What a week it has been here in Lorna Jane land. Can you believe it’s June already? Not to worry ladies, the weekend is almost here, which means… a whole lot of MNB time! To brighten your Friday spirits, we have a super inspiring sporty sister to share with you, you may even recognise her from a recent MNB article ‘Diet & Fitness Tips’ …a great read indeed.
We think Monica Nelson is one incredible lady, residing in sunny L.A, she is the type of woman who wholeheartedly embraces the MNB philosophy and radiates health and positivity (which is evident throughout this interview, you just wait and see). Monica is a woman that does it all, when she’s not MNB’ing, or training her celebrity clients, she is busy baking up a storm for her business Moni Meals (these treats are delicious, Mon generously sent us some samplers and we just couldn’t get enough). We hope you enjoy reading up about Monica as much as we enjoyed writing this interview.
MNB: Hi Monica, welcome to our humble MNB! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi MNB! I have been a part of the health and fitness industry for the past ten years. I have a multifaceted career as a Personal Trainer, Healthy Foods Chef, and have been an athlete most of my life. I am also a Fitness Model. I am one of the sweetest people you will ever meet EXCEPT for when it’s time to workout (just ask my clients)! Don’t be fooled by my “girl next door” smile, I will get ya! I go from whipping up new cookie recipes to whipping people in shape.
I help others feel and look their best and I love what I do every day. As a successful trainer, I have developed proven training methods that challenge you mentally and shape you physically. I am so inspired by my amazing clients! My other passion is baking and cooking. I have a healthy recipes blog at my site. I LOVE FOOD! I might be the only health/fitness expert out there who actually gives their clients homemade treats. I believe in hard work but not food deprivation. Not here. I SO believe in chocolate! The good news is that I have learned how to make really delicious treats that are a much healthier choice. I have more than one sweet tooth as my husband likes to remind me.
Here it is: I am a huge Lorna Jane lover! I believe 100% in the message of MOVE, NOURISH, BELIEVE. I teach and inspire the same message.
My motto is: EAT WELL, STAY FIT, FEEL GREAT.
I grew up in Colorado but have been based in Los Angeles. However, I will always be a small town girl. I am married to a super amazing husband (who is also a personal trainer) and we have two incredible English Bulldogs. I love doing anything outdoors, the beach, riding bikes, and love snowboarding with all my heart. I just started to learn how to surf. Let’s just say I can’t think of one sport I don’t embrace.
MNB: So, word in the blogosphere is you’re a woman of many talents. (A Personal Trainer, Sports Model, Chef AND Competitive Snowboarder.) How do you keep up?
Thanks for the compliment! Believing hard work can really pay off is what keeps me going. I am so blessed and thankful for my passions, gifts, and talents. Doing what I love keeps me happily moving along. I get excited when one of my clients makes progress (big or small). When I get an email about how one of my recipes helped a family to eat healthier, I get excited. I live my passions and follow my dreams. I am constantly fuelled by my love for what I do! Not everyone has that. The easiest thing in the world is to get overwhelmed, so accept that we can’t do it all but we can sure try.
I DO THIS:
- Carve time out for me – massage, latte date with a girlfriend, bike ride, or yoga
- Keep my mind where my body is – stay present
- DO CHILD POSE! – My favourite place in the world
- Spend time with my dogs – you can learn so much from your pets. They are naturally perfect!
- Wear Lorna Jane Activewear– honestly, it is the only brand of clothes that I can wear to “run” the day in. I can train my clients, train myself, go to a fitness casting, cook, and meet a girlfriend all in the same outfit!
The bonus for me is my wonderful (and adorable) husband who is super onboard with all that I take on and is very supportive. I really just do my best and hold on for the ride!
MNB: Have you always been passionate about healthy living? What was the ‘Uh ha’ moment for you?
I grew up as a true tomboy (I have the scars to prove it) and while I was always very active and an extreme athlete competing in snowboarding, I have to be honest. My diet in college was pretty unbalanced and looked like this: Ate late, slept late, pizza was a staple as well as beer, and what was water? While I DID love healthy foods I just was not very consistent. Plus, I worked at a candy store during college. That didn’t help! But if I could change – SO CAN ANYONE.
My ‘uh-ha’ moment came when I became a more serious athlete and started to pursue personal training. My sporting endeavours suddenly took off and I realised how much fitness, nutrition and health became a part of me. I also noticed how much better I felt once I learned how to refuel my body properly. I discovered how certain foods tasted INCREDIBLE, made me feel AMAZING, gave me ENERGY and how I really enjoyed cooking myself!
From that point I absolutely fell in love with baking and cooking and soon after realised how I was actually pretty good at it. It took practice, time and patience but it is a piece of me that I am so grateful for. Knowing I found exactly what I should be doing with health and fitness was my uh-ha moment because that is how Moni Meals began. Training my clients and offering nutritional advice is amazing because I get to witness accomplishments happen every day.
MNB: What does a typical day of MNB’ing look like in your world?
When I wake up I give my husband of on nine years a smooch and then I give my bulldogs (just as important!) a kiss too. After THIS is done I start my day!
I always practice gratitude. It can be as simple as thanking my strong body and mind for all that they do for me. I do this every day. Just being able to get out of bed every day is something so precious and to be grateful for. Once you BELIEVE in yourself, giving gratitude becomes a big part of your everyday life.
I make sure to always eat a power breakfast. Oh yes, I love my coffee too. (A new thing I have been doing is adding a little coconut oil to my coffee. Talk about a new obsession- TRY IT!)
