If you’ve ever made New Year’s resolutions you didn’t keep, you’re not alone. Rather than making and breaking deals with yourself, which puts you on the fast track to disappointment, why not try something different this year? We asked our new ambassador, Vanessa Packer, Founder of modelFIT, and a fitness and nutrition expert (she’s a licensed nutritionist) for her tips on starting 2017 strong. Turns out, we’ve all got what it takes to thrive!


Living Aveda: Tell us a little bit about your background in health and wellness.
Vanessa Packer: It started when I was a kid, actually. My mom was a good role model, she exercised every day and took great care of her skin. I was an athlete in high school—captain of the track team and a volleyball player. Then I went to college at University of Colorado Boulder, which gave me a nature fix. That’s where I got into the organic and local food scene. Boulder was a very alternative town at the time, and I learned a lot just by exploring the community. That’s also where I got into yoga big time, as well as Ayurvedic medicine.


LA: So how did you get from there to opening modelFIT?
VP: After college I worked as a fashion stylist for a number of years. It was great because I got to be around really creative people, but I knew I wanted more out of life, so I decided to get my holistic nutrition degree at the same time. Eventually, I found myself giving people nutrition consultations on the sets of photo shoots and it sort of took off from there. I began taking on clients, and it opened up something I’d been passionate about my whole life. All of this happened right around the advent of boutique fitness studios, and I happened to be working with a trainer who had a very unique approach to exercise, which really worked. I thought it would be great as a class, so I worked on developing a regimen that combined eating and working out mindfully. It was a new model of fitness—hence the name modelFIT.


LA: What differentiates modelFIT from other methods of working out?
VP:  So many workouts are routed in very masculine, old-hat ways of training. And women don’t see the results they want. The way we train takes into consideration how your body responds, so you build agility and strength through dynamic movement. Our classes are small so the trainers can tailor the moves to each individual student. But it’s a group environment, so you get motivated because you’re all in it together. The classes incorporate calisthenics and light weights as well as medicine balls and pilates rings, and the movements are all done slowly so you can target the muscles you want to reach.


LA: Speaking of exercise, it’s resolution time. Why do you think so many people have trouble sticking to workout resolutions?
VP: It’s interesting, I used to do resolutions, and my boyfriend got me into setting intentions instead. I think it’s a better way to approach change in your life because it functions as a guide. Intentions can bend and mold with your path. 


LA: Give us an example.
VP:  Well, my 2017 intentions will encompass leadership goals and mentorship. On a personal level, I’m going to try to find more balance, see my family more, and get more sleep!


LA: What health and wellness intentions do you recommend for our readers?
VP: I think that the way to achieve sustainable change is to start small. Do one small healthy habit a day for a while, like working out, drinking a green juice, or doing a five-minute meditation. Then add a habit when you’re ready. Oh, and here’s another healthy habit I’ve started doing recently: While I brush my teeth, I list five things in my head that I’m grateful for that day. We so often dwell on the negative and pass over the positive. This forces you to dwell in the positive.



LA: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from starting modelFIT?
VP: It’s helped me find peace in the ebbs and flows of running a business— in the faults and success of it. I’ve also taken to leading by example.  If I’m not fit, healthy and mindful, how can I expect anyone around me to be?


LA: And where does Aveda fit into your life?
VP: I’ve used it since childhood! I was a big Rosemary Mint Shampoo and Conditioner fan. Currently, I love the Tulasāra™ Bright Concentrate. And the Tulasāra™ Radiant Facial Dry Brush. It really gets me glowing.


LA: Thanks for all the great tips!
VP: You’re welcome!


For more on modelFIT, go to modelfit.com.



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