Meet Wellness Warrior: Lola Small
‘Strength’ is a state of mind
As a certified all-around health + wellness coach, her mission is to offer other women a life of being active, paying attention to our well-being, and staying connected to ourselves during the craziness of life.
For Lola, the key to living our best self is getting rid of the non-essentials so we can get to the source of our power through our dreams, vision, and courage. She believes that we all have the freedom, the choice, and the responsibility to find and express our individual power so we can help others to do the same.
Getting to know Lola
What is your favourite nourishing meal?
Anything Asian because it makes me feel like home.
What is your favourite, most INDULGENT meal?
Chicken enchilada with lots of sauce and hot, gooey cheese on top.
When you work out, what do you wear?
For workouts and running, always tanktop and shorts. If I’m doing yoga, then leggings instead of shorts. But always tank tops.
What is the work out you never thought you would love?
Running. I used to hate running and was always one of the last people to come in during those mile run tests in PE class in highschool. But I fell in love with it when I lived in Vancouver, running on the Seawall along the water.
What is one act of self-care that you practice that surprises you?
Running, again. I think it’s funny how much running is a love/hate relationship. The first few minutes feel like death, and then when the strides and endorphins kick in, you feel like you are on cloud nine. I am my best self when I’m running regulary.
What do you feel sexiest/beautiful/badass wearing?
Sexiest: tall shoes like wedges because I’m a shortie
Badass: my runners
What are you reading right now?
“Writing Down Your Soul” by Janet Conner
What advice do you have on weighing yourself?
I don’t own a scale so I don’t really weigh myself. I am in tune enough with my body, who I am, how much I am doing with my life that I can feel if I am feeling heavier versus lighter. If I am feeling heavier than what feels good, then I adjust what I am doing in my life until I feel lighter and better. It’s in the feelings, not in a number.
Share your tips and tricks in the kitchen.
I don’t spend a lot of energy and focus in the kitchen because my head is so focused on all the things I am creating for my lifework, so I personally like to keep it very simple in the kitchen. I am happy to eat very simple meals on repeat so I am fed and have fuel for my body. Other than that, I leave all the gourmet meal cooking to my husband, who enjoys the culinary process a lot more than I do. Find what you’re good at and focus on that. Don’t stress too much about it.
Do you have any style tips?
My style is simple and what feels good. I need to be able to MOVE my body instead of feeling caged in like a sausage. My go-to is activewear/ athleisure because I like to be able to stretch and do some lunges and squats if I feel like it. I do appreciate women who focus on style and fashion and enjoy admiring the beauty of it, but again, my focus is on all the things on my plate that I don’t want to have to think too much about what I’m wearing.
When I was younger I worked out 5-6 days a week and also taught fitness and yoga classes. It was my life and it felt good. I was in the best shape of my life and I was confident and happy. I knew fitness would always be a big part of my life. Now I am in my 40’s, a mom of a toddler, married, and life is crazy busy and demanding. I had to figure out how to “re-do” fitness so that it fit me and my current life, not the person and lifestyle I had when I was in my 20’s.
Having a baby really made me appreciate and miss the power of my body. I missed lifting heavy and missed running half marathons. I knew I had to bring fitness back in my life in a way that sustained me. I got certified as a Personal Trainer so that I could bring fitness back into my life without having to run all over the place to teach classes. Along with my Health + Wellness Coaching, I’m able to share and offer other women a life of being active, paying attention to our well-being, and staying connected to ourselves during the craziness of life.
When I am feeling my best, I am taking enough time for me. I am centered and grateful instead of frazzled or impatient. I know my sanity and well-being is the core of my productivity and success, so this is my inspiration to stay dedicated to my self-care.
Lola’s wellness journey
My fitness journey started one day after tennis practice in highschool when my friend Chris asked me to spot him in the weight room with his bench press. I was like “oh my god, what is all this?!” And ever since then I have loved the weight room. I feel so very at home around weights. It sounds funny, I know.
In University, my friend Rose and I lived in residence together, and we would always hit the gym on campus in between studying and cooking Asian meals together. Gym time has always been a part of my social time and those were some of the best memories of my life.
