High Fitness's Emily Nelson on What Motivates Her to Exercise, How Working Out Affects Mental Health and More
Emily Nelson is known for creating an international company called High Fitness, and she shares how her mental health is affected by her exercise regimens and much more.
If cleaning up spilled spaghetti under a high chair and bathing 3 kids in under 30 minutes counted as strength training, I’d probably have a 6-pack. Sadly for me, those activities don’t make the cut. That being said, it's important to find even a teeny, tiny bit of alone time to get your body moving, especially now that we are all staying home. As fun as it is flipping through your old Chatbooks Photo Book Series, maybe you try to find time for a long run (without any strollers), or perhaps you'd rather watch a kickboxing YouTube video and sweat it out. No matter what your workout routine looks like, you're going to love the high-energy sweat show that is High Fitness. That's why we talked to Emily Nelson, High Fitness co-founder, on the MomForce Podcast for her tips and tricks for finding the motivation to get sweaty every single day (even when you're working from home).
Can you tell us about how High Fitness came to be?
Emily: Yeah, Amber [Zenith, co-founder of High Fitness] and I worked together at a fitness gym in Canada. As we started teaching fitness classes together, I convinced her to teach dance fitness classes. I gave her the routines and we taught a few different dance formats together. About a year later, I moved back to Utah from Canada and we kept in touch. I still sent her my routines and she would dumb them down. We found that people want a kick butt workout, they want to move to fun music, but we needed to simplify it. We realized that the dance workout world was so intense that it was stressing people out. Essentially we wanted to create a class that was as intense as it was fun. So how we came about doing that was by bringing aerobics back. The moves are so simple and they’re still so fun. So we brought it back — bigger and better, and we self funded it as two moms running it out of our homes.
What role do you think fitness plays in overall mental health?
Emily: At High Fitness, we’ve always been about mental health first. It's not about how long you should be exercising or how far you run. It's just about moving your body. And the second people can adopt that, it will change their fitness goals. I want you to turn off your watch and just move your body. So many women are feeling like if they don't get a full hour-long workout, they wasted their time. Let’s take out the mentality of what we have to do to stay fit and be grateful that we get to move our bodies. That is mental health. If people can come out of this quarantine and recognize how much more exercise is about mental health rather than their physical that would make me so happy.
One of our friends from the MomForce Facebook Page asked, “My gym child care is closed, what's the best way to work out at home?”
Emily: If you open up your Instagram, there are probably 10 people going live with workouts at any moment. You just have to decide if you're ok with doing your workout with your kids or with them running around you. If you can't get what you want out of that, you may have to get up a little bit earlier. Search a gym-related hashtag on Instagram, reach out to your friends and ask what they're doing, look at YouTube workouts, Les Mills is doing live streams for free workouts. There’s also something unique about getting in a morning workout — I feel so much better. I feel awake, I feel like I want to eat better, it starts the day off so well. And let’s be honest, you feel way better waking up on your own than when your kids have to come wake you up.
What do you do when you're in the middle of a workout and you feel like you can’t keep going?
Emily: That is the power of group fitness. Without that available right now, I have 3 suggestions:
1. Find something that you like. If you don't like it, you're going to stop right when you start.
2. Ask yourself: Do I need to allow myself to slow down a little bit? That's OK!
3. If I woke up early and put on my clothes, I better make this worth it. It's one hour. I gotta make it worth it. If you don’t push it, you're going to regret that you didn't push it. My goal is to get uncomfortable! I promise you, over time, you will crave that discomfort. You got here, you put on your shoes, you made the effort, now make it count.
What is your favorite motivational quote or words that you try to live by?
Emily: I have two! Amber [Zenith, co-founder of High Fitness] and I always say: Be your own hype girl. No one else is going to be your biggest fan except for you. If you're the one cheering yourself on, pepping yourself up, you’re going to soar so much higher. No one else cares as much as you care. You've got to believe in yourself and be your own hype girl in everything.
The other quote is: All ships rise with the tide. There is room for everyone at the top. I'm so sick of people feeling like when other people are rising, they can't be. Guess what? We can all be the best. We lift each other up as we cheer each other on and rise higher together, especially as women. If we think someone is amazing, that shouldn’t mean that we aren't or that we can't be. We should be thinking, “They're so amazing, good for them.”
For more real-life parenting tips and tricks, check out the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7 and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of parenting together, bringing in experts to get to the source of your most-Googled "adulting" questions. Check out the #MOMFORCE BY CHATBOOKS FACEBOOK PAGE and find us on Instagram @THEMOMFORCEPODCAST.