Every Friday I am going to feature a woman that I adore. They exude all the qualities of an Alpha Female and I want to dig into their lives to get some nuggets of knowledge to help us all live happier, healthier lives balancing life & work.
Definition of an Alpha Female
An Alpha Female is a powerful and assertive woman. Her confidence is due to being an intelligent and intellectual problem-solver. Being an Alpha Female is a State of Mind based on choosing ambition and being proud of it. She strives for a happy and healthy work/life harmony.
Type A Alpha Females often come across as strong willed and selfish. When we stay true to our authentic selves and stay true to our mission we shine. A true Alpha Female puts the needs of herself first without sacrificing her principles or dignity. She fills up her cup or gas tank first so that she has enough energy for her friends, family, and coworkers. A true Alpha Female strives for synergy with the world around her. She wants a perfect work/life balance but knows that it requires being true to your priorities and what makes you happy. She is never complacent about striving for better and nurtures relationships with the people in her life.
Meet Lori Harder!
Lori Harder is a leading expert in the field of fitness, transformational work, mindfulness, and self-love. As a self-made millionaire, successful entrepreneur, network marketing professional, author, cover model, and three-time fitness world champion, she offers a carefully curated set of practical tools to promote sustainable health, spiritual well-being, and financial freedom. Through her books, unique coaching methods, and programs, she has helped countless people connect with their soul, transform their bodies, empower their minds, gain financial independence, and fall in love with themselves and their lives.
What do you think about the definition of Alpha Female and how are you one?
I loved the definition when I heard it, because it is something beautiful you can reread and use to look at different aspects of your life to see how you’re doing in each. We’re all human, and I don’t know if we can be 100% in every single one of those areas. But we can strive to remember that it takes all of those pieces to equal a fulfilled, complete life. So visiting them often and making sure we have rituals around them.
I am an alpha female because I’m always striving to be happier and do better for other people. I’m really aware that I’m human, and it’s okay if I’m not 100% in all of those areas, but I like having something to measure myself to.
When work life balance gets out of whack, how do you bring harmony back to your life?
Balance is a word that is different for everyone. Sometimes I’m really in motion, and then for me balance looks like doing a lot and taking small moments off to just get grateful. And sometimes balance looks like a week off, disconnecting from social media and everything. I really have to monitor what I need, because sometimes I’m not ready for a week vacation; I want to be doing things. I need to monitor how I’m feeling and start understanding what I need. It’s important to keep a journal to remember how you feel about things.
I’m always craving nature. For me to find balance again, it’s getting back in nature, whether that’s to the ocean, or somewhere where I can have a fire or where I can just listen to the sounds and look at the sky, and say long prayers and take more time, and eat good food. Whatever that looks like for me, I try to plan that.
It sounds like you’re in the extreme camp of doers, where you go go go. I’ve asked women on the show whether they’re self-care experts on a daily basis or whether they live in seasons. Do you live in both camps?
Yes. There’s a season to push, there’s a season to create, and there’s a season to rest. Sometimes you’re going to be in a great mood every day, and other times you’re going to wake and something feels off or you’re a little bit under the weather, or maybe it takes a little bit longer for your thoughts to switch into something positive. Life comes in seasons or waves, and a lot of times we don’t get the reason why. I think that’s really important to be okay with them, to sit with them, to understand that it’s a part of life.
Here’s a tough one: when it’s a go season and you need to rest. That’s when self-care comes in strong, and it needs to come in daily. I’m about to go into push season again and I’m going to need to remember what I need daily to feel recharged. Maybe that’s making sure I get in bed early and get 8-9 hours of sleep, making sure I read before bed, making sure I sit in a visualization for at least five minutes, making sure I pray every single day. So many things like this. I’m drinking too much coffee right now, and I can feel it. So I need to make sure I drink more tea and green juice. I’m just constantly a monitor for my life.
Let’s break down your self-care into different buckets. What are your daily health habits to keep your immune system boosted?
