Inspiring Health Pros
Laura Johnson – Fitness Trainer
I named this series “Inspiring Health Pros” to hopefully inspire you all to live a healthier life. Today’s interview is one that is the epitome of ‘inspiring’. I am grateful to introduce you all to the beautiful Laura Johnson. She is the ultimate cheerleader for women ages 0-103. She is a motivator and an inspiration to those she crosses paths with. The way she encourages women is something we should all take note of. As women, we compare ourselves a lot to other women and this can lead to feelings of jealousy or wishing we had something they had or feeling inadequate. Social media has made that worse. When we have jobs in similar fields, it is easy to feel like we aren’t enough. We may even hold ourselves back because someone else did it “better”. But with Laura it’s the complete opposite. She’s lifting people up, cheering them on, helping them rise up, and doing what she can to see them succeed. Her faith in Jesus is powerful too. She leans in to the Lord with every obstacle she faces and it speaks volumes. This is who you want on your team. I am super thankful I bumped into her 2 years ago during a girls beach trip to Florida. I would have never guessed that Laura walking up to our group of ladies to pay us a compliment on how wonderful it was that we were taking time out of our lives to bond with our friends and seeming to have such a wonderful time would lead us to here today. Laura, thank you for being a part of this journey with me and taking the time to share your ways on living a healthy life.
What is your occupation?
I am a certified personal trainer certified through National Academy of Sports Medicine. I have a specialist certificate in fitness in training women. I named my business Equipt Fitness. Equipped is my life word.
How did you choose this career?
Purpose. Our youngest son (5 years old at the time) was
entering kindergarten. He is a type 1 diabetic. I have loved and enjoyed training personally. I had made my own personal strides and felt healthy and strong. I get a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment out of encouraging women to be the best they are created to be. Above all, my mom has always pushed us to use the tools God gave us… and well, that is exactly what I chose to do. Training women… loving and encouraging them…and it fit my schedule and I could be available for Jace and his needs … all I needed was education. And education is power….
What do you love about what you do?
Because it is organic to my soul. I admire strength and power and health and all that comes with it… but I cling to belief in mental health and strong hearts. Women have a powerful way of encouraging one another. When there is little pretention or judgement, women can thrive and grow. And that is where change begins…. A strong body is just icing on the cake.
When you first started living a healthy lifestyle, did you have a mentor or did you find more success doing it on your own?
My mom has been THE biggest encouragement mentally and spiritually. My boys have pushed me because they both live with type 1 diabetes. They CAN live a healthy lifestyle beyond their disease. I have known and worked with three powerful certified trainers before getting certified…
What pushes you out of your comfort zone?
Women are the most complex people. Our bodies go through a lot. We are survivors, athletes, mothers and the list goes on. Each woman comes with a list of specific needs and imbalances. Training other women is out of my comfort zone because she is different physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You get minimal time to make maximum impact. There is no comfort zone…. If there were, nothing would change.
What kind of workout do you do, how many days per week do you workout, and for how long?
Workouts are different every workout every week. I work out based on my day every day. Because that’s the life of a mom. (wink) I make sure to hit all major muscle groups every week. One day is back and biceps. One day is glutes and hamstrings. One day is shoulders and quads. It is different every week. I love to mix it up and try new things so I can try new things with my ladies! I combine weights, bands, plates, barbells, push and pull exercises, supersets to build muscle where I want to and Hiit training in between to maximize metabolic conditioning. Fail to plan is a plan to fail… so not training means I won’t feel my best.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
Breakfast: I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting without really trying to. As a mom, I’m in a massive hurry in the mornings. Most moms can say they have enough time before they look up at the clock and realize the time. I drink a full glass of water first thing when I wake up. I take 2 bcaa supplements. I drink cold coffee with approx. ½ cup of vanilla almond milk. Those things are the only constant every morning. The day as begun….
Lunch: Lunch is when I typically work out. I’ll drink a part of my protein shake and eat the Greek yogurt I’ve packed in my cooler. Eat a few almonds then get to it….
