Friendly Feature!

As part of my blog, I vowed I would bring some new content as opposed to just me writing about my day. One of the first things I thought of was interviewing fellow bloggers and people that would like to be featured on the blog. I’m not going to have regular schedule for this yet, but am hoping to at some point. I haven’t thought of a witty name yet either for it, like ‘Foto Friday‘, but hopefully I will soon! Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

Well, first up, I’m THRILLED to introduce my good friend Molly P. I’ve known Molly since our Freshman year of college and we’ve stayed close ever since. I was really excited when she agreed to answer some questions for the blog. She’s a great person, super into healthy living and she’s been a huge motivation for me to get moving in my healthy lifestyle. Without further ado – Here’s Molly! Me

I’ve known you since Freshman year of college and needless to say, our habits have definitely changed since then. How have you habits and outlook on health and fitness changed since you were a full-time student to a full-time working girl?

I’m much more conscience of what I’m eating and drinking, that’s for sure! I carve time out of my day to prepare healthy meals for myself and to get exercise in.  Sometimes it seems impossible, but it’s all become a priority in my life, so I MAKE the time.

I look back on the College Me and I don’t even recognize her in comparison to who I am now.  I remember trying to cut my calories (WAY too low for what it should have been), being starving, binging, and then getting pissed at myself and starting all over.  THAT or I simply didn’t care and ate whatever I wanted (i.e. why my weight fluctuated so much in college and I weight my heaviest then.) I may be much busier now but that is all the reason to take really good care of myself.  I have a lot in my life I need to keep up with!

You’ve recently started a career as a personal trainer and were accepted into school for a Nutrition degree. How did you decide that this was something you wanted to focus on?

My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011, and in an attempt to get some “control” during the ordeal, I obsessively researched the correlation between holistic nutrition/green products/fitness and diseases.  The more I read, the more fascinated I became by the concept of “eating for health” verses “eating to drop 5 lbs.”  Soon after, it became clear a lot of people were just as clueless as I originally was and needed some guidance.

Sharing what I knew roused a passion in me I didn’t expect. I became a certified personal trainer this past July and will be starting my nutrition program in October. My clients can’t wait for me to use them as guinea pigs during my schooling!

You stumbled upon running a couple of years ago when a friend asked you to run the Color Run 5K with her. How has your passion for running evolved over the last couple of years? Do you see yourself focusing on running Marathons in your future?

It’s funny, when I look back at my “running career” I can’t help but laugh.  Up until a few years ago, I was the girl who literally could not run a block without stopping to gasp for air.  Now, I’m a month away from running my first half-marathon.

Running is something that has given me a lot of confidence in the last year.  I’ve run farther and faster than I ever thought I could, and have truly enjoyed it. Pounding the pavement, ticking off the miles during my training (or just for fun), is truly therapeutic. Some runs are better than others, but each time I look back and remember where I started and it still makes me smile.

I recently applied through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to run the Boston Marathon in 2014.  I’m so excited for the possibility to run for this amazing organization.  But even if I don’t make it this year, my goal is still to complete a marathon in 2014 – maybe a Rock’n’Roll Marathon?!

You recently took up CrossFit. What do you like best about it? What is the thing you like least about it?

Prepare yourself, this is going to be a long answer! – You hear it all the time, but CrossFit changed my life. CrossFit means something different to every person who does it. I started it because I wanted a kick in the butt with my fitness routine. I figured I’d get the push I needed and lose some weight. Never once did it occur to me that I, in fact, probably didn’t NEED to lose any weight, nor would my frame support it. I was in a sub-conscious battle of “wanting to be skinny” vs. my body’s biology. After embracing paleo and continuing to work out, I found that I wasn’t actually losing any weight, I was gaining it. The number on the scale truly bothered me (probably a lot more than I let on). I was pissed off about my weight and I was pissed off that I felt like I wasn’t making any “numeric” progress at the gym.crossfit

Then, a few months ago, I noticed a change… I began noting other female CrossFitters, and their muscular legs and arms (considered “large” by most standards) and I ADMIRED them for it. I didn’t look at them and think “Ew, they’re fat.” I thought “Oh my God, her quads could probably snap my neck. THAT’S AWESOME!” I noticed a ‘switch’ in my brain of what CrossFit meant to me and what I wanted to achieve. I don’t want to be your stereotypical “skinny” chick. I want to be STRONG. I want the muscles that exemplify the hard work I put into training. I want people to look at me and go “Wow, that girl is a power house!” (Before, if someone used the word ‘house’ to describe me, I probably would have ugly cried.)

