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Wellness is a personal thing. It’s a continuous journey. You’ve got the highs, the lows. The best workouts. The never-trying-that-again workouts. But then—when you least expect it—something clicks and forever changes your wellness game and the way you live.
Meet Erin Donnelley.
A New Yorker with passion for partying, Erin struggled to find her thing when it came to her wellbeing. Not loving her lifestyle (or herself), Erin felt stuck, depressed and in need of a change. Two years, one MINDBODY app and over 250 fitness classes later, it’s safe to say Erin has found something she loves—and changed her life for the better.
Inspired by her story, we sat down with Erin to learn more about what gave her the courage to fuel her fitness fire. Hint: It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Before using MINDBODY, I felt insecure —both mentally and physically. Physically, I was winded going up the steps of the subway. I wasn’t able to enjoy the things I loved to do, like play tennis or dance. I always had to be in the back of the room at every studio, and I would find excuses to run out of the class or not do a given exercise. Mentally, I was a mess. I was the girl who would fake sick at work when my team would have plans to do a cycling class. I had little to no confidence and couldn’t even look at myself in a mirror. I was unhappy, frustrated, and had a one-size-fits-all mentality when it came to fitness.
I had a really bad attitude when it came to fitness. My trainer suggested I branch out on my own and try some fitness classes around the city. MINDBODY gave me the freedom to continue to try whatever I wanted, but the knowledge to understand the best options.
For the longest time, I had the mindset that I had to follow the trends and had to do what other people were doing in order to achieve a certain look. I always had anxiety when I signed up for popular cycling classes but couldn’t figure out why. MINDBODY helped me overcome the fear of exercise. I didn’t need to be strapped into a stationary bike for 45 minutes. I was able to find different workouts that fit my personality and helped me reach my fitness goals. My trainer or favorite class might not work for someone else. Everyone has different personalities and goals, and MINDBODY helped me realize there is a whole world outside of what’s trending.
I discovered my sense of identity when a stranger approached me saying how inspiring I was. I try to be honest with my transformation because it didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t easy. I think a lot of people have a perception that in order to lose weight they have to give up certain things such as their social life or that they don’t have time to fit exercise into their busy schedules. Contrary to popular belief, I became more social and found myself with more energy when I would wake up early and make time for a class or the gym. When I first started out, I would remind myself that an hour is only 4% of my day. When you have that mindset, it’s easier to be disciplined.
I think my Instagram handle says it all: @TBDestination. It stands for To Beautiful Destinations that are yet to be determined. While I do try to work out five days a week, I try to mix things up, so I don’t get bored and I don’t plateau. I think sticking to a certain diet or workout is an easy way to get burnt out. Therefore, I am always trying to evolve by switching my routine and trying new classes as often as possible. It keeps me humble and honest.
Yes, and I continue to have setbacks. I’m my toughest critic, so it’s very easy for me to have negative self-talk. I try to remind myself that just as I did not lose weight overnight, I am not going to ruin all my progress overnight either. I think it’s important to surround yourself with a team. I am no expert, so I try to surround myself with a team of industry professionals—from trainers to physical therapists to nutritionists to psychologists. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
At the start of every new year, I make three New Year's resolutions. The reason for three is so I don’t feel bad or disappoint myself when I only accomplish one or two. I think it’s very important to make performance-oriented goals rather than trivial goals, like weight. Not to discredit the work I’ve done by losing 85 pounds, but I remember at my heaviest saying “I hope to get back to this weight someday.” Well, I accomplished it, and I wasn’t satisfied. There was still so much more I wanted to accomplish; therefore, it was less about the number on the scale and more about gaining confidence. A weight on a scale is arbitrary, however behavioral and performance-based goals are so much more rewarding. Whether it’s to run a 5K or to fit back into your favorite dress, those types of goals keep me much more motivated than any number on a scale ever could.
For the longest time, I thought I could outrun my fork. I’d do two, up to three workouts a day thinking I didn’t have to change my diet. My trainer Mike Maloney gave me a reality check and is one of the main reasons I was able to make a lifestyle change. I believe the two go together, and his no gimmick, no BS mentality has helped change my perspective. There’s no secret sauce or shortcut to success.
I’m fortunate to have the most supportive parents. They instilled a wonderful work ethic, and never let me give up. I also have found a great support system through my Instagram community. My followers are my biggest cheerleaders, which has helped motivate me to continue to persevere through the good and the bad.
Has MINDBODY changed your life for the better? Do you have a wellness journey to share? We want to know! Submit your story for a chance to be featured on MINDBODY!
Have you ever watched that oh-so-sweaty person leave their workout machine without wiping it down? Yuck. The Clorox wipes, paper towels, bottles of sanitizing spray are at your gym (and studio) for a reason— because no one wants to share bacteria. But now that our living quarters, even that tiny Upper Westside studio, have become our own personal fitness paradise, we’ve got one question: Is your at-home workout equipment *really* clean?
