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On Discovering Identity + Deflecting Lies

July 12, 2018

I was finally feeling somewhat settled. I knew where I was supposed to be each day and each week, what mornings I had to rise before 4AM. I alternated between slingin’ yoga pants at lululemon and coaching my heart out at Orange Theory, teaching a handful of other classes at other studios and attempting to complete a website building project “on the side”.

This is the Hawaiian Hustle, my friends.

On the island it seems the majority of those I connect with work multiple jobs or side hustles to make ends meet while pursuing a life of beach, ocean, community and mountains. But what I love most, even despite the hustle is this —

I am more than a job title. A salary. An upwards trajectory, an employee of the latest and greatest startup. I am Avery, first and foremost, a sister-daughter-lover-and-friend who will cook you dinner and be in bed at 8:30PM one night, kicking your ass in fitness class the next, out on the town Saturdays and diving 40 feet down in the ocean on Sundays before sunrise.


While this is the Hawaiian way of life, I will admit — detaching my identity from my job title is tough. Especially because in the last couple of weeks, a shoot-ton changed. I left the job I was tying myself to. I quit Orange Theory.

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How to Establish a Routine When Your Whole Life Changes

April 30, 2018


So between my 6-week shoulder surgery recovery, holidays, moving, and career upheaval, the past few months have lacked any sort of semblance of a routine. I went to bed when I wanted, woke when I wanted, got happy hour and stayed up wayyy past my bedtime when I wanted, even greeted my snooze button with a swift tap a few more times than I’d like to admit in the mornings.

As a self-proclaimed early-riser and go-getter, I was at first disappointed in myself for letting my “healthy lifestyle” habits slide off the table. But in looking back over where 2018 has carried me so far, I’m realizing it is OK to shake up your routine — sometimes it is even crucial.

January and February were hard. I no longer had butt-in-chair office requirements to keep me in line. I didn’t have bosses to report to. I was still the new kid in town, so my social calendar looked a bit different. My day-to-day truly was what I created. While this may seem quite blissful, at times it was very much the opposite:

Like just tell me how someone is supposed to be productive on a Monday when it is 77 degrees and sunny outside, and I am but mere steps from the beach? How do I remain financially stable while studying, schooling, and building my business?

But life is picking up. Here’s how I (perfectly imperfect) stayed sane during the chaos of moving:

Get Clear on Purpose

After years of thought, and months of deep prayer, what I once thought was a hobby is finally becoming my main focus. Teaching spin a handful of times a week has blossomed into a business plan with the intention to help others, specifically young women, lead healthy, vibrant lives free from the confines of lack of self-confidence, bullying, disordered eating, and media expectations. 

I knew there was a reason I went through what I did — years of eating disorders, bullying, depression, and anxiety — and I finally see the why behind it all. I then looked to my talents. I blended the rush of adrenaline from each class I taught, the plentiful endorphins, the sweaty smiling faces of my clients, and beyond encouraging feedback from my studio communities and my sisters to redefine my goals and land me on the legacy I want to leave behind, and just how I was to do it.

Stick to Healthy Habits (80% of the time)

Setting my alarm during the week, getting regular exercise, and cooking food at home keeps my mind and body in check when I’m in a routine upheaval. Instead of letting myself lounge in bed all day or stay up with movies or out late into the night, I decided to get back to a somewhat regular sleep schedule. Our bodies are actually wired for routine and crave habitual snoozing and rising times, so I used the “bedtime” alarm on my iPhone to keep on a regular 8-hour shut-eye schedule.

To fuel my body and keep my energy and spirits high, I attended a Corepower sculpt or megaformer class at Titan Core at least four times a week. This was my space to let my mind unwind while working my body. Not to mention it is a great place to make friends! What I ate was also vital. Sure, I ate out more than I really wanted to. But the nights I spent preparing dinners for friends with enough leftovers for lunch signaled the close of the day in the perfect way, all the while beating away any loneliness I had from working by myself behind my computer.

Create Home, Wherever

I am a homebody. I love having my space, my place of peace to rest and a launch pad for my mornings. But in Hawaii while still recovering from my financial hit from the last year means getting scrappy and flexible when it comes to living spaces. When at my sister’s house I organized my few articles of clothing in my little red-painted studio (dubbed Casita Aloha), dolled it up simply with a bath mat and toothbrush holder and set of towels and cheerful shower curtain. I made my bed daily, even though it was just an air mattress. I taped a few of my favorite prints to the walls and placed a mood board collage on a shelf.

