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Tell me a little about yourself and your background?

First & foremost, my name is Molly Helgren. I grew up in small town Iowa & yes, it is all cornfields! I graduated from Iowa State University in May of 2017 with a degree in Child, Adult & Family Services with an emphasis on Youth. After graduating, I made the big move up to Minneapolis, Minnesota where I am currently an Interventionist in a middle school. With this job I am able to positively change the lives of youth who are at risk for dropping out, gang violence, drug & alcohol abuse & those who struggle with their mental health. Because my job can be emotionally taxing at times, I use the gym as a place for me to separate work from home. I love heading to the gym right after work to clear my head & set my intentions for the rest of the night! As I’ve grown more passionate about the importance of putting my health & fitness first, I am in the process of prepping to take my personal training certification exam in 2 months!

What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?

I love that it’s a place I can always go to no matter what I’m feeling. If I’m sad, I go to the gym, if I’m happy, I go to the gym & so on. There’s never been a day when I’ve felt less of myself after a workout. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re bettering yourself & taking that 1% of your day to focus on yourself & your needs!

How long have you been into fitness?

My 2 year gym-iversary is actually in a couple of weeks!

How did you get into fitness?

I think I started out how most girls do: being unhappy with their bodies & thinking that the only way to reach their goals is to do endless cardio & eat as little as possible. This actually spiraled into an unhealthy cycle of starving myself & binge eating. I would end up frustrated when I wouldn’t reach my goals & give up until the next cycle occurred. I have to give all credit to my boyfriend. We actually met in our college gym a little over 2 years ago, (he came up to me, introduced himself & asked me on a date. I didn’t know anything about him at the time, but I’m glad I said yes!) He taught me how to reach my goals in a healthy way with a proper calorie amount for my needs & also taught me the importance of lifting weights over endless cardio sessions. I built my own weight training plan with what he taught me & started eating 600 more calories per day & within three months dropped 20 lbs! I’ve never looked back!

What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?

When I did lose some unhealthy weight by eating more rather than less & picking up weights rather than doing tons of cardio, I realized I had viewed fitness & health 100% wrong. It’s not a “one size fits all.” What works for her, won’t always worked for you. I learned that everyone’s body is different & we all have to figure out what works for us & what makes our own bodies thrive.

How has fitness impacted your life?

Since I changed how I choose to balance health & fitness in my day to day life, I feel healthier than ever! I sleep better, I wake up with more energy, my mood is better, I feel stronger, my skin glows, my hair has even grown in stronger & thicker than ever before. I could honestly go on. It’s crazy how much it positively changes you.

What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?

Try different things and find what you love! There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to fitness. Whether you love running, yoga, barre classes or lifting weights, finding what you love to do will help you stick with it and never give it up! Also, don’t be afraid to ask a friend or someone in the gym for help building a training plan or to spot your form when lifting weights! Someone out there is always willing to help you out.

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