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.