Alpha Female Friday – Jill Coleman

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.

She is the brightest star in her constellation.  When an Alpha Female stays true to their authentic selves and their missions they shine.  An Alpha Female puts herself first because she deserves self-care and love. She knows that work/life harmony is found by staying true to your priorities and what makes you happy. She is never complacent about striving for better and nurtures relationships with all the people in her life.

Meet Jill Coleman!

Jill Coleman is the founder of JillFit.com (which launched in 2010) and the co-founder of the Metabolic Effect. Her 16-year journey in the health and fitness industry began when she got her very first job at a gym just for the free membership at 15!
Since then, it’s a been a whirlwind of education in exercise science and nutrition, fitness competitions, landing several national covers for fitness modeling and plenty of business growth. Her passion lies in coaching mindset and body and business, through her flagship program: The Best Of You (BOY) Coaching Club, as well as a few signature online programs, like the Mindset Makeover, the Food Obsession Boot Camp and her 52-week exercise program, the Total Training Experience (TTE).

What do you think of the definition and how are you an Alpha Female?

I love that definition. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. You know what’s so interesting is the word “Alpha”. I think alpha can be polarizing, in a sense, I mostly identify with that definition in the aspect of showing up authentically and showing up unapologetically. So I haven’t always been that way, it feels like just the last few years. I’ve really embraced that because it can be really scary to show up fully in your power or to even know what that means to show up fully or in your power and then we kind of say that. For me it has a lot to do with being unapologetic about the things that you stand for and so sometimes a lot of us don’t even really know the things that we do stand for and so when we get clear on those kinds of lines in the sand whether it’s in our business or in our relationships. We’re able to be honest and in our relationships and in our integrity and we kind of know what our honor code is. Then I think we can show up in those ways and not be so scared of the fallout or not be so scared of what other people think. So for me I identify most with the unapologetic showing up in your authentic way of being and allowing the chips to fall in terms of how that is received. As women I think and I’m sure if there are men like this too, but as women I know for the people that I work with it can be really scary to think about you know people potentially not liking that or feeling sensitive about that or maybe moving through that scariness or not being so attached to controlling how people see you for me that’s the part that I really embrace and has been a practice, but it’s liberating!

What are you most passionate about?

It’s interesting. I’m so much more passionate now about my clients getting results. Which is different because it was all about my journey and about my ego and about can I have ripped ABS? And can I get into a magazine? And can I get on that cover? And can I win the competition? Then when I started my business in 2010 it became about adding value to other people’s lives. I didn’t really feel a sense of purpose until I started reaching more people via the internet space. So for me blogging, now, became the way the vehicle in which I could feel sense of purpose and passion and so sharing my story, sharing my vulnerabilities, having people kind of relate to that and feel not as alone. Because of it I’ve been able to create a community of people who want to level up or like-minded women who are interested in becoming like what you would call an Alpha Female. Being able to create that space online for me is important. It’s about the women that I’m working with. When I see them getting results and I see them leveling up and I see them helping others it’s this huge ripple effect that you can’t even measure and to me, that is what gets me super fired up.

What does work/life harmony look like for you?

I actually call it work-life integration. I think it depends on what your purpose is and what your meaning is? For a lot of people it’s their family, right? So they go to a job so that they can provide for their family. They don’t necessarily love their job. They feel like it’s maybe not the thing that they were meant to do in life. They were meant to be a mom or a dad or a brother or sister or you know an uncle or an aunt or whatever it is and so I think it just depends on what their priority is. The way work/life integration might look for them might be different for me. It’s not just what I do it’s actually who I am. So my business actually is who I am. So I work with women who are like “should I, you know, post business stuff on my personal Facebook page?” So as a personal brand it’s all the same thing my Instagram and my Facebook and who I am in person. If you meet me at a conference it’s all the same person, it’s never different it’s 100% cohesive and it’s 100% congruent. So work-life integration for me is I’m working every day in some capacity. So tips and tricks, however, I can’t sit and write like 4,000 words or a bunch of emails all day long without taking breaks. I read this book called “The Power of Full Engagement” years ago. It’s an older book and it talks about managing your energy. I choose Anchor Actions. I’m only choosing activities up to three a day that when I do them I actually come back to my work more energized and more engaged and focused. so that’s not everything for example you know laying on the couch and watching television feels nice for like the first 30 minutes, oh my god so relaxing. But what I found was the more television I watched the more drained and lethargic I felt. I did not feel creative and when I came back to my work it was even harder to get started and so these anchor actions actually do the opposite of