Fast forward to after University when I returned home to Taiwan, and I fell right into the English teaching industry like all 20-something English speakers do when they travel to Asia after University. It was like a big party! I always had in the back of my mind to check off being a fitness trainer before my dream of being a lifecoach, and my life was forever changed when I met my friend Rex, and my fitness teaching journey truly began.
Rex and his team of trainers were amongst the best in Taiwan and within a few years I was alongside all of them, being a central part of educating instructors and trainers in the fitness industry in Taiwan, coordinating and meeting Master Trainers from all over the world with Spinning, YogaFit, and more! I was seriously living the dream!! It was one of the most inspiring and life-giving periods of my life and I am eternally grateful for having had this life-defining experience. The people and the amazing memories truly shape who I am today.
Deciding to pursue my dreams in personal growth work and empowerment work, I immigrated myself back to Canada and started a brand new chapter in life. My Spinning teaching experiences led me to a job in event-planning for a non-profit raising funds for cancer research through multi-day athletic events, such as a cycling event from Vancouver to Seattle with 3000 riders, and 10K running races wearing underwear to promote awareness for cancers below the belt! Years with this organization brought me some of my closest friends for life, living by the gorgeous beaches of Vancouver, and eventually the coming together of my husband and I, as we worked for these same events. I became certified as a Dream Coach, self-published my first book to empower young girls, and truly found myself as I ran along the Seawall, breathing in the ocean air, and purely loving life.
Since then we have moved across the country, back to where my husband grew up as his own life comes full circle, and we have an amazing, fun, and gorgeous 3 year old son who lights me up everyday. Workouts are now short and sweet, and a bit more sporadic throughout my busy days than I like, and done in the basement home gym where I don’t have to think about what I look like or what I wear. Life looks very different now from the days when I used to work out 6 times a week, where the gym was my second home.
In all these significant stages of my life where fitness and athletics have always played a big role, the best parts have been the people. Wellness and living a healthy and active life means to have fun doing things with people who make us laugh. Fitness is not meant to be boring or be a punishment for eating too much. It’s not even to be a certain size or look a certain way so you can fit nicely into a dress. Looking good is just icing on the cake, feeling well (confident, happy, belonging, and on purpose) is what it’s truly all about.
Lola + Mom Approved Workouts
Life is busy! I’ve had to change my mindset and expectations to “do what I can do” instead of beating myself up for having unrealistic expectations for what I can’t do. Focus on self love and nurturing instead of self-placed pressure and punishment.
Here are my 3 go-tos right now for my insanely busy life:
Walk/run: I have ran 7 half marathons and am itching to run #8, but having that much training time is not realistic right now. So I treat myself to 30 minutes of walk/run intervals on a nice little trail close to home by the park. Start with 4 minute walking and 1 minute running and repeat those intervals for 30 minutes. Slowly decrease the walking and increase the running, and overtime you’ll be able to run the full 30 minutes! Even if you just walked for 30 minutes, especially in nature, it will recharge you!
Power 3: Having a home gym in the basement allows me to squeeze in a quick strength session when I can. Usually it’s after putting our kiddo to bed, so I am already exhausted after a long day. When I don’t feel like it and want to skip a workout alltogether, I ask myself to do what I call my “Power 3” (or Power 5 if I have more time/energy).
I choose 3 exercises and do 3 sets of 10 reps each for those exercises. That’s it! Don’t underestimate the power of these 3 exercises!! When done in good form and focus, 3 exercises each day adds up to a lot….this is how I lost my baby weight after pregnancy!!! Consistency is key….killing yourself by trying to do too much and then getting upset at yourself for failing is not. Choose exercises you like, choose compound exercises that work multiple muscles, choose exercises that you don’t like so it challenges you. Just do them!
Yoga at bedtime: I haven’t found a way to have regular yoga classes back in my life, so instead I do yoga poses and stretches with our son as part of our bedtime routine! We both love it and it’s so nourishing for us! Kids are not an excuse not to move and exercise...they should be a regular part of our active lives!