Dinner: I love salads and meat and quinoa and all things prepared. However, many nights are quick and gotta get it in. Some nights like tonight I combined a bowl full of cut up cucumber, light feta, egg whites, ½ cup of quinoa, salt and pepper and vinegar and oil. Mixed it up… and done. My boys had eaten earlier so I was trying to get something healthy in. I admire families that prepare and sit together on a normal every night basis.
Snacks: I snack on and off during the day. Some days healthier than others. I believe in getting smaller meals every 2-3 hours. Small meaning quick. I don’t love to sit down and eat a big meal unless I’m sitting with friends and it’s social. Daily, I always have a cooler with me when I leave for the day. I think it’s important to have healthy options available so you don’t “stop” for something unhealthy. I do NOT eat perfectly. I do NOT count macros. I do NOT get on the scale. I simple try to eat more protein than anything else. Drink as much water as I can. And not go hungry. Those three things are my goal.
What inspires you to live a healthy and active life?
Being strong instills confidence and self awareness. It actively encourages mental health. It’s much more than a workout most days… most. Striving to get active puts into motion a better reflection in the mirror, gratitude, a good example to those around you, energy, and above everything…. You are able to surround yourself with relationships that encourage. Movement is key. No matter what is it…
How do you stay motivated on a daily basis?
I know how I feel when I exercise or when I’m training. It’s great energy and above all a blessing to help another woman get to a healthier spot. It is a gift to breathe every day. I believe the older you get you realize how fragile life is… you learn to appreciate good energy, a strong workout, and eating healthy and what it really does for you body. Having two boys with type 1 diabetes, one having had type 1 since the age of 26 months… I’ve had to count every carbohydrate/sugar that has gone in his mouth. His pancreas does not work, thus needs insulin to break down sugars. It makes you pretty aware of what types of sugars are in foods. I’m not too hypersensitive about it for them, but I believe encouraging them to eat clean as adults will allow them to have a healthy life living with type 1.
How do you handle unhealthy cravings?
Depending on the time of the month, stress and hormone level and sweet tooth that I always have…. Unhealthy cravings are a daily deal. I simple try to eat healthy as much as I can. And when I want somethings less than good for me…I eat it. It’s control over portion size. I remind myself it’s consistency there too. Eat too much crap all the time… like my mom reminds me… “you pay you play.” Goes the same with food. Intermittent Fasting is a great way to jump start metabolism and get stomach size back in check or when you are ready to get serious about fat loss and training.
What would you say is the key to balancing it all?
I used to wonder the same thing and then when I turned 40 or around that time I realized BALANCE is a lie. At least for me it was. Women feel this enormous pressure to “do it all” and “get all the priorities in line.” It’s impossible every day to live up to those standards. We have serious commitments not only to our families and friends, but our spiritual, mental, and physical health is crucial.
What is your favorite workout apparel?
Footwear favorites I stick with Nike Metcons and I have a variety of Under Armour, Nike, and Reebok. Pant favorites hands down are Lululemon. Best fit for my body type and you can not beat quality. Short favorites I own Lululemon and Nike. Sportsbra favorite is the Lululemon Energy Bra. When it comes to training tops my favorites come from Lululemon, Nike, Under Armour and No Bull Apparel. I believe it’s important to buy quality and basic because of wash and wear so much.
If you could only pick one exercise or movement to do everyday that would be amazing for your body, what would it be?
Lunge reach and hamstring stretch I do every day. (Older you get…stiffer your joints and muscles get.) Planks, pushups, hip bridges, and squats are 4 exercises that are all body weight movements you can do at home. Pick one each day and do it. Each are great for the core, spine, and hip flexor.
What advice would you give to people to be their healthiest and best self?
Movement. When you stop moving and stay still, the body begins to deteriorate. Find something that you love to get moving and do it. It doesn’t have to be “lifting weights” or “running” or “yoga.” Movement and keeping your heart rate at a good rhythm is a positive for the mind, soul…and body. (smile)
Please share your favorite healthy recipe.
I wish I could say I had one. I try to listen to what healthy eaters are eating…and modify it to what I like.