Number one for me is sleep. If I get less than seven hours sleep, I’m crazy. If I’m sick, it’s because I’m not sleeping. You can always make time for sleep too, because if you don’t, you’re going to make time for being sick.
Another one is looking at the food I’m eating and asking how it is going to make me feel afterward. I’m all about my food tasting good, but I don’t want to eat things that will make me feel bad anymore, because I know everything hinges on how you feel. If you don’t feel good, you are not going to meet your goals and feel accomplished. So for me it’s: how is this food going to make me feel, have I slept enough, am I drinking enough water, and did I move my body for the day? Those are my must-dos.
You come from the fitness-competition world as well. Did you have a moment where nutrition actually became about being nourished versus eating a meal plan for physical, visual reasons?
I struggled with weight through my childhood. I was always a little bit overweight, and I was highly aware of it. I didn’t understand anything nutritionally. So when I was in my early twenties, it was all about feeling confident and comfortable in my skin for once. But then I learned that you can have that fit body, but if you feel like crap, you’re not having any fun in your life. You always feel like there’s a gray cloud over your head, like you have zero energy. You don’t feel happy if you’re not eating well. So after competing for a while, I really just wanted to feel happy, because I knew I had so much to offer the world. That’s when I wanted to figure out what makes me feel good. How can I start eating healthier food that’s vibrant and full of vitamins and nourishment, so that I can get to that happy place? It wasn’t until I had the fit body and still didn’t feel good that I realized it is serious and important stuff to make sure we are always giving our body good nutrients.
Do you have a specific way of meal planning now?
I really don’t. I do isagenix, so that helps me get a lot of my vitamins and nutrients. As far as everything else, I am really blessed to live in California, because I get such diverse food choices out here. I love salads — I’m a kale monster. They are the good salads: kale and fruit, and vegetables, and nuts, and amazing fresh homemade dressing, and salmon, and chicken. So I just eat a ton of salads, a lot of good wraps; I love sushi. I try to be diverse in my foods, and I’m lucky because you can order a lot of food out. But I do also love to grill vegetables.
I find that when I’m eating good, healthy foods that taste good, I don’t get crazy cravings and crashes any more. I eat at least two pieces of dark chocolate every night of my life, and then I’ll make some healthy organic almond milk hot chocolate. I’m so much more balanced, because I’m making sure I’m just eating things I enjoy. And I’m really active, so I can.
Is the meal delivery service really big over there too?
Yes, it is. I can get healthy food delivered whenever I want. But in the Midwest, I was cooking every single meal. That’s why I came out with a cookbook when I was living there, because I really believe people can eat healthy, delicious meals of all your favorites, just replace the ingredients with healthy ingredients.
Let’s dive into your fitness routine. How are you moving your body these days?
I’m in this mode of do what you love. If you don’t know what that is, you have to experiment. What are your curiosities when you think about fitness? Do you like hiking? How about swimming? How about dancing? Whatever that thing is, you have to release your ideas about what you want your body to look like, and think about what your body craves as far as how it wants to move. Moving in ways you love is actually a beautiful way to express creativity, and you’ll elevate your personal happiness, which opens up your mind and gives you a lot more energy.
I’m really enjoying SoulCycle right and Orangetheory Fitness. Anything with community. I was working out alone for so many years that now if I get in a group and sweat, it’s just endorphins. Your body actually releases oxytocin when you’re with other women and when you’re working out.
Explain the SoulCycle Vibe so those who don’t have one nearby can look for it in a spin class.
It’s not your traditional spin class. This is choreographed. You’re dancing on the bike, pedaling to the beat. The room is dark and a little bit heated. It’s like you’re at a nightclub for your workout — lots of screaming, sweating. My friend calls it “inspired hell,” but I love it. I’m in it for a good time, to experience something different. It gets you so far from your normal, and that’s when life really opens up. Being uncomfortable is an amazing human emotion to experience, because it opens you up to so much more, and it helps you get comfortable with so much more. It makes you more interesting too.
Can you also explain Orangetheory?