I have a long way to go, and I know there will be days where a number on the scale bothers me, or I don’t feel comfortable in the clothes I’m wearing. But at CrossFit, I’m surrounded by some kick-ass women who are both physically and emotionally strong, and I can tell I’m certainly the better for it 🙂

The one thing I don’t like about CrossFit, which isn’t even about CrossFit itself and more about me, is getting frustrated if I didn’t do stellar during a WOD (workout of the day).  It can be a huge mental game sometimes and you have to check your ego at the door.  That’s much easier said than done.  So I struggle with not being disappointed in myself sometimes if I didn’t lift as much as I wanted or took too long to finish a workout.  You can be your own worst enemy sometimes.

You’ve been ‘gluten-free’ for several years now. What prompted you to go gluten-free and what does a typical day of meals look like for you?

Eating gluten-free became necessary for me after years of endearing unexplained headaches, stomach issues, constant fatigue and development of iron-deficiency anemia and lactose intolerance.  Gluten-free still wasn’t at the forefront of new “diets”,  so I had to do a lot of reading up on it and obsessively check labels of anything I wanted to eat or drink.  It is far less of a problem now because I eat paleo most of the time, which cuts out all grains anyway, but I will occasionally sneak a piece of bread or pastry and usually be ok (I am NOT celiac, I simply have a gluten sensitivity, so I’m very lucky in that sense.)

Typical day of meals looks something like this:
Meal 1 – Scrambled eggs with peppers & onions, large black coffee

Meal 2 – Some type of protein (chicken, steak, sausage) w/ veggies (green beans, asparagus, broc, carrots etc.) I always make sure half of my plate is veggies.

Meal 3 – Spring Mix salad with cucumber and carrots, fruit (grapes or banana)

Meal 4 – Protein and veggies (similar to meal 2)

Meal 5 – Usually a “dessert” – whether some ice cream, popcorn etc.

At the end of the day, I don’t count calories or serving sizes.  I eat when I’m hungry and until I’m full.

What does a typical day look like for you from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed?

I work two jobs, am starting school, training for a half-marathon and do CrossFit, so my days are pretty jam-packed.  On days where I’m training a client before work, I’m up at 5:30 and at the gym by 7:15, I’m off to my full-time job at 8:30, usually come back to the gym to train a client during my lunch break, go back to FT job, then either go home after work and straight to CrossFit or I’m back at the gym to train more clients.  Once I’m home for the night, that is usually when I get all my meals packed for the next day, relax a little (watch TV or read) and am off to bed. During the weekends I have a lot more flexibility with my schedule, but I’m pretty go-go-go during the weekdays.

Who/what is your biggest motivator?

From the beginning of my “fitness journey”, I’ve always used my mom as motivation.  If I was struggling to run the final mile of a race I’d think “Mom went through chemo.  You can run another mile.”  Seems silly, but remembering how strong she is and what she’s gone through, it helps put perspective on the here-and-now, and I’m able to push myself a little farther.

What is your advice for those who are struggling to get into the groove of a healthy lifestyle?

RuggedMy biggest thing I always say to a client is, you are your own biggest motivator.  All the inspirational memes and “YOU CAN DO IT!” from other people aren’t going to get your butt off the couch.  YOU need to make the decision that you deserve better and you need to hold yourself accountable.  Until you truly want to change, it’s going to be very difficult to.  Once you get there though, focus on one thing at a time.  If you try to go balls to the wall from the gate, you’ll most likely get overwhelmed, say screw it and it’s all for naught.  If you want to start eating better, eliminate one thing a week (cereal for example.)  The next week, eliminate something else, and so forth.  Same with exercise – get yourself out there jogging around the block a few days a week.  Slowly progress.  You are taking steps towards a lifestyle change, it doesn’t need to be a sprint to the finish line.  These are tools you will hopefully carry with you for the rest of your life and that means it will all take time!

Tell the readers about yourself!

I am a media relations specialist by day and a personal trainer by night! 😛 I would love to eventually transition over to nutrition and fitness full-time once I finish school, but in the meantime, I’m keeping quite busy juggling my jobs, school and my own fitness training.  I don’t have any complaints though – I truly enjoy everything I am doing, and for that I feel very lucky.

When I’m not running around with my head cut off, I’m a big book nerd and music junkie. I live with my boyfriend and I am a mom to two adorable cats, which I’ve pet-named the “Twin Terrors.” I joke that they are the start to what I assume is my descent into becoming the Crazy Cat Lady.
Much to my mother’s chagrin, I have multiple tattoos and piercings, and am constantly changing my hair color (it’s currently bright red and fabulous).

Feel free to connect with me on Tumblr – Gnarly CrossFitter, Twitter – @MKPappas or Instagram – MKPappas1

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