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Spotlight on Fitness: SkinnyRedefined Blogger, Jordan McMullen

I first heard of Jordan and her blog via Instagram when she would post awesome, motivational pics. Her account was one of the fist Instagram accounts that I relied on when I first moved to NYC a year and a half ago. I signed up for a Juice Crawl in August and she was there also; needless to say I was so happy to meet her! She was so nice and we chatted about our blogs for a little bit before we silent clubbed around the city with headphones on and fabulous dance moves (it was a silent clubbing juice crawl haha). I was soon reading her blog and feeling relieved that someone else felt the same way about the fast paced life in this city. On her blog, Jordan mentions finding your skinny and I can completely relate; I compare myself everyday to other women on the street and worry so much about how I look, it's exhausting and a waste of time.

What does skinny mean to you? In the past, when I heard the word "skinny", I thought of a stick thin person who never gained weight. When I would lose weight, I sometimes heard, "wow, you look so skinny!" Which makes me realize now that there are so many different versions of skinny. What is your skinny? Jordan talks about how she spent her first few years living in NYC comparing herself to others and trying to find her skinny. Skinny can mean average weight and strong, it can mean curvy and the ability to run a half marathon, it can mean small yet fierce, it can mean overweight and fit. It's important to find your own version of skinny, where you feel your healthiest and where you can do everything you want to do. I've always carried extra weight but I also run half marathons. I have super low cholesterol but I'm not thin. I can be surrounded by thin yogis but I'm the one teaching the kick-ass yoga class. It's difficult but it does us no good to compare ourselves to someone else. So walk around your city confident knowing that YOU are beautiful. This is why I love the idea behind Jordan's blog, I love reading her story of why she had to find her own version of skinny and how she wants to help others find easy, non expensive ways to stay healthy in NYC. Love this meme she sent me, this is so me!

I asked Jordan some questions about her blog and her life in NYC, how she stays healthy and what she does for self care. Check out my interview and DEFINITELY visit her blog

What are your favorite ways to workout in the city?
I love workout classes in general, so I struggle practicing yoga or even going on a run by myself sometimes.  I have a hard time working out on my own and motivating myself and I definitely work harder when I have an instructor cheering me on and a roomful of other people to help motivate me. I have a tiny competitive streak so that always helps.
In terms of the style of workouts, I always love spinning and yoga.  My favorite studios are SoulCycle and Cyc, I couldn't get into Flywheel, but some of my friends love it.
I really enjoy yoga, but I'm pretty new to Vinyassa. I did Bikram in college and love going back to it.
I also love circuit training, whether or not it's Crossfit, Fhitting Room, HIIT IT, or any number of things, I rarely find a class I don't enjoy.
I recently tried boxing and now I'm kind of obsessed.  The MMA gym down the street has been great, but the best boxing experience was one on one with a personal trainer that used to box.

How do you stay positive when you have a bad day or experience low self esteem?
I definitely have to check in with my feelings and have gotten to a point where I have stopped feeling guilty for taking a day off from working out or eating everything in my sight. I've also learned that a more productive way to deal with a bad day is to go to the gym, sit outside and read, or do something nice like eat a fancy salad (yes, I'm talking about the spicy kale salad from The Butcher's Daughter) instead of doing something that will make me feel worse, like having an entire chocolate cake. I still have those days where I get home and eat an entire cake, but after I clean the crumbs off my face I can move on and not beat myself up about it. I think that just comes from the experience of having millions of bad days and knowing that it'll pass. Another thing that helps is to surround yourself with positive people who genuinely care about you whenever possible.

What is something that people don't know about NYC?
One great secret of NYC is all of the public/private spaces which can be hard to find if you don't already know about them, or are not familiar with the neighborhood.  My two favorites are probably the Elevated Acre and Elizabeth Street Garden.
The Elevated Acre is part of an office building but it's like a park a few stories above the FDR in the financial district that has some great views and lots of space.
The Elizabeth Street Garden is a green fenced in statue garden in Soho and hosts some great neighborhood events like free yoga classes (Sundays at 11am before it gets too cold). I definitely recommend checking it out.

How do you practice self care?
I feel like I have to preface this with saying I'm usually not great at self care, which might sound crazy for someone who cares about their health and wellness as much as I do. I know I sound crazy, but I have to go out of my way to remind myself to take care of my body, to drink water, eat meals on time, or go to bed early. It started in college when I was so excited about everything going on around me that I wanted to be a part of it, so I was, but it left little time to myself. Even now, when I'm really excited about something that I'm working on I might work on it from the moment I wake up until the afternoon. Then around 3:00pm my thought process is something like "wow, I really have to pee, and why am I so hungry?" Well usually because it's 3 in the afternoon and I haven't moved all day. Oops.
That being said, I can usually manage to drink a class of lemon water before I get out of bed in the morning and work out at least 3 times a week. I'm getting better about stretching or foam rolling, before and after workouts, and on days I don't work out; I know I need to take the time to do it more often.  I also started snacking more so I won't pass out if I forget to eat until 3:00pm, which helps. Sometimes on weekends, when I have a lot of blog commitments and I'll have to work out alot both days, I'll pay close attention to making sure I drink enough water and eat enough food so I don't collapse (hasn't happened yet!). I just don't make it a priority to pay close enough attention to my body's needs on a daily basis, but it's definitely something I'm working on.

What inspired you to start staying skinny in the city?
Since I love fitness classes, after I moved to NYC, I realized I was spending a large chunk of my salary on them and had little leftover for groceries or happy hour. So after trying every gym in the city, courtesy of Groupon, I stumbled on a community yoga class at Lululemon Soho. I soon realized that this location was not the only Lululemon that had free classes, all of the other locations hosted community classes, too, as did other retail stores and even the city of New York. I was excited to find out about these classes, but was confused why I hadn't heard about them before.
I started to map out my schedule by going to my favorite complimentary classes, but I had a hard time keeping up with what classes were offered and when. There was no single online resource that listed all the free classes, so I decided to create one.  I thought that if I was having this problem than other people must be having it as well and if I was checking all of the websites daily anyway and compiling them for myself, I could compile them for everyone else, too!

What are your fav restaurants and/or juice/smoothie bars in the city?
I love The Butcher's Daughter, Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit, Juice Generation, all of the Blossom restaurants, Terri's, The Blueprint Cleanse juices, and so many more. There are great and new awesome places popping up all over NYC that it can be hard to keep up! You can always read about my latest obsession on the blog, and my running list of favorites.

What's one piece of advice you can give someone struggling with feeling good about their body?
What has definitely helped me is to change my focus. Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, or a dress size I like to focus on what my body can do or what I have been able to accomplish, which is what I hope to inspire in others. Instead of getting excited because I lost 3lbs, I get excited when I start using 3lb weights at SoulCycle. Instead of focusing on trying to lose a dress size, I focus on a personal record. That change of mindset has really helped me stay happy with myself and my body.
The reason I chose the name Skinny in the City is because I have heard so many New Yorkers say their focus is being skinny and that they'll figure out being healthy later, but I've learned that doesn't really work that way. You should focus on your health first because when you get healthy then your body finds it's natural 'skinny', which is different for everyone. Having skinny be your goal is not a bad thing; it's just important to know instead that losing weight is a byproduct of being healthy and there is no need to try and be skinny at all costs.

The answer to this last question is so inspiring, I read it over often! Thank you, Jordan, for spreading your positive message to the rest of us!

Stay connected with Jordan by visiting her website
You can find Jordan on Facebook, Instagram and twitter as @skinnyredefined


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