Y’all…I can’t wait to tell you about my friend (and thankfully neighbor!) Emily Fain. Not only is she a fantastic mom to two of the sweetest little girls, but she is a school teacher AND in the past year has started her own business. Through Fueled and Fit Wellness she empowers her clients to use “food as fuel” and teaches them the skills they need to make better health and wellness choices to accomplish their goals. She is incredibly inspiring and her InstaStories on Instagram teach me something new every day! She’s relatable, honest, real AF (that’s what the kids say, right?), and so knowledgeable. I know you are going to learn a ton from her too!
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? What brought you to Charleston? What do you love most about it here? How old are your girls?
I am from Farmington Hills, MI and graduated from Michigan State University. I moved to Charleston on a complete whim with a good friend when I was 24. She and I both met our husbands here, but she has since moved, and Jeff and I stayed and planted roots! We have two girls (Caelyn, 4 and Ella Grace, 2). My most favorite thing about Charleston is living by the beach! Our favorite thing to do is to take our boat to the backside of Kiawah where our kids can play on the beach and we can “relax”, aka pass out snacks, make sure no one drowns, etc.
What made you want to start Fueled + Fit?
I had been teaching (Health & Physical Education) for about five years before I knew I wanted to do something more. I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be, but I definitely felt a calling to pursue some type of entrepreneurship. After our first daughter, I resigned from my teaching job on Johns Island and took two years to be at home with Caelyn (while babysitting other teachers’ children in our home and waiting tables in the evenings). It was during this same time that I discovered CrossFit and the community of wellness that surrounds it. I began diving into nutrition on my own and through the community, and finally lost the baby weight I had been carrying for two years…just in time to get pregnant with Ella Grace. 🙂 My second pregnancy was a much different experience than my first, due in large part to nutrition knowledge and my newfound fitness. As other members of the community watched my healthy pregnancy and postpartum return to the gym, I was encouraged to share my story, tips, and healthy meals I was cooking daily. As I continued to educate myself, this evolved into a business idea and nutrition coaching certification. It has been a seamless transition for me because so much of nutrition coaching is educating!
How do you balance having two jobs (where you work from home) and your family life? Any tips or secrets for trying to make it work?
Google Calendar is my ride or die. If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t happen. I have daily dinner prep on there, date nights with my husband, workouts, and quiet time. I even schedule my kids’ bathtimes and laundry on my calendar. Treating each of these things like an appointment helps me uphold all my duties without letting anything slip through the cracks.
I also try to maximize productivity by waking up each morning before my kids. I typically work from 5-6:30am, six days of the week. This helps me knock a few things off my list before most of my household even wakes.
What’s the most common mistake that you see your clients making when it comes to nutrition?
Blowing it out on the weekends! “Weekend Warriors” are what I call them, and I can call them this because I was one of them! So many clients aiming to lose body fat will do very well during their structured work week, but then, when the weekend comes, the wheels completely fall off. They get very frustrated when they learn that five days of hard work can be undone in just two, which is unfortunately very true. We discuss strategies for approaching the weekend with a plan and confidence. We anticipate “loosening the reins” a bit nutritionally, but then focus on making our next choice a healthy one, as opposed to waiting until Monday.
What’s the biggest misconception people have when it comes to working out?
That cardio is the answer to weight loss! I was guilty of this for years and was running half marathons multiple times a year, yet was frustrated that I wasn’t seeing any weight loss. First of all, I didn’t have my nutrition dialed in, which is most definitely the foundation. But secondarily, if you’re looking to lose body fat, strength training (lifting weights, doing bodyweight movements, etc.) is where you want to focus the majority of your exercise time. Strength training creates a faster metabolism, which makes you a more efficient fat burning machine, as opposed to cardio, which, unfortunately, can make you lose weight from both fat AND muscle. Is there a time and place for cardio? Absolutely! I enjoy going for a jog nearly once a week, but I have found, as a mother, that since my exercise time is so limited, strength training (through CrossFit) is where I get the biggest bang for my buck.
Tell me about macros! I don’t get what they are.
Macros are simply protein, carbs, and fat. There has been a lot of hype around “counting macros” over the past couple years, but basically, these people are just referring to tracking specific amounts of each of these things. Macros are the building blocks of food and we want to balance our plate as best we can with each of these at every meal. They work together to support your metabolism, energy level, and brain function. Micronutrients are also very important; these include vitamins and minerals. They’re referred to as “micro” because our bodies need less of them than the “macros”.
Meal prepping on the weekend seems so daunting sometimes! Do you have any shortcuts or ways to make it seem not so overwhelming?