Research has found that bacteria can live on some gym equipment (weights, mats, you name it) for three days. That’s right, 72 full hours. And your yoga mat or those dumbbells you just got delivered from Amazon so you can slay that new virtual class you just booked on Mindbody are susceptible to the same stat. While it may seem silly to clean your own “stuff” because you’re the only one using it, think about where your hands have been before you pick up those weights. Perhaps your apartment complex’s keypad? Bacteria knows no boundaries.
From your resistance bands to your brand spanking new (and yes, most likely backordered) kettlebell, the gear you’re using at home could use a good wash, rinse, repeat—especially if you’re sharing it with someone you’re stuck at home with (like your S/O or stir-crazy housemate). Even if you’re the queen of clean (like me... just ask my co-worker, Natalie), here are six tips on how to keep your gear germ-free and looking good. Because we know all those classes you’ve been streaming are making you a fitness guru.
You not only want to clean the dirt off your workout equipment, you want to sanitize it. Clean gets the dirt, sanitizing takes care of the bad stuff (aka bacteria). Before you start getting crazy with the bleach or a DIY deodorizer, you’ll want to take into account the surface you are about to wipe down. Something like your treadmill, Peleton bike, resistance bands or bench press bench can be damaged by certain chemicals and at-home cleaners. If you’re worried about your equipment, opt for disinfectant wipes especially made for gym equipment, like all-natural Wipex. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to keep some hand sanitizer next to your workout station.
Clorox wipes have become the hottest household item of 2020—and we are guessing so has virtual yoga. If you’re not a huge fan of using chemicals you can’t pronounce and throw-away wipes on equipment like your Manduka mat, there are all-natural antibacterial cleaning options that will make Mother Earth proud. Who doesn’t want to make their cleaning routine a little more green? Companies like cleancult (we called them out in our 20/20 trends), offer effective, all-natural products delivered right to your door in recycled milk cartons —and they pair perfectly with your go-to disinfectants. Cleancult’s versatile All-Purpose Cleaner is my fave for wiping down workout gear, especially yoga mats (and almost everything in my home). The Saponified Coconut Oil acts as the “heavy lifter” without harsh chemicals. After working out, spray your surface(s), wait for a couple of seconds and wipe away with a reusable towel (or an old gym t-shirt you use as a rag).
While knowing what surface you’re cleaning is key, some of your equipment might benefit from DIY solutions. Before you roll up your sleeves and become the Harry Potter of cleaning solutions, invest in a glass spray bottle (or reuse an old plastic one). Oh, and break out the essential oils because they are about to boost your at-home fitness (and cleaning) routine. Most of the DIY cleaning “recipes” you find on Pinterest include ingredients you have at home—like vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. My must-use DIY cleaner is vinegar-based (with 10-12 drops of essential oils). It’s powerful yet natural enough that I feel more confident laying facedown in Savasana with my oh-so-sensitive skin after that yoga class in NYC I just streamed from San Diego.
Now that cleaning your at-home workout gear is part of your routine (hint, hint), letting your equipment dry is key. If you’re cleaning your more expensive exercise machine with some cleaning solutions that have a “smell” or you want it to dry faster, trying turning on a fan or crack open the window to keep the air circulating. If you’re just cleaned a more porous surface (like your yoga mat) hang it outside to dry—over a railing, a chair, bike rack... you get the gist. While fresh air is good, UV rays are not. Certain materials that make workout gear can breakdown in the sun, and you don’t want to get burned before your next workout sesh.
While cleaning your equipment might seem like a no-brainer, it can be easy to ignore the surrounding area where you work out. The title of this section tells you what you need to know—don’t forget to clean and sanitize the floor where you exercise. Just think of it this way, while you’re killing it in your virtual fitness class, your hard work is being noticed, by the floor that is, as your sweat beads go flying. And last time I checked; vacuuming doesn’t do the trick for dried sweat. After class, wipe down the area around your workout space with cleaning products that are conducive to the floor. Working out on carpet? Consider switching areas or look into sanitizing and deodorizing spray for material surfaces.
The most important part of cleaning and sanitizing your workout equipment is sticking to a schedule. If you’re forgetful (like me), keep your supplies adjacent to the area where you enjoy working out. And do it on the daily. Seeing the supplies will be a reminder to clean and sanitize before (and after) you get your sweat on—because who doesn’t love starting out their class on a cleanly note? Mother would be proud! PS: don’t forget to wash your hands!
Do you have any at-home cleaning and sanitizing tips you swear by when it comes to your workout routine? From DIY to cult-favorite products, we want to know! Tag @mindbody on Instagram to let us know! Stay clean, safe and sanitized our friends!