kno yur why.jpeg

Secret #1: Know and Understand Your Why

“There should be a specific, meaningful motivation behind your workouts — and “because I’m supposed to” is not an acceptable answer. Once you know your “why,” constantly remind yourself of it, whether that’s by doodling it on your hand, making it your cell phone background, or getting it printed on a tank.” –Women’s Health

Let’s do a personal inventory to identify your core values and what’s important to you:

Think about what motivates you. Who are you doing this weigh-loss/get fit thing for? Is it your kids? The fact that you want to wear a bikini this summer? Your health? Your self-esteem?

Associate Professor Anthony Grant, from The University of Sydney’s Coaching Psychology Unit advises: “You need to be able to identify what it is about your goal that adds to you as a person, that makes you feel better and more expansive.”-

A goal might seem desirable to you at first but once you start digging, you might be surprised to find out that it’s not actually that important to you. In other words, we really gotta’ dig deep y’all.

Not only do you have to want it but you need to emotionally connect to your reasoning behind it.

Once your goal is aligned with your core values, the thought of doing the workout or eating healthy will trigger a positive gut feeling. That positive feeling is what will keep you on track until you’ve nailed it! (Instead of giving up 2 weeks later.)

Secret #2: Only do What Works for You


Too many women I know sign up for challenges & classes they know damn well they hate!

If you don’t like running girl — why on Earth did you download the couch to 5K app!? If you dislike high-intensity workouts, why are you doing Insanity or signing up for a crazy a** obstacle course challenge?

As a personal trainer, I run into so many fitness myths and misconceptions on a daily basis. Of course, when I first started I did what everybody else does = go to Google to get some real answers:

  • How can I lose weight but not lose my butt!?
  • Can I eat after 6pm & lose weight?
  • Is it healthy to cut an entire food group out of my diet like carbs?
  • Do I have to stop eating my favorite Dominican food (rice, beans & plantanos?)
  • Do I really have to eat vegetables every day? 😑 ( I hated the taste of veggies)

The answers I got from Google searches were all over the place. So I decided to figure it out on my own. I tried different diets like Paleo, Vegetarian and being Pescatarian. I dabbled into juicing and green based diets.

For 1 year, I jumped on every single new unfamiliar class I had access to: Bootcamp, Yoga, TRX, Spinning, Zumba©, Body Pump, Barre, Pilates, Run clubs, Crossfit — you name it & I probably tried it.

Then I realized that there were so many different ways to reach my fitness goals and I just had to:

  1. Find that ONE that resonated with me
  2. Stick to it!

Being a type A-er, I couldn’t choose one — so I picked two. Zumba© and strength training became my bff’s & I became a licensed Zumba© instructor. I’ve been teaching women how to kick a** ever since! ☺

I choose the eat clean philosophy because it was SO EASY to adopt. Eating clean wasn’t confusing or expensive and it just made sense. After I figured out the basics, I got on the meal planning train and became well versed on how to prep my food each week. My abs were proof that I was doing something right!

We all have different genetics, body compositions, learning styles, and food preferences which means that no ONE path or diet is going to be right for everyone. Pick what’s right for you (not what worked for your homegirl or tía Juana.)

Getting started is more important than getting it perfect.

#3. Find Your Tribe


The reason I started my fitness journey was deeply rooted in wanting to connect to a community.

My best friend had just moved out of state, I was going through a terrible breakup and I desperately needed to break out of my shy shell!

It took a few gym membership trials, 3 different trainers (and lots of late night Pizza dates with RedBox movies) to finally get me out of my rut. On my search for my first job at a Gym, I met my good friend (amazing runner + curly hair guru) Karla Lopez. We got cool and started taking classes together.

After about 5476 classes with her as my gym buddy, I became so much more clear on my why.Then the gym we were both employed closed suddenly with no warning. I felt like I had lost my crew!

Then I realized that the environment I was looking for didn’t exist in any gym and if I wanted it I had to create it. Karla and I decided to take matters into our own hands like #GirlBosses and created an outdoor Bootcamp to help other women like us find a place where they belonged.

& guess what… IT WORKED! We had over 30 women attend our first outdoor summer Bootcamp & this year we’re doing it again. Crazy right?!

tribe 2.jpeg

If you can’t find a way, you make a way.

If you’ve got yourself a new gym membership but still can’t find the motivation to actually go — make sure you know & understand your why. Find a gym buddy, try a new class or a workout DVD.

If you’re on a budget, you can even find workouts on YouTube. Find your tribe and hang on to the good ones!

 #4. Start Small

If you’re still paying your students loans, credit cards & are low on cash remember that you don't need a gym membership to get fit. Not having a gym membership is THE WORST excuses for people to not get in shape. 

I have clients who I train in their home or outdoors and they have NO EQUIPMENT. Think outside of the box. If you’ve been slacking for whatever reason here are 5 simple & cost effective ways to start your fitness journey:

  1. Take the stairs at work, home or outdoors. Starting today every day.
  2. Get off of the train one stop earlier & walk the rest of the way.
  3. Bike or walk to get your coffee from Dunks or Starbucks in the morning.
  4. Park a couple of streets away from your job and WALK to work.
  5. Vow to walk your dog (if you have one), walk the beach with your kids, girlfriends, spouse or significant other 2–3 times a week.

It can be as small as a 30-minute commitment to MOVE every day to make big things happen.

The most important thing is to just get started!

All the little things we do are exponentially more impactful than killing ourselves with super high-intensity hours of cardio that are unrealistic for us to keep up with. Do whatever you need to do to keep moving.

#5. Be Consistent


Consistency is the difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t.

"A 30 min. run only burns about 250 calories, so if you devour 300 calories worth of dessert, it’s no wonder you’re not losing any weight." — Women’s health

Too many of us sign up for the 30-day weight loss challenges (which I love by the way) but then fail to actually change our lifestyle after those 30 days are over.

Most people SERIOUSLY underestimate the number of calories they eat in a day. Even if you slay your workout for 1hr every day, that still leaves 23 more hours for you to screw it up with just one bag of Doritos.

For example: after cutting carbs for 4 weeks on the Atkins diet you lose crazy weight. Then you go back to your regularly scheduled programming and sh*t hits the fan.

You step on the scale & realize you gained all the weight you lost (and then some!) Embarrassing I know. We’re human, it happens. The good news is you don’t have to be that person anymore.

Your diet is a HUGE part of the fat-loss equation. It’s the backbone of your entire plan & the foundation of a tight body. Changing it is the MOST effective weight loss strategy period.

Practice makes progress.

I took 3 years of Zumba© classes before I became an instructor.

I practiced for hours to get my choreography on point. I listened & studied my playlist for weeks until I knew the songs like the back of my hand. There’s no such thing as becoming an overnight expert. Practicing is how you master a skill.


If your strong suit is not time management, get yourself an agenda. If you’re having trouble making it to your workouts, schedule them. If you lack motivation drag your bff along or hire a trainer.

Like Marie Forleo says, “ Everything is figure-out-able.

So ladies — stop playing games with your kick- ass- ness. It’s time to do a little soul searching and get started!

The comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there! Much love and respect 💖 — Masiel Encarnación

*If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with your significant other, friends, family, or anyone who would benefit.


Active Pause® is a project of LifeSherpa®, a nonprofit that explores mindfulness as creative interaction.

Women’s health Magazine