Joanne Encarnacion, aka GOFITJO, is a fitness and lifestyle blogger whose main focus is to convey how important achieving self-love and self-confidence through fitness and wellness is for all the hardworking women out there. In addition to managing her fitness/lifestyle blog 24/7, she is also the mother to two daughters and in the process of becoming a certified health and nutrition coach. If that doesn’t scream #GirlBoss, we don’t know what does! Joanne took the time out of her busy schedule to let us know more about the inspiring woman behind GOFITJO, her advice for women juggling it all, and what she loves most about her Duchess smart bracelet.
1. Tell us more about you, your blog, GOFITJO, and how your fitness journey began.
Hello my name is Joanne Encarnacion, but I also go by Jo. I’m a fitness and lifestyle blogger from SF Bay area raising two beautiful daughters with my incredibly talented husband Jonathan. I’m currently becoming a certified health and nutrition coach and so excited to helping people design their lives around movement and proper nourishment. My life wasn’t always this way though. I’ve been working for as long as I can remember and when you’ve focused a lot of your energy on your career and building a life sometimes your own health gets put on the backburner. A little over 3 years ago I found myself battling with depression and realizing that it was caused by my lack of self care and focus on my health and wellbeing. I was getting ready for a Sunday family outing with my little family and as I was checking out myself for the final time in my daughter’s full length mirror, my daughter Airis, who was 9 years old at the time said to me, “Mom you look so pretty.” I quickly snapped at her and said, “No I’m not; I’m fat and ugly.” The look on her face is one I will never forget, I crushed her heart. In her eyes I was her queen,the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. She took off running into the hallway upset with me. This was my “aha” moment. It all of a sudden clicked, how could I be the example of a strong woman if I didn’t see that in myself? How could I tell her she’s beautiful, capable and talented if I couldn’t even see that in me? This is when I knew things had to change. I started to change my relationship with food and exercise and began to truly see the effects of a healthier lifestyle that had fitness and nourishment as it’s cornerstone. What began as a weight loss journey became a lifelong journey of self development, growth, and continuous practice of self-love.
2. How do you juggle all of the responsibilities of being a full-time fitness/lifestyle blogger and a mother of two kids?
It takes a lot of support from my partner in crime my husband, organization skills, and a lot of heart and hustle. Aside from full-time fitness/lifestyle blogger I’m also studying to become a certified health and nutrition coach, which has got me spending most of my free time hitting the books. As the former Director of Curation at VSCO I’ve always had to juggle a pretty full plate especially working in the start up world. Part of that juggle is understanding that balance is individual and doesn’t look the same for everyone. I live off of my Google Calendar so everything from my workouts, family events, school tests, blogging, content/collaboration deadlines, my husband’s work calendar, and my social calendar are all in one place. If it’s not there, I get a little lost. I’ve learned to embrace life in the present, taking it hour by hour at a time. This approach has really helped me take control of a busy day and keep things from feeling to overwhelmed. Having an adaptable approach to a jam packed calendar is truly the key to balance.
3. What was your Aha! moment that propelled you into the world of fitness blogging?
High school was a tough period of my life. My folks moved around a lot so my relationships with friends were constantly shifting and changing. It always seemed as if my foundations were always shifting and because of that I turned to journaling and writing. I found myself sharing my struggles of growing up with depression to my church community during high school and its when I realized at a young age that sharing our stories of struggle was the the best way to heal and build a sense of belonging. When I started my fitness journey I knew I needed support. It was my first time embarking on something this big and I knew how much I succeed in it. At the time I shared my fitness journey on Instagram, I used it as a daily journal. About a year into my fitness journey I decided to start a blog and one thing really lead to another. Now it’s become a destination for inspiration and connection for some and it’s awesome!
4. What would be the biggest piece of advice you could give to someone who is struggling with low self-esteem?
Stop comparing yourself to others and remember that you’re amazing as you are. The hardest thing is that often times the causes of self-esteem issues are lack of self-worth. The best thing to do is to do a quick inventory on your life and the things that matter the most and bring you happiness and joy. Then ask yourself how do you get more of that into your life.
5. We know that a healthy mind equals a healthy body. With that being said, how do you keep a healthy mind/outlook while focusing on your fitness goals?
I practice gratitude daily. Most of my workouts begin with a 5 minute warm-up during that time instead of focusing on trying to turn on the “beast mode”, I focus on the things I’m grateful for such as an able body and my overall health. There are others in this world who are struggling to get out of bed due to some illness or those who were born unable to walk. Finding gratitude in the things we have currently have always allowed me to have a much more healthier approach to what I do in life especially my fitness goals.
6. Being so busy must take a toll on you personally. Tell us some of your favorite ways you like to unwind.
Some of my favorite ways to unwind include a workout, but in the moments that I can’t get that in or I’ve already done that for the day retreating to my bedroom diffusing essential oils while I meditate get me grounded immediately. Some other favorites are warm epsom salt baths, quiet dinners with the family, and walking around Target alone (yes sometimes this is one way I unwind).
7. As a mother of two young daughters, what is your advice to them on staying healthy and having a positive body image?
Often times in our house we focus a lot of characteristics that are not physical. My youngest who is 6 will point out the things she loves about her older sister’s personality. My eldest daughter is 12 and that is such a crucial age to start laying down the foundation to building a positive and healthy lifestyle. Because my daughter witnessed my transformation and was the catalyst to it, I don’t really give her advice that’s any different than I give a grown woman. We talk openly at home about the changes happening in her body at this age so that it doesn’t become a “weird” thing for her growing up. I think often times we underestimate the influence we have as adults on the younger generation and instead of giving them advice, we need to simply live by example.
8. We know you’ve been wearing your Duchess in gold. Tell us what feature you enjoy the most.
I love the simplicity of the design and the discreet notification alerts. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it as a bracelet and it always throws people off when I say it’s an activity tracker and tech device.
9. WiseWear is all about losing the screen, not the moment. Since most of your day is probably spent in front of a screen, how do you find ways to disconnect?
I set pretty firm boundaries around my tech time. During my workout sessions my phone is typically on do not disturb so that I can put my intention and time into my workout session. When I’m out with friends I rely on my tech devices like Wisewear to send me discreet notifications so that I can focus on the people I’m with. We all have a tendency to get caught up in documenting the moments we live in, but sometimes it’s about just living in the moment. And that is something I try my best to truly honor.
10. What advice would you give other women who are trying to balance motherhood, a career and a healthy lifestyle?
If there is anything I’ve learned from all the women mentors that I’ve had in my life, they are all simply trying to figure it out. We are all just wingin’ it and sometimes the best way to own your life and be the #girlboss in all areas of your life is learning that you can’t do it all and accepting that things won’t be perfect all the time, but you’re doing your absolute best.