How we met:
Joanne is one of those people that you instantly feel connected to. Not only has she gone through a major physical transformation, she lives transformed in every part of her life. She sounds like your neighbor and friend. She is real and open about her journey and ah-ha moments. I love the way she owns the life that she has and wants to create for her, her family, and all those she hopes to inspire.
If you don’t know yet, I’m an instagram junkie. For real. I do some yoga on there…well, lots, plus workouts and other stuff. You can find me @carrot_bowl_bonnie…but search for @gofitjo too. Instagram land is hard to remember who found who first. I just know that when I started hearing Joanne’s story, listening to her voice and authenticity, I knew she was someone I wanted to know more about. I loved this interview and the way she feels powerful. I love how she wants to share this with others. She is a power-house!
Joanne is joining the Carrot Bowl Dynamo community.
These are people who daily do their thing and hardly realize their example, their powerhouse nature, and how sharing their story empowers other’s lives. When we listen to each other’s stories, when we let ourselves be affected by them, we become better people. We are kinder, more compassionate, and more dedicated to living in the present and being mindful. It’s all about how we act with each other. We might each move forward looking different and doing different things, but I believe that when you tell your story, you are empowered to keep living bigger, to keep living intentionally. Thank you, Joanne for rocking our lives!
How has making fitness a mindful part of your life affected your daughters?
I hope I can be the example of a woman I’ve always wanted to be for them. And to be honest, I don’t know what that means yet. Growing up, my parents were examples of hard working individuals, but they didn’t work in the most prominent job fields. My mom has always been in retail and still continues to be and my dad is on the admin staff of random companies. They have a very traditional Filipino upbringing and the mindsets on life and culture are a bit different. Seeing that as an example I knew I wanted to have open and very vulnerable conversations with my children when the time was right. My one hope is that they can always be authentic to their true self. Maybe right now they may not understand my dedication to fitness, but they know it’s made a positive impact in my life. My eldest one knows when I’m feeling stressed or getting a little down, she’ll tell me to go to the gym.
You haven’t always been so fitness oriented…was there an ah-ha moment that changed this for you?
There have been plenty attempts to get into the shape. Like most women I started to workout before my wedding, after having kids (both times), and none of it stuck. About 2 and a half years ago I was getting ready for a Sunday family outing with my little family. As I was getting ready and checking out myself for the final time in my daughter’s full length mirror, my daughter Airis who was 9 at the time said to me “Mom you look so pretty.” I quickly snapped and her and said, “No I’m not I’m fat and ugly.” The look in her face is one I would never forget, I crushed her heart. In her eyes I was her queen, the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. She took off running into the hallway upset with me. This was my aha moment. It clicked, how could I be the example of a strong woman if I didn’t see that in myself. How could I tell her she’s beautiful, capable, and talented if I couldn’t even see that in me. This is when things had to change.
You have an instagram account and a blog. How has the online world helped you achieve your personal goals?
Often times when you adventure off into something you’ve never done before it’s easy to feel alone, small, and different. Writing has always been my space of healing. When I was going through some of my deepest and darkest depressions in life, writing helped me gather my thoughts, I found comfort in it, and it made me feel like I could put the pieces back together. I’m a stubborn individual, I’ll never admit to needing help when I need it the most, but somehow in the realm of social media I found connection. Instagram and my blog allows me to be vulnerable. I can show a side of my life and my heart that most would never see day to day.
How do you hope your instagram and blog affect the world?
I would like to hope that most people can see my heart and a woman who journeyed through some tough shit to find self love. At 15 I attempted suicide, spent a good 5 years hating the young lady I was, I felt misunderstood, angry, sad, and overwhelmed with my own thoughts and emotions. My husband in a lot of ways was my saving grace during my adult years and so was my first daughter, Airis. These two helped give my life purpose and meaning. Health and fitness didn’t come as an easy thing for me. My husband and I are creatives and in that creative world you’re constantly drawn to social gatherings and events. Food and alcohol were the epicenter of most of these gatherings and I quickly spiraled downwards and out of shape.
I want to be an example to those women, especially mothers that you can have a career, a very present and intentional family life and marriage, and continue to center your world around health and wellness by staying active and nourishing your body with the right foods. I’d like to hope that I can just continue to be an example of a woman who continues to pour her heart into all that she does so that one day someone can look at me and say “If she could do it, so could I.”
Is there a hard part to being so present online?
