Feature Friday: A Busy New Yorker Learns To Lead A Healthier Life

Every Friday we chat with one of our blog content network contributors to find out what most inspires them to be fit and find adventure every day.

This week we're chatting with Nicole from Fitful Focus.

Nicole started her blog as a way to document her journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Since making the decision to embrace health and fitness head on she's lost 20 pounds and completed her first marathon. Now she blogs about maintaining her healthy lifestyle while also conquering the challenge of keeping up with the busy hustle of life in Manhattan.

Read on to find out what she loves most about being immersed in health and fitness, what exercise makes her feel most empowered and her best advice for anyone who wants to learn how to lead a healthier life.

The Active Times: What are the wisest words you ever heard about reaching health and fitness goals?
Nicole: "Just keep going." When I first started my mission to lead a healthier lifestyle, I got into running. I started going on weekend runs with a friend of mine, who was in incredible shape and could run for miles on end. I asked him how he was able to run so far and he said, "Whenever I feel like giving up, I tell myself, 'Just keep going.' That really stuck with me, and that very day I went from barely being able to run one mile to running 3! 

What spurred you start your blog?
Back in 2012, I challenged myself to live a healthier life. Fitful Focus began as a way to document my journey. The name stems from the three things I believe anyone needs to achieve that challenge: getting FIT, keeping my tummy FULL of whole food goodness, and staying FOCUSed on my goal of leading that healthier, happier life.

What is the greatest joy you get from the health and fitness world?
I love connecting with everyone else in the health and fitness world, from people that are just starting a weight loss journey to professional personal trainers. Everyone is on a positive path and motivates each other. I have met so many amazing health and fitness bloggers, both virtually and in person, and we connect immediately knowing that we have such an important thing in common: the passion and drive to lead a healthy life! 

What advice would you give to someone trying to lead a healthier lifestyle?
Take it slow and experiment! You can't do everything at once and you also won't know what you like until you step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Incorporate healthier foods at a pace that won't make you give in and head straight for the fast food. Start with a healthier breakfast. Make a healthy dinner once a week, then twice, and so on. Try a new vegetable or a new way of cooking. Start exercising for 30 minutes twice a week, then three times a week... and try new classes! If you don't enjoy running, don't run! Find a workout that is fun for you— it'll be easier to stick with!

What is the one piece of kit or equipment you'd never be without?
I could never be without my running shoes. I covet them like Carrie Bradshaw covets her heels.

Are you passionate about any activities besides running?
Running is my go-to workout, but after an injury, I started getting into weight lifting. I've been really loving how empowered it makes me feel. I'm definitely getting more into that. To be honest, I love being active. I'll do anything from yoga to spinning to hiking to kayaking to just going for a walk around the park. Just get me moving and I'm happy.

What is your favorite quote, and what do you so like about it?
"Everything seems impossible until it's done." There is so much truth to that. We face challenges every day. Sometimes they seem too hard to even want to try, but we'll never know our true potential until we try to make the seemingly impossible possible.

Where is your favorite place to be?
Anywhere with a sunrise and a path to run on! I love exploring new areas and being out on the road before the rest of the city/town/mountain/lake/what-have-you is awake.

Read more on Nicole's blog at FitulFocus.com