Not Just Vacation — My First Week on Oahu

January 22, 2018

It has been 3 weeks since I boarded a plane with a one-way ticket and crossed the Pacific to the little island of Oahu. WUT.

hiking with dogs in hawaii

The first few days were a vacation with my sister Kendall around and Katie in town— we joined Kendall’s friends for nights out to dive bars and house parties, rang in the new year at a Gatsby-themed soiree, soaked up some sun on the beach, drank too many mai tais, and got fresh ink on the North Shore. Our musical friend Peter even island-hopped over from Kauai for a brainstorming sesh and yes, a few more mai tais. We went out in Kailua and Waikiki. Spent too much money on expensive appetizers. Got my honorary first sunburn.

Vacay life, ya know?

But not all island living is sunshine and coconuts.

north shore pipeline surfing

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Aloha to you, 2018

December 19, 2017

The fact that aloha means both hello and goodbye seems accurate right about now — these past few weeks have included waves of both, peppered with joy in anticipation for the new and the next, yet coupled with the nostalgic ache for what is now past. Friends, it is true. Finally, ten years after a dream was born in a little sunkissed blonde girl’s heart and buried in the sand of Poipu Beach, Kauai, it’s a reality:

Hawaii, here I come. Aloha, my new island home.

When preparing for my shoulder surgery and a solid month away from work and 3-4 months away from my spin studio, I received an encouraging text from my dear friend Dom after I frantically texted her while in a panic about my life being put “on hold” for a few months:

“You’re being forced to turn off, look inward, spend time with God. Get to know yourself deeply. And really truly turn off, unplug, and recover,” she wrote.

That’s exactly what I had to do. For once, walking down the hall was an excursion requiring super-human strength. My morning power-shower turned to baths, hair washed by my sister or my aunt. I slept nearly 18+ hours a day. I watched 3 seasons of Vikings in a scary-short amount of time. I lived off of toast and water for the first two weeks. I celebrated my 27th birthday in a drive from Santa Cruz to Sacramento, post-op doctor’s appointment and falling asleep during a movie marathon. I started (but have yet to finish) four different books.

Lanakai Beach, my new home beach

It was during this time my heart began to change. My mind said enough is enough! to all the dreams and the maybes and the one days and instead began whispering, now now now. And then God slipped under my skin and cracked my heart open back home in Colorado over Thanksgiving. Before I knew it my fingers  were skittering across the keys of my keyboard researching flights and facebook-posting a room for rent.

It all happened so fast: A one-way ticket to Honolulu on December 30. An inbox of house-hunters eager to begin their SF journey in the bay-windowed bedroom that saw me through so much. A gentle goodbye to my love from the past year, filled with hope and encouragement and nothing but the best wishes for one another. A two-week notice to the agency full of some of the most talented (and hilarious and amazing) people I know.

Whew.

Excited to be auntie to this fur baby for a few months!

Furniture is sold, books and knicknacks are in bags. Clothes are sorted and awaiting donation. An assortment of swimsuits, a couple t-shirts, 2 pairs cutoff shorts and the only pair of sandals I own make a pile on my floor. Many goodbyes have been said, yet others await for hugs after Christmas or big aloha snuggles with already-booked visits to see me on the island.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly what to expect. My timeline is open as I walk barefoot steps to trust the Big Guy with whatever comes next. I’m grateful for my sister and a room to myself in her home, a furry companion to look after while she is away, and a car to drive. My computer and notebooks will accompany me, along with copious amounts of time to just write, finally freeing the words swimming deep down somewhere behind my bellybutton, pulling them to the surface once again.

2018, I am SO ready for you!

It’s been a tough year wrought with trials that knocked me off my feet and left me gasping for air — but finally I am slowly crawling back to standing. Writing is the way I not only continue my journey past these demons, but allows me to spread awareness that mental illness is a very real thing — but there is hope, oh so much hope, of brighter tomorrows. One just may have to take a step out of the ordinary to find it.

So yes — I’m back. I’ll be here weekly (#goals) and on Instagram @averykjohnson sharing my adventures from the land of aloha. It’s time for a new year, a fresh start, and a new chapter on an island where very few know my name. Through it all I am consistently reminded God didn’t give me a spirit of fear — so across the ocean I go.

Secrets of Being a Fitness Instructor

October 10, 2017

avery johnson, spin instructor

When I decided to audition for becoming an indoor cycling instructor over three years ago, it wasn’t about the money — it was about the lifestyle and community. Who wouldn’t love to work where yoga pants are the office dress code and sweaty post-cycle brunch is a regular thing? But as my career progressed, I realized — dang, this is hard work!

The truth is, there is a lot more to being a fitness instructor than just getting paid to work out.

I interviewed three of my dear friends and fellow instructors and twisted our stories together to share more of what being an instructor is really like—the good, bad AND ugly.

Whether you’re thinking of instructing or just want a peep into what your favorite fitness guru really does, here’s a look at what goes on behind the studio scenes. Read on, my friends.

READ IT ON POPSUGAR >>

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.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE 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…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON POPSUGAR >> 

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.