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Lessons on Loving Yourself


Lessons on Loving Yourself


My average day looks a little like this -  It starts with a 20-30 minute commute to work. I clock in, check my inboxes, and get to work. Four hours later, I tend to get hungry, so I might go walk to a nearby cafe or grocery store to grab a quick bite to eat. Back to work, and I'm grinding until it's 5 PM, and now I'm getting "hangry" and restless, but it's almost time to go home. 6 PM -it's time to clock out. My eyes are fried from looking at the screen all day. My fingertips have probably punched thousands of keys. My index finger feels lost without my trackpad, and my body is sore from sitting at a desk.

My name is Emily, and I am the Marketing and Graphic Design Coordinator here at Perform for Life. Before I start talking about my journey to healthyness, I'll give you a little background on who I am and what my life is like. I recently graduated from the University of San Francisco, and I quickly jumped into "adulting." My way of doing that was working multiple jobs to pay for rent for the first time in my life, but working at this gym specifically has made me realize how unhealthy and unbalanced my life has been.

When you read the P4L blogs, you're used to hearing from an expert. I am just an everyday person, and honestly, I've never been fit or athletic. Let's take it back in time - I was the kid who was picked last or finished last in the mile. The other kids used to make fun of me and say, "You're skinny, why are you last?" This made me even more shy about exercising because I felt that my body type gave people the expectation that I must be fit. 

In college, I was blessed with gym membership at Koret...but I only went to eat their sandwiches. I was intimidated by all the "gym rats," and I couldn't even bring myself to work out with my friends, because I was self-conscious about the way my body moved or that I was doing it wrong. Long story short - I've never worked out and this needed to change.


I decided to embark on this journey for a few reasons.

  1. Simply put, I need to move more! A sedentary life makes me restless and damages my body in the process. If I'm in my twenties, why do I feel like such a grandma on the inside? 
  2. My energy tank is feeling low, and I'm going to have to start paying attention to what I'm eating. Was the food I was eating making me feel sluggish?
  3. I want to look and feel good. I want to feel confident in my body as a whole and comfortable in my own skin. My overall goal is to have a better relationship with my body.


  • Personal training once a week for 3 months.
  • Swing dancing or another form of exercise at least once a week for 3 months.
  • A focus on a low-glycemic diet every day for 3 months to help me store less fat and get more complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars. 
  • Cutting down on some of my guilty pleasures - cookies, pastries, and boba.


1. The more people there are involved, the more exciting it is. Happiness and healthyness are contagious. My boyfriend felt inspired and joined me along the way, my bosses are helping me figure out ways to eat better, and sometimes people occasionally cheer me on or check up on me. If you're doing it alone, it's harder to keep yourself accountable.

2. Being healthy is an investment in yourself and your future. Everything adds up quickly, especially as someone who didn't have a good diet or workout routine as a part of her life before. I bought new shoes, new clothes, and new food. Plus, if I wasn't already working here, I would've had to search and pay for a gym and personal trainer.

3. It's super hard to be a one woman crew with a whole lot of extras. Now, this is more on the technical side, but working out while recording myself or just editing the videos, in general, is a lot of work to manage on my own.

This is an example of one of my set-ups.

This is an example of one of my set-ups.


4. You're stronger than you believe. I'll admit, I am a carb queen! I love love love bread, and I've always loved sweets. It's been hard for me to resist sugar, because I never realized how many things had added sugars.

5. Social settings can be hard, and I feel like there's a stigma around being on a "diet." I put it in quotation marks because I'm basically weaning myself off of processed foods. I also often feel shy about telling people I'm changing my diet, because from my exterior appearance, they would assume I am trying to get skinnier. Let's face it - here in San Francisco, we've got a lot of great food, and it's hard to go out with friends and not eat all of the things I used to eat so freely. The first day of my low-glycemic diet my boyfriend decided to take me out on a date - let's just say I started the diet the next day.

6. These minor changes have fueled the foundation for a better me. It's like Emily 2.0. Upon exercising and eating healthier, I started wanting to do more to keep improving myself and taking better care of my body.

7. I really crave the taste and feeling of eating cookies. My favorite dessert is a freshly baked, chewy chocolate chip cookie, and I've been thinking about it every day since I started. Dark chocolate alone and Arctic Zero just aren't enough.

8. It's challenging to prioritize meal prepping. For one, I don't usually like eating the same thing all week. Plus, by the time I get home, I'm exhausted. As someone who works an office job, I find myself eating out more often than not, but I'm working on it!


9. I'm crooked! In high school, my godmother stopped making a dress for me, because she said my shoulders were uneven. During my first session with Brandon, I discovered she was right! One of my shoulders is higher from the other (as seen in the photos below), so we're working on correcting that.

