• B. FIT

Finding Inspiration Together with Shannon Hernandez, Certified Health Coach

Last year, after being asked to speak to a few groups of women on "staying fit over forty," I started thinking about how I could expand the way I serve my clients and extend it beyond the walls of the gym. After doing some research, I settled on health and wellness coaching, inspired in no small part by my friend Shannon Hernandez. Not only is this blonde boss babe one of the founders of the branding agency Cardigan Communications, she is also a fellow fitness fanatic, and Certified Health Coach who uses her knowledge to educate corporations, individuals, and families on everything from creating health initiatives for employees to implementing healthy habits at home. In addition, she is an incredible public speaker, who presents on topics ranging from stress management to goal setting and more with a delivery that is as entertaining as it is informative. Oh--and did I mention she has two adorable little girls?

Last week I earned my own health and wellness certification, and I can only hope that I am able to motivate at least one person to try something new in the way that Shannon has motivated me. We will be sharing some tips together on the blog in the future, but in the meantime, meet Shannon and learn why she went into the world of wellness and how it impacts her own family.

What is a wellness coach?

As a CHC (Certified Health Coach) I work with individuals either one-on-one or as a group to help them reach their health goals through education on nutrition, exercise, and the science behind why and how our bodies act and react the way that they do. Each of us is unique and different, and there is no prescriptive definition of “healthy” nor is there any kind of shortcut to get there. It’s my job to help my clients set realistic goals, understand how to reach them, and be their biggest cheerleader along the way!

How and why did you get into wellness coaching?

It’s a combination of my background in corporate health and wellness and my own health journey. Early in my career it was taboo to talk about health in the workplace – only in the past ten years has it really become a conversation that employers are willing to have with their employees. Once we started to have those conversations, and to really begin to understand some of the barriers and challenges folks were facing that were driving the higher claims in regards to diseases like diabetes for example, it became obvious that simply providing resources is not enough.There is a human element that needs to be considered and that’s where coaching comes in. That’s when I started thinking about becoming a Health Coach myself. If I wanted to work with employers to build and create engaging health and wellness programming for their employees, I needed the training to understand the coaching element.

How does your wellness coaching help you in your daily life as an entrepreneur and mother?

The knowledge around food and fitness itself has definitely had an impact – but what is more important to me is that it’s really helped me give myself more grace. In coaching and consulting you spend a lot of time with clients setting realistic goals, and then taking it day by day to reach those goals. Before, I wasn’t applying those same principles to myself.

Some days you get a lot done, some days you don’t… I can’t beat myself up about the days that don’t go according to plan or the days I don’t hit a goal that I had set for myself. It’s human. I’m human. And tomorrow – I get to try again.

Has fitness always been a big part of your life and if so, in what ways?

When I was younger, I was a part of a very active family – even in college I would make time to work out and swim laps. It wasn’t until I entered into the 9-5 world that my habits changed and I became more sedentary.When my girls were toddlers, they were all over the place and I was shocked at how quickly I would get worn out trying to chase after them. That was just one of my “ah ha” moments, but it was a large part of what motivated me to regain control of my health and do things like enter the Gold's Gym Fitness Challenge, which I won! You can read more about my fitness journey here.

How do you juggle all your roles and still make time for your own fitness goals?

Sometimes I think that I don’t juggle it all so well! That said, I’ve really learned that when I don’t make the time for myself to work out –-take that time for myself, really, to de-stress and focus – that’s when things start to fall apart. So whereas I used to let other things take my “me time,” now I block off the time on my calendar, and have become pretty unapologetic about protecting that time – because I can’t be the great businesswoman, the great boss, the great wife, the great mom if I don’t.

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