When I am couch surfing, I carry along my favorite pillow and blanket, earplugs, an eye mask, and my favorite essential oil. Settling in these days looks a little bit different from I imagined it to be (though to be honest, I am not entirely sure how I pictured it…). Until I find my dream rental (at a dream rental price, manifesting hardcore!) all I need is my toothbrush, a quiet space and a good friend to lend me a place to lay my head.

This is what I want you to know about my depression

February 23, 2018

It can be risky to publish posts like last week’s. But lately God has been granting me more and more opportunities to speak up about my struggle with mental illness. This truth has helped tie authentic relationships even tighter, while allowing me to seek help and support, and partner with others in the hurt so they know they aren’t alone.

Well, I promised things would get real around here. So today we’re getting even more real, if you will.

There have been moments this past year when I have not wanted to wake up the next day. When I wished I could lie down for a nap and let the world slip away. When I thought my heart was literally going to explode in my chest. When I thought it was possible for me to drown on oxygen. When thoughts I never even knew humans were capable of having ran wild through my head. Like someone else was controlling my brain. Scary sh*t.

It didn’t make sense to me, and it certainly didn’t make sense to my loved ones as I pulled away or put my walls up.

I heard multiple stories this week (including my own) where family members and dear friends wanted to know what they could do to help, who wanted to understand what mental illness actually looks like. I felt the tug to share my honest experience here.

From my perspective, from my experiences, this is what depression can look like: waves of happiness and laughter followed by the crushing blow of helplessness, exhaustion, disinterest, and darkness. Even for me, who many describe as generally joyful and engaging. Who appears to be thriving. There are weeks, there are days, where I may experience this seemingly unending and inescapable darkness.

But it isn’t all just like that. There’s more to our story. Know someone suffering through depression? Here’s an insight into our lives, and how you can be supportive through it all:

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Cardio-Induced Panic Attacks are Real—Here’s How to Manage Them

September 7, 2017

It was just another Tuesday night at the indoor cycling studio when it happened.

I stepped off my instructor bike to bid my clients goodbye, slapping sweaty high-fives on their way out. Suddenly I was overcome by a deadening squeeze in my chest and an overwhelming need to get away.

When I got into the locker room, I thought my heart was cracking apart and the world was about to end. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking and my vision grew foggy. I sat down hard on the tile floor beneath me and wanted to scream, but my lungs couldn’t gather enough air from my quick, shallow breaths to make a sound.

It was my first panic attack.

Cardio-induced panic attacks are real—but there are ways to manage them. Read the rest of my story and gain some knowledge from the experts in my latest post on POPSUGAR.


Stay up to date with my latest on Popsugar Fitness. Impacted? Pass it on! Let’s spread mental health knowledge to all of our friends, families, & coworkers. 

I’m Still Amazed at How the Whole30 Impacted My Life — p.s. I’m on Popsugar!

August 22, 2017

As a fitness instructor, I always thought of myself as more or less a healthy eater. I lived by the “everything in moderation” rule and dispelled food guilt with thoughts of I’m worth itTreat yourself girl! and Hey, I worked out twice today. I packed my lunches (when I remembered), tried to only eat out a few times a week, and blended as many fruits and veggies I could into smoothie bowls.

But in reality, as clean as my diet appeared, my lifestyle wasn’t working. I was sick.

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from digestive issues, migraines, acne, and ovarian cysts. I tried a myriad of medications over the years to no avail, often seeing only short-term relief — or feeling even sicker than before. I continued to try to eat healthy and work out religiously, but something wasn’t working. There were lifestyle changes I needed to make to bring my mind and body back to full health.

After thumbing through the Whole30 Cookbook at a friend’s home one night, I felt the conviction hard and swift: I needed a challenge and some discipline to get back on track. This would be my reset.

A few long, sugarless-breadless-wineless weeks later, this is what I noticed…


p.s. this is my very first post on Popsugar Fitness! Love it? Share it! Pass it on to your family, coworkers & friends. The power of food is real, my friends.