So tips and tricks, however, I can’t sit and write like 4,000 words or a bunch of emails all day long without taking breaks. I read this book called “The Power of Full Engagement” years ago. It’s an older book and it talks about managing your energy. I choose Anchor Actions so that I’m only choosing activities up to three a day that when I do them I actually come back to my work more energized and more engaged and focused. So that’s not everything, for example, you know laying on the couch and watching television feels nice for like the first 30 minutes, oh my god so relaxing. But what I found was the more television I watched the more drained and lethargic I felt. I did not feel creative and when I came back to my work it was even harder to get started and so these anchor actions actually do the opposite of that they actually make me feel more engaged and more creative as a result of doing them. So the things that I always do are 30 minutes of weight training a day, I do at least a 30-minute leisure walk since I have a puppy and I try and get 8 hours of sleep at night. These are the three daily things that when I do them I feel 100% present and focused when I’m working. So I have to work every day but I do incorporate these things throughout the day as well.

Share with us a time when work/life balance was out of whack? What was your aha moment that taught you it was ok to take care of yourself first? 

I’ve kind of like two tracks right I had like a business track and then I have like kind of a food obsession exercise obsession kind of track and they both had different aha moments. So with my nutrition and fitness, I became a little obsessive. It became a full-time job eating six or seven times a day or buying food, prepping food, making food, eating food or washing dishes.  I was at the gym three times a day and I was always thinking about when I had to go back. I remember around 2011 I had a bunch of photo shoots and I was doing a couple shows all right in a row. I ended up dieting for eight months straight. I remember at the end of it I did not have anything else planned and I was not going to be competing anymore and I was like “wow! I have to figure out how to eat forever” because I’m not doing another show whereas before that was my goal. I always had a goal. I remember feeling liberated by that because I was like okay I have to figure this out once and for all and I’m so sick of this dieting food that I don’t even care if I gain 50 pounds because I just can’t eat it anymore and I remember throwing my hands up and it was the first time in like five years that I did not food prep on Sunday and that felt really scary to me. So it’s probably people on your podcast being like okay like whatever. But when you’re in it and you’re so obsessed, not food prepping is really scary or not having the right foods around. You’re still worried you’re going to end up at the McDonald’s drive-through and I remember not trusting myself enough but I just couldn’t make food anymore. I just didn’t want to do it. I’m so exhausted mentally, I threw my hands up and I didn’t food prep for the first week and I was like I don’t care if I gained weight. I had protein bars, protein shakes and salad takeout bowls from Whole Foods. I ate nuts or whatever was around and I remember getting to the end of the week and being like wow I can’t believe I survived. Because up to that point I hadn’t trusted myself enough to not have healthy things around. So for me having the experiences was like wow I can actually maintain my weight and not be miserable and also not have to food prep. Honestly, I probably haven’t cooked in five years. I don’t recommend that but that’s for me a way of getting super focused on my work. 

Do you have a happy medium now or it’s just always on the go?

So in terms of business. I camfromor a background of personal training like 60, 70, 80 hours a week, crazy hours. I just said yes to everything. I was so nervous and operating from that scarcity mindset that my clients were going to leave me all the time. I needed to make sure I was super available whenever they need me and whatever money they give me I’ll take it and I had this aha moment. I was actually driving across town like 20 minutes to train someone for 30 minutes for $15 at 8 o’clock at night on Friday and I asked myself “Why am I actually driving across town to personal train one person for fifteen dollars at eight o’clock at night on Friday?” and I was like what am I doing? I’m never doing this again how did I get here? Because you just don’t think about it and so for me that was a huge turning point. I started to get way more discerning in terms of the times in which I trained clients. It was really scary because I lost ten percent of my clientele because I told them “here are the only times I’m training and also I’m going to double my price” So a lot of them were willing to change and work with me but that was a huge aha moment too and I started getting a lot more discerning.

How do you nourish yourself?