Then I start to plan out my workouts for my clients. I say, “How challenging should I make it today?”
At least twice a week you’ll find me at the Farmers Market. This is how I NOURISH my body and why Moni Meals taste so incredible. I only use the best of the best ingredients. Secret is out!
I try to fit in a workout most days of the week – not every day but I always try to be active. I stay active doing EVERYTHING! I am always on the MOVE and try to ride my bike any chance I get, especially with L.A. traffic – no thanks!
When I’m not training clients or at a modelling casting, you guessed it…I’m in the kitchen creating a new moni meal.
MNB: Being such an Active woman, what’s your favourite way to unwind or have some me-time?
I truly unwind in my kitchen. It’s “my place” and the heart of my home. Baking does something to me I just can’t explain and it is a true passion that centres me. It’s a labour of love!
How grateful I am to enjoy my Sunny California playground! I commute on my beach cruiser. I love the beach, a great hike, yoga, and my favourite thing in the entire world is taking a beach bike ride with my husband. I love spending time with family and friends, walks with my dogs, and since my husband is also an actor, we love seeing a great flick and grabbing dinner out somewhere new.
MNB: Okay, so if you had to choose…what would be your top 3 ‘can’t live without’ foods of all time!
This is SO tough as I love so many types of food. The good news is they are all healthy.
- Chocolate in all forms
- Oh and my infamous Moni Quinoa Mac N Cheese recipe!
Good Health. Peace. Smiles. Laughter. Feeling Good. Animals & Pets. Contentment. Just Being. Oh, and for sure, the Holidays, I get really into Christmas. Above all, loving and being loved.
Moving my body, being outdoors and in nature all make me very happy too. You will always find me there. I have to live close to the beach or mountains at all times.
Happiness is also being with loved ones and TRULY being grateful. I think the more gratitude you have the more happiness you hold.
MNB: What are your fave LJ pieces to move in?
Oh, I love all my Lorna Jane so let me just say there has not been on piece I have tried on that did not feel and look great. Some of my favorites are:
MNB: What are some healthy snacks we could find stashed in your handbag?
- A healthy homemade Moni Treat.
- Water always, they call me the “water police!”
- Raw nuts
- A healthy protein bar
- And, yes, chocolate. I absolutely travel with my own dark chocolate. You bet! However, the worst is when I forget to take it out of my purse on a hot summer day. I have ruined a purse or two for sure.
MNB: Best advice you have ever been given?
One thing I know for sure is that HAPPINESS COMES FROM WITHIN. Perfection does not exist. So much of the time we get wrapped up in “but if only I had a perfect body, relationship, house, etc. then I would be happy.” But not true! You have to dig deep within. Personally, I am always growing and I feel if we are not growing we are not evolving.
Also just as important…
“If you take care of your body, it will take care of you!”
“BELIEVE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! “ Words from our Lorna Jane Clarkson.
MNB: What are some of your best-kept beauty secrets?
Olive Oil – 3 uses. I have been fortunate to train America’s First Super Model, Cheryl Tiegs (known for her very famous covers on Sports Illustrated – yep that’s her!) for three years. If you think she gave me some of her top beauty secrets… then you guessed RIGHT. She made a career out of being beautiful so you bet I listened when she shared her tips!
- One particular training session I complained how dry my hands were so she told me how wonderful olive oil can be for the hands. I put a small drizzle on and coat my hands just like lotion. It feels so great!
- ANOTHER use for olive oil is it does wonders for your hair as well. All you need to do is put a little bit on the ends of your hair and you get really soft and smooth locks! I do that all the time also.
- While you are at it, it never hurts to drizzle a little over a healthy meal. This adds great flavour and helps deliver nutrients more efficiently.
FOR INNER BEAUTY: MOST important! We need to always keep on growing, try new things, believe in you and love yourself unconditionally. This is how you’ll shine from the inside out and show your INNER BEAUTY to the world. It’s the secret to staying young.
My EASY and Basic Tips also include:
MNB: Any tips or advice you could give to our readers just starting on their healthy, active journey?
- When it comes to EATING: SAVOUR Your Meals, Try your best to EAT MINDFULLY, FORGET DEPRIVATION, STOP COUNTING, NO “DESK-TOP” DINING, and remember …CHEMICALS OUT – HOMEMADE IN! If you can try to SLOW DOWN, appreciate your food, look at the colours and aromas, and then take your time, it can change so much for you! I am by no means perfect at this but I try my best and my husband and I try to have dinner together most nights. It makes all the difference!
- Another great tip is to understand that “spot-training” does not work. We are given one body with a certain genetic makeup and that is that. Doing movements that only target your so called “troubled” spots does not automatically mean it will change. However, with the proper workouts, diet, and attitude, you can certainly get there eventually!
- Remember if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. For example, diet pills, supplements, or a workout machine that promises change to your body with little or no effort…I do not think so!
MNB: Any Move, Nourish or Believe tips before we part?
I have always loved this quote:
It means get on your feet, stand up, and MAKE IT HAPPEN!
I also highly recommend a book called THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz. I do my best to follow the amazing wisdom that this book is full of.
I would love to share one of my favourite healthy Moni Treats. I make these weekly and they are perfect for us busy sporty sisters! I like them for a snack, treat, or for pre or post workout fuel. You can make them taste exactly like raw cookie dough or add your favourite nut butter too.
WOW, now that was schooling on all things MNB. A big thank you to Moni, for so generously sharing her knowledge & tips on living a life of wellness. You are a true inspiration, and a poster girl for the Move Nourish Believe philosophy.
Want to stay inspired by Monica?