Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I work as a booth renter at One Stop Nail Shop in Missoula, Mont. I’ve been a nail tech since 2010, although I’ve been around the salon world my whole life; my mom has done nails for over 30 years. It’s always fun to see people’s reactions when they find out I’m a nail tech, since I’m not the usual person they expect to see in a salon.

What are your health challenges?
I’ve been relatively active and healthy my whole life, but I started looking into the effects that sitting long periods of time has on your body, as well as the health issues that nail techs seem to have over time (shoulder, back, and other issues). I started to work out more and paid attention to my diet — mostly because I wanted to keep my body from breaking down so I could stay in the industry for years to come —  but in 2013 I decided I wanted to compete in a physique competition. It took some time to build muscle, but I did my first show in October 2015 and got 3rd place. I have been training for my second show in April 2017.

What was/is your plan of action?
I met with a coach who specializes in physique and bodybuilding shows. We measured my body fat and muscle percentages, and after we had that information, we set up my meal plan: We figured out how much protein, carbohydrates, and fats my body needed to be lean and build muscle, and we divided it into five to six meals per day. Then it was time to hit the gym, focusing on different muscle groups, roughly six times a week. I did tons of treadmill and stair stepper for cardio, as well as yoga to stay loose. For this second show, we are doing the same diet-wise; however, I’m now working out twice a day, before and after working at the salon.

How has/does your job as a nail tech affect your plan?
Life as a nail tech affects my plan a bit when it comes to eating properly. As many techs know, it’s easy to forget to eat or get up from the desk when you’re busy. I try to book at least a 15-minute break around the three times I eat at work, or I sneak it in between clients. It’s worth it because in the end your mood is more even through the day since you don’t get “hangry” or short from low blood sugar.

What has been your greatest challenge or most difficult aspect of your new healthy lifestyle?
The greatest challenge at first was cutting sugar out. I had headaches for the first couple of days, almost like I was going through withdrawals. This last spring I was thrown over the handlebars of my mountain bike coming down a hill and almost broke both wrists, as well as damaging the tissues in my palms. That was a bit of a setback, not only with my health goals but at work as well. I decided, though, to let my wrists heal and take a break from working out but kept my diet the same, which seemed to help.

Please share your advice for other nail techs who need encouragement to embark on a healthy lifestyle.
My best advice is to start small and be consistent; any healthy diet will work for you if you stick to it long enough. Same thing with exercising: If you stick with it you will see results, and not only will you feel better about yourself and life, you’ll start to feel better at work too, both mentally and physically.

Are you a healthy nail tech? Every month, NAILS will feature one nail tech in a monthly column devoted to shining the spotlight on your health and fitness success! If you would like to share your success story (overcoming health issues, weight loss — any health-related triumph) with NAILS readers, email to find out more about how YOU can be featured as a NAILS Healthy Tech.

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