I always feel so funny when people ask me about self-care. I don’t have any rituals that I follow but one of the biggest things that I do in terms of nurturing myself is I surround myself with books and podcast. I’m always learning and for me that’s a luxury. I just feel safe around books. I love the idea of being able to educate myself. I spent a lot of money on training. I spent a lot of money on coaching and on different educational things that I want to fill in gaps in my own knowledge. Self care for me is taking care of my brain and nourishing my brain. I surround myself with people and we having intelligent conversations and we’re questioning things and we’re curious about stuff or talking about things that are interesting. That is totally relaxing and extremely nourishing to my brain.

Are the two categories that are always in rotation business and self-development or do you ever escape into a fiction novel?

I actually wrote a romance novel in 2013 to just basically get myself out of a writer’s block and I just wanted it to exist. I had read the genre quite a bit up until that point.

Is the romance novel, 50 Shades of Grey romance or was it The Notebook romance?

I would say in-between. First of all Fifty Shades is really not written well and this is written even worse than that. It’s not published. It was an exercise in being creative and I loved the experience. I don’t think I want it to exist in the world. I had all my chapters outlines and as soon as I got within like five or six chapters is being done. I was all about it and sprinting towards the finish. I actually gave it to an editor she gave it back to me and I just got super overwhelmed with all the edits and I shelved it. I don’t know that I’m excited about anymore. I mean who knows maybe I’ll bring it back and edit it under a pen name. But yeah for me it was just super fun to do that. 

I know you said that you workout in the morning for like 30 minutes. Is it all resistance weight training? Is there any other sort of cardio in your world?

Not really, to be honest with you, I have PTSD from doing so much cardio. I may do 10 minutes of intervals or more metabolic conditioning. I have a challenge on Instagram called “Met Con Monster”. All the workouts are super short. They are really intense. I put on significant muscle over the last six or eight months and so I’m kind of just wanting to maintain. It’s about what is the minimum effective dose that I have to be in the gym to maintain my physique and maybe see some additional physique results. But nothing too crazy. So “Met Con Monster” is all about 30-minute workouts. All resistance training based dumbbells and barbells.

What are your daily habits for winding down at night and reducing any stress that may have built up?

This is good. You know it’s when I said that I don’t have any self-care practice it’s because I feel like when I talk to women they’re like “oh I go to the spa my girlfriends” and I don’t do that. I don’t journal. I don’t meditate. I wish sometimes that I did but I’m also over feeling bad about not doing it. So for me at night I play with my dog, she’s super cute and super relaxed at night a lot of times. I’ll have a glass of wine or I’ll hang out with my friends since having moved out to California after my divorce 2 years ago. There is always something to do in the city. My self-care practice is getting into bed so I can get those 8 hours of sleep.

What are some pain points around being an alpha female that you’re problem solving for right now?

I struggle with the paradox of a strong woman. So we hear that women need to be strong and I feel super in their power and independent and a lot of things. I used to depend on my partner for a few things and now I figured out how to do them myself. So there’s this body of evidence to show that I’m more independent that I’m capable and I’m competent. But there’s a little bit of a backlash… I’ve been talking about this with some of my mastermind members that when women learn to take compliments instead of being like “oh no, this ol thing” and they start to say “thank you so much, I love it too”. Then you get some people who will think she is full of herself. So we’re starting to see this very strange paradox where you have to be confident but not too confident or you need to be in your power but also humble but then you need to not love yourself too much because a little self-loathing is helpful to keep you in check. How can you even control that?

Here is her article on the Paradox of Being a Strong Women and how to process conflicting messages!

What is your definition of happiness?

Drinking a nice glass of red wine. But no it’s about being in flow. It’s being in flow with the things that I’m creating in my life. So for me, there’s nothing more liberating than being able to wake up in the morning and have like this open canvas and on which I can create anything I want to. So for me maybe it’s social media or writing a blog or writing an article or writing an email to my list or just a space that I can express myself fully and I think one of the beautiful things about having a personal brand is that you do get to go in whatever direction you want to. I feel the most inflow and happiest when I don’t feel any sort of restrictions on what I write or what I create or what I post or what photos I share or videos that I do or podcasts that I talk to. I feel the happiest when I’m in that creative flow. I feel super happy when I’m creating something that’s going to have an impact on someone.

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