After many years in retail, it was hard for Arvada, Colo.-based nail tech Michelle Shoemaker to spend hours sitting still in the salon. She figured out how to incorporate exercise and a healthy diet into her life to improve her health.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I am a mom of two — a 16-month-old and a 9-year-old. I have been doing nails for about seven years now (licensed for 14). I’ve always been a booth renter and just love what I do.

What are your health challenges?
After I got licensed, I ended up working retail for six-and-a-half years and was on my feet all day. I spent my first pregnancy on my feet. After deciding to focus on making a career out of nails, I remember feeling so achy during the first several weeks of sitting all day.

How do you fit your health routine into your work day?
Every work day is different, but I make sure to always schedule a good hour lunch break to ensure I eat right (I always pack a healthy lunch). I insist on taking a 20- to 30-minute walk. I call it my “mental health break.” Being outside and moving does wonders for my work day! I am personally terrible at going to the gym, but I make sure I wake up early and get in a quick 15- to 20-minute strength workout, or a 15- to 30-minute run on the treadmill. (Time always depends on whether my little one wakes up early).

What has been your result so far?
I spent my second pregnancy doing nails and considered myself so much healthier and more fit even now at 30, versus 22 with my first. A healthy diet helps! After those nights that I indulge after work with sugars or heavy carbs, I feel miserable and unmotivated the next day. I stick to a low carb, high fat diet, and stay away from sweets.

What’s your advice for other nail techs who want to become healthier?
It’s hard to stay active with a sit-down job. Some days you just have to make yourself do it — get up and go outside, even walk around the block for five or 10 minutes. At least stand up between clients and move your body. Pack a lunch or healthy snacks so you’re not tempted to go buy junk food.

Are you a healthy nail tech? We want to hear your success stories. Email to find out  how you can be featured in our Healthy Tech column.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.