We are super excited to be kicking off a new series today on the blog called “Coffee Talk,” a Q&A feature of the women in our community with inspiring stories to tell. As often as we can, Kristen and/or I will be sitting down to chat with a lovely lady we genuinely look up to, and the highlights of conversation will be posted here for you to read. These women are beyond amazing, and we hope that you can in some way relate to or learn from the lives they lead and the words they share. That said, grab yourself a cup of joe and join in today’s #realtalk about motherhood, body confidence, and turning challenges into opportunities.
Our first guest is Carolyn Ruiz, a “momtrepreneur,” fitness guru, and all-around rockstar hailing from San Antonio, Texas.
Her Story Goes: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Carolyn! To start off with our “Coffee Talk,” I have to ask: What’s in your mug?
Carolyn Ruiz: Well, coffee’s not really my thing… Haha, so I’m drinking my daily Shakeology shake.
HSG: Um, YUM. Any particular flavor you’re crazy about?
CR: Chocolate is my go-to! I have a sweet tooth, so it helps to combat that while fueling my body with healthy nutrients each morning.
HSG: Mmm, I might have to start drinking them myself! Alright, now that that’s out of the way, can you give our readers a brief summary of who you are and what you do?
CR: Sure! I’m a wife to my sweet hubby, Dan, who I met in high school. (He was actually my first boyfriend!) I have two crazy kiddos: Luke, who will be three this week, and Becca who is 4 months old. I’m a math teacher by degree, but I currently work from home as a fitness and wellness coach—which I love.
HSG: Tell me a little more about your fitness coaching and how you got started.
CR: I feel like I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with fitness. My first year of college, I gained the Freshman 15, I wasn’t working out, and I was just at a really low time in my life. After that, I started to gradually fall in love with fitness again. I became an instructor at A&M’s Rec Center and was doing really well for a while—until I got into the real world.
HSG: There’s something about working a full-time job that makes exercising seem impossible, isn’t there?
CR: Exactly! When I was teaching full-time, especially after I had Luke, I just felt like I didn’t have the time anymore to devote to working out. We were spending almost $100 for a gym membership, and I was going maybe once or twice a month. Then last summer, Dan heard about Beach Body through an acquaintance of his, and he came home one evening and said, “I think you’d be really good at this.” At first, I was hesitant, but I eventually decided to give it a shot.
HSG: And I bet you’re glad you did! How has Beach Body affected your life since then?
CR: I’m a completely different person now than I was when I first started. I love the transformation that I’ve seen inside and out. Within the first month, I was working out consistently, eating healthier meals, and fueling my body in a much better way. I could also see a huge difference in my strength and energy throughout my pregnancy [with Becca]. Honestly, coaching has helped me to become the best version of myself.
HSG: Your passion for wellness is a huge motivator for other women as well. I, for one, am a huge fan of your inspirational posts on social media!
CR: Thank you! You know, as much as Beach Body has affected my life, I think the heart and soul of my business is encouraging other women—especially those who are struggling with self-image. My main mission is to help women, particularly moms, be “Women with SWAG” (Self-confidence, Wisdom, an Attitude of Gratitude, and Grace). I run a monthly accountability group, and I feel like this is really where the magic happens. It’s a no-judgment zone for us to cheer each other on and share our struggles, victories, recipes, and everything in between. I call this group [of women] “my tribe,” because that’s really what we are. It’s a sisterhood.
HSG: Wow, that’s so powerful! Do you have any tips for those struggling with positive body image?
CR: When it comes to health, it’s not about the scale. You don’t have to wear a size zero or weigh 100 pounds to be your best self. It’s about how a healthier lifestyle makes you feel. It’s about having confidence, and most of all, knowing your worth.
HSG: What would you say to someone who looks at all you’ve accomplished, both as a “momtrepreneur” and as a young woman living a healthy lifestyle day to day, and says “I could never do that”?
CR: Well, I think so many women don’t know how strong they can be. Women are incredibly strong. We just have to believe in ourselves. Unfortunately, we live in a society that is very judgmental and degrading towards women, and I think supporting one another is the first step to changing that.
Another thing I’ve learned throughout this entire process is that taking care of yourself better allows you to take care of your family. What’s that saying? You can’t fill someone else’s cup when yours is empty? It’s cliché, but it’s true. Finding a balance might not be easy at first, but making time for self-care is extremely important.
HSG: Speaking of balance, what does a typical day in the life look like for you?
CR: So, my goal is to always get up and work out first thing in the morning before my kids get up. As most mothers of infants and toddlers can attest, my morning doesn’t always go as planned. But when it does, I’m usually up by 6:00 AM and pushing play [on my workout video] by 6:15 AM. The workouts are just 30 minutes long, and the best part is that I can do them in my own living room. By 7:00 AM, I’m in the shower and getting ready as fast as I can.
I thrive on routine, so we usually have set plans for each day of the week. Mondays are for meal planning and grocery shopping. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Luke goes to school and while he’s there, I try to get most of the house work finished or work on my business. Luke has his gymnastics class on Wednesdays, and on Fridays, I have my weekly moms’ group. So there’s something different every day. But our evenings stay consistent for the most part: When Dan gets home from work, we have dinner together as a family. And once the kids are down, I try to be as productive as I can before calling it a night. (I don’t get much sleep, haha.) Our days are nothing special, but we love them.
HSG: What is your favorite part about working for yourself?
CR: While my #1 job is being a mother, I love that my kids actually get to see me do something I’m passionate about. Spending time with my kids is extremely important to me, and my business allows me to prioritize that. When I was a working mom, I felt like everything just went by so fast. Even though all I do some days is change dirty diapers and clean the house, I wouldn’t trade my time with Luke and Becca for anything in the world.
HSG: That’s awesome, Carolyn. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! We have a few more somewhat random questions to end on, just for fun.
Name a daily ritual that you can’t live without.
CR: My morning prayer + workout.
HSG: What’s on your favorite playlist at the moment?
CR: “Dance Like Yo Daddy” by Meghan Trainor.
HSG: Who is a woman, living or dead, you admire and why?
CR: My mom, because she has the biggest heart and has always given it to others in service. And because she’s always dressed to the nines. I hope I look as great as she does when I’m her age!
HSG: If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of womanly advice, what would it be?
CR: Don’t be so concerned about what others think of you. It will only hold you back from becoming your authentic self.
P.S. Know someone you’d like to see on the blog? Nominate them for next month’s #HSGcoffeetalk by shooting us an email with their name and contact information. 🙂
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Ruiz.