Yeah I think there is, I’m grateful that I haven’t had to deal with any negativity and bashing online (YET) but I know others who have. It’s so disappointing to see people comment in their negative ways and treat one another so wrong. But that is life, there is good to bad to all sides and if you have the ability to understand this and to be true to yourself then it’s not as hard. The one challenge that I do have is that since blogging and being an online persona is not my full time gig I have to constantly remind myself that there’s no pressure. This is my personal journey.
Outside of your family, how have you inspired others?
I get emails from many women who resonate with my posts, friends from the past who come out to say “good fucking job!”. I’ve created strong bonds with friends I don’t think I would’ve ever been able to without this journey and that is incredibly inspiring. I think my journey has continued to allow people to continue on with their own or push through their own personal challenges.
If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
OMG. I have tons of advice, but I think the biggest one that I have is be intentional with your choices and your purpose. Go hard with your entire heart, whatever you do in life there will be challenges to overcome, you’re stronger than you think you are, trust yourself, and know that you got this!
How has lifting weights made you feel more powerful?
Honestly, I feel like a fucking champ! A girlboss! A bad ass! Lifting weights makes feel incredibly strong mentally. There’s something powerful about a girl being able to pick up weights as heavy as another MAN could that just makes you feel like a boss. It’s fun and I love how it’s put on muscle and curves to my frame.
Why do you think all women should lift weights?
You need to build muscle on the body in order to keep the fat off, but most importantly lifting weights can actually help build curves to the body where one lacked. If it’s not your cup of tea at first, just give it a try at least 4 weeks to see if it’s something you can enjoy. If not, that’s ok, find your movement in some other way.
How do you balance your online, fitness, and home life? Any tricks to share?
I know what’s valuable to me and what my priorities are and I do my best to protect them. My health and fitness are my top priority and second comes home/family life, then career, and online life. I make time for the things that I value and relationships with people are one of them. My advice to anyone is know your limits and know when you’re losing control of your balancing act. I try my best to organize my days and know exactly what I need to accomplish. I wake up every morning with the intent to get my body moving through exercise. Some days I start it off with cardio others it’s yoga. Whatever it is I get it moving. Then before anything else I set the intention of my day. The night before I look at what my day looks like so I have an idea of how busy it is, how many meetings I have and where I can make room for some “me” time during the day. During my work day I try to condense all my meeting time either in the morning or afternoons. I leave do not disturb time slots throughout the week to carve out time to read, research job related articles, or simply unplug my mind from work. I spend, at the most 2 hours a day online on social media and leave the blogging/writing at night when I choose to. Instagram has been a mini blog for me and it’s much easier to post and engage. Since connection is important to me, this is where I decide to put more of my efforts in with my online presence.
Your sleeves are so beautifully done, do you have a favorite tattoo?
I love all my tattoos, they have incredible meaning to me. My left sleeve was done right before Airis my eldest was born. The lotus flowers symbolize new life, a new beginning. Funny enough they were done months before I got pregnant as if I knew what was coming before it happened. My siren on my right arm is one of my favorite pieces. A siren is a mythical woman creature that is known to be alluring and fascinating, but dangerous in some ways. She wasn’t a representation of me, I just really loved the artist and we discussed what would go well with my left sleeve and made it happen. As my life and world continue to unfold I’m realizing she is a representation of me. The danger however isn’t with others but to myself. We are all life a little dangerously when it comes to our self destruction.
What is your favorite body feature and why?
I love my legs. My glutes, my thighs, my calves, MY LEGS!! They have always been “thick”, but after lifting weights and really feeding myself the right way I’ve been able to put some definition and curves to my once flat toosh.
What does your workout schedule look like on a weekly basis?
Sunday – cardio + back/bis
Monday – glutes/legs
Tues – cardio
Wed – cardio + back/delts
Thurs – plyos
Fri – chest/arms
Sat – cardio
What is one of the scariest things you’ve done?
The scariest thing I’ve done for myself was to compete in an NPC Competition May 2014. I would’ve never in my life imagined myself doing something so courageous. Besides that I think the scariest things I’ve ever done and continue to do is to be a mom, someone who is responsible to nurture and grow a human. It’s a wild ass concept!
What are 3 goals you have right now?
Home/Family: To be more unplugged, to spend more days adventuring, to make more memories.
Fitness: I just want to place top 5 in a show and to continue on daily.
Career: To continue to develop my skills as a manager and become more analytical and strategic.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as a person who values my self, my family, and those I love. I want to be remembered as a woman who pours her heart and passion out for others through my work, my actions, my words, my life. I want to be remembered as an authentic ass woman who knows what she wants in life and is out there to get it!
**All pictures belong to Joanne via her INSTAGRAM @gofitjo.
**Also, check out her BLOG gofitjo.com.