be a challenge.  I love that everyday I get a fresh chance to be a better leader than I was the day before.  AND I get to learn from other amazing and much more experienced leaders.  Some of these leaders and managers are women in their low 20s and they are GSD’ing* like a BOSS in their roles.  [*Getting $hit done].  Talk about inspiring.  Talk about energizing.

So two months in I finally decided to write this post.  I’m not sure what was holding me back; maybe insecurity…maybe it just wasn’t a priority.  Whatever the reason, I wanted to share this news because it’s truly been life changing for me.  As cliche as it may sound, the sun shines brighter, the air smells fresher, my coffee tastes even more delightful (never thought that was possible) and my days are, from start to finish, completely enjoyable.  Are there things that stress me out? Sure.  Do I still get tired after a long day? Of course.  But the levity I feel is absolutely priceless.  The absolute joy I feel at the smallest blessings is enough to make me cry.  This from the girl who liked being known as a hard a$$.  Not anymore.

Buh-bye tough girl and hello beautiful, scary, exciting vulnerability.

Rachel

 

The Truth About “Health” Foods (@ The Everygirl)

Posted by on 5:53 PM in Featured | 0 comments

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“The more I read about the food industry, the more I am blown away by the way Americans eat.”

We are told one day that in order to live long healthy lives we should eat a diet low in fat and high in whole grains while the next day a book comes out touting the merits of a high fat, high protein, low carb lifestyle. Who is right? What is the truth?

One of my favorite authors on the subject of food and nutrition science is Michael Pollan. In his book, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” he states: “If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.” Read more…

Staying Healthy on the Go: Take What You Can Get (@ The Everygirl)

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“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most”.

What is it about walking into an airport that all of a sudden any shred of discipline or motivation goes right out the window? It’s as if they pump magical air throughout the terminal that makes me feel like I am on vacation.  My mind swirls with thoughts of  ice cream, bagels, and soft pretzels! But no–I am not on vacation.  I am actually headed to Columbus, OH (no offense Columbus, but you’re not my idea of a vacation) for a 36 hour work trip. Read more…

A Numbers Game (@ The Everygirl)

Posted by on 5:26 PM in Featured | 0 comments

Check out Rachel’s guest post at The Everygirl online magazine!

 

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“Allow me let you in on a little secret. That number is just a number and it does not mean anything.”

She stretches as she wakes up. The amazing type of soreness from a killer workout makes her crave a hot shower. She hasn’t missed a workout all week, and as she passes the mirror in the bathroom she proudly checks out her backside–the work is paying off. She’s not dodging her reflection for the first time in decades, so as the bathroom fogs up from her shower she does a mental happy dance, carefully steps on the scale–angels are singing, the number blinks back at her. Check that. Angels are now shouting “WHAAAT??!!” Now, we all know far too well how this story can end. She’s either up a pound, she’s only down a half of a pound, or the scale didn’t even budge. She was expecting a number far different than that terrible machine spit out. Instantly she’s panicking. She’s rethinking her entire week…. Read more

 

Can. Will. Doing it.

Posted by on 2:14 PM in Featured | 0 comments

“Can. Will. Doing it.”

Testimonial Post from WAYfit client Staci

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“Not only am I now actually in good shape, but my clothes fit better, I have more energy, and I feel more confident than ever that I can handle whatever is coming my way.”

It is on a track in my head….my mental record player. Lately when I bop around town it’s playing ‘blurred lines’, but in my WAYfit workouts I can’t even hear actual music coming from the iPod speakers. I’m so deep in thought convincing myself I can do this. I can do one more burpee/jump squat/skater/roll-jump sequence, and after that I can for sure run a half mile at 7.5. No problem! The best part about it: I actually believe it now….

But let me tell you, for a while there it wasn’t pretty. I had barely heard of a burpee much less done multiple sets, when on a sunny March morning Rachel suggested we do a beach workout in Belize on our vacation. Fun! I envisioned all four of us girls in our cute workout outfits, sunglasses on, a sharing stories type of workout. You ‘work out’ so you get guilt-free unlimited margaritas. You earn a bead of sweat or two, get a bit of sun, and you call it a workout — quick showers, bikinis, and we’d on beach chairs by 10:00, flags up for margaritas by 11:00.