Yes! Make the most of your time in the kitchen by utilizing all of your kitchen appliances at once. I often have vegetables roasting in the oven, chicken in the crockpot, and an additional meal in the Instant Pot. Sometimes I even have something cooking on the stove too! This allows you to get the most out of your time spent in the kitchen.
I also suggest keeping it simple in terms of meal planning. Often times, clients will set out to make seven different recipes over the course of the week. They soon realize that this is not only a lot of work but often too much food and wayyy too many dishes. I encourage clients to keep it simple by thinking about what makes a good meal. A good meal: has protein, carbs, and fat (think meat, veggies, starch), is nutrient-dense, includes something green, and is something you ENJOY! It is perfectly acceptable to throw together odds and ends to create a meal!
And thirdly, make more than you need for that meal! If following a recipe, double it. This makes for easy grab-and-go lunches throughout the work week, and I sometimes even freeze leftovers to make for an easy weeknight meal.
8. I’d love to hear about some easy food swaps that you might have. Like instead of eating (blank), try (blank). Or like if you like croutons on a salad (um…me), what’s something that would be better to add to a salad that would give you that same crunch? What’s something that is good to eat when you want something sweet, like a dessert?
Sugar or any sugar alternative: Swap for stevia. Stevia comes from a leaf, is all natural, and does not raise your blood sugar like Splenda, Equal, etc.
Toast: Swap regular white/wheat bread for Ezekial (freezer section) or Dave’s Killer Bread. These are both made from sprouted grains, meaning they are complex carbs and our bodies need to use lots of energy to digest them. This is what we want!
Creamer: I see no issue with half and half, as long as your body doesn’t adversely react to dairy. (If you’ve ever done a Whole30, you will know this!) I personally limit dairy, so I love using Nutpods, a dairy-free creamer found at Harris Teeter or on Amazon. The flavored creamers are what we want to avoid. Those are full of chemicals and artificial ingredients that are not healthy.
Croutons: Pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds. These provide a similar crunch and are also a bit more nutrient-dense than most croutons.
Something sweet: I buy individually packaged squares of dark chocolate. This really helps with portion control and you’re also getting some good fat and antioxidants from it!
Are there any pre-packaged snacks that you like? Especially ones that your girls will eat? I’m always trying to think of a grab-and-go thing my kids can help themselves to, but everything seems so full of sugar with no nutritional value.
My kids eat Lara bars (usually five ingredients or less!), Terra chips (chips made from root vegetables), Hippeas (chickpea puffs), unsweetened applesauce pouches, and greek yogurt. I have also recently started washing and slicing all of our fruit as soon as I purchase it. I store it in clear containers at my kids’ eye level so that it is the first thing they see when they open the fridge. This has seemed to really help!
I know that you’ve worked hard to make sure your girls are eating nutritious meals (and it hasn’t always been easy!). As a mom of a very picky four-year-old, do you have any advice for me on how to get him to try more fruits and vegetables? He won’t even eat any kind of meat (besides pepperoni on a pizza, haha). Is that a big issue?
This is so tough and it used to be a source of real concern for me, as my four-year-old is also extremely picky. In talking to our pediatrician, she encouraged me to continue to offer a variety of new foods to my kids at every meal, even if you’re just putting in on their plate. She has suggested that if they try it, praise them, but if they don’t, do not punish them or show any disappointment. We spent many months doing timeouts during dinner last year and it was not fun for anyone! I have since learned that using positive reinforcement when exposing children to new foods can be a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Caelyn is currently working her way through a sticker chart that will eventually lead to a new toy after she tries a variety of foods. She doesn’t get a sticker every day, but when she does, it is a celebration and when she earns a toy, it will be special!
Any tips for getting into a routine with working out? I want to be a person who likes working out but I just can’t stay motivated with it!
This goes back to the Google Calendar–schedule it like an appointment! This really helps! Additionally, it wasn’t until I got involved in a community and developed relationships with like-minded individuals that I really got into a solid workout routine. If you can make friends at your gym and develop relationships with the coaches/instructors, that makes all the difference! They also help hold you accountable, which is huge!
What brings you the most joy as a nutrition coach?
Hands down, seeing my clients gain the confidence they either lost previously in their life and never discovered. This by-product of dialing in your nutrition cannot be charted by a scale. It’s indescribable, yet hard to deny as my clients transform themselves from the inside out!
What brings you the most happiness in your LIFE?
Family comes to mind right away, specifically making memories with my loved ones. I definitely find a lot of happiness through my faith as well.
So much good information, right?? If you want to hear more from Emily definitely follow her on Instagram at @fueledandfitwellness and on Facebook! And be sure to check out her website for awesome recipes!
Check out some of our other Moms to See in the 843!
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