It consists of doing a treadmill workout, a rowing workout, TRX, and weights. So you’re doing all of those every single time in different increments. Sometimes you’ll be on the treadmill doing different inclines or sprint walks and runs for 30 minutes and then lifting for 30 minutes, and sometimes it’s 5-8 minutes on the treadmill, 5-8 minutes on the floor and rower, and you just go back and forth. I’ve never done the same class twice. It’s all heart-rate monitored, and you’re being pushed by somebody and being called out on the board, so it’s fun. I’m also in there with such different body types, and I love that. You can really make the class your own. Whether someone is on a journey of losing 30 pounds or on a journey of getting in the best shape of their life, we can do it side by side. I love how diverse the class is.
How do you wind down at night and reduce your stress?
I’ll go for walks with my husband, and they’re not at all about fitness. We call them gratitude walks. The first 5-10 minutes, we’ll still be going a million miles an hour. But then we each say 2-3 things we’re grateful for and keep going back and forth until we’re out of that work-mode and into whatever else. Or maybe we keep talking about work but in a good way. That’s pretty much what we do every night. We try to get out of the house in the evenings because we work in the house.
What about puppy snuggles?
That’s always happening. We’re either walking with Waffles or we’re cuddling with her. Sometimes I’ll take breaks during the day and be like “I need you.”
Are you a yoga practitioner? You talked about visualization, but I don’t know if you do meditation.
I do love visualization and meditation. I go in seasons with yoga. Either I’m all about it, or it hasn’t been in my world at all. But if I’m going to stretch — which is pretty much every day — it’s going to be yoga-based.
What are you most passionate about right now?
Connecting with other amazing people. When I was building my business and fitness, and living in the Midwest, I isolated myself a lot. I thought I had to do it alone. It was just my mentality that I couldn’t do both and that that couldn’t be more opposite from the truth. It’s about reaching out, finding the right people, and connecting. I didn’t feel good enough or smart enough, or like I had enough going on. But looking back now, I think I would have accelerated what I was doing if I had just asked those amazing people to go to lunch or do a workout. I think, in general, people want to connect, especially if you offer them something, whatever that is — if it’s listening, or how can I help you, could I intern for you once a week . . .
How did you get over the limiting belief or fear of not being good enough?
Reading a lot of self-development and forcing myself to do it. I got so lonely that I didn’t want to do it anymore. But then I realized that not everyone was doing that. I saw people connecting. And I thought it’s really a mindset of lack and of not sharing because you may not get the limelight. It’s so much better if you build together and share thoughts, ideas, and what’s working for you. If you’re worried about something happening to your business because you share ideas or partner up, then you’re still in a place of lack, which I totally get because I was there. But there are seven-billion people on the planet, and we’re lucky to maybe affect thousands of them. We’re all just mass consumers, so the more we can put out there and do together, the better, because I can’t reach who you can reach and you can’t reach who I can. If someone likes you, they’re probably going to like my stuff and if they like me, they’ll like your stuff. Once we consume, we just want more.
What are the pain points of being an Alpha Female that you constantly to have to problem-solve?
I have a “what’s-next?” problem. I get really high on the highs, and I can get low on the lows. I stay really busy because I’m afraid of when I’m not busy. I’m always trying to be okay with the lulls. I need the quiet, but it’s hard for me to stay quiet long. But then, when I’m not sitting in the quiet or the slow, it’s hard for me to hear what I need to hear next. So when I’m not feeling connected, it’s because when you get too much in the do, you get too disconnected from your rituals or listening or the things that are really needed to connect back in. I’m always trying to pay attention to that. Remembering what happiness is, what success is, to just be.
What is your definition of happiness?
Definitions of happiness go in seasons too. I think it’s asking yourself, “What do you feel like creating?” and “How much love are you giving back?” Because I think our sole purpose on the planet is to be expressing love, and I think we express love through our creativity in many ways. So looking at how you are expressing yourself, expressing love, and connecting with people, and making sure that you’re following through with that.