I’m actually thankful I had no idea how coach Rachel operated at that point, because there is no way in HELL I would have signed up for what was about to go down. Today, however, I have never been more thankful that I agreed to let Rachel write us a workout. After all, she was finishing her training program and in amazing shape herself. This would be great, right?

Well, I laugh thinking back to that morning. “50 burpees…….” 25 of whatever else, blah blah. Rachel continued down a sequence of exercises and all I could think was this will be easy. Famous last….thought! “We will end with a sprint down the pier and we’ll be done,” she said energetically. In that very moment, standing in the sand wearing bright yellow sneakers, I knew I was a bit out of shape, but I didn’t think it was THAT BAD. Running and hot yoga were my go-to routine, and although I’d been slacking over the winter, I was still thin. I have always, or so I’d thought, been ‘in shape’. Let me tell you, we got started – and there were no stories being shared. No sweat spared. No spare air! I was immediately dying, and all of the sudden I realized not only was I not in shape at that moment–I don’t think I’ve ever been in that type of shape!

Unfortunately, at that time, my mental record player was not playing the right things (“I want to kill whoever invented burpees”) – so thankfully, rather than continuing on her own workout, sweet coach Rachel – an amazing coach even before her official certification – was all over me. “Yes.You.Can.” nodding at me so confidently, squatting down next to me, telling me over and over again I’m WAY stronger than I think I am. I can go faster than I think. I CAN do one more tricep dip. Yes, I can….she knows I can.

 “Look at me,” she’d say, “just five more, let’s break the first three down.”

I would keep moving partly because she was telling me to do it, but also partly because there is something so encouraging about her. She is an amazing balance between encouraging and tough. I know she thinks I can do it, and so I really want to try. This morning, for instance (mind you, it’s now mid-July) even after months of WAYfit, she wrote a workout so amazing that I nearly threw up. Gross, I know, but I seriously gagged while taking a ’10 second beat’ as we say. Half proud, half concerned, Rachel piped up, “Are you serious?” she asked. “Yes!” I said laughing, as I walked outside the gym to get a breath of fresh air.

After we were finished (I may or may not have been laying down on the treadmill), she made sure I was ok, then jokingly promised to make the next one just as ‘good.’ This started a conversation about the amazing value of training with her, and she said in so many words that it’s never going to become easy; that I will become better, faster, stronger. She will continue to make sure I can take more physically and mentally, and that she’s so proud when I “bring it” to every session. I feel the same way about her, and boy does she bring it. There were 3 of us in the semi-private session this morning, and somehow we were all pushing ourselves beyond our max but within our personal limits. She knows that Hayley despises burpees and jump overs, so she is right there encouraging her to keep doing them. She knows I’m terrified of getting big arms, so she lets me do less arms and shoulders and subs in more back work. She knows Meredith is recovering from a knee injury so she modifies some exercises for her. She seems to find ways to make us all feel good enough about our performance at any point in the workout, but then just when you think you can coast for a bit, she’s right there making sure you know you can do WAY more.

These days, as I prepare for my next death sentence, I mean workout, I kind of look forward to it. It sounds like I’m sick in the head, but that quote “The pain I endured somehow became the pleasure I constantly crave” has never been more appropriate. Not only am I now actually in good shape, but my clothes fit better, I have more energy, and I feel more confident than ever that I can handle whatever is coming my way. I’ve always been an optimist, but when I found myself teasing Meredith this morning “Come on, Mer, this isn’t supposed to be WAYeasy” I realized I’ve arrived. If I’m willing to work so hard at this, I’m pretty sure I can accomplish anything. I’m WAYsure. (For the record, Mer smoked me in the workout so I still have some work to do…)

WAYfit: Testimonial from AJ

Posted by on 6:54 PM in Featured | 0 comments

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“I am becoming WAYfit, WAYmotivated, WAYinspired, WAYstrong and have a WAYbetterattitude.”

Yesterday I did something crazy and shared a huge part of my life on the blog. Talking about your insecurities and trying to motivate others at the same time is kind of strange, and I didn’t know what reactions I’d get. I am blown away by the amount of emails, texts and facebook messages I got full of positive feedback. Thank you x1o.

Today I’m excited to tell you more about the fitness side of my new lifestyle! Read more…