10. Cheat day turns into cheat week, and suddenly, you've fallen off the tracks. My best friend and I went to Ghiradelli Square this past weekend, and I caved. I got a strawberry nutella crepe AND clam chowder bread bowl. From that day on, I had been craving cookies more often and found myself cheating more frequently. Justine has reminded me of the 80/20 rule (or sometimes 70/30), which allows me to eat the things that I loved before but in moderation and to not judge myself for it. We're all human. This is a process.

This is the smile of someone who was overjoyed to be eating a crepe after over a week or not having sugar.

This is the smile of someone who was overjoyed to be eating a crepe after over a week or not having sugar.


Follow Emily's P4L journey on our Instagram and Snapchat to see more videos like this!


5 Ways to Resolve Your Immobility


5 Ways to Resolve Your Immobility

Do neck tension or pain and lower back pain sound familiar to you?

Maybe you’ve told yourself you’re too busy with work, but when you get home from a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is get moving. Or perhaps you’re exploring a new city, but after walking 12 miles, you notice your knees and calves aching. Even driving aggravates your right shoulder or upper back!

If you notice discomfort in reaching for something in the food cabinet, putting on a shirt, or reaching behind you in the car seat, perhaps you are being limited by your lack of mobility.

Below are some simple ways you can add effective mobility work either at home, in your office, or in your hotel room - and all you really need is a foam roller and a band or light dumbbell (if you’ve got one of those on the go).

Give them a try and see how they go!


Do you feel limited when you’re lifting overhead? Perhaps you’re trying to improve your throwing arm so you can win that San Francisco City Rec League game.

  • Foam roller serratus slide and lift off - similar to the video linked, but at the top of the slide, you lift one arm off the foam roller at a time OR better yet, do it on the ground like this.
  • This is great to improve your mobility, stability, and motor control. The serratus anterior muscle is a big player in overhead motion.
  • This exercise focuses on upward rotation and posterior tilt of the scapula - as we want the scapula to be able to move in this motion when going overhead.


Do you sit 8 hours a day at work? Do you notice your shoulders rounding forward or feeling slouched forward?

  • Thoracic spine (t-spine) extension on the foam roller: I’m sure most of you have seen or done this exercise at P4L, as this is a fantastic exercise for those of you with desk jobs or a job that requires bending over often.
  • (Banded) Thread the Needle
    • Adding a band to the exercise helps reach deeper ranges - just tie a band to a something sturdy and hold onto the band as you reach under
    • Rotation can be quite effective in improving T-spine extension as well, so this is a great exercise to help improve both.


Do you notice your shoulders rounding forward or feeling slouched forward?

  • Eccentric dumbbell fly on roller - I love this one when I really need to open up my shoulders and lengthen my pecs.
    • Chronically tight pecs can lead to rounded shoulders and even neck and/or shoulder pain  (the pec minor attaches on your scapula, and when tight, can round your shoulders forward). Paired with the t-spine extension or rotation, these mobilities are a great way to counteract the effects of sitting at a desk all day!


Does your job require you to sit all day? Do you feel like your hips are always tight? Perhaps you have been dealing with some low back pain or even some knee pain.

  • Supine 90/90 hip IR breathing - (for hip IR, walk the feet outwards, keeping the knees against the foam roller) - this is what I learned in the Clinical Athlete Weightlifting Seminar that I attended a few months ago.
    • Poor breathing patterns can actually have an effect on mental well-being and are linked with anxiety, depression and chronic stress. The process in which the diaphragm pulls air into the lungs is crucial in creating trunk stability, and trunk stability are crucial in stabilizing the spine and generating force at the hip or shoulder, which translates directly to workouts.

    • Proper breathing pattern maintains posture. Your body should be able to support itself without much effort - you shouldn’t need to clench your butt cheeks and pull your shoulders back to maintain proper posture. If you’re doing it right, you should just be there naturally.

    • This is good for getting you set in a more neutral position and opening up your hip joint internal rotation. Breathing plus internal rotation tends to be very beneficial for improving your hips’ ability to internally rotate, and gets the pelvis positioned more neutrally (the primary hip flexor, the psoas major, flexes and externally rotates. If chronically tight, it can cause long-term external rotation of the femur).


Do you every feel like you spend most of your day sitting and working? Do you feel like your hips are always tight? Perhaps you’ve been dealing with some low back pain or even some knee pain.

  • Sidelying clamshell - another golden nugget I learned from Dr. Quinn Henoch, DPT at the Clinical Athlete Seminar. This, along with rolling out the tensor fascia latae (TFL) and iliotibial (IT) band can help desensitize the hip before using the clamshell to activate the glutes.
    • Weak and/or inhibited glutes may be related to your low back pain. Try this pairing out if you’re experiencing some low back pain and notice your glutes are “sleepy”.
    • Sure, you have your bridges and clams, but this pairing of exercise and self-myofascial release is extremely effective. Some glute activation in those exercises is great, but it’s even better when you can also maintain breathing patterns and trunk position.